Open's rough injustice denounced by Els and Singh

So when someone of Vijay Singh's prominence starts saying that the rough here reminds him of that hideous experience by the Firth of Tay, and when he is backed by Ernie Els, you just know the Royal and Ancient are knee deep in trouble themselves.

"It's Carnoustie all over again in places out there," Singh said yesterday. "I think the course needed changing, but I think they may have overdone it. There are some holes where a yard can be the difference between being unplayable and being somewhere where you can make birdie. The rough is not very consistent and if the wind blows hard it will get really tough and par could be a good figure."

As 19-under won it here five years ago, that is some statement. But with a sea fret coming in yesterday afternoon bringing with it a chilling wind that transformed the nature of the course from benign to malign in an instant, Singh's words took on a prophetic relevance.

"The course has totally changed," the world No 2 said, pointing to two new tees particularly as potentially the most calamitous. "I hit a three-wood just over Hell Bunker," Singh said about the 14th, now the longest hole on the Open roster at 614 yards. "Normally you hit it wherever you want. And the fourth is also incredible now - into the wind, you'll struggle to make the fairway."

But it is at the most famous hole in golf where Singh and Els believe the R&A might have most overstepped the fairness mark. "At the 17th you can lose a ball without trying," Singh said. "Normally you're looking to come in from the right side of the fairway there, but they've narrowed it."

Els agreed that the rough was too penal. "The rough on the 17th is the highest I've ever seen it left or right," the South African said. "And some other parts of the course, the 14th by the right of the wall for instance. If you just leak it a bit too far, you used to get a kick off the wall, but they've got rough next to it now. In fact wherever there is rough it's really demanding."

Tiger Woods, for one, believes the governing body has realised its mistake on at least one of the holes - the fourth - because since he played his first practice round at the weekend an extra area of fairway has been cut there. "They can't have thought it was really fair to have a 280-yard carry all the way across," he said, "so they were kind enough to cut down the rough on the right side."

But as the whingeing started two days before the tournament even begins here, it took the words of Darren Clarke to add some much-needed perspective. The Ulsterman's wife is still fighting cancer and his thoughts were obviously with Heather. But they were also with the Dubliner Padraig Harrington, who officially withdrew yesterday to grieve for his father, Patrick, who lost his battle with cancer in the Irish capital on Monday night.

"I had a long chat with Padraig last week about what was going on," Clarke said. "We were both going through similar type of situations. It is sad, but if his dad was in as much pain as Padraig said he was then it was for the best."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links