The Royal Birkdale is rightly mentioned in the same breath with St. Andrews' Old Course, and rightly cited as the finest, and toughest, links there is. The holes are threaded over rows of high dunes and across intervening valleys and so offer spectacular vistas. Fred Hawtree and J. H. Taylor transformed an earlier layout into the present configuration, apart from some more recent work done to reroute the final two holes. As on any links, the powerful ocean breezes are frequently in play, a classic case of this phenomenon being the 2008 Open Championship, where Padraig Harrington managed to tame the exceptionally strong gusts. The 1st hole is as challenging as any on the course, with a constant crosswind, a bank and a bunker on one side and other hazards on the other and a shot off the fairway that requires a long iron to thread the way to the green.