Play was suspended at 7.32am due to high winds and did not resume until 6pm.
"It's been a tough day for everyone. Clearly with the benefit of hindsight it would have been better if play hadn't started, but the decision was taken based on the evidence at the time," Dawson told reporters.
"I supported it fully, was an integral part of it, and I believe it was the right decision, given the facts at the time we took it.
"We spent a great deal of time out at the far end of the golf course and we did not get one ball move right up to 6.45am, so we took the view that the course was playable, although difficult, and play began. It proved that as the wind increased that we would have been better not starting, but we did start."
As a result of the delay, the Open will now be finished on Monday.