Revamped Road Hole proves not to be a crash zone after all
Friday 16 July 2010
There had been much pre-Open griping and growling from the players about the powers-that-be at St Andrews daring to interfere with the famous 17th Road Hole, which they had extended by 40 yards in an attempt to tame today's longer hitters.
Paul Casey, for one, had been critical of the redesign prior to teeing up yesterday. "Golf courses and iconic holes should be protected like old buildings," he said. "I have never thought length is the answer. It might make holes tougher but it doesn't make them better. The Road Hole has almost become an unofficial par five."
But yesterday's first-round scores on the hole were actually better than they had been five years ago when the Open was last at St Andrews. Last time out the average score on the par four was 4.62 and, with a few stragglers left out on the course last night, yesterday's average was coming in at 4.58.
And the weather could not be used as an excuse, as in 2005 the conditions were much more serene than they were for at least the second half of yesterday's field. Maybe the authorities got it right after all?
Try telling that to Anders Hansen, though. The Danish golfer knocked his approach shot at the 17th into the treacherous pot bunker left of the green. Then it took him four attempts to get out, and he wound up taking a quadruple-bogey eight, which in effect would have marginally affected the overall hole average.
With his ball lodged up against the lip, Hansen first attempted to get out going to his left. When that failed, he took two swings straight at the flag, only to be foiled each time. Finally, he turned toward the right – actually facing back toward the tee box – and was able to get the ball on to the green. A two-putt from there left him shaking his head and putting a snowman on his card.
Hansen bounced back with a birdie at the final hole, but he still finished with a five-over 77 on a day when most players were able to go low because of benign conditions.
The Road Hole claimed a victim after all.
Latest in Sport
Royal Rumble 2015: Roman Reigns triumphs after The Rock returns to set-up Wrestlemania showdown with Brock Lesnar
Google trolls Tottenham with Oxford dictionary definition of 'lackadaisical'
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Floyd Mayweather ends the carnival this week and picks his next fight - but will it be Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao or Miguel Cotto
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'