After Ross Fisher's new course record, Gary Player congratulated the players on the sensational scoring at St Andrews but also said he was sad the Old Course had been "brought to its knees"
Gary Player Says Old Course “Brought To Her Knees By Equipment”
Sunday saw some incredible scoring at St Andrews at the Dunhill Links Championship as Ross Fisher broke the Old Course’s record with an 11-under-par 61 and Victor Dubuisson almost matched him with a nine-under 63.
Fisher’s opening nine of 29 contained seven birdies and two pars. He had made 11 birdies through 15 holes.
Nine-time major winner Gary Player tweeted that he was “delighted for all the players” on their scoring but also said “it’s quite sad to see The Old Course of St Andrews brought to her knees by today’s ball and equipment.”
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As well as Fisher’s 61 and Dubuisson’s 63, two players shot 65, five shot 66 and 10 shot 67 on the par-72 layout.
Just three men were over par on the final day where there was little wind to protect the 7,345-yard Old Course.
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The course was setup for the Dunhill Links’ Pro-Am format without the treacherous pin positions and rough, and with its October date the fairways and greens are never going to be as firm and fast as July for the Open Championship.
The last time the Open was held at St Andrews, in 2015, Zach Johnson won in a playoff after three men tied the lead at -15 for the week.
This week’s winning score was -24, with a cut mark at -4 after three days, although the first three rounds were spread over St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie.
Carnoustie‘s course record was also broken this week, with Tommy Fleetwood shooting a nine-under-par 63 in a flawless round containing nine birdies and nine pars.
This week saw Rory McIlroy drive the 360-yard 18th on the Old Course – a hole that should post a stern test with out of bounds all down the right and the famous Valley of Sin protecting the front-left.
Watch the video below:
Player’s compatriot Tony Johnstone, who commentates for Sky Sports after a playing career that yielded 25 professional wins, replied on a similar line questioning today’s golf ball:
Jack Nicklaus has spoken on the golf ball for years, with a strong opinion that today’s version goes too far.
Last November he even blamed the golf ball on golf course closured in the USA.
“Fact is, more golf courses have closed in the US in each of the last 10 years than have opened,” said the 18-time major winner.
“This is thanks in great part to changes in the golf ball and the distance it travels. Courses have had to change along with it. It’s now a slower game and more expensive than before, and that can’t be a good thing.”
It’s often said that the golf ball needs taming, but the consensus within the golfing world is that will never happen.
Whilst professionals are hitting the golf ball further – Fred Couples hits the ball 21 yards further now at the age of 57 than he did 25 years ago – amateur golfers certainly aren’t tearing golf courses up because of advances in technology.
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The fact is that with ball and club tracking technologies combined with the equipment we now have and the levels of fitness in the game, professional golfers can find a setup for them that yields the best spin and ball flight numbers that previous generations have not had access to.
Another point to make would be that Ross Fisher shot 11-under-par thanks to a hot putter and an electric short game, not just because of long-hitting.
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