"Ihe idea of hanging the back right of the famed 16th green out over the water befits a second-tier TPC, not a classic course like this."

While there has been the usual gushing over the Rees-toration of Oakland Hills, Bradley Klein offers cringe-worthy details in his analysis...

Ambitious plans to move several greens were shelved, but the course has been lengthened by 296 yards from its Ryder Cup muster. More significantly, many fairway landing areas have been made harder through additional choke-point bunkering, a steepening of some bunker faces and a narrowing of fairways to 24-26 yards.

The original boldness of the holes and of the putting surfaces remains, even if tee shots and approaches now are played through narrower defiles on this 7,395-yard, par-70 layout.

Too bad some of the work looks misplaced. New back tees on the par-3 ninth and 13th holes are misaligned to the right. The new greenside bunkers on the fourth and 16th holes have absurdly excessive shaping. And the idea of hanging the back right of the famed 16th green out over the water befits a second-tier TPC, not a classic course like this.

Tuesday PGA Championship Clippings: Kenny's Last Shot

Glory's Last Hope, puhllleaze...this is Kenny's (First and) Last Shot at a major.

Steve Elling reminds us that Kenny Perry is actually making his major debut this week in one of his final tune-up's for the Wyndham Championship.

Bob Harig looks at T.C. Chen's Oakland Hills double-hit and talks to Andy North about how he was handed a second U.S. Open as a result.

It was at the Senior British Open two weeks ago at Royal Troon where he bumped into Chen again. North was working the telecast and Chen was playing in his first Champions Tour event, although he missed the cut.
So will the stars of that fateful final round in 1985 meet again in competition? Chen, who has a home in California, would appear to hope so, as he plans to attend the Champions Tour's qualifying school this fall.
At PGA.com they offer first and second round tee times in not particularly user-friendly PDF form.

Vartan Kupelian offers the hometown preview for the Detroit News.

Doug Ferguson reminds us that the Europeans have fond memories of Hal Sutton's hatwear  the Phil and Tiger pairing disaster the 2004 Ryder Cup rout.

Ferguson also reports that national club pro champ Scott Hebert is a Michigan native playing Oakland Hills for the first time.

Thomas Bonk previews the PGA and offers a long list of interesting golf world notes as well as the weekend ratings recap. Yikes:
Saturday's third round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational had a 1.5 overnight rating for CBS and Sunday's fourth round had a 2.1. The women fared worse on ABC, with a 0.7 on Saturday and a 0.6 on Sunday at the Ricoh Women's British Open.
Sean Martin reminds us what fun Woody Austin was last year.

Adam Schupak reports on the auto industry gradually pulling back its investment in golf tournaments and in Detroit area clubs.

Rich Lerner shares some Oakland Hills horror stories.

Carloz Monarrez pens an obituary for the 16th hole willows and talks to Ron Whitten and Brad Klein about the infamous trees and their significance (or lack of).

Speaking of Whitten, he takes a crack at predicting the winning score at Oakland Hills and says it'll be +5.

Golf World's course map with text by Brett Avery, including an interesting breakdown of the epic 1996 U.S. Open overnight bunker salvation project, can be opened here

PGA.com breaks down the changes to each hole and also offers a hole-by-hole tour with Director of Golf Pat Croswell. Many of the photos reminded me what an exquisite property this is for golf and how...oh I won't say it. It's only Tuesday.

Brand Lady: Can You Spare $4 Million?

Jon Show reports that the LPGA is seeking a $4 million sponsor to oversee an 8-event run in the vein of the FedEx deal the PGA Tour inked, but as he buries in the last sentence:

Also complicating matters is the roughly $20 million in event sponsorships the LPGA already has on the market.

Another complication that also puts the, gulp, value of the LPGA sponsorships in perspective comes in this story (also by Show) on the PGA of America's attempts to lock up two more partners at a pretty hefty figure.

The PGA of America, one year after announcing American Express and RBS as its first official patron-level sponsors, is still trying to complete the final two remaining deals. The first two companies were signed to four-year agreements at an average of $7 million to $9 million annually,

Phil and Pelz Scout Oakland Hills; Still Pondering Several Possible Faulty Game Plans

No mention in this AP story of the driver being benched, or a sixth wedge joining the team for the PGA. But they still have "a lot more work to do," which means there is still time.

Championship Vision At The PGA

If you are going to the PGA, it seems the folks at American Express will be handing out their Championship Vision TV's to the first few thousand cardholders. Definitely the best deal of the group...

