Date: July 19, 2015
Author: Golf Australia

Hend attacks R&A

Scott Hend was so angry after missing The Open cut by two shots that he launched a withering attack on the R&A.

The Queensland veteran says officials’ decisions to make the field play for the first 32 minutes of a windswept third day (still the second round) cost him a double-bogey and his place in the weekend field.

 “The R&A was an absolute disgrace this morning deciding to put us out there in the wind,” Hend said after his even-par 72.

"They want to come out with a diatribe that the wind picked up 10-15 per cent once they blew the horn, but that’s absolutely ridiculous. We were out there and told them it was no good. I make double-bogey on the one hole that I play and I miss the cut by two shots.

Hend said the players in his group had told the walking rules official that it was unfair.

"We kept saying to our rules guy that this is not fair and we shouldn’t be playing.

We get to the ninth tee and he finally said to us, `Hold up fellas, there’s going to be a back-up on the 10th tee’, so we stood and waited. He got a message from his boss in charge of the rules who said something like, `Why is your group not playing nine, make ‘em hit’.

“It was an absolute shambles and didn’t seem like anyone knew what was going on – it was very unprofessional. By which time, I’d already made a double. My ball landed on the front of the (par-three eighth) green and ran all the way to the back of the green.

"I had a chip on the side of the green and the wind blew and it blew my ball all the way off the green down on to the ninth tee. It’s just ridiculous. We know as professional golfers what’s playable and what isn’t. We play around here in the Dunhill, so we know when it’s playable and when it’s not – and that just wasn’t. Clearly. We should never have been out there.''

The winds that gusted to  67km/h in the first 32 minutes of play today forced one of the longest non-rain delays in Open history, leaving the third round to be played tomorrow and the final round on Monday.

Balls rolled on greens and the 11th green was almost unplayable as players delayed their putts in the hope of a suspension that finally came at 7.32am.

Many players were angry that play resumed late in the day, but R and A secretary Peter Dawson defended the decision. Dawson said the wind actually increased when play resumed.

“Clearly, with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better if play hadn’t started, but the decision was taken based on the evidence at the time,” he said.

“I supported it fully, was an integral part of it and I believe it was the right decision given the facts at the time we took it.

“What had happened, and the wind readings show it, is that the wind speeds after 7am increased by about six miles an hour over what we had been experiencing prior to the start of play, and that was enough to tip it over the edge.”

Hend said the speed of the greens hadn’t been the issue that some others made it out to be, saying the wind was entirely to blame for rolling balls. "The wind was fine if it stayed at 20 (miles an hour), but it was gusting up into the 40s and every time you got one, the ball went boom and went,” he said.

“I asked the rules official and they said it’s fine if the ball is oscillating, but it’s oscillating because it’s sitting down in the green and no problems.

“But when you hit your putt, just tap it and the wind blows it 40 feet past the hole, and they still say it’s not a problem.

“We say is that fair to the guys going out there now and they say 'if you don’t play you’re disqualified'. Your choice is (either) you walk in or you play. You can’t say you’re not going to play, so they’ve got you on a tight rope."