Royal Troon’s Postage Stamp

Here’s my take on Royal Troon’s awesome number eight – the daunting Postage Stamp.

According to the scorecard, the easiest hole at Royal Troon is the eighth. Slightly downhill and at only 123 yards, you wouldn’t argue with the stroke 18 rating. What the guide doesn’t tell you is this innocuous par three also happens to be one of the most devilish you will encounter and certainly one of the most feared in golf.

At least on paper, the Postage Stamp appears to be a cheery knock amid the fiery links of Royal Troon. But it ain’t. This seemingly harmless hole, the shortest on the Open Championship rota, is a card wrecker on a diminutive scale.

In 1997, Tiger Woods arrived at the 8th during the final round of the Open Championship biting at the heels of the leaders. At 21, he had recently become the youngest winner of the Masters and had been crowned the world’s No 1. Scotland’s west coast air was thick with anticipation.

When he eventually limped off the 8th green, Tiger’s fallibility had been exposed. He came unstuck when he pitched his tee shot into one of five green-side bunkers. Failing to escape from the deep trap on his first attempt, he scrambled an escape and then three-putted from 15 feet. His triple-bogey six was confirmation that despite its length, Royal Troon’s Postage Stamp could tame the fiercest competitors.

On the face of it, a round at Royal Troon builds towards this golfing L’Enfant terrible. Tackling the Postage Stamp is a feather in your cap and no matter how you play it; there will always be a tale to tell. The reality is, however, that despite the narrow, slither of green banked on one side by a steep dune and a fearful drop on the other, the 8th is by no means the teeth in Royal Troon’s bite. 

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