Open Media Day This and That

The various British outlets each covered the Open Championship media a bit differently.

Mike Aitken wrote in the Scotsman about the vaunted ball study and the attempt to cajole shorter flying balls out of manufacturers on the one-year anniversary of the original request.

The Royal and Ancient reported yesterday progress had been made with golf's manufacturers on providing prototypes of a ball which will travel shorter distances than the ones currently in use.

A year ago, the R&A invited companies to send in balls for testing which fly 15 or 25 yards shorter than existing models. "We requested sample balls from top manufacturers for testing and progress has accelerated recently after balls - and in some cases clubs as well - were submitted for testing," reported R&A chief executive Peter Dawson . "The next step is testing. But we're concerned if we get a shorter ball someone will design a clubhead which will get back most of the reduced distance."

"Don't run away with the idea that we're going to see a shorter ball by the end of the year," cautioned Dawson. "Right now we're dealing with the scientific side of things. The philosophical aspect is a different question."

David Smith reported that the R&A is attempting to get the other major associations to get moving on drug testing.

Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal and Ancient Gold Club which promotes The Open, said: "There is no particular evidence of drugs helping you in golf, and there is no particular evidence of anyone taking them.

"I certainly don't think we've got a sport in crisis but I think golf would be wise improving that rather than just relying on its reputation."

He said: "We've taken the view that it is not possible for the organisers of one event like ourselves, with the Open Championship, to introduce an anti-doping policy in isolation of what goes on in the other 51 weeks of the year."

Douglas Lowe writes about the organizers' desire to not call the host course by its official name.

The club is called Royal Liverpool, but organisers have requested that the championship on July 20 to 23 be referred to as the Hoylake Open, referring more accurately to the town where the club is located with views over the Dee estuary to the Welsh mountains.

And he offered this story from Dawson:

Despite this long history, an American professional is said to have called the R&A to ask if this was a new course.

"He is a senior professional who shall remain nameless," said Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A. "You might imagine we were a little bit bemused by the question, but it does show that we have been away for far too long."

And this gem:

There are fears that the world's top players might take it apart, but that is a view not shared by Martin Kippax, the R&A's championship convener, who assured the course would not be tricked up.

"It is like any other links course," he said. "Regardless of length, it depends on the weather conditions. If we get a warm, wet spring and some real growth in the rough, and if the wind blows, it will provide a very stern test.

"Nobody has made a monkey of any of the Open champion-ship courses and Hoylake is no exception."

He must not have seen the Road hole last year.

James Corrigan reports that the R&A seems upset no women have entered qualifying:

Talk about a change of heart. After 145 years of refusing to allow the fairer sex to play in their precious Open Championship, the Royal and Ancient revealed itself yesterday to be now seemingly just as desperate to have a female entrant. It did so by admitting that it is considering sending out letters to the leading women players reminding them that they can now try to qualify.

"We did not open it up to them last year hoping women would not enter," said the Royal & Ancient chief executive, Peter Dawson, at Hoylake, the Liverpool course that will host its first Open in 39 years from 20 to 23 July.

"Having done that, it will be a shame if they do not take advantage. Maybe we should write to them individually."

Hey, what a good idea!