Taking the hotel out of play


“Pros don’t hit it in the hotel. Only you guys.”

In the early hours of a final-round telecast utterly devoid of drama, five-time British Open champ Tom Watson came up with the line of the morning. Watson is right – the big boys don’t stand on the Old Course’s 17th tee worrying about shanking it off the glorified motor lodge just right of the fairway – but the shot isn’t as daunting as it might appear on TV.

Is the hotel in play? Well, yes, but at that point in your round on golf’s most hallowed ground, your caddie will have seen enough of your game to determine a proper line off the tee. As if to acknowledge that most high handicaps slice the ball, there’s a ton of room left, which will allow you to put something in play. Before long, however, Old Course rookies will realize the tee shot isn’t half as hard as the five or six likely to follow it.