Greenkeepers join forces to add their expertise at The Open

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R&A chiefs have moved to ease fears over the tournament sinking under the weight of recent rains.

Expert advice from the other Open venues - including Royal Birkdale and Royal Liverpool - is being drawn upon to ensure that the players and spectators do not become bogged down in mud, as has happened at other sporting venues this summer, notably the British Grand Prix.

The R&A admitted this week that there were concerns over around six bunkers on the course, but insisted allowing the players to take preferred lies - as happens in winter golf at clubs across the country - is a "last resort".

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson explained: "We have always had help from local courses as far as greenkeepers are concerned - what is new this year is the single greenkeeper coming from each of the other Open venues, which has added a lot of expertise. It is also a very good learning process for those greenkeepers going back to their courses, which are themselves Open venues."

Jim McArthur, chairman of the Championship Committee, added: "There are some bunkers which are causing us some concern because of the water table and the level of the groundwater, but we're confident that the rules of golf, which are available, will help us cope with any situations which develop there."

The problem holes are the second, 14th, 16th and 17th, but the R&A is hoping the forecasters have got their predictions right.

"This course does dry extremely quickly and the forecast is that whatever rain we're going to get overnight will stop around 4am and then the weather forecast is dry for the rest of the Championship," added Dawson.

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