Aaron Oberholser on Carnoustie


Straight Down ambassador Arron Oberholser knows the challenges that players will face at this week’s Open Championship. He played in 2007, the last time the tournament visited Carnoustie. Oberholser finished 45th at the course dubbed “Car-Nasty”. It is the longest Open Championship venue and considered one of the toughest courses in the world. But it is a test that rewards great players. Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Gary Player and Padraig Harrington are among the players who have won there.

Oberholser, a former PGA TOUR winner turned TV commentator, took a few minutes to give us a first-hand look at this year’s Open Championship.

“There’s not one shot you can take off on the entire golf course. There’s trouble around every turn. Even if the conditions aren’t that difficult – just a 10-15 mph breeze, which is nothing over there – you can make a 6 on every hole. It’s a really hard golf course from tee to green. There’s no rest. Even the short holes are hard. The gorse is bad on certain holes. There’s out-of-bounds on some holes. It’s relentless.”

“It has the hardest finish in major-championship golf. Among the majors I’ve played, it’s not even a contest. (Carnoustie closes with three par-4s longer than 460 yards, including the 499-yard 18th, and a 250-yard par-3.) I think I hit 3-wood into 16 one day. The Barry Burn comes into play on the last two holes. Eighteen is so, so brutal. There’s out-of-bounds left. The burn is right. You have to stand up there and just pipe it.”

“It looks like it’s going to play really firm and fast this year. If it does, and we get sunny and windy conditions, even par is going to win easily. That’s how I tough I think Carnoustie can play. I also played the 2006 Open Championship, when it was really firm and fast. I couldn’t tell where the fairway ended and the green began. I putted from 50 yards. Tiger hit driver just once that week. I enjoy that kind of golf. You have to create the angles and play for the bounce.”