Believe it or not, there's a debate at this week's Open Championship over the amount of bunkers that guard Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club: Are there 205 or 206?

Whichever the correct number doesn't really matter. Lytham's sand traps are deep and dangerous, and they're also everywhere you look.

To help stay out of the sand and in the short grass, some players have opted to add another long iron to their set up.

According to Titleist Tour Representative Mattias Jelver, at least eight players will be carrying a new Titleist 2 or 3-iron to try and navigate their way off the tee.

Titleist Brand Ambassadors Adam Scott (AP2 2-iron), Jason Dufner (AP1 3-iron) and Greg Chalmers (CB 2-iron), among others, have the new stick in for this event. Rory McIlroy will also be playing his prototype Titleist utility iron (19*) that he switches in and out of his set composition depending upon the course and conditions.

"One of the keys to having success on this course is staying out of the bunkers and the hay," said Jelver. "It will most likely cost you at least one shot if you are in either, so the players coming to us want to have another option off the tee. Some of the players that didn't previously carry a 2 or a 3-iron are considering using it off the the tee to hit that low, boring shot or 'stinger' that will run out in the fairway and avoid the trouble."

"This is a course where you have to keep it in the fairway and play for position," said Scott. "If the proper decision means hitting 2-iron instead of driver or a fairway metal, I will. You can't lose focus on this course. If you do you'll get in trouble."


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The 2012 Open Championship is underway and players are not wasting anytime in making a run for the Claret Jug. Early round action has already featured a flurry of birdies and low scores, including Adam Scott's 6-under 64 (tying the record for the lowest score ever recorded in 11 Open Championships at Royal Lytham & St Annes).

Adam is one of 86 players in the field that are trusting Pro V1 or Pro V1x for their success at the Open Championship, more than four times the nearest competitor with 19 and more than all other competitors combined. Titleist also leads the field in iron sets (33); and sand, lob and approach wedges.

The year's third major is already shaping up to be a classic and we're excited to see the story unfold.

When Titleist Brand Ambassador Steve Stricker steps to the first tee Thursday morning at The Open Championship, he'll have a new prototype Titleist 913D3 driver in the bag for the first time.

After hitting some inconsistent drives during his Tuesday practice round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Steve suspected he had cracked the face of his Titleist 909D3 driver, a fact confirmed by Titleist Director of Tour Promotions Chris Tuten.

The Titleist Leadership Team quickly went to work, providing Stricker immediate options in the new prototype 913 for testing Tuesday afternoon.

"I could tell that something was wrong with the driver yesterday during practice and sure enough there was a fracture along the sweet spot," said Stricker. "I'm disappointed to see the 909 go, but I worked with Chris (Tuten) the last day and a half and I am excited about putting the new 913 in play.

"The new technology is great. The 913 goes straighter, is more forgiving, has a bigger sweet spot and when I do mishit it it still goes the distance."

During an extensive fitting session, Stricker and the Titleist Tour staff dialed in his driver settings and arrived at the following optimal configuration:

Model:
  Titleist 913D3
Loft:  8.5º
SureFit Hosel Setting:  A1
Shaft:  Fujikura Tour Spec 8.2x, tipped 1" at 45"
Swingweight:  D5
Grip:  Tour Velvet Cord 58 with 1 wrap

Titleist's tour seeding and validation process for the prototype 913 drivers began just under a month ago at the PGA Tour's AT&T National event at Congressional Country Club.

Last week, 21 players had prototype 913 drivers in the bag at the John Deere Classic, while 20 players gamed the new drivers at the Scottish Open. 

This week the Open Championship returns to Royal Lytham and St. Annes in Lancashire, England. The oldest championship in golf is being contested for the 141st time and this week marks the 11th time that Royal Lytham has served as host.

The course features more than 200 bunkers and is unique among rota courses in that its first hole is a par-3 (measuring 205 yards). The home stretch of nine holes plays predominantly into the seaside wind and is sure to separate those players who are up for the challenge of links golf in a major setting and those who are not.

At last week's John Deere Classic, Team Titleist caught up with two Titleist Brand Ambassadors, who both have the short games and shot-making skills to contend for the claret jug in Lancashire. Steve Stricker, a 3-time Deere Champion and Zach Johnson, who is riding the momentum from his victory at this year's Deere, took some time to share their thoughts on preparing for the British Open.

Hear what they have to say in the above video.

The Open Championship always seems to evoke some of the strongest memories in golf and we've all stood over a chip during our weekend round imagining that we have to put it close to the pin to win The Open.

Posing some of the sternest tests in golf, courses on The Open roster can put players through the mill if weather combines with narrow fairways, long rough and deep bunkers.

And if the weather in the UK over the past few weeks is anything to go by, then this looks like it will be the case at Royal Lytham and St Annes for the 141st Open Championship!

Over the past couple of weeks, Team Titleist caught up with some of the Titleist brand ambassadors and Titleist ball loyalists playing in this year's Open to get their thoughts on the event.

In this first video Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Anders Hansen, George Coetzee and Michael Hoey talk about what The Open Championship means to them. To view, simply click the video above.

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