US Open champion Graeme McDowell plans to play St Andrews’s famous Road Hole as a three shotter in next week’s Open.
A new tee, built behind the wall on the main St Andrews practice range – the location of the tented village in Championship week – has lengthened the iconic hole by 40 yards to 495 yards. The aim, according to R&A boss Peter Dawson, was to return the challenge of golf’s most iconic hole, which had been affected by the increased driving distance of modern players – to the extent that at the last St Andrews Open, in 2005, the authorities grew a collar of rough almost all the way across the fairway to prevent tee shots getting too close to the green, and avoid the embarrassing sight of wedge approaches to the legendarily tough hole.
But McDowell, for one, plans to play the lengthened hole in a different way. “Was it necessary? Don't know,” he told the BBC. “I'm going to play it conservatively. It's a TV sport, it's all about people enjoying the game and seeing some drama, but I'm going to lay up.”