Title: British Open: Muirfield is stuffy, pretentious, difficult - and proud of it
Description: GULLANE, Scotland The Open Championship, with its big yellow scoreboards and the scent of fish and chips in the air, has arrived this week at Muirfield. Nice of the place to let us in for a few days. Muirfield is home to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which hints at the pretension of the place. When asked if the club is as stuffy as its reputation, a local said, “Positively – and they’re proud of it. They honestly don’t care what anyone else thinks.” There’s something obnoxiously admirable about that, unless you’re progressive, female or both. When Muirfield allows guest play, it asks that the interlopers arrive in coat and tie to check in. Once the club gives its approval, golfers can then change into suitable golf attire, which means no cargo shorts, no Rickie Fowler-styled hats and please no plus-fours. After playing, guests are then asked to change back into their coats and ties for lunch. Enjoy the neeps and tatties. This Open begins as most major championships do these days – with an abundance of analysis on the state of Tiger Woods’ elbow and the state of Rory McIlroy’s psyche. Those questions will be answered on Thursday when play begins with a frighteningly good weather forecast. The Open Championship at Muirfield is a reminder that golf was originally played more on the ground than through the air, a concept lost on Americans. With Muirfield’s fairways and knee-high rough now the color of a nice latte, this championship will be played in classic firm and fast conditions. The fairways are so firm – unlike Charlotte, it hasn’t rained significantly in Scotland for a few weeks – Woods said he’s allowing for 70 to 80 yards of run after his 3-wood shots land. Such brown, bouncy conditions would send American golfers on a march to the course superintendent’s office, demanding the fairways be green enough to mow a tartan design into them.