Two-tee start at Open for first time in 143-year history


HOYLAKE, England – History will be made Sunday at the British Open when someone stakes claim to the prestigious claret jug. But history will also be made on Saturday when the R&A will use a two-tee start for the first time in the 143-year history of this major championship.

That’s right, this championship has never before had a competitor begin his round on the 10th tee. Because of the risk of severe thunderstorms and heavy rain for most of the day, that will change for the third round at Royal Liverpool.

Players will be grouped in threesomes and play will commence at 9 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET). The plan was devised to help reduce the window where players will be on the course by three or four hours. According to the R&A, forecasts predict that the terrible weather could arrive as early as 2 a.m. local time.

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“These measures combined give us the potential to accommodate up to five hours of delay and still complete the third round tomorrow evening,” said David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of rules and equipment standards.

A plan for Sunday's scheduled final round has not yet been determined.

“We haven’t got into that,” Rickman said. “This plan for tomorrow is about trying to get back on track, or stay on track, I should say, so that we’re in a good place come Sunday. If the worst happens and we don’t achieve that, well, obviously we’ll convene another meeting and revise our plans for Sunday as well.”