R&A stops players using short-cut on 9th at Royal Birkdale

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The R&A have issued a new local rule which stops players from using a short-cut from the 9th tee to 10th fairway this week due to safety reasons. 

Some players found a more efficient alternative route during Monday's practice round, but there will be no short-cuts on the 9th hole at Royal Birkdale at the 146th Open this week.

The R&A’s chief referee, David Rickman, quickly released a notice announcing a new local rule on Tuesday which prohibits players from driving on to the 10th fairway to set up a shorter shot in to the ninth green.

It said: “When playing the ninth hole only, a ball on or beyond the 10th fairway (defined by the edge of the closely-mown area) is out of bounds.”

According to the notice, there will be also be no white stakes or lines used to define or indicate the out of bounds. 

And as it turns out, the rule was prompted by Jason Day's caddie asking whether it was allowed or possible - although according to Day it was more out of curiosity rather than what he would actually do on what would be a blind tee shot. 

In a press conference on Wednesday R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers said that health and safety played a big part in their decision to have the internal out of bounds. 

"We were made aware that an option being considered was to take the tee shot at 9 down the 10th fairway," Slumbers said. "Now, the great thing about links golf is you can play a hole in multiple ways, and that's one of the beauties of it."

"But in this particular case we've been out there with our health and safety people, and the only way you can get the ball onto the 10th fairway is to drive it straight over the top of the grandstand, and then bring the ball back across to the 9th green, across two opposing groups of people. And we felt that that was just dangerous. So that's been put in there to protect the fans and the players, because it's also blind to the 10th fairway from the 9th tee."

"We have been asked about it as an option. I actually didn't see anyone hit a shot, but we were certainly asked as an option. And we were concerned about the safety issue. There is no way to get the ball into the 10th fairway over than straight over the top of the grandstand."

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