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Daily Mail Stunning Revelation: "Vast majority of golfers will enjoy playing the Old Course as much as they always have."

There are silver linings in things like this Old Course fiasco: we learn which writers give the game serious thought and which are mailing this one in.

Derek Lawrenson, whose work I respect, unfortunately offers such an example well beneath his talents by taking a cheap shot at Darius Oliver's thoughtful analysis of the Old Course changes which, I should note, several American golf writers told me was the first effort they had seen to genuinely crystalize the issue. Longhurst, this is not:

Here's a prediction: when the changes are made, the vast majority of golfers will enjoy playing the Old Course as much as they always have.

The BBC's Iain Carter presented a more thoughtful analysis of the situation and quotes R&A in house designer and Chief Executive Peter Dawson, who is now getting downright snippy at all the criticism:

"If anyone is suggesting that the Links Trust should conduct some kind of worldwide phone-in consultation, I'm afraid that was never considered," Dawson said.

Good to know the frontman of golf's Olympic movement is sensitive to the rest of the world's concern!

After hearing Dawson's take, Carter concludes:

If there is a need for change it is surely down to the fact that the golf ball travels too far at elite level. If it's all about stiffening the challenge and demanding more precision it is because players are using seven and eight irons for approaches rather than threes and fours.

Yet that Sanders Open of 1970 was also the Championship in which Tony Jacklin raced round the front nine in 29. Forty-two years on and still no one has bettered 63 in an Open at St Andrews.

The fear of that record being broken in 2015 is what lies behind the changes that are being made. But why? Do we really need to constantly make our golf courses more difficult? Does that make the game more fun?

The sport is about who makes the lowest score. You don't extend a marathon course or dig some potholes to make it more challenging because today's runners complete it too quickly.

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Reader Comments (7)

Again I ask for someone, anyone, in the media to ask the R&A to release the master plan of changes. I have just sent an email to the R&A's championships organization via their website asking just that.

Meanwhile, let's see where we stand.

Dawson: "If anyone is suggesting that the Links Trust should conduct some kind of worldwide phone-in consultation, I'm afraid that was never considered."

Let's check the bog-standard playbook for how to rewrite history...ah yes, Step 6(b): define your opposition in a way that enhances your standing or at least your position.

And what are we to make of this Daily Mail piece? Well, for starters anyone unfamiliar with the Daily Mail would do well to check out the parody Twitter feed for the Hate Mail, @dailymailstyle. Spot on, that. And I think we can note, in sharp contrast to the excellent BBC Sport piece, Dawson tapping into his network of media "plants" (Level 2 in the playbook for how to rewrite history).

Oh, one more point as regards Dawson's BBC comment that aerials show the bunkers have changed: yes they do, Mr Dawson. Generally speaking, they have been shrunken, converted to ovals, and "sanitized." But who really cares about that? The contours looked great!
12.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark Bourgeois
From the BBC Sport article: "It's men with shovels and wheelbarrows rather than bulldozers." -- Dawson

Can somebody with the R&A or Links Trust share pictures of the work Mr Dawson missed while he was off in Orlando last week?

His PR people have let him down badly on this one. Unless of course a backhoe is what passes for a "shovel" these days, in which case my apologies to Mr Dawson.
12.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark Bourgeois
Unfortunately, what this guy says ... will likely happen.

Only folks like ourselves care to pay any attention to what's happening. First time or nth time visitors won't even notice the difference because they have no clue about architecture and playing characteristics. All they care about is how far their ball goes and how low their score is. They're at TOC and they'll like it! Sad but true I think. Maybe just the regulars and locals will notice and by then it will be too late.

The arrogance is even more palpable now from Dawson. Very full of himself indeed... He comes off as downright obnoxious and pretentious.
12.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPHK
TPC at St. Andrews has a nice ring to it, no?
12.4.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjgw
I am more interested in how the most fervent and loudest critics will view it. Will it even remotely playable, will it even be worth a trip?
Good point, No Longer. I'll be playing 20 days in Scotland next Fall ( note I didn't say "20 rounds") and while several of my band are choosing TOC during our four dys in St. Andrews, I will now happily head to the New, Kingsbarns, etc. and pass on TOC. I'm pissed. I played TOC for the first time with my dad on his one and only trip over in1973. Played it a dozen times since. This debacle is--was-- unthinkable. Fuck Mr. Dawson.
12.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPasaplayer
Well said Pasa! We need more people to stand up to this freakin wanker......
12.5.2012 | Unregistered Commenterclashman

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