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Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

Frequently the natives resent the invasion of the golf pioneer . . . Once an irate farmer emptied a thirty-three at myself and the engineer at a range of only five hundred yards, and he made us take cover too. He was a renter, and knew that we were there for no good. As he took no interest whatever in the Royal and Ancient.
A.W. TILLINGHAST

 

    

Wednesday
May232007

Only In San Francisco...

Thanks to reader Sean for this Isabel Wade, Jill Lounsbury and Sally Stephens SF Chronicle complaint about San Francisco city golf courses.

They write that the San Francisco city courses are only at 40% of capacity, and therefore they need to be converted into hiking trails. Of course, that's a pretty good number, right? Much more and they'd be a mob scene. To put it another way, the hiking trails they want so badly would lose their appeal at 40% "capacity." No? Anyway...

A 2004 Recreation Assessment Survey conducted by a national consultant for the Recreation and Park Department recommends that the city build 35 more soccer fields to bridge the gap. Recreational needs in San Francisco today are far different than those of 50 years ago, according to the same 2004 study. Survey respondents ranked golf 16th out of 19 on a list of desired types of recreation. In contrast, 76 percent of respondents wanted more hiking trails, followed by more community gardens.

At the same time, a 2003 National Golf Foundation study showed that only 15 percent of golfers in America are minorities and only 23 percent of golfers are women.

 Ah...I knew that was coming.

Golf hardly reflects the diversity of San Francisco compared to many other recreational activities that enjoy broader participation. In addition to hiking trails, city residents want more soccer fields, skate parks, basketball courts, lacrosse fields, dog runs and venues for Tai chi and disc-golf courses. Why aren't the needs of these users being fairly considered?

Venues for Tai chi? Don't they have enough Starbucks already?

There are many creative ideas for the use of one or more golf courses but the only option going to the Board of Supervisors is to lock up four golf courses under lease for 30 years. Sharp Park, the site of both a threatened and an endangered species, could be a wonderful nature center and restored wetland for the Bay Area, with new hiking trails open to all. Lincoln Park, right next door to the Presidio Golf Course, could be changed into a nine-hole course with the other half converted into a golf driving range. This would still leave acres for additional soccer fields, a dog run, hiking trails and perhaps an amazing event venue overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands on what is now the 17th hole.

Oh yeah, the world needs another wedding chapel. Especially one where the weather is so benign and pleasant.

Tuesday
May222007

Olazabal, McGinley To Spend Next 15 Months Being Asked "Will You Play As An Assistant Captain?"

Lawrence Donegan reports the story only a European writer could call news. They even held a press conference for this momentous occasion!

Tuesday
May222007

Stack and Tilt Follow Up, Vol. 1

The original post on Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer's teaching method received all sorts of intriguing comments, including someone signing under Andy's name (and sounding like him!).

After fiddling with the concept on the range a bit Sunday, I have to say I love backswing concept because I've never believed the traditional weight shift was a natural move (nor very easy on the right knee). But as for the downswing, I'm still not clear on what thought or sensation you want to trigger. So I have the same question as reader Mike Uysal, who wrote that Plumber and Bennett...

...advocates upward thrust of the buttock muscles while the arms are swinging down. MY QUESTION IS: As the body stands up through the soda can being crushed with the left leg (right hand player) - are the arms swinging down or is the trunk rotating left and tilting with arms close to the rib cage?

In other words, is it an arm swing or trunk rotation?

Anyone out there understand the question he/we are asking and have a thought? Because Lord knows, we all need more swing thoughts! 

Tuesday
May222007

Ogilvy Golf Digest Interview, Vol 3: "It’s just different."

ogilvy5.jpgGeoff Ogilvy's nuanced take on changes in the game as detailed in his Golf Digest interview with John Huggan:

You’ve criticized what has happened to the modern game. Is it that bad?

