The Harvest at (Gulp) The Foot

In the May 26 Golf World (not yet online), Tim Rosaforte writes about Donald Trump, who he says is a "golf guy with a business sense and now the credibility that comes with a USGA stamp of approval."

He also writes about going to "The Foot" on Monday to test out the rough they are harvesting at yes, Winged Foot. (Branding it The Foot is part of his effort to come up with the cheesiest, least original golf course knicknames possible.)

Anyway, good news from, uh, The Foot. The rough is growing and everyone is so, so happy! 

Rosaforte writes that he'd like to have the ball concession when superintendent Eric "Greypok" cuts the grass after the Open. Well, when Eric Greytok cuts it, we'll let Rosaforte go for that concession too.

Online at, he offers a lengthier, more painful version of his rough harvest observations.

Walter Driver, president of the U.S. Golf Association and the man in charge of the upcoming U.S. Open, stood on the 10th tee of the West Course at Winged Foot Golf Club on Tuesday, and instead of doing what Ben Hogan said\ -- aim to hit it through the bedroom window of the house behind the green of the 188-yard par 3 -- Driver, a legitimate 2-handicap, struck a rare poor shot, flaring the ball out to the right, where it disappeared in a nest of grass.

It was fitting that the first shot hit by the man who will take all the heat for the deep rough at this year's Open required a search party and almost all of the allotted five minutes before finding his pellet. From there, the players in his group were given a snapshot of the chain reaction that occurs in an Open when a ball doesn't come to rest in the short grass. This is not like your basic tour stop, where the big boys can play bomb and gouge. This is wet wire-brush, wrist-spraining, ball-gobbling, destroy-your-mind vegetation, and so the clubface of Driver's wedge closed down, and the ball squirted back onto the closely mowed grass. From there he chipped on and two-putted for a double-bogey five.

Oh, joy! All of this rough is going to make the U.S. Open all about us, the USGA!  They're going to talk about us, and notice, and admire us for putting these Tour boys in their rightful place, which most definitely had better not be 350 yards off the tee!

The early scouting report: Better bring your straight ball. The nitrates, as Walter pointed out, have been working on Winged Foot's lawn. Mix the fertilizer with a wet spring, and a tree-removal program that gives the grass plenty of air and sunlight, and 7,264-yard Winged Foot West is in shape for another massacre.

It's been 22 years, but there is not an Open course that looks more like an Open Course than The Foot, and you can't believe how good the West course looks, how beautiful the green complexes are now that the tree huggers have lost their battle, and how terrorizing it's going to be that third week in June, when the contestants can't take a newspaper double and move with a smile to the next tee.

"Hitting the fairway is recommended here," said Driver at the driveable par-4 sixth.

Ha, ha! Bang fist on table! Such wit!

Halfway through the round, Driver got on his Blackberry and sent a text message to Mike Davis, the USGA's new director of competitions. He had driven into a clump of broccoli on the first hole and couldn't get a club on his ball. After moving it two feet, he expressed to Davis that the second cut was a little too lenient and the third cut a bit too penal. That will be tweaked in time for the opening round on June 15. After Shinnecock in 2004, the president doesn't want this one getting out of hand.

Shinnecock? Something went wrong there?