St Andrews "Road" hole a roaring success, says R&A
ST ANDREWS, Scotland
ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - The 17th 'Road' hole at St Andrews lived up to its billing as the 'toughest par-four in championship golf' with organizers backing the decision to add an extra 40 yards to the challenge.
Much of the drama of the 150th anniversary British Open was played out on the 495-yard hole which provided the most difficult test of the week with a stroke average of 4.66.
"I think the 17th tee has been a great success, in terms of stiffening the test of that hole," Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal and Ancient organizers, told a news conference on Monday.
"I said at the beginning of the week we were hoping the road (at the back of the green) might come more back into play and by gosh it did. The player comment by and large has been very positive."
Former Open champion Sandy Lyle hit one drive on to the roof of the Old Course Hotel while Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez had the crowds purring on Saturday night with an audacious chip punched deliberately against the back wall by the road, arcing the ball back over his shoulder and on to the putting surface.
It had not been an unqualified success though, with Dawson saying he thought the rough to the left of the fairway had been allowed to become too deep.
"I do agree with (Northern Ireland's) Graeme (McDowell) about the rough," Dawson said.
He spoke as workmen dismantled the huge scaffolding supporting the scoreboard and stands, and as club golfers teed off on the first hole just yards from the 18th green where on Sunday Louis Oosthuizen secured his crushing seven-stroke Open victory.
"I would have liked it a little bit thinner but it grew very rapidly in the weeks before the championship having been pretty much how we wanted it two or three weeks ago," Dawson said.
He said enough was enough though and there was no plan to make it an even sterner test when the Open returns to St Andrews, probably in 2015.
"I think we could go back lots of yards but I don't think that would be appropriate. We have no even embryonic plans for lengthening the course any further."
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)
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