The Open 2014

13th-20th July

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Butch Harmon insists strategy will be key at Open Championship at Hoylake

Last Updated: 16/07/14 6:39pm

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Defending champion Phil Mickelson is being backed by his coach Butch Harmon to retain the Claret Jug

Butch Harmon has described the challenge presented by Royal Liverpool as like a “chess match” and believes strategy will be key in deciding who wins this week’s Open Championship.

Four of the players that Harmon coaches will be teeing it up at Hoylake, with Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker and Jimmy Walker all competing alongside defending champion Phil Mickelson.

"It’s really the position you want to go to and not the club you hit to get yourself there. There’s a lot more strategy involved in links golf than in America where the ball is in the air."
Butch Harmon

Harmon has emphasised the need to for accuracy and precision, but feels his American charges will relish the chance to take on a true links test.

“This is a very interesting golf course, this is a golf course that can’t be overpowered, this is a golf course where it’s like a chess match out there – you’ve got to move here, to go to there, to do this,” he told Sky Sports.

“We’ve talked a lot about strategy, how you want to play hole, where you want to be off the tee.

“It’s really the position you want to go to and not the club you hit to get yourself there. There’s a lot more strategy involved in links golf than in America where the ball is in the air.

Mickelson primed for defence

“We have to change the ball flight because you have to play the ball on the ground a lot more; so we work on controlling the ball through the air, taking it out of the air a little, bringing the ball flight down.

“But I think the guys really like the golf course, I haven’t heard anybody complain about it, they like the condition of it so it’s going to be interesting.”

Meanwhile, Harmon believes Mickelson has a real chance of defending the crown he won at Muirfield 12 months ago and is not far away from finding top form.

“He’s really prepared to try and defend the title,” he continued. “He hated having to give the Claret Jug back on Monday, he’s taken it with him wherever he’s gone for 12 months.

“He’s very proud to have been Open champion and he’s very keen to give it a good chance and have a chance to win it again.

“Phil’s game is good tee to green as you’ve seen in various events like last week at the Scottish (Open). He hasn’t putted very well but thinks he has that sorted out so I’m looking for him to have a really good week.”

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