Open plans changed due to bad weather forecast

By Tony Jimenez

By Tony Jimenez

HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - British Open organizers have decided to change the schedule for Saturday's third round in view of the forecast for heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Play will begin at 0900 local time (0800 GMT), with a simultaneous shotgun start on the front and back nines, in an effort to dodge the bad weather.

"We have taken a number of decisions regarding tomorrow's play to maximize the chances of completing the championship on time," said Royal & Ancient (M&A) executive director of rules David Rick man.

"These are that play is scheduled now to commence at 8am," he added in a prepared statement that was later corrected to 9am.

"Play will be in groups of three and we will utilizes 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."

Rick man said it would be the first time a shotgun start would be used in the third round of golf's oldest major.

"All the professional advice that we are receiving tells us that significant disruption is highly likely and it's only responsible of us to react appropriate to that," he explained.

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)