The prospect of Charley Hull ending her wait for a major title this weekend at Royal Troon have diminished, after the 24-year-old admitted her indifference towards links golf. Hull risked offending those immersed in the ancient form of the sport by admitting she will visualise holes at the famous Ayrshire venue lined with trees during the Women’s Open when it begins on Thursday.
“I’m not the biggest fan of links golf,” said Hull. “I like playing with it my friends and stuff as a bit of fun but I find it hard to score around sometimes. I like parkland golf courses and American-style.”
Pressed on why this feeling has developed, Hull explained: “I feel like you can hit good shots and get bad bounces and bad luck. I don’t really feel like you have to be the best ball-striker, you just need to go down the fairway and green and give yourself a putt – then you’re sound – and keep out of the bunkers.
“I just try to picture the fairways being tree-lined because I like really, really tight golf courses. I like to feel like tunnel vision, where this is kind of open and flat and it’s hard to pick your lines because it’s hard to pick out the fairways sometimes. So you’ve just got to be really focused.”
Given her talent, Hull’s Women’s Open record is somewhat uninspiring. She has missed three cuts and has a highest position of tied 12th in eight previous appearances. A glimmer of hope resonates in current form. “I feel like my game is in good shape at the minute,” said Hull.
Last weekend’s Ladies Scottish Open in East Lothian was marred by slow play, meaning times of rounds will be under the spotlight in Troon. Hull, one of the quickest players on the women’s scene, admits glacial pace is harmful to the sport. She has called for shot penalties to be introduced, ahead of fines.
“To grow the game, people don’t want to be sat there for hours and hours watching a slow game, slow golf,” Hull added. “I get told a lot, it’s crazy how slowly we play. Usually when I’m at home with my friends we go around in like three hours and on Tour, last week, I played five hours and 40 minutes.”
With inclement weather expected for the majority of event, the world No 2 Danielle Kang shrugged off the notion of an unfair challenge. Thunderstorms and strong winds are forecast for Thursday and Friday, with temperatures due to plummet for the final two rounds.
“I am ready,” said Kang. “You’re just going to have to take whatever it gives you. I’ve just got to have all the laundry done, have the rain gear ready, towels ready. I’m just really excited to tee it up on Thursday.
“We’ve had beautiful weather the last couple days, today the sun is out and I don’t think we are going to get that for the rest of the week. I’m excited to see what this golf course is going to challenge us to do.”