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Muirfield Already On Edge, Players Predicting Afternoon Chaos

I've just returned from Muirfield where light breezes, sunshine and dicey hole locations mean...trouble.

As you've probably seen on television, several hole locations are on knobs or steep slopes, with players citing the 8th and 18th as major trouble spots while the grass continues to lose moisture and take on the look of marble.

Martin Kaymer called the greens "fiery" before saying, "We'll see what the scores are this afternoon."

Phil Mickelson after the round was even more blunt, noting that "playing early gave us at least a fighting chance."

He explained the hurdle afternoon players face.

"The greens are dying, and the holes are on edges of slopes that the ball just simply won't stay. You drop it, it won't stay by the hole."

Besides the ridiculous 18th hole location, Mickelson said the eighth warrants attention.

"No. 8 is probably the worst one that you'll see if you watch it on TV. It won't stop until it collects in a little level area about eight feet away, six, eight feet away.

"But we got [to] let go of our ego sometimes and just set the course up the way the best players can win."

That comment was directed at the R&A and he clarified:

"Well, hopefully they'll, like I said, let go of their ego and set it up reasonable, but you just never know."

Stewart Cink saw the same issue. "I couldn't believe how fast they were toward the end of the day," he said. "I three-putted on 14, I had about a 35, 40-foot putt and I hit it 15 feet past. And everything on the back nine was just racing past the hole. So in the afternoon I don't think they're going to get any slower.

Ian Poulter took to Twitter to back up Mickelson's remarks:



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Reader Comments (18)

This is feeling very Shinne-cookie
07.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
We put the stimp on a couple of my local greens here on the west coast of the UK - running at 12 with no specific low riding or rolling. Welcome to links golf.
07.18.2013 | Unregistered Commentermehstg
Stimp is one thing, pin locations is another. If you put pins in appropriate spots, you can run the greens as fast as you want.
07.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
STFU, play shots and grind. Having to suffer non PGAT conditions for four events a year requires an attitude adjustment.
07.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Phil's was upset about the pin placement on 18 before he hit his first putt.
PGA Tour members are probably the biggest whiners on the planet once they can no longer play target golf
07.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Morris
I don't see any whining about not being able to play target golf. I see criticisms of pin placements for the green speeds.
07.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
I read somewhere that they are all playing the same course.
Some do it better than others.
07.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
On the BBC today - interview with R&A's Peter Dawson to discuss difficulty of set up particularly hole position at 8, cut to live footage as Tiger knocks it to 4 feet at 8. Poulter whines when things don't go his way. Discuss!
07.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennydad
Does the setup by Dawson and his boys, coupled with what Davis did at Merion, not show just how out of control the modern ball is? In other words, they are so scared that these architectural gems are going to get eaten up that they feel like they have to do crazy stuff like put pins on slopes and build tees on par 3's 80 yards behind the regular ones so they can make a 265 yard par 3. I'm really surprised and disappointed by the R&A's setup. Historically they have let the weather dictate the score and never really seemed bothered by the final score. Obviously that has changed.
07.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
The RandA have been setting the course up hard for years- pin positions as tricky as these are nothing new.O'Meara said that in his 25 Opens he had seen much tougher conditions before.The big difference this year is how fast the course is playing- but surely if you have a par 5 playing a drive and 8 iron as at 17 then there has to be some sort of trade off?
07.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChico
Phil is a smart guy, and his comments are certainly calculated. He's hoping that the R & A will listen and either (or both) sprinkle some water on the greens or put the pins in easier spots tomorrow, when he has to play in the afternoon.
07.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjsmith32
You're right!
07.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhil m
Did you see Tiger's putt? I was standing behind the green. He had to be extremely careful with a 5 footer and he was. He missed. If it hit the hole the wrong way it lips out and is 10 feet away. The hole location was overkill. Nothing strategic about it, purely to push scores up.
07.18.2013 | Registered CommenterGeoff
Hey Geoff
Is Phil right when he said two or three of the greens are "dying." May be a semantic miscue but do you think they are losing some greens this early?
07.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterclashman
jsmith is on point, Philly is trying to influence pin placements for his afternoon round tomorrow. Smart move actually. Like a coach working a referee, if you are good at it, it will pay off.
Phil was a psychology major in college.
07.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNouveau
Agreed on PM comment reasoning.
07.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth

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