Sunday Golf At The Old Course!?

The R&A Gold Medal, apparently considered equal to the final round of the Open Championship (at least to you know who) was and will be played at the Old Course the next few weeks. Stuart Nicholson has the story and the reaction. Thanks to reader Chris for this.

Play has been banned on the Sabbath since the course was gifted to the town in the 16th century. Exceptions are made only for major tournaments such as the Open and the Dunhill Cup.

But the Royal & Ancient broke with that tradition last week and held its Gold Medal tournament on a Sunday for the first time. Tournaments are also scheduled to be held on the next two Sundays.

It sparked an angry reaction from local people, with some claiming golfers reacted aggressively to them walking across the fairways last Sunday.

Elizabeth McIntyre, who is organising a petition, said the course effectively turned into a park for all townspeople on Sundays.

"However, last Sunday we arrived on the course to be met, unbeknown to us and without posted due warnings, with golfers playing three-ball," she said. "The dirty looks we got were very disturbing."

Jane Liston, a local councillor, said: "It would be a shame if such an ancient tradition was to come to an end."

A spokesman for St Andrews Links Trust insisted that it was only in "exceptional circumstances" that any play was permitted on the Old Course on a Sunday.

He said: "In this case, we responded to a special request to hold the R&A's Gold Medal, one of the most important competitions in the annual calendar. In future, we will endeavour to publish a notice informing local people of any exceptional circumstances."