And They Wonder Why The Players...
Thursday, August 11, 2005 at 09:59 AM
Geoff in 2005 PGA

…don’t like coming to the press tent. One thing is clear if you subject yourself to Tuesday’s pre-PGA press conference transcripts. Someone was working on a story about the 17th hole. And someone was using the PGA to write a Merion-Bobby Jones-Grand Slam preview piece. Still, there were a few moments.

press conference.jpgHere's the transcript with Mike Small, national Club Pro champion. His reward for winning? A pairing with Ben Crane. And amazingly, no one asked him about it.  Phil Mickelson was asked about his And there was this gem:

Q. Obviously both Pinehurst and St. Andrews are very unique setups in major championships. How much a function of those setups do you think it is that the top four or five guys weren't all right there at these majors do we have to look at those setups and how unique those courses are in looking at big picture of the Big Five?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. I think that I wouldn't say that. I think that even though well, I think that the setup can play a factor, but the players playing the best should come out on top each week regardless of the setup. Everybody is playing the same course. Unless you have a ridiculous circumstance like we saw, I believe it was 2002 at Muirfield on Saturday where the leaders just got hammered with 40 mile an hour winds and rain and were shooting in the 80s, unless something like that happens, the best players, regardless of who they are, should come out on top and regardless of the setup.
And Sergio got to relive a moment similar to one of those SI Golf Plus cartoons where the press only asks about Tiger, though Sergio wasn’t asked about Michelle Wie.
Q. Do you think Tiger is back to where he was in 2000, and is it good or bad for golf when he's the dominating player?

SERGIO GARCIA: Excuse me?

Q. Do you think Tiger is back to where he was in 2000, and is it good or bad for golf when he's the dominant player?

SERGIO GARCIA: 2000? 2000 was Sahalee Valhalla. He's not back at where he was in 2000 for sure; he's playing well, I don't know, he's got his problems and I've got my problems and we'll try to work those out. But I'm looking forward to this week. I think it's going to be very exciting and hopefully I can get it going and give myself a chance, so that will be good.
Then there was Tiger's turn to face the scribblers. Here’s a beautiful exchange:
Q. When it comes to what you keep in your bag, are you a guy that likes to tinker with loft and lie and swing weight and things like that, and if you do, what kind of thinking goes into those decisions?

TIGER WOODS: To be honest with you, my lofts, my lie, my length on my irons haven't changed since I was 14 years old. So to answer your question, no.
Q. Why not?
TIGER WOODS: Why? Because they have worked (smiling). I've won a lot of tournaments since I was 14. I'm not going to change. But I have changed my 3 wood obviously and my driver over the years and trying to keep up with everybody off the tees, but my irons are still very weak compared to today's standards. They are the standards back in the 60s. People have that so called gap wedge. Well, my pitching wedge is like 51 degrees. My 9 iron is like 45, and that's like most people's gap wedges. A lot of the guys' pitching wedge is like my 9 irons, so I play with very weak lofts, but they have worked so far.
Here's Tiger endorsing Tigerball/flogging. Note the last line.

Q. We've seen a lengthening of major tournament courses the last few years. Is moving the tee boxes back an answer, and do you see this continuing and where do you see this heading?

TIGER WOODS: I don't see why it won't stop, because obviously the golf balls are only going to get faster and longer. Guys are going to get bigger and stronger. Agronomy helps, too, as well. If you get the fairways hard and fast, it's amazing how much shorter a golf course can play. We played Pinehurst this year and we thought it was a very short golf course, and it's not. It was playing close to 7,300 yards, which we thought was short because the golf course was fast. If you get it fast and hard, you can make the golf courses ridiculously long, because they don't play long. This week is different. Obviously the fairway is very soft and making ballmarks on every tee shot, even with drivers.

I don't see why they won't continue making the golf courses longer, just because guys are going to continue to hit it further, and it's just kind of the nature of the game until they put there's a speed limit on the faces and on the balls, but we seem to every year find something a little bit faster and a little bit longer. Granted, guys are giving up a lot on the greens by going to harder balls to hit it further, but that's how the game has changed. It's not relying upon spin around the greens anymore. It's about distance off of the tees.

Pretty sad that major setups resort to this kind of nonsense, as pointed out by Tiger:

Q. The club has made a conscious decision to putt Kentucky bluegrass as a consistent item in their rough. What did you think of the density of the rough in terms of other PGA Championships and how you think this will all play out towards the end of the event?

TIGER WOODS: Well, the rough is really tough out there. The bluegrass is one thing, but I saw them raking it up, and not only are they raking it up, they are raking it towards the tee, so every ball that goes in there is into the grain. It's very interesting to see how they are setting up the golf course. There's just one little section probably eight yards across right off the fairways that they rake right towards the tees. Very similar to what USGA does, they always rake it towards the tees so you have into the grain lies, so therefore you can't control your shot and you can't normally get to the greens. That's how they can make the rough play more difficult. This year is no exception. It's going to be tough. It's one of those things where you either hit it down the middle or you bomb it in the gallery over there, stomp it down and you're all right. I don't recommend hitting it in the gallery all the time, but it's a lot better than hitting that bluegrass.


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