Greetings From LA, Vol. 4

greetingsfromLAA chilly but lovely day at the Nissan. Elin stepped on me. She tried to give me a "flat." (At least that's what we used to call it when someone stepped on your heel with the intent of displacing your shoe. I'm sure that's just what she had in mind...)

Anyway, the shoe will be on ebay at the end of the tournament. I'm working on the certificate of authenticity.

Meanwhile, out on the golf course...

The setup was very solid, with a nice mix of tough and medium hole locations. I didn't see any that could be called "easy." The greens were very firm and sneaky fast. A bit crusty too. Combine that with the varying wind directions and morning/afternoon cool temps have 68 players under par!?

J.B. on 17 (click to enlarge)
I spent the morning alternating between the Holmes-Taylor-Faxon group and the Ogilvy-Johnson-Browne pairing. Holmes was struggling a bit and seems to have a significant distance gap between his 3-wood and driver. Several holes at Riviera force him to lay up, and his 3 wood was leaving him a bit too far back.That said, he hit a 310-yarder on No. 2 that actually landed in the fairway upslope and bounced backwards. No. 3 he popped one 346, and on No. 5 he hit a 343 yarder. Yes that's right, he just blew it over the ledge that most players lay-up short of...with their drivers.

The Holmes tee shot on 17 wasn't as bad as his ax-murderer reaction makes it look.230136-274274-thumbnail.jpg
(click on image to enlarge)

Long drive of the day doesn't go to Holmes, but to Stuart Appleby for a 385-yarder on No. 3.

For some reason the third tee has become a launching pad the last few years, with only 5 drives hit under 280 yards in round 1. Note the ShotLink shot distribution pattern below. I remember when the fairway bunker was sort of in play on a windy day. Even today with the wind in the player's faces for the afternoon rounds, the bunker isn't even a consideration.

A few years ago, most of the writers in the press tent would have shrugged and said, "so, you move the bunker." But it's fascinating how much that has changed. Most realize now the ramifications and the dilemmas facing courses, architects and course owners. 230136-274276-thumbnail.jpg
ShotLink of No. 3, Thursday