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Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 16:06 UK

Birkdale 'will provide Open test'

The Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale
R&A chief Peter Dawson says Royal Birkdale is a challenge

Sixteen of Royal Birkdale's 18 holes have been altered for the 2008 Open, say organisers the Royal & Ancient.

Most of the modifications are focused on tightening the course which will be playing at 7,173 yards in July.

That is only 155 yards longer than when the links at Southport, near Liverpool, last hosted the Championship in 1998, when American Mark O'Meara triumphed.

The course is short compared to some, but R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said: "Believe me, it is long enough."

Since O'Meara's victory, 20 bunkers - 16 fairway and four greenside - have been added.

Significant mounding has also been carried out to seven greens which will demand more varied and imaginative recovery shots.

606: DEBATE
Iain Carter
The ninth fairway has been moved 25 yards to the left while the par-five 17th has a new green 25 yards further back and raised above the fairway.

The aim of the latter is to create a more challenging approach shot, particularly for those attempting to reach the putting surface in two.

Dawson said: "I don't think that this is a golf course you could accuse of being short, or one that intends to take the driver out of the player's hands. Far from it."

The Open, with extensive live coverage on BBC television, radio and online, starts on 17 July.

2008 OPEN - CARD OF THE COURSE

Hole Yards Par
1 450 4
2 421 4
3 451 4
4 201 3
5 346 4
6 499 4
7 178 3
8 457 4
9 414 4
OUT 3,417 34
10 408 4
11 436 4
12 184 3
13 499 4
14 201 3
15 544 5
16 439 4
17 572 5
18 473 4
IN 3,756 36
TOTAL 7,173 70




see also
Iain Carter column
24 Apr 08 |  Golf
Birkdale to host 2008 Open
16 Feb 04 |  Golf


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