HOYLAKE, England -- Memories from the last British Open at Royal Liverpool mainly involve Tiger Woods hitting only one driver over 72 holes on a links course that was brown, fiery and fast.
Overlooked is the real secret to Hoylake -- it is the only links course in the rotation with four par 5s.
"I think that's the one thing we're all looking at -- if we can take advantage of the par 5s," Adam Scott said Tuesday. "There's a real opportunity for a low score out there with some good golf on the other 14 holes. And it's going to be a big part of the strategy of how we're playing, I think. If you're swinging well, and you can get a driver in the fairway down the par 5s, they're almost par 4s."
The fifth hole played into the wind Tuesday at 528 yards. Woods hit driver -- yes, driver -- and a fairway metal into the front bunker. Hunter Mahan reached in two. The 10th hole (532 yards) was played with a right-to-left wind, while the 16th (577 yards) and the 18th (551 yards) were downwind.
"I think the par 5s are a big key this week," Rory McIlroy said. "There are four really good opportunities to make birdies out here. There's a few birdie opportunities on this course, and you want to try to make as many birdies as you can on those holes."
Early projections suggest that Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Jason Day have a mathematical chance to reach No. 1 by winning the British Open. Day at No. 6 would have a chance over Matt Kuchar at No. 5 because the Australian has been injured, and so his tournament divisor is lower.
Rose is No. 3, the same spot he was in last year. But that was when Woods was more entrenched at No. 1. For Rose to reach the top, he would have to win and Scott would have to finish somewhere out of the top 40.
But at least it's a chance -- and one he's not spending a lot of time worrying about.
"I've always said for me, I've always focused more on winning major championships than chasing No. 1," Rose said. "I think that's just a really nice byproduct of your process and improving as a golfer. So if it happens, it happens. Right now, I'm focused on this week. And the fact that gives me the opportunity, then brilliant. But it's really not front and center right now."