Royal Portrush required some reconfiguration to be able to stage the British Open for the first time in 68 years, meaning the 17th and 18th holes from the Dunluce Links are being replaced by two new holes from land on the Valley Links.
With course changes, there also is a one-time alternation in a playoff if it’s necessary.
For the first time, the R&A says, it will go to a three-hole aggregate playoff at Royal Portrush involving the first, 13th and 18th holes. The 13th is a par 3 with the green not far from the 18th tee. The Open had been using a four-hole aggregate playoff since 1986 at Royal Troon.
An R&A spokesman says the decision was “geography-based” and any playoff is expected to return to four holes at other links.
The final four spots to the British Open are available this week to the leading player not exempt from the top five at the John Deere Classic, and the leading three players not already exempt from the top 10 in the Scottish Open.