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Said Mickelson: “What I really like about this course is how much room around the green there is to hit shots and have a chance to let your short game make pars for you.”

Aside from Carnoustie, what is really likable about this week’s event is the superb form of the players who drive the game. With an absurd nine top-four finishes and four victories in his last 10 major starts, Woods is the fully focused and obvious favorite. But Mickelson is back, proving with his silver at Loch Lomond last week that his wrist is fully recovered. Els, the 2002 Open champion, seems to have rediscovered his game thanks to the new driver he employed in the Scottish Open.

U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera, who finished fourth at Carnoustie in 1999, is brimming with confidence — the only commodity he ever lacked as a player. And even Colin Montgomery, golf’s long-suffering major bridesmaid, rolls into Carnoustie only two weeks removed from a victory (European Open).

Prepare for a claret jug conquest at Carnoustie worth remembering for all the right reasons.