Length Obviously Not An Issue On The Longest Course

Golf World's Tim Rosaforte cautions readers not to panic after the first round's low scoring, and includes this beauty:

With rain in the forecast, the greens already soft, and length obviously not an issue, Medinah No. 3, the longest course in major championship history, is in danger of three more days like this.

Length is not an issue on a 7,500 yard course that is the longest ever played in a major?

PGA Clippings, Friday Edition

2006pgachamplogo.gifThe early stories all focus on the Tiger-Phil-Geoff pairing. Lawrence Donegan in The Guardian is the most entertaining:

High noon fell at 8.30 yesterday morning in the western suburbs of Chicago, where the 10th tee of Medinah country club sits next to the busiest road junction this side of Hanger Lane. The two protagonists met under the shade of a Homebase gazebo, next to a basket of bananas. "Phil," said Tiger Woods. "Tiger," said Phil Mickelson. They shook hands and the temperature dropped about 20 degrees. The bananas straightened in anticipation.
John Garrity had several interesting posts at SI.com. First, he had these remarks from Phil Mickelson (ASAP has not posted a press conference with The People's Champion, but I assume the remarks were made there).
...Phil Mickelson said after his round that he wasn't surprised by the scoring onslaught.

"I think we knew the scores were going to be low because the greens are receptive and they're putting so true," he said. Phil then went on to praise the PGA for its course set-up -– a sure sign that today's conditions are softer than cookie dough. "There's nothing ridiculous about it," he said, "no pin placements that are on slopes, no fairways that are eight yards wide. It's just a good straightforward test of golf, and the low score wins."

It's a miracle! Someone other than Geoff Ogilvy pointing out the absurdity of the USGA's fairway widths.

Garrity also had this interesting post on Phil's unusual post-round range work.

Douglas Lowe's Scottish Herald story looks at Tiger's "attack" on the Medinah greens, which seems a bit excessive. Doesn't Tiger say the greens are bumpy at just about every major?

Ed Sherman has some fun blog riffs on the Geoff-Tiger-Phil pairing and another on the vulnerability of the course.

TGC's Mercer Baggs also offers sights and sounds from the Mickelson-Woods-Ogilvy pairing. I really need an abbreviation or acronym for this pairing.

Iain Carter Daly reports on the false rumor that circulated on the Medinah grounds about John Daly's passing.

And finally, PGATour.com is running a complicated Ryder Cup bubble watch. Only player's friends and family should be trying to figure this out.

Garrity Chats With Rees Jones

SI.com's John Garrity blogs about his chat with Rees Jones.

I must have been mistaken about seeing golf architect Rees Jones driving a bulldozer out on the course, because I just ran into him on the press center patio. "Does it bother you to see so many red numbers on the board?" I asked him.

"It doesn't bother me on the first day," he replied. "You see that at most every major, because they're trying to get the whole field through. But there are some real pitfalls out there once they hide the pins."

The flag on the par-3 17th, for instance, will keep moving diagonally right until Sunday, when it is practically in the water. Similarly, the hole on the par-3 second will probably work its way left toward what used to be a bunker, but which is now water, thanks to Jones' handiwork. "The closer the players think they're getting to that trophy," Jones said with gusto, "the harder it is to get there."

Having thrown down the gauntlet, Jones leaned over and picked it up again. "We don't have a backbreaker par-4," he said with a tinge of regret, "nothing over 480 yards. And we didn't convert any par-5s to par-4s, which we often do at majors. And we didn't know the ball was going to hold so well. The players can go for the flag, knowing the ball is not going to scoot."

And...
"But it's not just the softness of the greens," he said. The clouds seemed to close in again on Jones. "It's the equipment, too. The manufacturers seem to be a step ahead of us all the time. They're making balls that come straight down" -- his eyes got big -- "and just stop!"
Rees, you're not supposed to say that. Remember, the ball is off limits in USGA groupthink circles.

 

Notes From TNT's Coverage...Day 1

Poor Bobby Clampett barely got to stick his foot in his mouth today thanks to the rotating announcer setup. Though I did catch where he's added the dreaded "right in front of you" cliche to his repertoire. Only Clampett was describing Medinah's greens, not the views from the tee.

