U-turn on mobile phones at The Open was a mistake

FOR the second year running, the R&A decided not to hold a post-event Open Championship press conference. “It has run its course,” we were told earlier in the year and we’ll probably never have one again.

Royal Liverpool was transformed into one of the best-looking venues on The Open rota. Picture: Getty

That’s a pity because it was always the perfect opportunity to mull over a whole host of topics that crop up at these events. Ones that often can’t be put under the microscope as play is raging on but worth scrutiny, nonetheless.

The following points, for instance, and, in the absence of the R&A’s take, here is what I made of them:

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Mobile phones

It was after the 2006 event at the same venue that a ban was imposed on them before being lifted at Lytham two years ago. More than ever before, fans were encouraged to bring them along to Hoylake so that they could make the most of apps or sit in the stands and watch the action on their tiny screens. A big mistake. All it did was encourage spectators to take photographs all the time, as Tiger Woods discovered to his annoyance in the first round.

For what it’s worth, I’m also led to believe that watching anything on mobile devices was more trouble than it was worth due to the picture breaking up all the time.

Two-tee start

The decision to implement this on Saturday may have been a first in the event’s history, but it was undoubtedly the correct one. It wasn’t made lightly, not by any manner of means. It was made in the interests of safety, due to concerns about thunderstorms, as well as trying to keep the event on schedule, so let’s not hear any twaddle about it being a mistake due to “tradition being ruined”.

18th-hole grandstand

Having seen so many pictures of this new horseshoe-shaped structure on Twitter in the build-up to the event, I was preparing myself to hate it simply on that basis alone. It was terrific, though, and certainly created a stadium-like atmosphere. Where else might we see it, though. Certainly not St Andrews and probably not Muirfield, Troon, Carnoustie, Birkdale or Lytham either. That, then, leaves only Turnberry and St George’s as other possible venues for that to be erected again.


Turn up at Royal Liverpool when it is laid bare and it is a bit bland, especially as you look out across the course from the clubhouse. Put up the infrastructure that comes with a modern-day Open Championship and it is transformed into one of the best-looking venues on the rota. It adds definition, especially at the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 16th, 17th and 18th.


It was different to 2006 – very different. That was all down to Mother Nature, though, and, while it may have been a lot greener than would ideally have been the case, Scottish greenkeeper Craig Gilholm certainly had it in tip-top nick. Perhaps one thing that should be looked at ahead of the event’s next visit to Hoylake, though, is the par. At 72, it seems a bit on the generous side and both the sixth and 16th could easily play as par-4s when it comes to The Open.