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Dawson: "We've studied the Old Course more than anyone else."

R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson was asked by Rich Lerner to talk about the Old Course changes on the Golf Central wrap up of the anchoring ban coverage.

His comments in their entirety:

We've studied the Old Course more than anyone else.

Actually, I'd take Old Tom Morris, Bernard Darwin and Alister MacKenzie any day in that division (and they're dead!), but go on...

We do know that over time there have been many changes to the Old Course, bunkers have gotten smaller, there were three bunkers that don't exist now. Rough has grown up in places it never used to be.

Image Courtesy of Golf ChannelYes and I wonder who did that?

Rough has been removed from places where it once was. And the changes we're putting in now, and let me just zone in on two of them now. The Road bunker, which is rebuilt almost annually at St. Andrews because it gets so much traffic, that bunker has never been the same from one Open Championship to the next. And what we're doing this time is finalizing a design, enshrining that so that every rebuild of the bunker in the future will be the same as it has been this year.

Why that entails reshaping the front of the green well separate of the bunker, I have no idea.

And the eleventh green, which is getting quit a lot of publicity I noticed, well the left hand half of that green at modern green speeds in the summer time just can't house a pin position, a hole location.

Oh boy, he said pin position. If he'd said sand trap too he would have been forced to resign! #it'sholelocationtothebluecoatsoftheworld.

Because the slopes on that green, which were absolutely fine at green speeds a century ago, make that side of the green unusable either for championship or every day play.

Or even green speeds a decade or two ago. What changed? Ah right, the mowing heights and quality of the mowers and knowledge of the greenkeepers. How about we set an example and slow down the green?

So just a small reduction in the slope of that green will open up the green for a much wider range of pin positions close to Hill bunker, where Bobby Jones famously came to grief and will even the wear out on the green from a maintenance point of view. These are sensible changes being proposed by people who love and cherish the Old Course.

Proposed? More like dumped on a Friday, started on a Monday and without telling just about anyone!

Brett Cyrgalis talked to Dawson yesterday and also looked at the controversy for the New York Post. He had this from Dawson:

“I’m more than happy to walk around the Old Course with any architect that wants to see it,” Dawson added. “We know that piece of land and cherish it like no one else.”

Aren't all golfers architects?

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Reader Comments (14)

No, its always been pin positions to us Scots.

Hole Locations is US Telly Talk.
11.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJock
Perhaps Mr. Dawson is right that he and his cohorts know The Old Course better than their critics, but this is not an issue of knowledge. It's a matter of respect, and the actions of those responsible for this work invalidate any claims to superiority on that front.
11.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Schneider
Geoff, your potshots at Dawson's explanations make you sound childish. You may know more about golf course architecture than I but I'll take the R&A's familiarity with the Old Course over yours.
11.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterminhvunguyen
The belated and ham-handed effort by the R&A to take to Twitter today was an all-timer. Initially retreating to an "explanation" of all the changes by zeroing in on just the Road bunker, even this was utterly cryit doon, after which @The_Open went dark.
11.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark B
@minhvunguyen I get the point you're making but my own view is that when the powerful lack standing to make an argument on the merits they claim a special knowledge that is of course available only to them. Just to show it happens on both sides of the political aisles, see: Bush43 with Iraqi WMD and LBJ with Gulf of Tonkin.
11.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark B
Arguments from authority are not to be considered. Period.
11.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
What Mark B said.
11.28.2012 | Registered CommenterGeoff
Some of the old course changes might be the worst thing ever, some of them are probably not terrible. Overreaction one way or another is generally not useful (though it does get attention)
11.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Dawson, a wannabe architect who gets to have his dream come true, without even asking permission. The site of all that earthmoving equipment on TOC makes one want to cry.

I'm a golfer, Mr. Dawson, and i have been since walking the good doctor's last course with my dad and swinging my mother's sawed-off clubs on the same course that holds his ashes and those of at least two of my relatives. I've played The Old Course, and more than once. God willing, I'll pay it again. WTF are you doing!? I can compare Fazio/Nicklaus/younamethem and Doak courses, but I can't compare Mother Nature, Old Tom and history to whatever you think you are about here. So where's our "Old Course" now that you've had your way with the original? Dornoch? Cruden Bay? Lahinch? Their locales may lack the charm and history of the olde grey toone, but they don't show your bruises and affronts to sour my next walk around.

My dream is that Herb Kohler sits on your head until you send the 'dozers back to the yard. (Sorry, Herb, that's all I ask of you. Mr. Dye's presence not required.)
11.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPasaplayer
*Overreaction one way or another is generally not useful (though it does get attention)*

You made a valid point, and then answered the reasoning behind it.

Sadly the needed overreaction is Melvin strapping himself on the friggin' Cat and others creating physical dissent there at the site! This tell ya on Friday, goin' to work on Monday is absolutely a tactic of one who KNOWS that his actions will be strongly questioned, at the least.

11.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
The arrogance of "we've studied..."
Pretty much tells you the egos have gone beyond sanity
11.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPat Burke
I want my Peter Dawson tour of the Old Course. Where do I sign up?
11.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDa Man
PB, I was drawn to those two words as well.......Angelo Mozilo "studied" mortgage products more than anyone else, ended horribly.
11.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Still needs 500 additional yards.
12.1.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

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