It’s just different. There’s a very large percentage of golfers who enjoy the game more with the large clubheads and the balls and all the rest of it. Playing with the old clubs was like driving an old car: They have a bit of charm about them. But it’s still nice to drive a new car with all the bells and whistles.

Is the modern game better or worse as a spectator sport? A lot of people think it’s less interesting to watch than even 10 years ago.

That’s true. But it has more to do with the way golf courses on tour play today rather than the equipment. The equipment is just the catalyst. The trouble is that 99.9 percent of golfers don’t hit the ball like a professional. They don’t want to look for their balls in the rough all day. They play to enjoy the company of friends and watch the ball fly through the air.

Still, I would counter that unregulated changes in the ball have driven the two things Ogilvy hates most: soft conditions (to help hold the harder, less spinnable ball) and high rough/narrow fairways (to try and take driver out of the player's hands).
 

Tuesday
May222007

"Natalie is even prettier on the inside."

topper-gulbis.jpgFrom Steve DiMeglio's USA Today story on what a hot babe fine humanitarian Natalie Gulbis is:

"The calendar is a reflection of my personality — there's a little golf, fitness, casual and swimsuits," she says of her latest calendar. "I think it's important for fans to see a different side of you."

LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens doesn't have a problem with the calendar.
Uh oh, this ought to be good.
"If you're in shape enough and gorgeous enough to do a calendar, in a swimsuit or other outfits, be my guest," Bivens says. "We have a lot of women who are showing that it's OK to be an attractive woman and a world-class athlete at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive.

You'd hope she would stop right there, but no, not our Carolyn!

"And Natalie is even prettier on the inside. The way she conducts herself on the tour, how much she cares and is respectful of her fellow players and the fans, makes her a role model."

I think I can speak for most of us and say, that's why we buy her calendar: her beautiful insides.

Monday
May212007

Oakmont No. 8, Vol. 1

20070522rr_OakmontHole8_230.jpgGerry Dulac look at the buzz surrounding Oakmont's 288-yard No. 8, and I like the USGA's Mike Davis' response to questions about the distance...

"You go back and look at the golden age of architecture and how many par 3s in the 1920s were designed to be long par 3s with drivers in your hands," Davis said. "You won't believe how many courses have 250-yard par 3s back in the 1920s when they were playing with hickories."

Frankly, it's not the most interesting green anyway, so why not spice things up a bit! 

Monday
May212007

Barr On Pittsburgh

If you are going to the U.S. Open at Oakmont, Golf Channel's Adam Barr has a nice rundown of things to know about Pittsburgh, including a homestand at the cool-looking PNC Park.

Monday
May212007

The Value Of The Commissioner?

Mark Heisler penned a typically entertaining Sunday L.A. Times column on David Stern's mind-numbingly poor decision last week to suspend Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for game 5 of the now complete Suns-Spurs series. In the piece, he questions Stern's ability to lead after this and mentions his salary is $6 million a year. Another NY Times story I found cites it at $3.5 million (but I'm guessing that Heisler has good information that Stern's bonuses and perks take it to $6 million).

finchem.jpgI bring this up because we know Tim Finchem is actually making nearly as much as Stern with his announced extension of 6 years at $4.5 million, not including perks and bonus packages that many believe have it going higher than that).

I'm curious if you think Finchem's worth an amount comparable to Stern who prior to this incident, has struggled with rules changes to make the game more fun to watch but who has made his owners millions and kept the league healthy.  

Finchem has shown a consistent lack of creativity and imagination when it comes to course architecture (look how many lousy TPC's have been built under his watch), history (sayonara Western Open), varied tournament formats (72-hole stroke play every week gets old) and the role that reduced creativity plays in undermining the "product" (leaving equipment governance to the USGA and R&A). 

The FedEx Cup will likely prove to be a dud in terms of making players tee it up more and in creating a compelling playoff scenario with a big, thrilling finish like the LPGA's ADT Championship (but the players may be as much to blame for this).

