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Two-tee start for first time in Open history

Alex Perry at Royal Liverpool
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Saturday's tee times at the Open Championship have been restructured after heavy storms were forecast to hit Royal Liverpool throughout the day.

It means for the first time in the history of golf's oldest major, there will be a two-tee start, with players in groups of three going off from the first and 10th tees in a bid to avoid the worst of the weather.

A statement from the R&A said: "The Met Office's onsite forecasters believe that there is a significant risk of thunderstorms and heavy rain, which will interrupt play.

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"This is consistent with the Amber weather warning that's been issued for much of England and Wales. Therefore, we have taken a number of decisions regarding tomorrow's play to maximise the chances of completing the championship on time.

"These are that play is scheduled now to commence at 9am and will be in groups of three, and that we will utilise a two-tee start using the first and 10th tees.

"These measures combined give us the potential to accommodate up to five hours of delay and still complete the third round tomorrow evening.

"If we are delayed tomorrow morning beyond 9am, we will start as early as we can thereafter. We are now working with all of those involved in staging this championship to make the necessary arrangements to facilitate this revised plan."

David Rickman, executive director of rules and equipment standards at the R&A, said: "We believe the three balls and the two-tee start we need about seven hours' play. If we didn't operate those procedures and went with our traditional two balls, one-tee start, based on a field of about 78 players, we would be looking at about 10 and a half hours.

"So we feel that that three-and-a-half-hour difference could be the difference between completing this championship on time and not. And we believe that that should be of paramount importance."

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