Padraig Harrington is among the favourites for this week's Open at Hoylake - but admits his first look at the course "scared the life" out of him.
It is 39 years since the Open was played here and more than a decade since Harrington played it in an amateur competition.
And the Dubliner was in for something of a rude awaken-ing when he arrived for a practice round last week instead of playing in the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.
"When I teed up here last Thursday and played the first couple of holes it just scared the life out of me," admitted Harrington, who missed the Open at St Andrews last year after the death of his father, Paddy, three days before it started.
"But the more I play it the more my heart warms to it I would say."
The course measures more than 7,200 yards but Colin Montgomerie feels it is playing nearer 5,500 given the bone-dry fairways and sweltering heat.
That has raised the prospect of the first sub-63 round in a major championship but Harrington feels the course will cope well.
"I think this golf course is going to sort us out this week, rather than the other way round," added the Ryder Cup star, fifth in the US Open last week and aiming to become only the second Irish winner of the Open - after Fred Daly at Hoylake in 1947.
"I think this course actually curtails any sort of technological advantages.
"There's one or two times you can hit one up over a bunker, but in general this course would be well able to handle it and I'm sure there would be a few people who would be beaten up by it with the firmness round the greens, trying to play those shots. And the bunkers are all penalties.
"It's totally up to the R&A. If they want us to shoot low scores and put the pins in accessible positions maybe we will shoot low scores. But if they see the scoring going and they hide the pins, then it wouldn't happen."