Monday, April 29, 2013


Muirfield’s popularity amongst players as an Open venue will be tested by an extra 158 yards and 'plenty' of rough for this year’s Championship from July 18-21.
New tees have been added on seven of the holes, taking the overall distance of the course from 7,034 yards when Ernie Els won in 2002 to 7,192 yards, par 71 this summer.
The biggest difference is on the ninth, where a land swap with neighbours the Renaissance Club has enabled the tee to be moved back almost 50 yards - extending the par-five to 554 yards - with a new bunker added on the right of the fairway and bunkers moved closer to the green.

'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 seed 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.
'The course 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, primarily available in the grandstands and tented villages, a free 'Open in the Square' event in Edinburgh the weekend before the championship and LED scoreboards on the seventh, 11th, 16th and 17th in addition to the famous yellow scoreboard on the 18th.
Mobile phones will be allowed again after a largely successful re-introduction last year, although 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 (allowing phones) 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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