The rain relented and the sun finally shone on Royal Lytham & St. Annes on Wednesday, boosting hopes of a disruption-free staging of the British Open.
There is standing water in half-a-dozen of the course’s 206 bunkers and some greens are softer than hoped for on the eve of the tournament. There are also issues with the condition of some spectator walkways.
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However, despite one of Britain’s worst ever summers, organizers said Lytham ”is in pretty good shape going forward,” especially with forecasters predicting continued good weather over the weekend.
”The course is at the moment perfectly playable,” said Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, ”thanks to the huge and time-consuming efforts of the greenkeeping staff and the additional greenkeeping staff we have brought in to help us.”
The use of preferred lies will only be introduced as a ”last resort,” said Jim McArthur, chairman of the championship committee.
Dawson also brushed off concerns about the length of the rough on some parts of the course, with Tiger Woods describing it as nearly unplayable in certain areas.
”Certainly if you stray a long way off these fairways, the rough is brutal, as it is on every links course in the British Isles at the moment, with the summer weather, if you can call it summer weather, that we’ve had,” he said.
”The champion on Sunday I doubt will have won from the rough. I think he’ll be winning from the short grass, so there’s a premium on hitting fairways this week, obviously.”