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Legendary golf coach Pete Cowen has warned that the new par-3 17th could “ruin somebody’s career” at the Open Championship.

Speaking to, Cowen blasted the controversial penultimate hole at Royal Liverpool, which is measured at 136 yards and is destined to play a huge role in determining this year’s Champion Golfer.

Named ‘Little Eye’, the par-3 is played to a raised green surrounded by treacherously deep bunkers and penal run off areas, with the direction of wind likely to completely change the complexion of the hole.

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The hole was created to replace the par-3 15th that existed in Rory McIlroy’s victory in 2014 and has been the most significant change to the links layout on the Wirral for this year’s major.

There have been mixed reviews among the players at Hoylake, with McIlroy saying earlier this week that he is expecting high drama on 17 come Sunday.

Jordan Spieth, the 2017 champion expects “carnage”, while Scottie Scheffler admitted there is “not really a high-percentage play” to the green.

Matt Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, offered a diplomatic response when he labelled the hole “interesting.”

Cowen, however, was much more forthright in his verdict.

“I hate it,” he said. “I haven’t heard a player say a good thing about it. They’ll just deal with it.

“It could ruin somebody’s career if the wind goes in the wrong direction all of a sudden or there is bad luck rolling down from the wrong place.

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“Why would you make a 120-130 yard par-3 impossible? It’s called an infinity green and that could be it. They could be playing infinitely backwards and forwards across the green.

“I don’t mind – provided it’s fair. With the 17th at Sawgrass, you know exactly what you’ve got to do there.

“You can’t all of a sudden run into the bunker there and then you can’t play it so it’s coming back to you three or four times. It’s just because you’ve been unlucky.

“That face on the bunker to the right is probably too steep,” he added. “The players can’t get enough impetus on the ball to get it up on the green.

“It will just come back to them in the bunker –  that in itself is a problem. If it does that it could come back into a footprint and if that happens, then good luck.” 

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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