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The Open: Hooter blown an hour too late, blasts Kaymer

The carnage on the fairways was followed by the recrimination in the locker room as the Open organisers were accused of giving preferential treatment to the big names and of being “stupid”.

Martin Kaymer spoke up for disgruntled players when asked about the wind suspension.

“It was unfair,” said the world No 13. “Zach Johnson and myself had asked the officials to stop play earlier. They should have stopped it an hour earlier.

“Maybe they were protecting the better ones who were playing later.”

Play was called off just as the afternoon's feature group reached the first green. Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Camilo Villegas were standing over their putts when the hooter sounded.

By then, Kaymer had suffered enough. “I just wanted to finish and get out of here,” he said.

“It was probably one of the hardest days I've ever had on a golf course. They're lucky the greens are slow because they would have had no choice but to suspend play two or three hours ago.

“I'm four-under, which I think is a very good score in these conditions. And I had the bad side of the draw today.”

However, the governing body defended the decision.

“A number of greens just became unplayable,” said David Rickman, the R&A rules secretary.

“We had problems at the 12th, 13th, 10th, 11th and seventh, – those out at the far end, near the estuary.

“The odd ball oscillating happens, the odd ball moving happens, but when you have a series of incidents in close succession that's the time when play is just not possible.”

This was the first wind delay since Royal Birkdale in 1998 and the R&A has understandably always been reluctant to halt play.

But Paul Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion, agreed with Kaymer in the belief the officials should have acted earlier.

“I would say it was unplayable for a wee while before they stopped it, to be honest,” said the Scot, who played alongside Thomas Levet, another who attacked the decision to allow play to continue.

“When you're over three- or four-foot putts and the ball is oscillating all the time, I think it is unplayable,” said Lawrie.

“We were on the 10th green when they stopped it. I had a jumbo sausage and chips from the nearby van, which was the highlight of the day.”

Lawrie slumped to a humiliating 82, a score which belied his reputation of being an expert in the bad weather.

The gusts were so strong some players were forced to extreme measures to ensure balls did not move in the gusts hammering the Fife coastline.

One player used two tee pegs to keep his ball-marker in place.

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