R&A Chief expects some low scores
The Open gets under way on Thursday with opinion divided on whether scoring will be low or high.
The 138th Open gets under way at Turnberry on Thursday with opinion divided on whether low or high scoring would be on the agenda.
Greg Norman, winner here in 1986 and third at Birkdale last year as a 53-year-old, warned that players could lose a ball just “nine or 10 feet” off the fairway in the thick rough.
But R&A chief executive Peter Dawson believes low scoring is likely and insisted he would have no problem if the major championship low score record of 63 was broken.
Norman’s second round here in 1986 is one of 23 such scores and Dawson said: “I’d be genuinely surprised, but these fellows seem to get better and better. And if that’s the competitive scene we’re working under, that’s fine.
“I never have any doubts about how good these players are and they’re entirely capable of shooting 63 anywhere in the world on any day and under any conditions.
“This golf course is very demanding tee to green but on the greens here it is actually quite hard to hide the pins, as it were, in crazy positions, I’m pleased to say.
“So I think low scoring is on, actually, I really do, and we have no fear of that.”
England’s Paul Broadhurst, another player to have shot 63 in a major – at St Andrews in 1990 – was the first player due to put that theory to the test, the former Ryder Cup player hitting the first tee shot at 6:30am.
Norman was also among the early starters alongside American Kenny Perry, who was beaten in a play-off for the US Masters earlier this year after blowing a two-shot lead with two holes to play.
World number one Tiger Woods, who was absent from Birkdale last year after undergoing knee surgery following his US Open win at Torrey Pines, was due out at 9:09am and was sure to attract massive attention from both the crowds and the media.
Woods has been paired with England’s Lee Westwood – tipped by Ryder Cup colleague Ian Poulter to be a contender this week – and Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, the teenage star who will also command a considerable media presence.
“I was obviously aware of the amount of media interest there is in that group,” Dawson added.
“I have since spoken to Tiger and Lee and they’re entirely happy about the grouping.
“And we’re happy that we have good controls in place on the media following that group.”
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