ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Sometimes, upon reflection, golf’s rulesmakers change their minds.
So it was that the R&A decided Tuesday to amend the rules regarding the teeing ground at Nos. 2 and 17 of the 2010 British Open.
The two tees were added to the St. Andrews Old Course in recent years, the second tee for the ’05 British Open and the 17th tee for this year’s championship.
Originally the tees, located outside the historical boundaries of the course, were declared out of bounds this year for shots coming from any other part of the course. In other words, if an approach shot on the 16th hole ended up on the 17th tee, it was out-of-bounds.
“We were going to have effectively two boundaries in both places, to preserve the golf course when playing the first hole and the 16th as they have always been,” said David Rickman, director of rules and equipment standards for the R&A.
“But it was becoming too complicated, and too much attention was being paid to it. So last night we said, ‘Forget it,’ and now there’s one boundary that goes around the outside of both of those tees. So if by chance somebody gets on the 17th tee while playing the 16th hole, they’re in bounds.”
Former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy was one of the players expressing concern about the out-of-bounds designation for the two tees, and Monday he expressed his intention to talk with R&A secretary Peter Dawson.
“It all played a part (in reversing the decision),” Rickman said. “We didn’t want a controversy.”