However, Finchem's never done something as stupid as Stern just did, a move that undermined the credibility of the league and the integrity of the playoffs. Even as pathetic as his stance on drug testing has been, no one can contend that it has hurt the PGA Tour. Yet.

So is Finchem worth $28 million over the next six years?

Monday
May212007

Ogilvy's Golf Digest Interview, Vol. 2

Moving on to the last hole at Winged Foot, I thought this bit from Geoff Ogilvy's Golf Digest Interview with John Huggan was interesting because he downplays the severity of he divot lie in the 18th fairway and emphasizes (as we suspected here last year) that the chip shot on 18 was rather incredible. I also like the sound practical advice about wedge play around the greens from Dale Lynch...

So you posed the finish?

Oh, yes. [Laughs.] I looked at it for a long time. It hit up on the green, and even then I thought it was going to be all right. But then you hear the groans. And it starts trickling back. All week long shots had been taking big bounces up that green. I’m still surprised, given how hard the greens get at the end of a U.S. Open.

When I get to the ball, I realize it’s in a pretty filthy little spot. But then I see that Colin had made 6.

I was thinking if I got up and down for par I wasn’t going to be any worse than second. At that point, all Phil has to do is par the last to win, unless I chip in. But that wasn’t realistic. The reality was that I was 30 yards from the hole, 10 feet below the level of the cup and chipping off a really tight lie. And he’s one shot in front. It still didn’t look great.

I hit a pretty good chip shot, probably the best of my life. It was way better than the one I holed on the previous green.

Did your upbringing in Melbourne help you there? Some people would have putted from where you were.

Two things helped me there.

One, growing up in the Sandbelt, all you have there is tight-lie chips up hills when you miss a green. And that was a very Sandbelt-type shot off a tight lie. So I’m sure there was a level of comfort somewhere at the back of my head, knowing I had done that a thousand times at home.

Two, about three years ago Lynchy [instructor Dale Lynch] decided that my chipping action was poor for that particular type of shot. I did what most people do: I was trying to spin the ball a lot. I was hitting sand wedge and lob wedge from anywhere, taking more and more loft off the club. Before I knew it, I was hitting the shot I should hit, but with the wrong club.

It sounds obvious, but if the shot calls for an 8-iron, you hit an 8-iron; if you need a wedge, you hit a wedge. That helps your technique. For the first 18 months I just couldn’t do it. I was terrible. But I improved. And the reason I worked on it so hard was because of shots like I had at 18. Two and a half years ago I would have hit it a lot lower. So I would have had to really open the face and cut across the ball. Which is risky.

And the club?

I played it with my lob wedge.

You made it look straightforward.

Maybe, but it was a shot I’ve spent maybe five minutes on every day for the last three years. Sixty degrees is a lot of loft. But I played the shot properly with the right height. It came off just like I wanted. Even better, if you can imagine. At that point I was, for want of a better phrase, s----ing myself a bit. There are 10,000 people ’round the green, and it’s the culmination of 72 holes. 

 

Monday
May212007

Seve WD's To Spend More Time At Home Reminiscing About Kiawah In '91

Citing personal reasons...but hey, he opened a spot for Mike Donald who could use a break.

Monday
May212007

DNP's

I'm not sure about Zach Johnson's claim regarding the field in Atlanta, at least based on the DNP's in the FedEx Cup standings...

