Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler will get the best sport science support from Liverpool John Moores University as they kickstart their bid for The Open Championship in Hoylake this week.
All 154 competitors can seek out Professor Graeme Close, the DP World Tour’s chief nutritionist who is on-hand to advise on all aspects of nutrition, fuelling and diet, while Conor Heeney will run the on-site ‘Recovery Unit’ to keep the players in tip-top shape.
The ‘Recovery Unit’ is a first for The Open and will coordinate ice-baths, massage and other therapies designed to tackle the stresses and strains of daily competition.
Professor Close, of the university's School of Sport and Exercise Science, said: “To have the best chance of winning The Open, players must be as fresh and energised on the Sunday afternoon as they are on the first round on Thursday.”
Fitness in golfers has advanced hugely in the past decade or two, and Professor Close, who also advises The England Rugby Union squad, says the leisurely pace of the game belies the physical attributes needed at the elite level.
“The modern golfer is fine-tuned in terms of balance, coordination, flexibility and power,” he said.
Prof Close has devised menus for the players’ lounge at the Royal Liverpool Club and is on hand all week to advise players on what food and drinks to take out onto the course with them.
“The most popular are banana breads, muesli bars and high-energy drinks. It’s a far cry from the bar of chocolate and a can of pop days.
“A round can last five hours, and energy levels will rise and fall. The athletes need proper fuelling before, during and after play.”
And referring to the Recovery Unit, he added: “Players complete five rounds in four days, including practice. There will be a deal of muscle soreness and other niggles, so anything we can do to promote physical freshness and preparedness. we will.”
Graeme is advising at his fourth Open Championships.
Professor Graeme Close is available for interview.