Anyway, courtesy of the PR folks from TNT, the "highlights" from day one's announcing.

Kostis on the threesome of Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy: “The quiet third man in this marquee pairing, Geoff Ogilvy from Australia, is playing the part of Switzerland in this group today.”

He missed his calling!

Feherty seemed to be in a particularly good mood.

Feherty on Jason Gore:  “Jason (Gore) is priceless.  He was wearing a coat and tie at a PGA function that I helped host at Pebble Beach earlier this year, and I’ve never seen anyone look more uncomfortable.  (Wearing) a black tie and a black coat, he looked like Tony Soprano forced to be at the opera.”

Feherty on the outfit worn by Jesper Parnevik: “You need two things to dress that way, you need a sense of humor and you need a great golf game.  You don’t want to go out there in that and shoot an 85.  It’s like a Swedish George Lopez.”

And now, what you've all been waiting for, the lone pearl from Clampett.

Clampett on Sergio Garcia's preparation: “I had a chance to walk with Sergio (Garcia) in the practice round the day before the British Open at Hoylake.  The thing that impressed me about Sergio was his intensity in the practice round.  He was going about it as if he was playing in the final round of the Championship.”

Hmmmph. Brilliant.

Tiger's Post 1st Round PGA Press Conference

After a 69...
Q. Can you talk about the setup and with that many low scores out there, does it change the approach where par is not necessarily a good score?

TIGER WOODS: Well, the greens are soft out there. The wind was pretty benign most of the day. It would come up, die down, come up, die down, but it wasn't a real big factor out there today. With the greens being soft, the guys are going to aim at a lot of flags, indicative of the scores. Any time the greens are fairly soft, you're going to get a bunch of low numbers on the board.

Q. Just getting back to the greens being soft, were they softer in the practice rounds and were you surprised that for a major championship, we haven't had rain around here hardly at all, that they were this soft in the first round?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I was pretty surprised that they had that much moisture in them. But also, then again, they are not exactly smooth, either. So it will be interesting in the afternoons, see what the scores will be.

You get a lot of balls that are bouncing a little bit out there. There's going to be a lot of that just because the greens are so soft.

Ogilvy's Post 1st Round PGA Press Conference

On his pairing with Woods and Mickelson:

GEOFF OGILVY: If I didn't know any of the back story, would I have said they were two normal guys who like each other just like any other two guys out on Tour. The dynamic was exactly like probably in every group this morning. There's a bit of tension in the first round of a major, everyone's pretty serious, probably not quite as much chat as there is at the Pebble Beach Pro Am. But it was just normal. I mean, you would never know you wouldn't think they are the best of friends but you wouldn't think they didn't like each other, either, which is normal. First rounds of majors, I mean, any rounds of majors is not the most conversation going on between everyone anyway. So, I mean, it was normal.

And...

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the reception that you got today? It seemed, and I don't know, how did it feel, it seemed like it seemed like people were trying to be mindful of when you were putting last. For instance, on some of the first few holes, I would hear, "Poor Geoff, if he keeps putting last, people are going to keep walking." But then it seemed like you would get just as much of a reception after great shots or good putts. Did you expect that, and I guess how did that feel compared?

GEOFF OGILVY: You kind of want to not have downhill left to right three foot putts and to have been last one on the green. You want to be in the hole before they are in the hole.

It was pretty respectful out there. It didn't matter who was hitting it. They were all they were as nice to me as they were to those two guys. No one was running off any more on me than they were on anyone else, you know what I mean? That was fine. I expected it might have been a bit like that, but it wasn't at all. I mean, if I had a putt, they all hung around and watched. There was a few "Go Geoffs" in there, and there was a few "Go Phils" and "Go Tigers," but a few "Go Geoffs." One "Go Joe." (Ogilvie) I felt right at home with that, that was good.

Rees On "Pipe 2"

Rees Jones sat in on the Pipe 2 webcast of Mickelson-Ogilvy-Woods and said that "the reason I do so many redos is that I can put myself in the head of the original architects."

