The Open: Mickelson and Poulter criticise course

Ian Poulter, right, putts on the 11th green during the first round at The Open. Picture: Getty

Ian Poulter, right, putts on the 11th green during the first round at The Open. Picture: Getty

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Ian Poulter today labelled some of the pin positions for the opening round of the Open at Muirfield as “a joke,” while Phil Mickelson called for tournament organisers to “let go of their ego.”

• Ian Poulter and Phil Mickelson hit out at Muirfield course in today’s opening round

• Poulter describes pin positions as “a joke”, while Mickelson says organisers should “let go of their ego”

Poulter was two under par with five holes to play but carded four bogeys and a birdie to return a one-over 72 on a course playing extremely hard and fast.

The Ryder Cup star then took to Twitter to complain about elements of the course set-up, writing: “Unfortunately the guys this afternoon will struggle with a few pin positions. 8th hole is a joke, 18th needs a windmill & clown face.”

Former champion Stewart Cink also wrote on Twitter: “Muirfield greens really baking out in the sun. Keep an eye on #8, #9, and #16-18. Overall the greens are the fastest I’ve seen in the Open.”

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said on Wednesday that he felt Muirfield was the best prepared Open course in 14 years, despite admitting watering was necessary to keep it “alive”.

Mickelson, winner of the Scottish Open on Sunday, fell victim to the fast greens as he three-putted the 18th in a round of 69 and said: “Number eight is probably the worst one that you’ll see. It won’t stop until it collects in a little level area about eight feet away.

“Very difficult conditions and playing early gave us at least a fighting chance. I love the fact that I shot under par, because it’s a very challenging course out there. I don’t expect anybody to beat the lead from the morning wave, I just don’t think it’s possible.

“Hopefully they (the R&A) will let go of their ego and set it up reasonable (tomorrow), but you just never know.”

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