The PGA Tour's finest are still slamming the 18th at Harding Park, a perfectly fine hole...with a fairway. Yes, the trees hugging the lake off the tee are not idea, but under normal setup conditions adequate fairway width makes it more than fair. But with the AmEx setup, someone decided to buffer the lake with rough in an apparent attempt to make the hole play longer (or closer to the tent village eerily resembling the cool-looking Denver International main terminal).
Howell arrived at 18 -- which bends left around Lake Merced and leaves little fairway to land a drive -- tied with Montgomerie. But he found the trees on his tee shot and bogeyed.
On Thursday, Woods said the tee box needed to be moved to the right. Calcavecchia's opinion was more sharp Friday.
"I don't want to say anything bad about the hole, but it's the worst one on the course," he said. "... It just doesn't really fit the rest of the course, in my opinion. Neither does the green."
The green is also not as bad as the players say. Frankly, it's one of the few interesting ones on the course, with a rightside catch basin that looks better this week because it's buried in rough.
This episode displays how faulty setup work only can't be detected and explained by today's players. (Or maybe they don't want to criticize the Tour staff?).