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Fourth Ryder Cup Question: Can We All Agree That Harvested Rough Is A Silly And Cynical Stain On A Golf Course?

I know that the horror of great players displaying their skill was problematic for a few cynics who want to see these young, rich, athletic men suffer the indignity of a buried ball in bluegrass for daring to not hit every ball to perfection. However, with essentially no rough at Medinah, we may have just witnessed the most exciting and rewarding three days of shotmaking in modern times.

Oh yes, there were 62s that might have been posted if this was a major, but that's a credit to impeccable greens and silly distances the ball flies. Which is why people harvest four inches of lush stuff along fairways and around greens in the first place: to combat distance increases.

Anyone care to make the case that Medinah would have been a better Ryder Cup venue with high rough lining the fairways and surrounding the greens?

Don't be scared...

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Reader Comments (19)

Well, with some real rough around the greens, Kaymer wouldn't have gotten that nice "member's bounce" on Sunday on 18. Just sayin'… ;^)

No, actually I liked the shotmaking-ability they had. Even light-ish rough introduces an element of uncertainty, so it's not all roses & rainbows if you're off the fairway -- but you're not drowned,either…
10.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterWill o'the Glen
Perhaps, karma prevailed when capt. Love opted for such a candy a$$ setup.
10.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBuckeyeDutch
It is inaccurate to say that there was "light-ish" rough at MCC. I walked it for three days and never stepped on one blade of grass longer than 1.25" long--a length that constituted "fairway" at the muni I played as a kid.

Having played the place a couple times (once for a charity event the day after the member guest when they had reallly shaved down the greens), the drought we've had makes the course play materially more difficult than when it's wet--the ball runs deeper into the trees. After the last couple majors at which time they course got doused with heavy rains and ruined the desired set up, it was fun to see the greens fast and true and firm and bouncing.

I have no problems with them shooting the lights out. I suspect that the membership at MCC will be somewhat distressed that the tons of money they spent redoing #15 was a little mis-spent and the infamy that the 17th hole has now gained will likely make them think about re-designing it a fourth time.
10.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterarnold layne
Answer to question 4:
No, we cannot agree that rough is a silly and cynical stain. But we can agree that true rough lining fairways and around the greens would not have made for a more compelling competition, i.e., a better Ryder Cup venue.
10.2.2012 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
The term "putting competition" has been worn out during this Ryder Cup and probably rightly so. I understand the players have to hit the ball on the green / close to the hole in the first place to have a good birdie chance and there were at least trees in the way if a player was miles off line. But I can't help thinking a large element of the game of golf is taken away when there is no penalty for being all over the place. I'm not talking US Open style setup here but I think something a little more middle ground would be better. Make the fairways wide, keep the greens soft but at least have gradual rough and say.... Pinehurst style run-off areas around the greens to present some great short game options rather than thick rough.
I like variety, but would definitely lean towards more playable setups. I thought Medinah's setup was perfect for the RC. I like the high rough at a U.S. Open, as it helps to define it as the brutal test that it is.
10.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Matre
Watched the replay just now- taller rough really would have added to the difficulty, but Davis was obviously scared of the US driving problems ( Tiger and Phil).
So in effect he made it easier... for everyone...oops.
10.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjjshaka
What separates profesional sports from amateurs is how you control your ball. Whether it's baseball or golfball, the best control their ball. The lack of rough in golfball allows the longer hitter to tilt the game his way. Akin to giving pitchers 5 balls before they walk a hitter.
10.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterold codger
Rough is unnecessary ....if they want higher scores - roll back the ball
10.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Spachler
rough on a tree lined place like Medinah isnt necessary, but if there arent many trees, I have no problem with rough, since I think one should be rewarded for hitting fairways
10.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
Love promised birdies, and delivered. No problem.

I agree with jonnny in a n earlier thread- a first cut and then light rough (IMO -ball depth) along the tree line.

As to what was served- no one is talking about the shaved areas, and bravo to Love for stopping the shaved cut, and having a ball stopping rough before a ball made its way into the water. Putts rolling in the water are boring wastes of time. You want chipping out of heavy rough-- there you have it.
10.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Knowing he was going to set the course up like this his captain picks should have been the ones that did well in the winter season which is a birdie feast.
10.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaboy
Sorry, I don't think golf means tones of birdies. I still love over-par-U.S. Opens
10.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJake
The competition was a resounding success because of the exciting finish but looking back now my overall impression is of a putting contest. The US putted great over the first two days, Europe on the Sunday. Rose holing putts, Colsaerts 360-ing out twice, Furyk's in and out, Stricker, Woods etc
I don't particularly want to see "young, rich, athletic men suffer the indignity of a buried ball" but I do want to see the best golfers in the world demonstrate their control of the ball, if they can't do that then they should struggle on any course.
Did I also hear that 600 trees had been removed from the course in preparation? Oh and the fairway bunkers were a joke too!
Bah! Humbug! Not proper golf! Mutter Mutter :-)
10.3.2012 | Unregistered Commentergreenfee
I am no great fan of penal rough but there has to be some sort of advantage to those who can drive well.Not all courses are designed well enough for there to be a good and bad side of the hole to approach from.
I also agree that not all courses should be set up the same-I would love to see a variety of set ups.
It did contribute to a thrilling match play event though-so congratulations to Love for his decision.
Roll back the ball!!Make drivers smaller!!56 degree max!!
Rough should be high enough to punish the next shot. But it should also allow a great recovery with imagination and shotmaking. Something the US Open doesn't really provide. Rolling back the ball 10% is the obvious thing to do as well.
10.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
The game of golf is meant to be played from tee to green. I really don't see why people have a problem with graded rough. The more off-line the shot, the greater the punishment. The set-up at Medinah had nothing to do with providing more excitement at the RC ... wherever it's played these days, it is always exciting. It had everything to do with providing an american team with a greater chance to win based on superior putting stats. Quite simply, it is not cricket!
There's a lot of misplaced sentimentality for brutal setups in majors, it seems to me. There's nothing wrong with a tough setup for a major championship, but when the greens are like asphalt (Pebble and Pinehurst Opens) and the rough is way too deep (Oakmont, WF, among many others), the watchability of the play goes way down. I don't really like watching men crawl on broken glass. And I don't like a setup that mostly favors the luckiest players in the field. I thought the Ryder Cup setup at Medinah was a fun variant for a match play event. If the criticism is that it rendered the event a putting contest, that is how the overwhelming majority of tournaments are won anyway. I thought it was a clever way to think outside the box and give credit to the PGA and Love for coming up with the idea.
10.3.2012 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
GET RID OF ALL ROUGH! Or Deep Rough! Eat your heart out Mike Davis! Let's start the campaign now. Alister MacKenzie believed that most golf courses shouldn't have rough. This allows the focus to be on good and creative shot making. We saw some great shots at the Ryder Cup. Phil's huge cut around the trees at 12 was one the comes to mind. With ankle deep rough, no shot like that would have been possible.
10.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterG-Man

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