When Tiger Woods won his first British Open at St. Andrews in 2000 with a major championship record of 19-under-par 269, officials of the Royal and Ancient governing body decided they would add 164 yards to the Old Course in an attempt to keep scores from getting lower.
That mission was accomplished, although this time Woods won the Open at St. Andrews with a 14-under 274. On Monday, those charged with maintaining the course's integrity said that when the Open likely returns here in five years, very few changes -- especially in length -- will be necessary.
The R&A has not yet made it official, but the 2010 Open almost certainly will be played again on the Old Course. It will mark the 150th anniversary of the first British Open, played at Prestwick, and the so-called "home of golf" is expected to be the venue for that historic celebration.
"We were very pleased that the leader board going into the final day was so strong," said Martin Kippax, chairman of the R&A's championship committee. "There were several other people capable of winning the championship."
Woods won wire to wire and his prodigious length off the tee again was a major factor in his success. He led the field in driving at 341 yards per measured tee shot and finished tied for first in putting, a lethal combination on a golf course with hard fairways that measured faster in some places than any of the greens, according to Peter Dawson, executive director of the R&A.
Because the wind never really howled, Woods was able to reach four par 4s in a single shot off the tee and both long par 5s in two shots. He was not alone, but Dawson said the R&A was able to protect the course by allowing the fairways to get so fast and by placing pins in places where only perfect shots would produce relatively short putts.
-- Leonard Shapiro