Scots golfer Paul Lawrie has admitted he is surprised that spectators will be allowed to use mobile phones at the Open Championship this year.
Phones were first banned by ruling body The R&A at the 2007 Open in Carnoustie after players complained about the growing use of the devices the previous year.
At this year’s tournament, held at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s in July, spectators will be allowed to make calls in designated areas, though photography and videos of the play is forbidden.
Aberdonian Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion, said he does not expect the relaxation of the rules to cause great disruption at the tournament because of the respect British fans have for the game.
Lawrie, the current world number 42 golfer, said: “Luckily the British spectators know the story – they’re the best in the world – so I can’t see that being a problem.
“It’s probably a little bit surprising that they’ve done it, but if the R&A feel the spectators can take their phones and not use them then fair enough.
“In China last week, because they are not a real golfing nation, it was a nightmare with all the phones going off and chatting on your back swing. They just don’t know.
“For British golf fans and Scottish golf fans, I don’t think it’ll be a problem.”