Royal County Down braced for "terrifying" weather front
The calm before the storm? Dundrum Bay was a like a mill pond on Wednesday morning. 

The calm before the storm? Dundrum Bay was a like a mill pond on Wednesday morning. 

Hubert Green said it best. "That hole will beat you up like a bad ol' Momma." 

The par-three seventh at Royal County Down is just 135 yards from the medal tees and only 144 from the blues — a flick of a wedge for even the best of the world in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open yesterday and yet few who played it under the gaze of tournament Director Miguel Vidaor yesterday could carry the bunker hold the green.

And that's before the weather even gets nasty, or challenging on a bone hard course that's running faster than Usian Bolt with a 30 mph tailwind.

Little wonder the first mutterings of complaint were being heard from some on Tuesday. Goodness knows what will be said if the weather really gets rough. Vidaor, understandably, is on watch.

"We are goong to have to be careful with some of the tree positions  - 9, and 4, possibly 15, depending on the wind. If we are going to play into the wind or with a very strong crosswind we will push down one tee to give them a chance really. 

"In terms of firmness we have reached the limit. All holes have an open approach except hole No 7 and it happens to be the shortest par three. And it’s a beauty. But you have to fly over that bunker and right now, and I’ve been there for an hour, they are only hitting a wedge but they can’t stop it. 

"So we are keeping an eye on it and we may have to..... we are going to have to put some water on it. We’ve had 10 days of absolutely no rain. It’s cold so there is no growth so we have to be careful. We don’t want to lose the golf course. That would be such a shame in such an amazing place like this. It would be unforgiveable for us to do that. We just have to be careful and keep close contact with the local superintendent and just keep it as it is." 

Royal County Down's billiard table greens are running at around 10.5 on the stimpmeter but playing faster because of the firmness. 

"We are probably going to take them back a few inches and go closeer to 10 than 11," Vidaor said.  "The forecast is for gusting winds. We have some low pressure coming Thursday afernoon into Friday and that’s going to trigger some gusting 25-30 mph winds.

"Then we have another Saturday into Sunday and that’s terrifying at the moment. Let's hope it softens a little as it approaches. But at the moment it is looking like gale force winds."

Hubert Green, who survived a telephone death-threat to win the 1977 US Open and beat cancer in 2003, lives in Mountain Brook in Alabama where the wind was a pleasant 6 mph earlier today.