Dawson was adamant that the controversy surrounding long putters hadn’t detracted from Els winning a dramatic event – he came from six shots back with nine holes to play as Scott dropped shots at each of the last four holes – to claim the Claret Jug for a second time.
“No, absolutely not,” he said. “The championship is conducted under the rules of play at the time, and it doesn’t detract in any way from the winner as long as he obeys the rules of play at the time.
“Bobby Jones used concave-faced clubs for some of his major championships. They were outlawed later. Bobby Jones’ victories are in no way demeaned as a result of that and I see this in exactly the same way.”
At Lytham, in a field of 156, Els was among 16 players wielding a belly putter while Scott was one of 27 using a long one.
“At one tournament last year, the R&A reported 21 per cent of players had long putters in their bag.”
Thence during its outward journey it skirts the sandhills on the landward side, and one or two of the holes are just a little inland in character and not particularly entertaining. The homeward journey is, on the whole, the more fascinating, and from the eleventh hole onwards there are a succession of hills and valleys of a truly heroic character. If, however, there are one or two dullish holes on the way out, the course begins splendidly with as good a two-shot hole as can well be; too good a hole almost to play so early before the match has had time to develop. BERNARD DARWIN on Portrush