SOUTHPORT, England – The decree came down from the R&A on Tuesday at Royal Birkdale: No shortcuts at this Open Championship.
Specifically, the R&A put a stop to a trend it saw developing during Monday’s practice round: players hitting their tee shots from the ninth tee down the 10th fairway. This strategy allowed players to avoid the dogleg right on the ninth hole. The alternative route gives players a look at the ninth green with wedge, rather than a short iron.
The R&A’s chief referee, David Rickman, released a notice announcing the new local rule on Tuesday: “When playing the ninth hole only, a ball on or beyond the 10th 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, according to the notice.