Tony Jacklin looks ahead to the Open at Royal Liverpool

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Tony Jacklin recalls finishing fifth at Hoylake in 1967 – and emphasises the art of links golf

Tony Jacklin CBE was speaking to NCG as a special guest at the OnlineGolf.co.uk Golf Day, authorised retailer of all major golf brands including TaylorMade and Lyle & Scott

I finished fifth at Hoylake in 1967 when Roberto Di Vicenzo won. 

Obviously a lot has changed since then and the course has been lengthened but it’s a typical British links. 

It’s all about the weather; if  the wind blows it’s a nice test.

Tiger Woods dominated last time around and he drove with a 2 iron. He realised the real art of playing links golf is to stay out of the bunkers. 

With all the fairway bunkers on a links, you may as well put red lines around them because they are a one-shot penalty. 

Tiger sussed that out early on and was very patient, it was reminiscent of my old friend Peter Thomson. 
I played with Jeff Maggert and he took a driver off every damn hole and I don’t think he had much of a clue what was going on" He realised very early that it wasn’t about big hitting in links golf. It’s about keeping the ball out of the hazards.

For the players that have the pedigree to win, once they’ve got a good first round under their belt they can engage mentally. 

At the Open it’s very rare to shoot a first-round 75 and get back into it. Normally you are looking at players in the top four or five after the first day and if they’ve got the pedigree, they can see the week through.

One of the last Opens I played was at Lytham, where I won. I played with Jeff Maggert and he took a driver off every damn hole and I don’t think he had much of a clue what was going on. 

He was just smashing it about with the driver and it’s impossible to play links golf that way.

The way the game is going – it has changed incredibly over the last 30 years because of the distance the balls go …50 yards further – you get goaded into thinking it’s all about distance. 

These guys are hitting it 350 yards off the tee but on a fiery links golf course they’ll be hitting it 450 yards – but that’s not what the game is about. There are other nuances; staying out of the hazards and long grass… keeping the ball in play.

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