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St Andrews toughening up for Open
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St Andrews toughened up for 2005 Open

Five new tees have been installed on the Old Course at St Andrews to toughen the venue for this year's British Open, organisers have said.

The par-72 layout, which has been slightly lengthened since Tiger Woods won the 2000 championship there with a record 19-under-par total of 269, will play to 7,115 yards when this year's edition takes place from July 14-17.

"We are restoring rather than changing the course," Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) chief executive Peter Dawson said in a statement.

"Modern equipment and the greater athleticism of the game's leading players have led to many of the Old Course hazards being taken out of play."

Dawson singled out the par-five 14th, where a new tee has brought back into play the famed Beardies bunkers on the left and an out-of-bounds wall to the right.

"The drive at 14 had become hazard-free," added Dawson. "Because of the history of the Old Course, moving hazards is not the option it would be at many other places.

"You simply can't move a bunker here or there on the Old Course. All that leaves is to move tees."

Dawson said six tees had been similarly changed for the 2000 championship.

"We're not looking for the course to become a big hitter's paradise. We are committed to staging a championship that isn't just for golfers who hit the ball a long way," he added.

"The course has proved many times that it is subtle enough to provide a strong challenge.

"We are not trying to change the character of the course -- we just want to re-instate the old decisions players had to make."

The world's oldest open championship, this year in its 134th edition, will be played at St Andrews for the 27th time.

 

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