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« Champions Challenge Cancelled | Main | Video Look At The Road Hole's Setup »

R&A Returns Old To Four Off-Course Tees Instead Of Five!

The 17th tee less than 48 hours ago, with discreety disguised OB stakes (click on image to enlarge)R&A head honcho Peter Dawson revealed in his press conference that the 17th tee will now be part of the course, instead of a tee shot from out-of-bounds in a bizarre last minute decision considering the tee has been planned for a year and the officials have had no shortage of time to consider their options.

Q.  This is tongue in cheek and probably gives away our relative skill in this room, but a compatriot of mine, we walked out to the 17th tee and noted there was on the other side of the OB stakes.  If you dribbled one there, would you be lying 3 or 2?

PETER DAWSON:  You obviously haven't gone out there in the last 48 hours because you'll find that the OB stakes have been removed.

It was fascinating to see him say that with pride, considering it's rather clumsy to be making a last minute change to a course boundary! That came up...

Q.  Just to get clear on one thing, on 17 you've taken out‑of‑bounds stakes out.  Does that mean when you play on the 16th tee and you hit it on 17th tee, that's now inbounds?

PETER DAWSON:  That's correct.

Q.  So you've now changed the boundaries of the course in the last two days?

PETER DAWSON:  We have.  That was much heartened by seeing a photograph in the Dunvegan of James Braid in 1905 playing that hole from the railway line which was clearly inbounds at that time.  So it's not true to say it's always been out of bounds.

Q.  But isn't it slightly strange that two days before the Open Championship you've changed the boundaries of the course?  It's kind of embarrassing, isn't it?

PETER DAWSON:  I don't feel embarrassed.  I'm sure you'll think it's embarrassing but I don't.  I can cope with it. 

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Reader Comments (14)

Is this really that big of a deal? Much ado about nothing as far as I'm concerned. I think it's time that someone hit a shot so we can get on with the show.
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterElwood Fussel
I couldn't agree more Elwood.

The only thing this reveals is how desperate the press are to see someone embarrassed, or hurt, or chastised, or made fun of, or look the's actually sad.
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Plenty of courses get a last minute touch up.

Non story
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
Which members of the press are so concerned about this? Are they Scots? What ever happened to playing the course as you find it? Is the American press upset because they cannot figure out a way to make Tiger a counter party? What does Monty think? Is Tom Watson blaming Tiger?
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterWisconsin Reader
Many courses have conditional out of bounds.

It is only the concept of the new 17th tee that is out of bounds.

I am wondering a bit about the delays that will inevitably occur at 17 tee as that is often a spot where backs-up occur in tournament play on TOC already and now off the Chumps tee at 17, one basically drives over 16 green ...

Oh well, technology marches on. It's gotta be faster than last week at Oakmont. Pace of play on the greens was hideous and unmatched heretofore.
07.14.2010 | Unregistered Commenterthe real redanman
Seems like a logical decision...and who wants to preserve out-of-bounds areas anyway? To me, out-of-bounds is right up there with slow play and loudmouth pants (and now sportcoats?) as far as killers to the game. So I think every course in the world should do what they can to move out of bounds stakes further out if they have that option as far real estate concerns go.

Geoff, It's hard to tell in video and photos, but can you educate us on whether or not the 16th green interferes with the line of play off 17 tee?
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterRM
I think many of you are missing the point, that this shows a certain amount of irrational decision making to some extent. Isn't that the point? I mean they have had five years to cement these changes, and the questions are continually coming up. Also, I think one of the most important things not being addressed here is, and I think this new tee is taking away from the fact that the approach into one of the most difficult par 4 holes in the game. (originally a three-shot hole) is fast becoming narrowed to the width of a bowling lane.

Sorry, that to me doesn't enhance the sheer architectural genius of that hole and further makes the quirkiness of hitting over the former rail sheds (now fake rail sheds) gimmicky and out of touch with the truest soul of The Old Course of St. Andrews. (The greatest golf course we've come to know)
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Naccarato
Tommy, Better late than
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterRM
Good points Press Agent.

The whole thing is kinda funny though, reminiscent of the Hinkle Tree :)

Tommy, wonder if they just noticed the James Braid picture?
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk.
it's embarassing that the media would ask such a stupid question
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterPapa Bing
Let me address this a different way:

At what point does the course become obsolete, where it is unusable for tournament play? Who is responsible for being asleep at the wheel?

If some unnamed organizational bodies would have been on top of equipment issues say 15-17 years ago, would there be a need to move the tees in the areas which they are moving them and most the loss of substantial architecture; strategy that is now being compromised because of it?

It seems to me it is one band aid that is being added on top of another, when the wound was infected and not properly dressed to begin with. Decisions are made, and honestly, some of them look very questionable and irrational. its getting to the point that the next defensive measure is going to be to build another wing of hotel out further left which to carry, and yes, the approach will need to be cut in half AGAIN just to maintain some sort of reputation to a hole that wouldn't have needed it if those powers that be could have took a stance.
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Naccarato
Even with technology, I don't think the tee needed to be moved back. They played it at 455 yards just 5 years ago. Distance in 2010 is basically the same as it was in 2005. The 17th was very difficult in 2005, why the need for 40 more yards?
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterRick
It was certainly embarrassing to have the tee out of bounds, but I can't say it is embarrassing that they fixed it.
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoey
Right Joey. They would've been more embarrassed if someone did test the OB, by whiffing or dribbling. Highly unlikely in the Open, but nonetheless possible and potentially embarrassing.

Tommy's rant is spot on about the I&B. However, in our world today the same type of head in the sand attitudes affect every person on important issues because of our government and politicians.
07.14.2010 | Unregistered Commenteradam Clayman

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