In what many consider sacrilege, the Old Course at St. Andrews will see its first major changes in almost 70 years. St Andrews Links Trust, which manages the Old Course, has indicated that they feel the course is not challenging enough for modern golf and wish to make course harder. In a two year process, nine holes will be altered including the famous Road Hole bunker which will be widened by about 20 inches. While Robert Karlsson, Ian Poulter, and many bloggers have expressed distress over the changes, Tiger Woods thought some of the changes sounded sensible while still sounding skeptical over the Road Hole changes(as seen above).
“I think 17 is hard enough as it is,” said Woods, who carded two pars and two bogeys on the hole when it hosted the Open Championship two years ago. “I don’t think we need to make that bunker any deeper or bigger. I know they experimented in 2000, I believe, they made the bunker deeper, then I think it was in ’10 they made it more expansive, so it was not as deep, but more balls would collect into it. They seem to keep changing 17 a lot. It’s a pretty hard hole. I think it’s the hardest one on that whole property.
“I don’t know, I’m not real keen on that one, but it is a hard hole, period, either way, whether they make changes or not. It’s going to be a hard hole, a pivotal hole. I know over the years they’ve changed the rough lines on that hole quite a bit and given us fairway to the right which we’ve never had. Granted, now we’ve got to take it more towards the hotel, but at least it gives us an angle to play down the green, which is nice.”
St Andrews Links Trust released a statement describing the changes,
On the 2nd hole, the two bunkers right and short of the green will be moved closer to the right edge of the green. The ground to the right of the green will also be recontoured to create more undulations and the width of 3rd tee will be reduced to accommodate this. Two bunkers on the right side of the fairway, near the 3rd Championship tee, will be removed.
On the 7th, the large depression in the landing area of the fairway will be filled in and a slight mound created. The area to the right of the green will be remodelled to create more undulations.
On the 11th, the back left portion of the green will be lowered to create more hole location options.
On the 17th, the Road Bunker will be widened by half a metre at the right hand side and a small portion of the front of the green will be recontoured to enable it to gather more approach shots landing in that area.
On the 3rd hole, the first fairway bunker on the right will be removed. A new fairway bunker will be added into the bank on the right hand side about 275 yards from the Championship tee.
On the 4th, the acute spur formation on the left hand side of the fairway will be reduced and the bunker on the right hand side of the green will be moved closer to its edge. The ground to the back right of the green will be recontoured.
On the 6th, the ground to the right of the green will be recontoured.
On the 9th, a fairway bunker will be added short and left of the green, about 25 yards to the left and diagonally towards the green from the last bunker on the right of the fairway.
On the 15th, the ground to the back right of the green will be recontoured to create more undulations.”