By Brian Keogh
Paul McGinley is bracing himself for a relentless test at links monster Carnoustie.
But the Dubliner just wishes he was playing well enough to have a chance of contending for the Claret Jug.
Languishing at 170th in the world, McGinley is a shadow of the player who stormed to Volvo Masters glory less than two years ago.
And he admits that Carnoustie is not the place to tee it up with your confidence at a low ebb.
He said: "I’m struggling for form at the moment. It’s not disastrous but not good either. This is not the way you want to be going into a major championship. You want to be in form and so it’s going to be a tough ask.
"In 1999, I missed the cut by a couple of shots. That was as difficult as I ever played and it was wrong. With the way the course is set up this week, I think it is an acknowledgment from the R & A that they got it wrong in ’99.
"The wind didn’t even blow all that strongly that week. If we had Irish or European weather, imagine what it would have been like."
With out of bounds looming all around the course, McGInley regards the Angus links as a relentless test.
But he is still upbeat about the prospect of teeing it up with Ryder Cup rival JJ Henry and US based Aussie John Senden.
He said: "I tied for the lead in the Open at Lytham in 1996 when I had a hole in one at the 9th on the second day. I had another, by the way, in the Open at Muirfield in ’97.
"I’ve had good Opens. I enjoy the Open. I think it’s the best golf tournament in the world, no doubt about it. If you don’t get a buzz in this week, you’re in the wrong place. This is what you want to play in most.
"I was up here last week and had a look around. It is certainly the toughest of the Open courses. Just look at the number of people who break par at the dunhill links each year.
"But I don’t think length is a massive advantage. Like all links, it’s all about keeping out of the fairway bunkers because that’s a penalty shot. I’d favour straightness for length this week.
"There are so many great holes. The course is relentless right to the 18th hole and it’sa fabulous golf course.
"There’s no stage where you can say to yourself, I’ve got through that hole, now I can have a go from here."