Title: The Open isn't supposed to be easy The players don't think the setup is fair, and they're wrong

Description: GULLANE, Scotland -- The tweet popped up not long after Ian Poulter finished his first round of the Open Championship. Unfortunately the guys this afternoon will struggle with a few pin positions. 8th hole is a joke, 18th needs a windmill & clown face. Then Phil Mickelson, only a few minutes removed from his opening round, fired up the chainsaw, suggesting that the R&A should "let go of [its] ego ... and just set the course up the way the best players can win." He added that the "greens are dying and the holes are on the edges of slopes that the ball just simply won't stay." Zach Johnson said the Muirfield fairways were as fast as the greens, and the greens, tweeted Stewart Cink, "are the fastest I've seen in the Open." Anyway, there were bloodstains on more than a few scorecards Thursday. There also were anger, pained looks and complaints. Isn't it great? [+] EnlargeIan Poulter Paul Cunningham/USA TODAY Sports Ian Poulter didn't like how Muirfield was set up for Round 1. He wasn't alone. But did he have a point? Nothing personal, but I don't care if Poulter and Mickelson think the setup is unfair. I don't care if they put a windmill, a clown face and a circus tent over the 18th green. I don't care if R&A officials put a pin on the roof of the Muirfield clubhouse. A major is a major because it makes you mutter under and over your breath. It's supposed to hurt -- especially this one and at this place. They say Muirfield is the fairest of the courses used in the Open Championship rotation. This is true. But that doesn't mean it can't leave teeth marks on your round. Or make you wonder how anything so beautiful -- and Muirfield is the Sofia Vergara of pure golf -- can secretly move your Open Championship hopes to an offshore account in the Cayman Islands. Rory McIlroy putted a ball from off the green, through it and then into a bunker. Charl Schwartzel excommunicated a club after squirting a ball out of the Muirfield rough. The poor iron snapped in two after Schwartzel hurled it against the driveway-hard turf. Luke Donald shot a 9-over-par 80, which ties his worst Open score. The on-site engraver won't need to practice those L's. Muirfield isn't lush, and it isn't fun. Brown is becoming the prevailing color, what with the sun (Sun! In Scotland!) cooking this place like a pot roast. The grandstands are green, but that's about it. The rest of the course looks as if it spent the week in a tanning bed.

Link: http://espn.go.com/golf/theopen/story/_/id/9489430/muirfield-playing-hard-fair-open-championship