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R&A puts stop to players taking short cut on No. 9

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SOUTHPORT, England – During practice rounds this week at The Open some ingenious players walked to the ninth tee and began imagining a more efficient way to play the hole.

A tee shot from the ninth tee down the adjacent 10th fairway cut off a substantial portion of the dogleg, giving players no more than a wedge shot into the green at No. 9 as opposed to an 8- or 7-iron from the proper fairway.

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On Tuesday, however, the R&A put an end to that notion, issuing a local rule that deems the area of the 10th fairway an internal out of bounds from the ninth tee.

“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,” read a notice issued to players by R&A chief referee David Rickman.

There will be no white out-of-bounds stakes or lines down the 10th hole to indicate the boundary, and officials said the decision was based on safety concerns of players hitting tee shots over the bleachers surrounding the 10th green.

Internal out of bounds are nothing new at The Open. The 18th and third holes at Royal Liverpool, which last hosted The Open in 2014, are bordered by the practice range, which is deemed out of bounds.