Wednesday, 26 January 2011
The Royal Golf Club, Bahrain  (Getty Images)
The Royal Golf Club, Bahrain (Getty Images)

Players, officials, television viewers and spectators have been asked to be aware that, for the purposes of this week’s Volvo Golf Champions, there will be no ‘bunkers’ as such on The Montgomerie Course, with all sand areas defined as waste areas.

At The Royal Golf Club in Bahrain, it is often very difficult to make a judgement on what is a waste area and what is a bunker.

The rules covering each of these areas are very different. Waste areas are through the green and there are fewer restrictions; you can take practice swings, you can move loose impediments, you can ground your club lightly behind the ball.

Bunkers are hazards. No practice swings can be taken, loose impediments cannot be moved, the ground cannot be touched with the club before the stroke is made and there are penalties for a breach of these rules.

To provide some clarity in this area and to avoid many needless penalties, all sand areas (other than those marked as water hazards) will this week be treated as waste areas and are through the green.

This means that players will be able to take practice swings, they will be able to move loose impediments and they will be able to ground the club lightly behind the ball in all sand areas.

European Tour Chief Referee Andy McFee, said: “We have taken this decision to provide clarity for the players given that the rules in the two areas are so very different. The golf course is absolutely fine but the blurring of the boundaries between desert and bunker, whilst visually attractive, potentially provides a major problem of definition.

“As this is common throughout the course and not restricted to the odd situation here and there, we felt this was the best way to exercise our duty to define the course properly.

“It has been done before – Kiawah Island Ocean Course is the best example and both The 1991 Ryder Cup and the World Cup of Golf in 2003 were played with no bunkers on the course.

“It will lead to some odd looking situations but that is infinitely preferable to players incurring penalties. As we know, television viewers are quick to call or write in when they see something wrong but on this occasion we are alerting them, in advance, that this course is different.

"It is the reverse of the situation prevalent at Whistling Straits last year during the 2010 US PGA Championship. On that course, there are 1200 sand areas and the vast majority of them look like bunkers, so the clarity was provided by declaring them all bunkers.

"At The Royal Golf Club, many of the questionable areas look like and merge into desert, so we are going to treat them as desert."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CASEY, PaulENG18-20
T2JIMÉNEZ, Miguel AngelESP18-19
T2HANSON, PeterSWE18-19
4GALLACHER, StephenSCO18-18
5KARLSSON, RobertSWE18-17
T6NOH, Seung-yulKOR18-16
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