R&A Returns Old To Four Off-Course Tees Instead Of Five!

The 17th tee less than 48 hours ago, with discreety disguised OB stakes (click on image to enlarge)R&A head honcho Peter Dawson revealed in his press conference that the 17th tee will now be part of the course, instead of a tee shot from out-of-bounds in a bizarre last minute decision considering the tee has been planned for a year and the officials have had no shortage of time to consider their options.

Q.  This is tongue in cheek and probably gives away our relative skill in this room, but a compatriot of mine, we walked out to the 17th tee and noted there was on the other side of the OB stakes.  If you dribbled one there, would you be lying 3 or 2?

PETER DAWSON:  You obviously haven't gone out there in the last 48 hours because you'll find that the OB stakes have been removed.

It was fascinating to see him say that with pride, considering it's rather clumsy to be making a last minute change to a course boundary! That came up...

Q.  Just to get clear on one thing, on 17 you've taken out‑of‑bounds stakes out.  Does that mean when you play on the 16th tee and you hit it on 17th tee, that's now inbounds?

PETER DAWSON:  That's correct.

Q.  So you've now changed the boundaries of the course in the last two days?

PETER DAWSON:  We have.  That was much heartened by seeing a photograph in the Dunvegan of James Braid in 1905 playing that hole from the railway line which was clearly inbounds at that time.  So it's not true to say it's always been out of bounds.

Q.  But isn't it slightly strange that two days before the Open Championship you've changed the boundaries of the course?  It's kind of embarrassing, isn't it?

PETER DAWSON:  I don't feel embarrassed.  I'm sure you'll think it's embarrassing but I don't.  I can cope with it.