1 1 Tiger Woods 7 16,716 DNP 3 5
2 2 Phil Mickelson 12 15,818 DNP 2 5
3 3 Vijay Singh 14 13,661 DNP 2 4
4 9 Zach Johnson 12 12,327 1 2 4
5 4 Charles Howell III 14 11,856 CUT 1 5
6 5 Adam Scott 8 8,641 DNP 1 3
7 6 John Rollins 14 8,391 DNP
3
8 7 Luke Donald 12 8,121 DNP
5
9 8 Mark Calcavecchia 13 8,044 DNP 1 4
10 10 Aaron Baddeley 12 7,809 DNP 1 4
11 11 Boo Weekley 15 7,717 CUT 1 3
12 12 Sergio Garcia 9 6,977 DNP
4
13 13 Rory Sabbatini 14 6,672 T24
4
14 18 Henrik Stenson 7 6,618 T9 1 2
15 14 Geoff Ogilvy 11 6,377 DNP
3
16 15 Nick Watney 12 6,140 DNP 1 2
17 16 Steve Stricker 12 6,107 DNP
4
18 17 Robert Allenby 12 6,079 DNP
6
19 19 Scott Verplank 11 5,970 DNP 1 2
20 20 Mark Wilson 12 5,609 DNP 1 1
21 21 Jeff Quinney 13 5,376 DNP
5
22 22 Ken Duke 14 5,308 DNP
4
23 23 Bubba Watson 13 5,281 DNP
4
24 24 Charley Hoffman 15 5,232 CUT 1 1
25 25 Ernie Els 8 5,216 DNP
2
26 26 Paul Goydos 10 5,103 DNP 1 1
27 27 Trevor Immelman 11 5,047 DNP
3
28 28 Brett Wetterich 14 5,016 DNP
3
29 29 Heath Slocum 12 4,898 CUT
3
30 74 Ryuji Imada 16 4,844 2
2
31 30 Anthony Kim 13 4,702 DNP
4
32 31 Jim Furyk 11 4,701 DNP
3
33 34 Stewart Cink 12 4,680 T24
3
34 32 Jose Coceres 6 4,548 DNP
3
35 33 Vaughn Taylor 13 4,524 W/D
3
36 35 Jerry Kelly 13 4,437 DNP
4
37 36 K.J. Choi 14 4,381 DNP
3
38 37 Stuart Appleby 12 4,276 DNP
2
39 39 David Toms 12 4,209 T30
4
40 42 Kevin Sutherland 13 4,136 T16
1
41 38 John Senden 12 4,126 DNP
2
42 60 Camilo Villegas 12 4,031 T3
2
43 40 Justin Rose 6 3,882 DNP
3
44 41 Bart Bryant 13 3,861 CUT
2
45 43 Ian Poulter 10 3,640 DNP
3
46 44 Rocco Mediate 10 3,574 DNP
2
47 45 Lucas Glover 14 3,504 DNP
2
48 46 Brandt Snedeker 15 3,479 DNP
1
49 47 John Mallinger 14 3,423 DNP
2
50 48 Padraig Harrington 9 3,255 DNP
2

 

Monday
May212007

"It's too early to call it a bust, but it's not too early to be concerned about its utter lack of buzz."

Golf.com's Gary Van Sickle gets all curmudgeonly about 2007's disappointments. Two that stood out for his crisp assessments:

10. The FedEx Cup The PGA Tour has tried to force feed us the points standings. The Golf Channel keeps cramming the points list down our throats. Still, no one cares. Nothing seems to be at stake. The race to the FedEx Cup playoffs? Hardly, since 144 players qualify. Which is everybody who is anybody. And why keep track of the points since they're just going to be reset for the playoffs? There is no drama, no interest and no reason to get interested in the FedEx Cup points standings yet. It's too early to call it a bust, but it's not too early to be concerned about its utter lack of buzz.

That's just so wrong. After all, if the playoffs started today, Anders Hansen would not be in them. Gary, you can't buy tension like that!

Moving on, I think this assessment is consistent with what we've seen in the past. Namely, that time tends to put over-the-top course setups into perspective...

3. The Masters It was disappointing that what I've been writing for the last five years was proven correct, that Augusta National with firm and fast conditions and some wind is the toughest golf course in the world. For three days, conditions were so difficult and greens so firm that nobody could make many birdies. Never have so many good shots turned out not so good. As a result, the best players weren't able to separate themselves from the pack. Skill was equalized. It wasn't until Masters officials saw the light and softened the greens for Sunday's final that we began to see the familiar birdies and eagles and hear the familiar roars from Amen Corner. Former chairman Hootie Johnson was right to lengthen and tough the course but went a bit too far. It doesn't need rough — or whatever quaint term they call it — and it doesn't need all those extra trees planted on 7, 11 and 15. For the first time in recent memory, the Masters came close to being boring for three days.
Monday
May212007

"Everybody that teed it up this week, for the most part ... is going to be in the top 50, top 30, top 15 players in the world.’’

