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“Anywhere over ‘old’ is a good line, and not much further than ‘l’ in ‘hotel,’” Westwood said.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson simply wanted to put the challenge back into the Old Course, and it’s not the first time. It was stretched 164 yards for the 2005 British Open, and so many tees were rearranged for championship golf that players hit off parts of five courses at St. Andrews.

Yet it was the out-of-bounds stakes in front of the 17th tee that drew so much attention.

“You could hit a shot on 16 and be out of bounds,” Ogilvy said. “And then play your next tee shot from there.”

The Road Hole has not played a big part in deciding the last two British Opens at St. Andrews, mainly because Tiger Woods won by eight and five shots, respectively.

That might not be the case this time.

“You’ve really got to stand up there and hit your drive, and hit it well,” Harrington said. “The way I look at it, you always want to make sure that the guy that wins the Open Championship is tested at some stage coming down the stretch. There’s nobody who’s going to get through 17 without thinking about it for four days.”