It must be nice. 

He also cited his dad as the source of the famous line about balls finishing in bunkers like being in a car crash, versus finishing in a water hazard being like a plane crash.

Wasn't that Bobby Jones?  

Oh, and they did a nice feature on Rees and briefly showed a photo that was identified as Robert Trent Jones Sr.  It was Robert Trent Jones Jr.!***

***When TNT aired the feature, they got a photo of Trent Jones Sr. in!! Nice recovery. 

Since TNT Doesn't Come On Until 11/2...

Brian Wacker at GolfDigest.com's blog is following the Mickelson-Ogilvy-Woods pairing issuing hole-by-hole reports (just hit refresh every few minutes).

Thanks to reader James for noticing this, especially since all of the great "interactive" stuff TNT's touting has not started yet.

PGA Clippings, Thursday Edition

2006pgachamplogo.gifSI.com's John Garrity gives us some sites and sounds with his first post on his blog. If this link to the individual post doesn't work (it did not work when I tried), go to the main blog page and scroll down to the bottom post.

Doug Ferguson offers a general preview and says not much has changed from 1999 where the talk centers around the length of the course, a Ryder Cup flap and a resurgent Tiger Woods.

Peter Kessler talks to Brad Klein about Medinah on GolfweekTV.com. Klein gives Rees Jones a B- for his rees-toration.

Golfonline/golf.com featured what seemed like a good idea--a video tour of Medinah in the Snoopy I blimp--but I got tired of hitting the play button after it would pause on its own.  The visuals aren't too stunning. Lots of trees and tents. There is no direct link, just go to their homepage and hit the video link.

Oh, and if you do check out the video, is it me, or do the tents err, chalets, look like they could be in play on 18 for a bomber who loses it right?

Rich Lerner shares a bit of this and that, and picks on Golf Channel cohort Dave Pelz, who, in defending his claims of Phil Mickelson being better than Tiger when his game is on, said he is "data man."

Dave Pelz says he looks at data in making the determination that when he’s on, Phil’s the best in the world. Has he seen the data that reads, Tiger 11 majors, Phil three?

Ed Sherman blogs about his Chicago Tribune Pelz story and about having Kelly Tilghman question his credentials in an apparent attempt to help Pelz squirm out of his remarks. Brian Hewitt admirably came to Sherman's defense and reminded Tilghman that Sherman is a veteran reporter. And he has the interview on tape. 

Lawrence Donegan reports that a possible greenkeeper strike has been averted at the Ryder Cup.

Donegan also writes about Sergio Garcia's return to the infamous 16th hole tree, a much more dignified treatment than the Golf Channel's lame "interview" with the tree. 

This unbylined AP story has the Tour's Bob Combs not exactly disputing Joe Steranka's complaint about the 2008 Ryder Cup date immediately following the FedEx Cup "playoffs." Combs says it's NBC's fault.

PGA Tour spokesman Bob Combs attributed the timing to NBC Sports, which televises the final three tournaments of the FedEx Cup and the Ryder Cup. He said the tour was able to negotiate a one-week gap between the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup in five out of the six years, the exception being 2008.

"We agree there needs to be at least a week break," Combs said. "It really was an NBC television issue that could not be resolved. I believe everything is locked up from a television perspective."

Steranka was clearly annoyed, however, choosing his words carefully when he spoke of the goodwill between both organizations.

"That's not the spirit of the relationship," he said. "We don't agree on everything. But this is one thing they felt couldn't change, and we felt it needed to change."

PGA president Roger Warren said the '08 Ryder Cup was locked into Sept. 19-21 dates.

"We're concerned about the impact it might have on the players," he said.

Not to mention the psychological scars of having to play East Lake and Valhalla back to back. And isn't Bellerive in 08 too? Yikes.
Still, no one is sure how the FedEx Cup will unfold. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has said players likely will have to play the final four weeks to have any chance of winning the $10 million prize, although it's mathematically possible that Woods, Mickelson or another hot player could skip a week and still win the cup.

As much money as the players already make, some might even skip events to have their game ready for the Ryder Cup, which is on the same scale of a major championship.