Golfweek's Travis Hill takes an entertaining look at the weekend's more outlandish quotes and happenings, including the above Zach Johnson quote along with those painfully embarrassing final day interviews with the VP of Painfully Embarrassing Final Day Interviews (I'm guess Hill was inspired to rant after Peter Kostis's breathless Q&A at the AT&T).

Sunday
May202007

Update: 2007 PGA Tour Driving Distance Watch, Week 20

pgatour.jpgA few readers have wondered why this site no longer offers weekly driving distance updates. Frankly, sheer laziness drove the decision. Though my lazy attitude stems from a sixth sense that the governing bodies are so remarkably impotent and prone to spin that tracking the numbers is pointless.

One reader inquired as to why the numbers were down this year and how they compared to 2006 after twenty weeks of PGA Tour play.

Well at this point last year, the Tour average was 289.2 yards and 920 drives of 350 yards or more had been struck.

2007's are down significantly: 284.7 yards and 785 drives of 350 yards or more.

There have been 17 drives over 400 yards, the same total as 2006 at this point.

Eight players are averaging over 300 yards in 2007 (18 at this point last year).

Bubba Watson was leading at 321.2 yards last year, and leads again in 2007 at 314.7 yards off the tee.

While many conclusions can be drawn from this data--narrowed fairways have finally strangled the life out of the game or soggy conditions continue to slow things down--I believe there is little doubt that the players are simply working out less!

Yes, the vaunted workout programs we've heard about must not be what they used to be.

After all, we heard that the distance spike since 1999 was not caused by the ball or forgiving launch-monitor fit drivers. No, it was those superathletes like Tim Herron and Jeff Quinney and their Jack LaLanne workout programs.

So now that the numbers have dropped, I suppose no one will dare suggest that the equipment isn't as good as it was in 2005? Or that perhaps guys were actually using illegal drivers a few years ago? 

No, they're just slacking in the weight room. And you know what that means? No need for performance enhancing drug testing!

Though I do promise to check the numbers more regularly since last week's AT&T Classic caused a 1-yard spike in the average and tacked on 130 drives of 350 yards or more.

Sunday
May202007

Time Inc. Now Hiring: Editor-in-Chief

Thanks to a reader who caught this Time Inc.-placed classified in Sunday's New York Times:

U.S.A. Editor (Editor-in-Chief) (Manhattan) - Develops policy & content for monthly golfing magazine by directing the editorial operations in all key areas, including instruction, travel, news, equipment, & features. Coordinates all editorial depts. in planning substantive content, generating story ideas, editing of copy, & developing graphic design of magazine. Works w/marketing, circulation, & advertising departments to develop brand & enhance profitability. Liaises w/art & photo depts. to ensure that story briefs are followed strictly. Plans layout, & directs Creative Director & Art Directors to ensure adherence to set parameters. Requirements: Bachelor's in English or Journalism, or foreign equivalent, & 5 yrs of post Bachelor's exp. in position offered. Send resumes to: Time Inc. HR Dept, Attn: Editor-in-Chief Role, 1271 Ave. of the Americas, NY, NY 10020.  

Is it me or this a tad strange?

Sunday
May202007

The Godfather of Australian Golf

Norman Von Nida passes away at 93...

Saturday
May192007

Huggan On Phil and Tiger

John Huggan makes a couple of good points in his look at the possibility of a Tiger-Phil "rivalry"...

Only 21 days into his new relationship with instructor Butch Harmon, Mickelson played the closing 18 holes of the so-called fifth major in Woods-like fashion, hitting green after green in regulation - 16 of 18 under the pressure of the fourth round - until no-one was left to take him on. It was a fine victory, and a beautifully- constructed round of golf.

