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Ogilvy rails against 'disgusting' changes to Old Course

Geoff Ogilvy at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship
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Unable to qualify for this week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, an event he has won twice before, Geoff Ogilvy still made news based on recent comments criticizing changes in store for the Old Course at St. Andrews in advance of the 2015 Open Championship.

'It's disappointing in that the whole point of it is to make us shoot a slightly higher score every five years (at The Open), and it's embarrassing – disgusting – that they're doing it for that reason,' the Aussie explained in a lengthy interview with Hong Kong Golfer magazine. 'It's hard to have the words to describe the arrogance of doing something like that, it's incredible.'

The changes, proposed last November and set to be carried out across the next two winters, will alter several holes at the famed links, including an alteration to the infamous 'Road Hole' bunker on the 17th hole. Though several have voiced criticism of the decision since it was announced by the St. Andrews Links Trust and the Royal & Ancient, few have been as pointed in their comments as Ogilvy.

'It's like, 'The Mona Lisa is fading a little so let's put some colour into her face, people will enjoy it more,'' the Aussie continued. 'Or 'The Sistine Chapel is a bit small now for the number of people who want to go through it, let's make it bigger.''

The last time the Open Championship visited St. Andrews, Louis Oosthuizen shot 16-under 272 in 2010 to win by seven shots, marking the third straight time the winner shot at least 14 under at the Old Course en route to victory. Ogilvy, who missed the cut that year but tied for fifth when the event was held at St. Andrews in 2005, reinforced his belief that the hallowed grounds hold a special place in the history of the game.

'It evolved, it didn't get designed. It came because of nature, all the balls finishing in one place so there were lots of divots and that spot became a bunker,' he said of the Old Course. 'It's the first place that anyone should ever study when they think about golf course architecture.'