THE OPEN

R&A introduce local rule amid health and safety fears

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The R&A has been forced to introduce a local rule over health and safety fears.

It concerns the dogleg right par-4 ninth hole, with the governing body concerned that players could opt to hit their tee shots onto the adjacent tenth fairway to give them a better line into the green.

This would mean taking a line close to the spectator grandstand at the back of the eighth green and also increase the chances of hitting spectators walking between the ninth and tenth fairways.

A notice to competitors from chief referee David Rickman read: “When playing the ninth hole only, a ball on or beyond the tenth fairway (defined by the edge of the closely-mown area) is out of bounds.

“There will be no white stakes or lines used to define or indicate this boundary.”

Jason Day1

According to Golfweek.com, the local rule was implemented after Jason Day’s caddie, Colin Swatton, asked about the alternative route.

“I don't think anyone was going to go down there, anyway, we just asked,” said Day. “I can understand if guys are actually going to think about going there. But I understand the safety issue, as well, because if you're hitting a driver and guys are walking straight up the tenth fairway, you can hit someone or injure somebody pretty badly.

“But if you lose one on the wind or something like that, and it bounces awkwardly and you're a foot on the fairway or an inch on the fairway, you're out of bounds and it's a little unfair. The R&A have obviously made that rule for a purpose. And I guess I'll be hitting iron down there now and not taking the ten line.”

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