Friday 9 December 2016

Graeme McDowell: Old course at St Andrews needs tweaking

Andy Hampson

Published 19/07/2015 | 14:22

Graeme McDowell lines up a putt on the 1st green during day four of The Open Championship 2015 at St Andrews, Fife.
Graeme McDowell lines up a putt on the 1st green during day four of The Open Championship 2015 at St Andrews, Fife.

Graeme McDowell has suggested the Old Course at St Andrews may need some work to ensure it remains Open Championship standard.

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There has been some discussion throughout the week as to whether the 'home of golf', as playing and equipment standards continue to improve, could become too easy for the game's elite.

The reputation of the Old Course was defended by Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, the organisers, but with the championship returning to St Andrews every five years, the debate is likely to continue.

"When you see the type of power that these guys are using and putting on the golf ball, you start wondering what they can do with it to keep it up to modern times," said McDowell after completing his third round.

"The bunkers are just not really in play enough."

Due to the course's proximity to St Andrews town centre and the North Sea, there is little room to expand but McDowell does not think making holes longer is necessarily the answer.

He said: "I don't think you've got to go put a ton of yardage on this golf course.

"I think if this golf course just had a tiny bit more rough and the bunkers were slightly up to modern yardages, I think this golf course is still all there in front of you.

"Unfortunately driving the ball is just too easy this week.

"This is a fantastic golf course and it doesn't need a complete rejig, it just needs a little bit of reshaping here and there."

McDowell, the 2010 US Open champion, was among the early starters as the third round got under way a day late after interruptions for bad weather on Friday and Saturday.

He made a blistering start with four birdies in five holes, and four more followed, but two double bogeys, among six dropped shots, left him off the pace on two under and signing for 70.

The Northern Irishman said: "I played lovely, I really did, but I drove the ball disgusting.

"I'm not really quite sure what's wrong with my driving, everything else is pretty good.

"That's got to go down as an extremely frustrating and disappointing round, because it was there or thereabouts."

McDowell, 35, feels he is not far off rediscovering his best.

He said: "It's tough at times but there are signs of life. I've just got to wait, be patient. My time will come."

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