Dawson To Carnoustie: Get Brown

Mike Aitken writing in The Scotsman:
Carnoustie has been instructed by the Royal and Ancient to turn off the sprinklers and prepare a links for next summer's 136th Open championship which echoes the brown of Royal Liverpool rather than the lush greenery of Augusta.

Well aware the last Open held at the Angus course in 1999 was the most controversial of recent times - the test was so difficult the players dubbed the links "Carnasty" and Paul Lawrie's winning score of 290 was six over par - the R&A has also pledged to monitor the conditioning of the course over the next 12 months and ensure there is no repeat of the penal high rough which lined narrow fairways at the 128th Open.

At Hoylake yesterday morning, Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the Royal and Ancient, was asked if he shared the concerns of those who regard the presentation of the Angus links as the polar opposite of the fast, running course which hosted the most recent championship. Although it looked beautiful, Carnoustie was perhaps too verdant earlier in the season. It almost seemed as if the links had become a venue better suited to hosting the US Open, the pinnacle of narrow fairways and high rough, rather than the seaside game played on the ground at the Open.

Dawson replied: "Interestingly, we have had conversations with Carnoustie on exactly this point. They've turned the sprinklers off for us over the past few weeks and we're going there next week to see how brown it is.
"We think Carnoustie is a terrific venue, a great golf course which will put on another fantastic Open. But I must be honest and say we have a view that it could be a bit drier. Not that it's soft. It's just not as hard and fast as one would traditionally like to see."

And what's our favorite in-house architect for a governing body doing at Carnoustie?
Dawson also confirmed the changes at Carnoustie to the third, sixth and 17th holes. "We've worked on three holes. The third has been re-configured quite substantially. On the 17th, the right hand side of the driving zone has been mounded. At the last Open there that was a flat area covered by rough. Since the rough has been taken away and re-turfed, it didn't grow back very well. So we put in mounding. And the bunkering on Hogan's Alley has been adjusted."