ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Players standing on the 17th tee at the Old Course the past two days may have noticed something different than they had encountered earlier. There no longer are white out-of-bounds stakes to the left of that tee box.
The new tee on the 17th hole was moved back 40 yards for this year’s Open Championship, putting that tee box beyond the OB stakes off the 16th green. Before, a player technically could be assessed an out-of-bounds penalty for hitting a shot onto the tee box of the next hole. Now, it’s possible for someone to play a shot from the 17th tee onto the 16th green without penalty.
R&A chief Peter Dawson was asked Wednesday if he was embarrassed to have made a high-profile change at a time so close to the beginning of the championship.
“I don’t feel embarrassed,” he said. “I can cope with it.”