Woods and Clarke cautious of conditions at rain hit Royal Lytham
July 16, 2012 -- Updated 1755 GMT (0155 HKT)
Tiger Woods during the first practice round at Royal Lytham
- Tiger Woods says conditions have left the course "almost unplayable"
- Defending champion Darren Clarke warns course is "really tough"
- Organizers insist the course is still playable
- Woods says players will have to be aggressive on the "lush" course
(CNN) -- Tiger Woods has warned the conditions at Royal Lytham make the course "almost unplayable."
Woods was speaking after his first practice round ahead of this week's British Open at Royal Lytham. Preparations for the tournament have been disrupted by poor weather across Britain, with the ground staff struggling to cut the grass in some areas due to the sodden course.
Woods, a three-time British Open champion, explained, "I've never seen the rough this high or thick and dense. You can't get out of it. That bottom six inches, in some places, is almost unplayable."
Despite the heavy rain and wind Woods is looking forward to returning to the English links course which last hosted the tournament in 2001. "Lytham is certainly up there. I like the layout. It's fair. They don't have to trick it up. They don't have to do anything with it. They can play it as the members play it and it would still be difficult. It's not that long.
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Woods suggested that the conditions will affect the way players approach the course, "If it's calm, we can shoot some good scores. If it's wet, lush, you've got to be more aggressive"
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Defending champion Darren Clarke echoed Woods' comments, describing the course as, "really tough."
The Northern Irishman said, "There are a few patches out there where it's just absolutely brutal. The grass is a little bit thicker than what you normally find on a links golf course. It's really, really tough."
Clarke, who has been struggling for form since his victory last year, warned, "If you start spraying the ball around this week, you might as well go home. Obviously, you start missing the fairways there; you're really going to struggle so it's a big challenge."
"There's a huge premium on accuracy this week. There's no chance coming out of this rough at all."
The event's organizers insisted the course was playable, despite the awful weather conditions on the Fylde coast, north of Manchester.
Royal & Ancient's communications director Malcolm Booth told Press Association sport, "A large number of players have expressed how pleased they are with the course set-up, which seems to be very positive."
Booth admitted that the rough was "very thick in places" due to the "unprecedented" weather Britain has endured this summer. He assured players and spectators that the R&A was "pleased with the course set-up."
"The fairways are suitably scaled to allow a generous landing area if you are hitting the right club off the tee. The weather will keep the fairways softer too so things aren't going to be kicking off fairways with quite the force they would have."
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