Asked what he thought about the situation, U.S. captain Tom Lehman said "I want no part of this conversation."

Insomnia Issues?

Well, then just click on this link and read the annual state of the PGA press conference, where Roger Warren and Joe Steranka will do their best to knock you out.

Well, there was this from Steranka:

The result is that we think it is not only the only all professional event; it is the most professionally run event in all of golf, and we're very proud of that.

Uh, professionals would move tee times up with a bad weather forecast.

Nice job by the assembled inkslingers to ask if they were going to be sure to avoid a repeat of 2005's Sunday debacle

 

Multi-platform Live Polling and Sweepstakes!

Get your cell phones ready, this week's PGA is going to be interactive. From the folks at TNT:

TNT and PGA.com join Txtstation to Launch Multi-platform Live Poll and Sweepstakes for the 88th PGA Championship

Golf fans Can Vote for a Chance to Win a PGA Golf Getaway via Wireless Text Message or at PGA.com

Turner Network Television (TNT) and PGA.com today announced that they have teamed up with Txtstation to launch a multi-platform viewer’s poll and sweepstakes in conjunction with the 2006 PGA Championship, live from Medinah (Illinois) Country Club. Each day viewers will be asked to interact using their cell phone or via PGA.com and submit their votes to poll questions, such as ‘the most dramatic PGA Championship moment’, or ‘the best PGA golfer in his prime.’ Votes can be submitted, utilizing Txtstation technology, either at PGA.com or via cell phone by sending a text message to short code number ‘88222’. The live poll and sweepstakes, beginning Thursday, August 17 and running through Sunday, August 20, is part of Turner’s multi-platform campaign in which coverage of the tournament will be simulcast across both television (TNT) and the internet (PGA.com).

“One of our goals is to lead the way in cutting edge interactive sports-related content,” said Lenny Daniels, senior vice president of sports production and new media, Turner Sports. “The PGA Championship Poll is a great example of how mobile marketing is impacting our culture. Adding the mobile component to PGA.com's poll enables them to creatively interact with the sports fans, as well as the broader viewing audience.”

Who's they?

This is fun...

“The Txtstation TV system continues to break new ground with interactive mobile marketing technology concepts, and we are very excited with the opportunity to combine real time entry points from both the PGA website, and mobile phones to drive television viewer response and ratings” said Matt Coleman, founder of Txtstation.

Oh yeah, ratings are just going skyrocket.

Real-time poll results will simultaneously be displayed during the TNT broadcast and on the PGA.com website. Each TXT message costs $.50. Most carriers are available; including Sprint Nextel, Verizon, T-Mobile, Cingular, Boost Mobile and Dobson.

Wow, this interactivity is a bargain. Oh but there are prizes.

Those submitting votes will be eligible to win a 3-day/2-night PGA Golf Getaway consisting of round trip airfare for two to Florida, two nights accommodations at the brand new Hilton Garden Hotel at the PGA Learning Center, a one hour golf lesson for two with Rick Martino, PGA Director of Instruction, training session for two on the Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade(“MAT-T”) system, two 18-hole rounds of golf for two at the PGA Golf Club and spending Cash. The winner will be announced by September 25.

This is fun...

About Txtstation
Txtstation is a leading mobile marketing company specializing in sports and entertainment. We allow broadcasters, event owners, sponsors and general media to communicate with viewers or fans directly through their mobile phones and other multimedia platforms.

Txtstation creates one to one ‘real time’ dialog with consumers at specific times and places such as events, concerts and live or pre recorded broadcast. Since 2000, we have been at the forefront of mobile interactivity designing ‘live’ integrated programs that harness the excitement of live events while delivering high consumer response and encouraging brand loyalty.

Remember the good old days when you would get a few synergy mentions? Poor synergy...it's time has passed.

PGA Clippings, Wednesday Edition

2006pgachamplogo.gifGolf World's map and accompanying Brett Avery text package has been turned into a cool interactive map. Well, unless you are Roger Packard and Roger Rulewich featured in your ASGCA jackets and remembered for redesigns since bulldozed.

