Tommy Fleetwood is the course record holder at Carnoustie by virtue of his 63 during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last October, and that has “literally no relevance” to this week’s Open Championship.
It’s the same layout, the same topography (mostly), the same hazards and the same greens. But it’s not the same at all.
“It is a completely different course,” said the reigning European Tour No 1. “I played yesterday, I’ve never played it this firm or fast.
“Shots that you’ve hit (here before) have literally no relevance for a lot of it.”
Unlike the Dunhill, when the course is much softer – and it’s still comfortably the most difficult of the three in play at that event – keeping the ball in play will be the difficulty.
“It doesn’t do any harm to have played it for a few years and to have a course record, but it’s a completely different challenge to what we normally face,” he continued.
“There are so many holes where you have to take the fairway bunkers on, a number like 260 yards is just completely irrelevant because any amount of clubs can go that far with it so firm.
“The sixth tee is a particularly difficult shot that you just have to take on. I mean, there’s no real bailout. If you push it right, you could end up in the fairway bunkers or in the rough. All kinds of troubles can happen there. And left is out of bounds.”
Despite that, Fleetwood has been dying to get to Carnoustie to build on his frenetic finish at the US Open.
“Straight after the Us Open, youw ant the Open to start, because you’re on such a high,” he said. “I know I didn’t win, but you have that momentum and you want it to start straight away.
“But I’ve had a bit of time off, and I decided to extend that (by missing the Scottish Open) because the next free weekend I have is after the British Masters in October.”