Are You a Cardmember?
While the PGA Learning Center is open to all, only Cardmembers will have the exclusive opportunity to enjoy:
•          Championship Vision:  Cardmembers can borrow complimentary, hand-held televisions that deliver a live telecast of the championship that fans can pause and rewind, check out aerial views of Oakland Hills Country Club and view player bios from anywhere on the course
•          American Express Cardmember Club:  The exclusive lounge area features complimentary food and beverage items and a silent auction featuring historic golf memorabilia and travel packages (Located between the 8th and 12th fairways, open all day from August 4–10)
•          Commemorative PGA Poster:  Special gift available with all purchases over $175 made using an American Express Card at the merchandise tents

After the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, I reviewed Championship Vision here.

Note to Julius: you'll score major points with scribblers if you can procure a few of these for their use. I know you appreciate these tips.

Chrissy On PGA Decision: She Just Wants Greg To Be Happy

John Garrity caught up with the lovely bride who reports that the happy couple has until Monday to decide whether they will sweat off five pounds stomping around muggy Oakland Hills.

“He has until Monday to decide,” his bride Chris Evert said this afternoon as she followed Norman in the second round of the Senior British Open at Royal Troon
“He has a lot to consider,” said Evert, who has faced a few roadforks of her own since retiring from competitive tennis. “What are your motives for playing? Do you play just because you’re flattered that you’ve been invited, or do you play because you feel good about your golf and really want to play?”
And this just warmed my heart...
“I’ll give my opinion, but it’s entirely his decision,” Evert said of the PGA invite. “If he wants to play, I want him to play. I just want him to be happy.”

Greg And Chrissy To Discuss PGA Championship Appearance Over Dinner

For the sake of golf fans in Detroit, they might want to hope it's a really good bottle of red. Because a PGA appearance would be four weeks in a row, and following four days (presumably) at The Broadmoor/altitude, so I'm going to guess Greg Norman is going to decline the PGA of America's invite to tee it up at Oakland Hills, especially reading his comments about all of his injury issues.

He may not look like an old man, but he's starting to talk like one.

Rees-toration of Oakland Hills Update

Thanks to reader Noonan for this Jason Deegan story on the rees-storation of Oakland Hills, site of next year's PGA.

The $1.8 million renovation of the south course at Oakland Hills Country Club, famously dubbed “The Monster” by golf legend Ben Hogan after the 1951 U.S. Open, is nearing its completion.

Architect Rees Jones, hired by the Bloomfield Township club to protect par against the world's best players at the 2008 PGA Championship, has stretched the course more than 300 yards, repositioned fairway bunkers and narrowed fairways to fend off modern players who hit farther and more accurately than ever.

No, they just work out more than ever.

“This will be a significant story in the golf world for Oakland Hills to change,” said Ryan Cannon, the tournament director for the 2008 PGA Championship. “It is like being asked to improve upon the Mona Lisa.”

Well, let's just not say it's the first course to bastardize its architecture for a major championship event. Let's see, there was Oakland Hill in 19...oh.

The length of Oakland Hills ballooned to 7,446 yards from 7,099 yards with 15 new tees. At least 28 bunkers were repositioned or rebuilt and 14 more were added. Some fairway landing zones were shrunk to 22 yards wide. The par-5s at the No. 8 and No. 18 holes will play as par-4s for the tournament, giving the layout four par-4s of at least 490 yards. Only the par-3 third hole remains intact.

22 yards wide. Why not be the first uner 20?

Club officials worried about the course's integrity after seeing elite college players at the 2002 U.S. Amateur bomb tee shots over fairway bunkers and hit wedges to what used to be long, challenging par-4s.

“The members who have seen it so far are thrilled with it,” said Rick Bayliss Jr., Oakland Hills COO. “It is a major championship venue. Our resistance to scoring has always been the greens. With the lengthening, it is a knee-knocker now.”

The job was personal to Jones, who is based in Montclair, N.J. The storied career in golf architecture of his father, Robert Trent Jones Sr., was launched by his Oakland Hills remodeling work before the 1951 U.S. Open.

Ah here comes the quote to rub it in Bobby's face.

“This course meant the most to my father,” Jones said, and the chance to work on it was “the call I was waiting for my whole life,” he added.

“Oakland Hills is one of those wonderful rolling pieces of property where the holes fit like a glove,” said Jones, who has renovated seven U.S. Open courses and six PGA Championship sites. “When we made the changes, it was natural. If somebody blinked from 50 years ago to now, you wouldn't know we touched it.”

Jones said he tried to follow his father's blueprints. At the par-4 16th hole, the pond that has been the site of some of golf's historic moments was enlarged back toward the tee and tucked behind the green. The pond on the par-4 seventh also grew in size. A new tee can stretch the par-3 ninth to 257 yards if needed.

“I don't think it will ever be a monster again. These (pro golfers) are so good,” Jones said. “The game has changed. Oakland Hills is now right at the top of the list (of championship venues) with these advances.”

Well, for now anyway.