Amid the understandable euphoria, however, it must be said that Mickelson has a way to go before he can look Woods in the eye consistently. A closer look at Lefty's numbers from Sawgrass reveals that his driving accuracy and greens-hit percentages were actually a little down on his season average. Which is no surprise.

Huh...go figure. 

Saturday
May192007

113,527,276,681,000,000 to 1

Carl Bialik crunches the numbers in his WSJ column on the odds of multiple hole-in-one's holes-in-one.*  And no one told his editors that you make a hole in one. You don't hit it.
Jacqueline Gagne has had 10 once-in-a-lifetime experiences in less than four months.

Since Jan. 23, the 46-year-old from Rancho Mirage, Calif., has hit 10 holes in one, or just eight fewer than were hit on the entire Ladies Professional Golf Association tour last year.

Her local paper, the Desert Sun of Palm Springs, Calif., has corroborated Ms. Gagne's feat, running notes alongside articles from editors saying they're just as skeptical as readers, but everything has checked out.

The paper also asked a local statistician, Michael McJilton of the College of the Desert, to compute the odds against the feat. The result, which headlined the article: 113,527,276,681,000,000 to 1. And that was after just seven aces. I asked Mr. McJilton to repeat the computation after Ms. Gagne hit three more in the following couple of weeks, over a total of just 75 rounds. He returned the astronomical number of roughly 12 septillion (12 followed by 24 zeroes) to 1. Such an unlikely event should never happen. It's like winning the lottery four straight times. No wonder David Letterman came calling.
Saturday
May192007

The Warm Up

Thanks to reader John for this Tim Carroll story in the WSJ's weekend report on the art of warming up, or in Mac O'Grady's case, not hitting balls before the round.

Friday
May182007

"It's more lush than I think we'd kind of hoped"

Tim Rosaforte's online column looks at Oakmont and the potential conditions for this year's Open.

"I was just there Sunday-Monday, and it's more lush than I think we'd kind of hoped," said Mike Davis, the course set-up man for the USGA. Davis sent correspondence to Zimmers, telling him to send out the mowers once it stops raining. Last year at Winged Foot, the first step in the graduated rough was 3 ½ to 4 inches. He asked Zimmers to trim that first cut to 2 ¾ inches. The goal is to make it short enough so the players can show their skills. The week of the tournament, "It could be higher, it could be lower," said Davis.

This doesn't sit too well at Oakmont, a club that prides itself on sending its guests home feeling the privilege of being penalized by its brutality. "I've never seen an Open here at Oakmont where it wasn't six-inch rough right off the fairway," said the host pro, Bob Ford. "So if it's playable just off the fairway, I think it will have a great effect on the score. Again, it's all about wet and dry: If it's wet it's going to be one score, if it's dry, it's going to be another score. That's true on all golf courses, but particularly here."
Yes, that 6 inches right off the fairway is such a good test especially when...

 

Some of the club's members--guys who play in the Swat competitions--are predicting that if the course plays hard and fast, double digits will win The Open. The reason being, Oakmont's fairways were running about 11 on the Stimp after Zimmers put the rollers on them. The average fairway width at Oakmont will be 28 yards, but as one of the club's scratch players pointed out on Thursday, some of the tighter driving holes are only 22 yards wide in spots. But those 22 yards really play 10 yards wide because most of the landing areas tilt and pitch toward the deep stuff.

Sounds fun!

 

"Some of the fairway are really tight, and to be honest, one of my concerns is that they get too fast," Davis said. "They've got so much roll, that if they get too fast it's not going to be a good Open. We don't want it turning into '87 at [The] Olympic [Club]. We're going to ask John to hand water the drive zones to keep good drives from rolling into the intermediate rough."

On top of this, the participants will be putting on greens that Zimmers gets rolling at 15 for the year-end Swat Party.

 

That tells you who the best player is!