Date: July 11, 2008
Author: John Clark

IBF a man in demand

Ian Baker-Finch&aposs stunning fall from major champion to also-ran has not stopped Australian hopes at this year&aposs British Open hitting him up for advice. Baker-Finch won the Open in 1991 at Royal Birkdale, the scene for this year&aposs championship, and has played the course regularly since. And he has been imparting his knowledge of the Southport layout onto some of the 17-strong Australian force readying for a tilt at the Claret Jug. “Keep it out of the bunkers,” Baker-Finch told the likes of Robert Allenby, Adam Scott and Rod Pampling. “There&aposs not a lot you can really tell them. I told them about how I played, what I thought of the course, the changes that have been made to the course.” “When I go over for the Open or other events I always go and have a game there and have seen the changes as they have transpired.” “But like any links course they&aposre all pretty much the same. Try and figure out the wind directions when you are out there for your practice rounds and figure out the shape you need from the tee, there&aposs always a safe side to the fairways and there&aposs some nasty bunkers to be avoided.” “It&aposs not like a St Andrews where you pick an aiming point because you can&apost see anything else. It&aposs such a great course, everything is there in front of you.” Baker-Finch will work as a television commentator for the four days of the Open and expects Scott to lead the Australian charge. “I think all of the guys that are playing well should do well around a course like that,” he said. “It&aposs all there in front of them, the fairways have been narrowed and they&aposve brought all the bunkers in to narrow up the course.” “I think you need to be a good driver of the ball which suits a bunch of our guys. Robert Allenby certainly, Nick O&aposHern and Rod Pampling both drive the ball very well.” “Adam Scott is a long driver of the ball. If he can keep it in play I think he is a good chance as well.” He also nominated Englishman Lee Westwood as one to watch. “I expect Lee Westwood would do well. I think he really proved to himself that he has got the goods by playing well with Tiger at the US Open.” “He seems to have rededicated himself over the last couple of years.”