Sports Outside the Beltway

Road rage- Hole 17 at St. Andrews to play as a par five for The Women’s British Open

One of the most famous holes in golf has been softened up.

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The 17th at the Old Course is known the world over as one of the toughest par 4s in golf. This week, however, at the Ricoh Women’s British Open it’s known as one of the easiest par 5s. road.jpg

“Wait, No. 17 is a par 5?” Aree Song asked Wednesday while standing behind the first tee. “Are we on the same course?”

Song pulled out her yardage book and then asked her caddie, who confirmed that the ladies are indeed playing the Road Hole as a par 5.

“It should be a par 4 because you can reach it with a 5-iron,” Song said.

Actually, Southern California sophomore Belen Mozo hit it with an 8 iron Tuesday and Louise Stahle hit 7-iron. Jonathan Scott said his boss, Laura Davies, hit the green Wednesday with a “cheeky” 6-iron.

Well Laura is the size of a football player. How have more petite women done on the Road hole?

Pettersen hit 4-iron into the green Wednesday but hit wedge into it downwind the day before. Even Mi Hyun Kim, one of the shortest players on tour, hit 7-wood to the back of the green.

Peanut can get home with a 7-wood. The changes to the Road Hole have IMHO taken the fun out of of the LPGA women competing at The Old Course for the first time ever. Wouldn’t it have been exciting to see some of the same train wrecks that happened to the men over the years at 17? Like in 1978 when ‘The Sands of Tommy Nakajima‘ took place. The Japanese golf pro’s final score on the hole was a nine. Other players have had second shots land on the treacherous road itself.(Which is in play) Their results often not being much better than Nakajima.

“It’s a par-5 this week? This is one of the things they shouldn’t have done,” Helen Alfredsson said. “We’re playing the British Open, and it’s the best par-4 in the world, and they should have left it that way.”

These women can handle it.

I couldn’t agree more.

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