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Faldo takes time to practice at Muirfield

Nick Faldo has returned to the scene of two of his Open triumphs for a sneak preview of the Muirfield course set to host the championship again next week.

The winner of the 1987 and 1992 Opens at Muirfield took time off from his preparation for this week’s Scottish Open at Loch Lomond for a practice round at Muirfield.

"I just had to do it, to come and remind myself of the course and of the subtleties of links golf," Faldo said.

"Links courses in general have a lack of definition and it takes time to know where to aim for and where to hit the ball.”

"I think it's essential to play a links course before tackling the Open and to get back into the way of playing links golf,” explained Faldo, who also won the Open at St Andrews in 1990.

"Today wasn't a particularly strong wind and yet on many occasions it wasn't worthwhile taking on the bunkers.”

"No doubt many players will, but their locations, on corners of dog legs, makes it a very risky shot. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

"The course is exactly the way I remember it, just a lot greener," Faldo said.

"It's not very linksy at the moment, but who knows? A few days of sun and wind would soon fix that. That apart, the course is in lovely condition."

Faldo finished fifth at last month's US Open but took three weeks off after that tournament and has also just recovered from a bout of gastroenteritis.

South Africa's Ernie Els, who tied for sixth behind Faldo in 1992, also took an early look at Muirfield.

"The course is just set up beautifully. The R&A and the club have done a wonderful job in getting it to this condition. It is as fair a test as you can see,” Els said.

"It looks narrow and daunting out there but it is so well designed and the layout is so good that you can run the ball into every hole - the way links golf is meant to be played.”

“Today was what I would call a two-club wind although I suppose it was more of a strong breeze and with all the rain you've had, the course was pretty testing.”

"Today would have been perfect weather for the Open and even with modern technology, the bunkers are still in play. At the first I needed a drive and a 4-iron and at the 14th, both holes playing into the wind, it was a drive and a 3-iron. At the 18th when the breeze had died down, my drive was just at the bunkers and they're at 280 yards. What we need now is a little bit of heat to dry the course out slightly and we'll have a great Championship.


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