A British Open Green With One Last Catch: A 150-Foot Putt

Danny Willett, who tied for sixth at the 2015 Open, the previous one to be contested at St. Andrews, was a bit more forthcoming. With few exceptions, he said, he saw each huge green as having two or three clearly defined sections.

“You need to section them off pretty well and hit into the sections,” he said. “Otherwise, you can see some really funky 40-, 50-footers. So they are big greens, but if you’re obviously going to try and do well and play correctly, you need to narrow your focus and try to pick out what section you’re trying to hit it into.”

Indeed, there are triumphs, even when golfers have struggles elsewhere on the course. Ian Poulter, the Englishman who has joined the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf series, began his Open with jeers that he insisted he did not hear before he shanked his tee shot.

He arrived later at No. 9, where the green is merely a monstrosity meant for one hole, at one under par. His tee shot put the pin within distant reach, and then he turned to, by his own description, a bizarre strategy for a putt attempt that Open officials said was at least 160 feet.

“I kind of hit it two cups out to the right,” he said. “If you can ever figure a line of two cups to the right, I knew it might wander a hair right to left through the middle of the putt.”

It worked, good for eagle.

“Look, anything inside 6 feet from 150 feet is a hell of a putt,” said Poulter, who shot a 69, three under par. “So for it to drop is beyond lucky.”

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