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Page last updated at 18:25 GMT, Saturday, 17 October 2009 19:25 UK

Stars split over Road Hole revamp

Retief Goosen
Goosen is wary of the changes to St Andrews' signature hole

Changes to the 17th hole at St Andrews for next year's Open have prompted a mixed response among golf's big names.

Golf's famous Road Hole is being lengthened from 455 yards to 490, with the tee going across the other side of the disused railway line.

Retief Goosen said: "I hope they keep the forward tees because if we play into the wind we won't reach in two."

But Ireland's double Open champion Padraig Harrington said: "(That is) exactly what they should do."

South African Goosen, who finished fifth in the last Open at St Andrews in 2005, added: "I don't know why they wanted to do that. It's such a great hole anyway - so much can happen on it."

He added that equipment rule changes for 2010 could also add to the difficulty of playing the 17th.

Under the changes, most club heads will have smaller grooves in an attempt to reward accuracy off the tee and rein in golf's power-hitters.

It was intimidating and that's what 17 is meant to be

Padraig Harrington

Goosen stated: "We're going back to the smaller grooves as well, so it's going to become even more difficult to hit that green.

"I don't think it's the right thing. If you play it downwind then you're hitting a driver and seven or eight-iron, but into the wind I've played it when you couldn't reach."

However, 2007 and 2008 Open winner Padraig Harrington says the revamped hole will be a rewarding challenge.

"When I stood there on the proposed tee (during the Dunhill Links two weeks ago) I actually can't tell you what language I used, but it was intimidating and that's what 17 is meant to be," said Harrington.

"That would be my thinking - make it a bigger hole, but give it a little bit more room."

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see also
Road Hole extended for 2010 Open
27 Apr 10 |  Golf
St Andrews to host the 2010 Open
20 Apr 06 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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