Why the shortest hole at this week's British Open is also one of the hardest

Royal Troon Postage StampStuart Franklin/GettyBubba Watson had a triple-bogey at the Postage Stamp on Thursday.

The 145th British Open teed off Thursday morning from Scotland’s Royal Troon, which is famous for its short and menacingly difficult par-3 8th hole: the Postage Stamp. 

Short holes aren’t always the easiest: think of the island green at Sawgrass’s 17th, or better yet, just ask Jordan Spieth about Augusta’s 12th. At just 123-yards, the Postage Stamp is shorter than both of those holes, and arguably more difficult. 

For one thing, the green is minuscule (hence the hole’s name), and it runs so fast that even if you do manage to stick your tee shot, you still might find your ball rolling into the rough. If you go over by just 10 yards, meanwhile, the rough drops down 10 feet. 

And then there are the bunkers. The green runs off to the right, so if you land your ball on that side and you’ll find yourself in the trap.

You can’t even see the bottom of most of the bunkers:

In a practice round leading up to this year’s tournament, Rory McIlroy needed six shots just to get himself out of a bunker and onto the green:

 Looks like fun!

The Postage Stamp has, of course, also produced some aces. There was Ernie Els in 2004 and, most famously, 71-year-old Gene Sarazen in 1974. But when the wind is howling, the Postage Stamp is bound to produce more high scores than low. 

Tiger Woods found a bunker in 1997 en route to a triple bogey on his final round. In 1950, a German amateur named Hermann Tissies reportedly recorded a 15. Bubba Watson posted a triple here on Thursday.

It’s absolutely brutal. Or, as the Scot’s like to call the Postage Stamp, a “wee beastie.” 

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