The recent change on the famous 17th hole at St. Andrews has stirred up some controversy and mixed feelings. Known in the past as one of the most difficult holes in the game, it lost some of its menace over the years. For the 2010 British Open, the R&A pushed the tees back 40 yards to make it more challenging.
Before returning to Ireland, Padraig Harrington made a rare appearance at the Travelers Championship. The three-time major champion felt the adrenaline coming down the stretch on Sunday as he turned in an early six-under 64, which ended up being good enough for T5. So, what does the 2008 British Open champion think of the change to the Road Hole? Without hesitation (and extra emphasis on “dead right”):
I think it’s dead right. They’ve got to force us to hit driver off the hole. The last couple of times I’ve played it, [I’ve hit] like 5 wood, 8 iron [or] 3 wood, wedge, at times. Now it’s going to be back to the hole I saw on TV when I was watching it in the ’80s — which is a really intimidating tee shot with a driver and [hitting] a 5 iron into it. That’s what the hole is meant to be; it’s meant to be one of the toughest holes in golf.
Between now and the Open, Paddy is returning across the pond to play in the JP McMannis Pro-Am next week (or “in a week’s time” as he says it).