For those of you in those church fundraising pools, Reuters has the latest WD's. (Grady, Elkington, Van Pelt, Hensby out, Byrd, Estes, Andrade and Warren in.)

Mark Garrod reports on Padraig Harrington donating his winnings to breast cancer research in honor of Heather Clarke.

Lindsey Willhite looks at the rough harvest at Medinah and contrasts it with the USGA's tiered rough at Winged Foot.

Reid Hanley talks to Billy Mayfair about his amazing recovery from cancer surgery.

And Rex Hoggard profiles Kerry Haigh and the usual comparisons to the USGA appear.

From the outset, Haigh's and the PGA of America's plans for preparing championship courses were ideological carbon copies.

"Our aim is for the golf course and the players to be the championship," Haigh says.

Unlike the U.S. Golf Association, whose fixation on producing a winning score around even par has led to several well-publicized miscues, Haigh and the PGA focus almost entirely on creating a "fair" test, regardless of the champion's score.


Fairway Bunkers Where You Want To Be

In his press conference today, Geoff Ogilvy was asked to compare Hoylake and Medinah, and made this point:

Hoylake was, keep it out of the bunkers; anything you could do to keep it out of the bunkers. The rough was actually not a bad spot to be. It was almost better than the fairways in a lot of situations because you had an angle, but you just had to keep it out of fairways bunkers. So that was the whole goal there. Here it's probably keep it out of the rough. Fairway bunkers are probably a good spot to be in a lot of situations.

It is interesting how many times at Medinah that fairway bunkers are placed where the player might have the best angle of attack or view of the green.

standrewspot.gifBut readers of Robert Hunter's The Links will recall his remark that at St. Andrews, many of the best holes have bunkers exactly where you would like to drive to and approach from.

So, why is that praised at St. Andrews and not at Medinah?

The elimination of width, the high rough and overhanging trees play a significant role.

Also, the bunkers at Medinah are large, while the St. Andrews bunkers are mostly pot bunkers.

Therefore, the player can flirt with the pots, striking a shot in the general vicinity, with fairway all around. At Medinah, the bunkers are too large and surrounded by rough, eliminating the temptation to flirt with the sand to open up the ideal angle.illustration3.gif

St. Andrews's pits encourage options and aggressive play, Medinah's fairway bunkers emphasize obedience and caution.  

Some people prefer the latter, especially in response to equipment advances. I happen to like the more democratic St. Andrews approach. 

Phil's Pre-PGA Press Conference

Defending PGA Champion Phil Mickelson had some fun with certain questions from the assembled scribblers.

Q. Obviously you use the week before majors to prepare. How disappointing was it last week to miss the cut, and has that affected your preparation for this week?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's a different strategy going in. You know, I guess here's a great example of how Tiger and I prepare differently. He goes into the PGA Championship thinking that winning the British and winning the Buick Open is the best way, and I go in thinking that missing the cut is the best (laughter), and it gives me a week off to focus on my game. See, he didn't have that weekend off (laughter).

He actually took this question seriously, which provides an interesting contrast to Tiger's comments about hitting a lot of 3-woods and 2-irons:
Q. What's your plan as far as what you're going to hit off the tee this week?

PHIL MICKELSON: That's still undecided exactly, because I may go with two drivers again like I did at Augusta, I may go with one.

Really, the difference is the temperature. If it's warm enough where I can hit 3 wood on some of the other par 4s where I just want to get the ball in the fairway, then I will most likely just use one driver, and it would be the longer driver to take advantage of some of the par 5s and the long par 4s.

Medinah is such a long golf course that the extra length has come in handy.
Back to comedy hour. 
Q. If our research is correct, you and Tiger played together a grand total of one time in the majors, and that was at The Masters in '01, so Thursday and Friday will be kind of a rarity.

PHIL MICKELSON: It's amazing how those random computer pairings spit that stuff out, huh?

And as with Tiger's press conference, the longer it went, the worse the questions got.

