Tiger Woods could face Car-Nicey rather than Car-Nasty at the Open in July.
The Royal and Ancient (R&A) wants to avoid a repeat of the carnage of 1999, when Paul Lawrie was a shock play-off winner in the highest scoring Open since 1947.
Deep rough and high winds saw the field combine to finish a nightmare 3,746 over par with a teenage Sergio Garcia left in tears after rounds of 89 and 83.
But lack of growth so far this year means the rough is unlikely to be as severe on the longest track in Open history.
R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson said: “We are not seeking carnage. We are seeking an arena where the players can display their skills to the best effect.”
Head Greenkeeper John Philp wants to hear none of the “whingeing” that was commonplace from the world’s top players in 1999.
Severely criticised for the severity of the rough eight years ago, which he denies had been fertilised, Philp believes a sub-par score could win this time.
And he says he has no sympathy for players who complain about the rough, which has so far failed to take off after last year’s drought and just one day’s rain in the last month.
Pulling no punches, Philp said: “I think you need to have some penalty if people are hitting the ball offline. People going 30 or 40 yards off line should have some sort of penalty, a half shot, or whatever you want to call it.
“They should have to make a recovery shot otherwise what’s the point. I’ve got rough every year, it just depends on the weather largely what sort of penalty that presents.
“I do know I was attacked a bit for how the course was prepared in ‘99. It was water off a duck’s back and people were not looking at the golf course in its entireity.
“They were looking at one factor (the rough). Funny enough, nobody wanted to highlight the playing areas, where players were meant to be!
“If you had gone to Muirfield the same week as 1999, you’d have cracked up. When the members put their ball in the rough, they didn’t go in there. They just dropped another ball and it was the same all up the east coast at the time.”
The R&A will not be offering van de Velde a special invitation to Carnoustie after the Frenchman blew his big chance in 1999.
Van de Velde infamously took his shoes and socks off after a visit to the burn at the 18th, where he ran up a triple bogey seven when a six would have given him the title.
Dawson said: “It’s not fair to anyone else. It won’t happen. It’s just not possible.
“If anyone deserved one to an Open at Carnoustie it would be Jean van de Velde - I remain amazed at what happened - but the Open is a major championship.
“We have never issued an invitation in the modern era. People earn their way in.”
Carnoustie is traditionally the hardest course on the Open rota and several holes have been toughened up
Dawson added: “Carnoustie deserves its reputation as the toughest course we use, but this year we hope to achieve fast-running conditions.”
And Philp weighed in” We want the players to feel that it is not a monster. Not something that is tricked up. If players want to look at it that way, so be it. That is human nature.”