Australian journeyman golfer Scott Hend has launched a scathing attack on the Royal & Ancient (R&A) after missing the cut at the British Open.
Hend was part of the 42 players who were sent out to continue their second rounds in horrendous winds early on Saturday morning at St Andrews and says being forced to play cost him his continuation in the championship.
A winner on the European tour, Hend was putting on the seventh green, shared with the 11th green, when play was restarted.
As American Kevin Kisner protested on the 11th with rules officials, a move that would eventually have play halted some 32 minutes later and back up the course, Hend did the same but was told he faced disqualification if he didn’t press on.
“The R&A was an absolute disgrace this morning deciding to put us out there in the wind,” Hend said.
“They want to come out with a diatribe that the wind picked up 10-15 per cent once they blew the horn, but that’s absolutely ridiculous. We were out there and told them it was no good.
“I make double bogey on the one hole that I play and I miss the cut by two shots.
“They knew well and truly that the course was unplayable – this is a course they’re at all the time and know what happens.
“There was no chance we were going to be able to play properly this morning and it’s very disappointing that a governing body in charge of golf can make that decision.
“It was just ridiculous and makes a mockery of the game. There’s no way we should’ve been playing, not a chance in hell.”
R&A chief executive Peter Dawson admitted the decision turned out to be wrong but still stood by their conduct.
“Clearly, with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better if play hadn’t started, but the decision was taken based on the evidence at the time,” Dawson said.
“I supported it fully, was an integral part of it and I believe it was the right decision given the facts at the time we took it.
“What had happened, and the wind readings show it, is that the wind speeds after 7am increased by about six miles an hour over what we had been experiencing prior to the start of play, and that was enough to tip it over the edge.”
But Hend, now 42, continued to vent, not knowing if it is the last British Open he’ll ever play.
“It goes to show that we then sat in the clubhouse all day and now it’s perfect, but my Open is gone because of that.
“Then again, they’re sitting in there sipping whiskey and smoking cigars and there’s never going to be an admission that they’re wrong. They’re never wrong.
“Of course I’m going to be pissed off. I’ve only missed the cut by two shots and I played pretty well,” he said.
“Who knows when I’m gonna play another Open?” he shrugged.
“I’ll play another one, but they’ll probably stuff that one up, too.
“It’s a series of bad and mismanaged decisions by the people who supposedly should be making proper decisions.