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For Our Next Trick...
Walter Bingham
July 26, 1999
Think Carnoustie was tough? Wait'll you see what the R&A has up its sleeve
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July 26, 1999

For Our Next Trick...

Think Carnoustie was tough? Wait'll you see what the R&A has up its sleeve

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Welcome to Royal St. Gorge, Sir Percival. It's an honor to have you and your fellow Royal & Ancient members here to inspect our links as a site for a future British Open."

"Yes, well, you can understand our need for new venues after last week's near-disaster at Carnoustie. Who would have dreamed that a Frenchman would almost win our championship and that only six over par would be good enough for the playoff? Thank goodness one of our blokes won. But overall it was a bad show. Bloody awful."

"Not your fault, Sir Purcival. How would you know the wind would never exceed 35 miles an hour? Left the course defenseless, especially the 250-yard par-3 16th. I hear someone actually made a birdie there. But may I be so bold as to suggest that you might have narrowed the fairways a tad? I mean, 14 yards is much wider than Old Tom Morris would have permitted."

"I suppose you're right, but that's over with now. We're here to inspect Royal St. Gorge to see if it's up to snuff. Sorry we caught you on a rainy day."

"Rains here every day—that's one of the charms of Royal St. Gorge—and when the wind whips in off the Bay of Fae, the temperature in July can dip into the 40s. We get fog, too. Remember Angus McClargnie, who once finished 85th in the Open? He was level par on the inward nine in our club championship back in '78 when he hit a two-iron 145 yards into a gale at the 14th and wound up two feet from the pin."

"Good God. Sank his putt, did he?"

"Never had a chance. Turns out that in the fog he had hit to the nearby 4th green. Bit of bad luck. But that's Royal St. Gorge for you, lots of wind, rain and fog."

"Just the sort of thing we want. How long is the course?"

"From the tips it's only 7,292 yards, but we can easily lengthen it to 7,553 by placing several tees back in an adjoining sheep meadow. That would give us three par-5s of more than 625 yards, a record."

"I see on the scorecard that par is 72."

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