Bob Baptist in The Columbus Dispatch has the details:
Acting on an initiative to which the tour so far has only given lip service, the Memorial Tournament has switched to longer-toothed rakes to create small furrows in the bunkers on the course. The hoped-for result is less-consistent lies in the sand and tougher shots out of it when practice rounds begin Monday.
"Bunkers were meant to be a penalty," Jack Nicklaus said yesterday while playing the course, "and they haven’t been for quite a while."
Nicklaus, who designed and built Muirfield Village, said he has been thinking for a while about furrowing the bunkers as one more way to protect the course against never-ending technological advances that are propelling balls ever farther.
He said when he asked tour officials this past winter what they thought of the idea, he found that they were considering the same thing. They had not implemented it, however, until giving the Memorial the OK.
"The players wear us out (complaining) about the conditions of the bunkers, that they aren’t perfect," said tour official Frank Kavanaugh, who was on site yesterday setting up the course. "We’ve gotten to the point where they expect a perfect lie every time. We’ve got to change their attitude.
"There’s no more smooth ice. They’re on rough ice now."
Nicklaus said the bunkers will be reminiscent of how tour bunkers used to be and how they were the first few years of the Memorial, which started in 1976.
"The lies will be not as consistent," he said. "You’ll now have to look at your lie and play a bunker shot according to your lie.
"The guys that are good bunker players will like it more. The guys who aren’t as good won’t like it as much."
Now, I'm all for returning the hazard to bunkers.
But I'm curious why the Tour, as reported in this story, is looking for ways to make their setups more difficult? Shouldn't they be looking at the ratings and wondering how they can make their setups more entertaining? Do they even know the difference?
Either way, this ought to make Muirfield Village interesting...until it starts raining.