A Day of Tough Decisions
The R&A has admitted it had some tough decisions to make on a day in which The 144TH Open Championship was totally dominated by the weather.
“It has been a tough and frustrating day for everyone,” said Chief Executive, Peter Dawson, during a press conference held after the resumption of play this evening.
“It started this morning when we woke up to the power of the wind we were broadly expecting. It was very strong. We had to take a few steps structurally to make sure we didn’t get blown away – especially with the TV towers – and then between 6.00 and maybe 6.45 we spent a great deal of time out at the far end of the golf course.
“Traditionally, here at St Andrews, if the 11TH green works, then everything works, and we putted and marked balls, and we placed them back and putted again and, while it was very windy, we did not get one ball that moved so we took the view the course was playable.
“However, very soon after play began, balls did, in fact, start to move, which was very different to what we had experienced up to quarter to seven and that ended up in a suspension of play,” he added.
“What had happened, and the wind readings show it, is that after seven o'clock the wind speeds increased by about six miles an hour and that was enough to tip it over the edge. Had the wind speed reduced slightly, we wouldn’t have had problems, but it didn’t, it increased. We were then at great pains all day to ensure the players weren’t put back out (in unplayable conditions).However, we're now back in normal Open mode, albeit a day late, with the new Champion being crowned on Monday evening. That’s our plan. There is some rain forecast overnight tonight and into tomorrow morning, and there will be winds of about 10 miles an hour, maybe riding into the 15 bracket, but there is nothing particularly to worry us. Famous last words, but we’re confident that we will finish play on Monday and crown the new Champion then.”
Dawson confirmed the Championship Committee had considered attempting to play 36-holes on Sunday. “I’m not sure it would have been possible because it does depend on the cut line, the cut numbers,” he said. “It’s not a traditional thing at this Championship to go to two-tee starts and three-balls. I know we did it at Hoylake just the one time but we said that wouldn’t be a precedent. We weighed it all up and thought it would be in the best interests of the Championship, and in keeping with its traditions, to go with the two rounds of golf over the next two days.”