Q. There are ten left handers on Tour this year. Do you have any thoughts on the factors that have led to more success for lefties than ever before?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, that's a good question. I could try to make a joke of it, but I just don't have one (laughter). I think it's great. I think that it's nice that we have more on Tour because now we're getting more equipment opportunities on Tour, which is ultimately leading to more left handed equipment or better left handed equipment immediately to the consumer, as well. I think if we can keep that up and have equipment be accessible to everyone left handed, I think we might continue to see an increase. But it takes time, like anything.

And the finale...

Q. Not to harp on the pairings, but what's the difference for you playing with a guy like Freddie like at The Masters versus a guy like Tiger?

PHIL MICKELSON: Amount of conversation.


Tiger's Pre-PGA Press Conference

Tiger Woods managed to go the whole press conference without one "it's right in front of you" compliment of Medinah, and he also got through it without screaming "why!??!?!!" at the top of his lungs after some really wonderful questions. First, the golf course and course management stuff.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the golf course is absolutely fantastic. Obviously they've lengthened some of the holes and the greens have been redone, but the golf course is such a wonderful layout, wonderful shape to it. It's one of the neat golf courses we get to play. It's old and traditional and it's just very straightforward. I mean, you've got to hit the ball well and obviously control your irons into these greens in order to have a chance.

Q. A lot has been made about your driving accuracy. Do you think too much has been made about it? And secondly, playing a course like this, do you need, do you think, to hit driver a lot, or can you hit the 5 wood stinger and 3 woods and get away with it.

TIGER WOODS: I'm not going to hit that many drivers because it won't really allow me to. Most of the holes are doglegged. Obviously I'd have to take driver up over the top of these tall trees, and it doesn't make any sense. Yeah, I'm going to use it a few times, definitely.

But overall, just like it was back in '99, I hit just a bunch of 2 irons and a bunch of 3 woods here. Just because that's the way the golf course allowed you to play. You play to a lot of the corners and obviously fire from there. If you try to take on a lot of the corners or shape the ball around the corner, yeah, you can, but it's not always the easiest thing to do.

And with this next question, the affair sprialed rapidly. Where was Julius Mason to pull the plug!?!

Q. My doctor doesn't think that golf is a very physical game, but you have a lot of ups and downs here at Medinah. How would you rate it compared to other courses as far as a walk for four days?
TIGER WOODS: Not that tough. I mean, I think I'm in decent shape. Walking 18 holes shouldn't be that hard. Twenty more years before I can ride in a cart (laughter).

Some of the other questions Tiger faced...

Q. How old were you, and was there a specific shot or a specific tournament when you knew that you were good enough to play on the PGA TOUR?

Q. Best we can tell, the only other time you play with Phil in a major is '01 at The Masters. Can you think of another? Then I have a quick follow up.

Q. Do you find it more enjoyable to play with Phil in a major or at a Ryder Cup?

Q. You kind of made reference to it earlier, 20 years until you've got to ride in a cart. I am kind of curious where you see yourself at 50. Are you still trying to add to your major totals, or are you a soccer dad or what do you see?

Q. Is it okay to ask on the spectator side I know you are a great player, great champion. I've seen this like four times in a row, but no matter what, you are a great player. I remember there was a long time ago at The Masters, you won The Masters, and I think the channel 2 commentator introduced you, and when your father passed away everybody felt sorry. My question is going to be in the near future about a charity in the memory of your parents who have passed on?
I'm going take a guess here and say that question came from an uh, overseas writer. Or a drunk one.
Q. You look at some of the guys who have played you tough in majors, Rich Beem, Bob May, even Chris DiMarco would sort of fit into this category of guys who maybe they wouldn't be the first guys you would think of. This might be a tough question for you to answer, but do you think it's easier in a way for those guys who have lower expectations to play up to their abilities against you, as opposed to guys who are ranked second, third, fourth in the world?

Q. What do you think is your impact on golf in the last decade?

Q. What are you bowel movements like?

Oh, okay, I slipped that last one in. 
 

Ogilvy's Pre-PGA Press Conference

A few highlights from Geoff Ogilvy's sit down with the press:

I think it would be unfortunate if course setups kept getting longer and longer and longer. I think there would be better ways, I think, to combat how far had we hit it. The longer you make a golf course, the more you encourage guys to hit driver and hit it a long way.

