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The Open Championship is perhaps the most challenging of the four professional majors.

While the overall carnage might pale in comparison to what is typically experienced at majors such as the U.S Open, the Open Championship provides an altogether different kind of challenge.

When a player arrives at a major such as the U.S. Open or PGA Championship, the vast majority of preparation will involve simply learning the golf course—mapping out what clubs to hit off each tee, understanding where to miss and documenting every bump and break on each of the 18 greens.

Preparation for the Open Championship will also entail this level of course exploration, but it doesn’t stop there.

What separates the Open from every other major is that in addition to standard course prep, participants are required to essentially learn an entirely new style of playing the game for one week out of the year.

Throughout history, players typically fall into one of three categories when it comes to links golf.

There are those who simply fall in love with this ancient style of golf from the moment their opening tee shot down the middle of the fairway trickles into a hidden pot bunker.

There are those who never quite grasp the intricacies of links golf and, thus, never experience success at the Open Championship.

And then there are those who initially struggle with the links game but somewhere along the way learn to appreciate this style of play and eventually go on to master what many consider to be the purest form of golf in the world.

Here are nine players who, through very different paths, have ultimately managed to master links golf.

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