R&A lift ban on mobile phones at The Open

Good call from R&A as mobile phone ban is lifted at The Open

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UPDATED:

10:26 GMT, 23 April 2012

Spectators will be able to use mobile phones at this summer's Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

A decision has been taken to remove the ban which has been in place since 2006 in order to enhance the experience for the general public.

Calls will be allowed in designated areas but photography and video recording will not be permitted during the four days of the championship.

Open season: R&A chief Peter Dawson at a media day at Lytham on Monday

Open season: R&A chief Peter Dawson at a media day at Lytham on Monday

'There is no denying the attachment people feel to their mobile phones both in terms of gathering information and staying in touch with family and friends,' said R&A chief executive Peter Dawson.

'We understand this and allowing their use at the championship will enrich the Open experience.

Dawson continued: 'We understand there will be concerns over this change in policy but we will be liaising with spectators around the tented village and food and drink outlets.

Peter Dawson

'Strict rules will be put in place designed to ensure that play is not affected in any way by the change.

'Our spectators are very knowledgeable and understand golf and so we are confident they will respect the players.'

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Defending champion: Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke won The Open in 2011

'They will keep them up to date with essential championship information, including score, tee times, news and an interactive course guide.'

There have been a significant number of physical changes to the course since David Duval won the last time the Open was staged there in 2001.

All but four holes – the first, ninth, 12th and 15th – have undergone redevelopment, with almost 200 yards added to the overall length of the course and a completely new seventh green constructed.

Times have changed: American David Duval won The Open the last time it was at Royal Lytham and St Annes back in 2001

Times have changed: American David Duval won The Open the last time it was at Royal Lytham and St Annes back in 2001

The links will now play 7,086 yards as opposed to the 6,905 it did 11 years ago.

The 492-yard sixth hole has also been downgraded to a par four for this year's Open, making the course a par 70 for the championship.

Dawson admitted they had probably reached their limits at Lytham in terms of adding extra length.

'There is always room to do something but we are very close to the maximum,' he said.