St Andrews‘ 17th, known as the Road Hole, has been lengthened ahead of the 2010 Open Championship.

Forty yards have been added to the notoriously difficult penultimate hole, making it 495 yards and an altogether tougher test for the professionals teeing up at the famous venue in July. 

Golf Monthly’s January Poll asked whether the Road Hole should be increased in length with Forum and GM readers voting 75-25 in favour of ‘No’. 

But the decision to alter the length of the 17th for the first time in over 100 years was taken in conjunction with the R&A.

R&A Chief Executive, Peter Dawson, said: “The 17th was played at the same yardage in 1900 as it was in 2005 and this fuelled our belief that the formidable challenge of this iconic hole should be returned for the Open Championship.

“Over the years, we have seen the threat from the road behind the green, and to a lesser extent the Road Bunker, diminished as players have been hitting shorter irons for their approach shots, allowing them to avoid these hazards more easily.

“This change will ensure that the hole plays as it was originally intended.”

The widening of the fairway on the left hand side will help those players taking a driver off the tee – the intention of the change – and it is hoped the second shot is made more difficult, bringing the road behind the green, as well as the Road Bunker more into play.

The course now measures 7,305 yards compared to 7,279 in 2005 when Tiger Woods won his second Open title.

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