R&A secretary Peter Dawson has reacted with astonishment to Vijay Singh's comments on the state of the rough at St Andrews, writes Michael Blair.
Singh, the world No 2, likened the Old Course to the infamous state that Carnoustie was presented in 1999. There was uproar on that occasion when players were expected to hit fairways that were only 12 yards wide at some landing points. "I was surprised by what was reported," Dawson said. "We don't do anything to doctor the rough but this year's growing conditions have been unusual.
"We had a very long dry, cold period in the early part of the spring, then it got wet but was still cold. And the rough has grown up as it has down the east coast in the last six weeks or so. It has become severe in places but to compare it with Carnoustie I find astonishing.
"As I think through the golf course, I can think of only three or four holes where the rough is a factor at all. It's certainly not a factor at the first, the second or the third. Maybe there's a bit on the fourth, maybe the fifth but there's nothing on six, seven, eight, nine or ten.
"The 17th has become a hole requiring a more accurate tee shot than perhaps in past years with the rough that's there on the right. Other than that I find comparisons with Carnoustie very surprising."
Is the Old Course, in calm conditions, a sufficient challenge to the world's best players? Dawson was asked. It had been calm in 1995 and in 2000, he recalled, but the top players in the world at the time came through to win, which is always the R&A's strong hope.
Dawson did add, however, that those victories had been achieved with record scores.
"Clearly it is a course that can find the best player in the world in calm conditions. That's been proven in the last two Opens here and I'm very confident that this course will throw up the best players on Sunday afternoon."