The R&A has announced that players will go off in a two-tee start in tomorrow’s Open Championship third round due to the threat of inclement weather.
Players will go out in groups of three at Royal Liverpool from 9am, using both the first and tenth tees, to accommodate for the threat of up to five hours of a delay. Weather forecasters are expecting summer storms to hit the Wirral overnight and into tomorrow.
The decision to utilise a two-tee start is thought to be a first for the Open Championship.
“The Met Office’s onsite forecasters believe that there is a significant risk of thunderstorms and heavy rain, which will interrupt tomorrow’s play,” explained David Rickman, the Executive Director of Rules and Equipment Standards at the R&A.
“This is consistent with the Amber weather warning that has been issued for much of England and Wales.
“Therefore, we have taken a number of decisions regarding tomorrow’s play to maximise the chances of completing the championship on time. These are that play is now scheduled to commence at 9am. Play will be in groups of three and we will utilise a two-tee start, using the first and tenth holes.
"The bad weather is forecast to potentially last through much of the morning." David Rickman, the R&A
“These measures combined give us the potential to accommodate up to five hours of delay and still complete the third round tomorrow evening.”
Rickman added: “If we are delayed tomorrow morning beyond 9am, we will start as early as we can thereafter. We are now working with all of those involved in staging this championship to make the necessary arrangement to facilities this revised plan.”
It is thought that the storm – described by forecasters as a ‘Spanish Plume’ – could hit the Hoylake area as early as 2am.
“The bad weather is forecast to potentially last through much of the morning, with a four-hour window of much improved conditions in the early afternoon, with the possibility of further thunderstorm activity coming in late tomorrow evening,” added Rickman.
It is expected that the threeballs and two-tee start will require seven hours of play, as compared with ten-and-a-half hours using the traditional twoball and one-tee start.
“We feel that this three-and-a-half hour difference could be the difference between completing this championship on time and not, and we believe that should be or paramount importance,” said Rickman.
Consult the R&A website for further details
Anyone planning on attending the championship for tomorrow’s third round is advised to check the R&A’s website for the most up-to-date news and disruption information.