Muirfield lengthened and rough added for Open Championship

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Muirfield lengthened and rough added for Open Championship

Post by Devastating on Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:45 pm

Open Championship organisers have announced that Muirfield will be 158 yards longer when the tournament returns to the East Lothian links in July.

The layout has been extended to 7,192 yards compared to 7,034 when defending champion Ernie Els clinched his first Open title after a play-off with Thomas Levet, Stuart Appleby and Steve Elkington in 2002.

New tees have been added on seven holes, with the par-five ninth being lengthened by 50 yards to 554 yards, while the course will also feature "plenty" of rough.

"We are absolutely delighted to be back at Muirfield for the 16th time," R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said. "It's immensely popular with the players.

"Jack Nicklaus' comment about 'What you see is what you get' at Muirfield was perhaps directed at other links courses with blind shots and where more luck is involved.

"The ground here is relatively flat and every hole seems to be going in a different direction, but we will be setting the golf course up to challenge these golfers.

"The rough has been cut down over the winter but will regenerate over the coming weeks. We will see the rough up and you are unlikely to win an Open Championship at Muirfield from the rough. The amount of rough is weather-dependent, but we will get plenty.

"It has been lengthened by 158 yards since 2002, but that is only a two per cent increase."

Other new features this year will include a "wi-fi mesh" around the course, and spectators will again be allowed to take mobile phones after a mostly successful re-introduction at Royal Lytham last year.

Executive director of championships Johnnie Cole-Hamilton admitted: "It did not go completely without incident. We have learnt lessons from last year and we did not get any complaints from the players, which was important. I think it will improve year on year."

Jim McArthur, chair of the championship committee, added: "We took a big risk but we had some belief in the spectators' respect for the game. It brings so many benefits that we think we need to continue with this unless we have any major problems.

"We will also have complete control over the content displayed on the LED scoreboards - which have video capability to show live footage - to ensure that we don't disrupt the players. We will err on the side of caution."

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