sport

Watson relishing Hoylake test

Masters champion Bubba Watson says he enjoys the challenge of links golf despite his modest record at the Open.

The 35-year-old has triumphed twice at Augusta National and has recorded top-five finishes at the other two majors held in the United States, but his best effort at the Open was his share of 23rd place in 2012.

Watson has only competed for the Claret Jug on five occasions and will be making his first appearance at the Royal Liverpool course in Hoylake when play gets underway on Thursday.

The Open will also be Watson's first appearance outside the US this year and although he says it is a struggle to adapt to the different conditions in such a short space of time, he is relishing this week's challenge.

\"It's a different style of golf from what we play all year (in the US),\" The big-hitting left-hander said.

\"When you come over here the wind is stronger, the grass is obviously different and the style of golf is different, so you have to adapt your game a lot.

\"The sad thing for me is that it's one week out of the year - coming over here and trying to learn the game real fast. So far it hasn't worked out well for me."

Although much is made of the need to control tee and approach shots in the wind when playing on coastal links courses such as Hoylake, Watson insists that putting will be just as important.

He added: \"It's like any golf tournament - you can hit a lot of great shots but you have to make putts. For me it's all about trying to control the ball (with) the right distance.

\"I like to hit low shots, maybe I need to start trying to hit high shots around here because I haven't had that many low finishes at the Open.

\"But I love the creativity that this kind of golf provides. I haven't been successful at it yet but hopefully over the next few years I can get better at it.\"