After almost quarter of a century, the Open Championship returned to Carnoustie in 1999 and lived up to its reputation as the toughest links course in the world. Most of the world`s top players struggled to tame the 7,361-yard monster. Not since 1975 had the Open been held at Carnoustie. In that year, Tom Watson came from nowhere to win. On its return it was perhaps fitting that a local hero, Paul Lawrie from Aberdeen, should win after a four-hole play-off with American Justin Leonard and France`s Jean Van de Velde. Lawrie`s winning score of 290 six over par is testament to the degree of difficulty. Carnoustie has been called the killer links and Walter Hagen described it as the greatest course in the British Isles. When the wind blows, it changes from a sleeping giant into a terror. Even from the club`s medal tees, 6,941 yards, it is still formidable.
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