Organizers of The Open insist they would welcome a record-breaking sub-60 round at St Andrews despite suggestions the Old Course is becoming obsolete.
At 7,313 yards, the historic links is one of the shortest among the current major venues and this week it has hard, fast-running fairways after sustained dry and windy conditions.
There has been speculation, if the wind does not blow hard during the tournament days, that the course will be defenseless against the world’s top professionals taking it apart and potentially posting the lowest round in men’s major history.
That honor currently belongs to South Africa’s Branden Grace, who shot 62 at Royal Birkdale in 2017, with England’s Ross Fisher setting the Old Course record of 61 three months later in the Dunhill Links Championship.
World No 3 Rory McIlroy, one of the favorites this week, shares the honor of the lowest round (63) in an Open at St Andrews (2010) with Paul Broadhurst (1990), and R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers insists he would be the first person to congratulate someone beating that and potentially going even lower.
“Fifty-nine is 13 under par around this golf course. There’s 7,300 yards. It’s got greens that are running at 10-and-a-half to 11 (considered medium speed), it’s got fairways where the ball is bouncing 50 yards if it’s hit and more if it catches the downslope,” he said.
“I’ll tell you what, if someone shoots that (13 under) I will be the first person on the 18th green to shake their hand because they have played outstanding golf.”