Hoylake was a pretty stellar example of that. You've got guys scared to hit driver on fairways that were really quite wide and the rough was not a big deal. You've got the best golfer in history not wanting to hit driver. I think a lesson needs to be learned from Hoylake, and there's definitely ways to test the best golfers in the world in how far we hit it and discourage hitting it a long way, as opposed to a long golf course you encourage people to hit driver and hit it as long as they can. Hopefully lessons are learned from places like Hoylake and St. Andrews and they start looking at other ways, as opposed to tacking on another 30 yards to every par 4 and every par 5 on a golf course.

There's a par 3 out here over water that's a 2 iron. I mean, yesterday, 13, Tim Clark hit a wood and I hit a 2 iron, and I hit a 2 iron quite a long way, and that's to a front pin. That's a par 3. It's not fun to have a tee on a golf course that the members can't play. I mean, I'm sure there's 30 members at Medinah who can play that tee, but they probably don't want to because they'll probably just be dropping balls in the water all the time. It would be nice if 244 is the limit to a par 3 length, anyway.

And...

Hoylake was, keep it out of the bunkers; anything you could do to keep it out of the bunkers. The rough was actually not a bad spot to be. It was almost better than the fairways in a lot of situations because you had an angle, but you just had to keep it out of fairways bunkers. So that was the whole goal there.

Here it's probably keep it out of the rough. Fairway bunkers are probably a good spot to be in a lot of situations. There's a lot of overhanging trees, a lot of holes where you can be on the fairways like you can hit the left hand side of 16 and be on the fairway and have no shot. You want to just work out what sides of what fairways to be on and go from there because there's a lot of spots off the tee that you get up there and they're not very good, and there's a lot of spots that appear bad that are actually pretty good spots. That's what I look for, just to make the second shot as easy as possible, and that generally makes the rest of the hole play easier. Sometimes that's a long drive; sometimes that's a short one.


Poulter: "It sets up quite well to my eye"

The Chicago Sun-Times' Len Ziehm took criticism by Brad Klein (read here) and yours truly (someone actually listened to the Golfdom podcast!), and called on one of the game's heavyweights to defend Medinah.

''That's crap,'' Ian Poulter said. ''It's a great golf course. It has a lot of definition. It sets up quite well to my eye.''

Ah yes, the man who dresses in ways only Marty Hackel could love, wheels out the most self-important of architectural evaluations: it sets up quite well to my eye.

And if it didn't set up well to his eye, would that make it less of a course?

Seriously, it's time to talk about this definition nonsense, which was also touted by Rees Jones.

ANYONE can design a course with definition that "fits the eye" of PGA Tour players. That is not a huge compliment.

The trick is to create something that seems to fit their eye, but actually has becomes a little less defined the more one gets to know the course.

You know, like the Old Course, Augusta (well, before Fazio and Hootie did their thing), Riviera, Royal Melbourne, etc...

Creating definition is nothing more than a dumbing down process that eliminates uncertainty. However, elite tests of golf present more grey and less certainty, which is why they often have a way of separating the merely great from the elite.

Medinah is too black and white to be considered with the elite designs of the world. That doesn't mean the membership is bad, the conditioning is poor or Chicago is a bad town, or that Tiger Woods will not be rewarded for hitting great shots.

It just means that the No. 3 course could be more interesting. 

Pelz: Phil "has more imagination and a few more shots around the green"

Ed Sherman offers some quotes that should make Thursday's Tiger-Phil pairing that much chillier:
"When Phil's at his best, I'm thinking nobody can beat him," Pelz said.

Does Pelz's bold pronouncement include a certain player who has won 50 PGA Tour titles and 11 majors?

"You bet it does," Pelz said. "If Phil's long swing is good, his short game, I believe, is the best in the world. He doesn't have a serious weakness inside 150 yards.

"I'm not saying Tiger's short game is bad. He has a great short game. But I think Phil putts more consistently than Tiger does. He has more imagination and a few more shots around the green."

Pelz adds one caveat.

"The question is, how often is Phil on his best game?" he said.