The World Golf Hall of Famer talks key performers, US Open rough, and why he put his name to the Welcome to Yorkshire Ian Woosnam Senior Golf Classic

Brendon Todd could have the game to tame a fearsome Winged Foot at this week’s US Open, reckons Ian Woosnam.

The World Golf Hall of Famer, and former Masters champion, believes the American’s strong driving could keep him out of the West course’s infamous rough.

With the winning score tipped to be well over par, Woosnam, speaking at the inaugural Welcome to Yorkshire Ian Woosnam Senior Golf Classic at Ilkley, said the key to success was a strong performance off the tee.

On Todd, who is currently 4th in driving accuracy on the PGA Tour and hitting more than 70% of fairways, Woosnam, said: “If you can keep it down the middle of the fairway like Brendon Todd, he hits it straight, he’s won two or three tournaments, putts brilliantly, he’s long enough to be good around there and he could be doing really well.”

Addressing the rough at US Opens, Woosnam, who played in America’s national championship on 10 occasions and finished tied for 2nd at Oak Hill in 1989 and top 10 at Pebble Beach three years later, said modern equipment did help players in their task.

“You watch golf now, you see these guys go in the rough and they hit it out, it hits the green and it spins,” he added.

“Twenty five years ago, you just couldn’t do that. So with the modern equipment, the ball comes out quicker. You can hit down and it will pop up quicker. That’s a big advantage.

US Open

Yet he added: “But when you are in that rough… you can be this far off the fairway and you’ve got to try and carry the water 180 yards.

“You just can’t do it. You’ve just got to chip it out and down the fairway and it is frustrating.

“Sometimes you can be a yard off and you’re dead and you can be 20 yards off, where the spectators are, and there is an element of luck sometimes.”

On his own US Open performances, Woosnam said: “I finished 2nd at Oak Hill, which I really should have won. I wasn’t too bad at the US Open.

“When I played the PGA and they always played with that Bermuda rough – I couldn’t play out of that stuff. I was useless.

“When there was thicker, stronger stuff. I wasn’t too bad. It all depends how you drive the ball at the US Open.

“It’s how you get it up and down, and leave it in the right spots. I had a few runs but I couldn’t put it all together for consistency.”

Looking at his new event, which gave fans a chance to play alongside a host of famous faces from the world of sport and also saw the professional players take part in the Senior Classic around the renowned West Yorkshire course, Woosnam said the inspiration had come from watching the recent Rose Series.

“The seniors have had nothing to play for this year,” he explained. “It has a great feel, great amateurs and Welcome to Yorkshire (involved) as well. I think they’ve done a fantastic job putting this on and you can’t beat something outside like this.

“Staysure have taken over part of the Tour (now Legends Tour) and I think you are going to see a lot more of this and bigger.”

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