More Muirfield Moaning

rake_memorial060601b.jpgAs much as I'd like to side with the players, their cause is hurt by a consistent inability to articulate why bunker furrowing is a bad idea and by their reluctance to address the distance issue that has led to situations like this. 

Ken Gordon had these comments in the Dispatch:

"They’re not very good, that’s about all you can say," Jeff Maggert said. "We don’t play any other tournament like this. I think you’ll see players looking to pop this event off (their schedule) if they keep doing it."


The idea was to make the course more old-school. But Mark Brooks thought the change actually hurt shortgame artists more than the bombers.

"If a guy’s got a good short game, he can play more aggressively if he’s got reasonable opportunities to recover," Brooks said.

"It’s about (losing) the art of the recovery shot. (Ben) Crenshaw, (Seve) Ballesteros, those guys didn’t drive the ball great but won tons of tournaments from hitting it all over the place because they were great at recovery shots."

One of the biggest issues was the element of surprise. Players said they did not know about the change until they showed up this week.

"It’s something that I think kind of shocked us this week," Steve Flesch said. "Some of the players are like, Wait, wait.’ We’re used to hopping in there with a perfect lie and knocking it on the green."

Joe Ogilvie is one of four players on the PGA Tour policy board.

"It’s a communication issue," the Lancaster native said. "I don’t think there would be nearly be the controversy here if the PGA Tour and the Memorial Tournament had communicated to the players. We’ve got terrible communication on the tour, period."

Later, that was the major concession made by PGA onsite tournament director Slugger White.

"We’ve taken some criticism and we’ll just look forward," White said. "It’s change, and everyone is a little bit stubborn when it comes to change. We all are.

"Looking back, probably we should have prepped these guys (players) a little earlier, and I’ll take the blame for that."

Not everyone was hot and bothered. Sergio Garcia said it made players think a little more, changing clubs to avoid hitting bunkers, "so it’s good."

And Dave Hackenberg in the Toledo Blade:

Pro golfers don't react well to change, and the reaction to the bunkers was overwhelmingly negative.

Davis Love III was so angry - despite a 3-under 69 - that he blew past media members after making a double bogey out of the fairway bunker at No. 18 and declined comment.

Shaun Micheel spoke for Love, who is one of four players on the PGA Tour Policy Board.

"I had breakfast with Davis this morning, and he told me that the policy board had approved a standardized rake used for all tournaments," Micheel said.

The columns, they just keep on a coming! Actual, a breakfast of complaining and Tour policy board political chat between Micheel and Love is just too easy, even for me.

"Are we not supposed to make anything?" [Micheel] said. "Hey, fill 'em with water and paint hazard lines around them. There's a lot of frustration. [The players] had no warning. We showed up Monday, and they were furrowed and raked sideways. Today, every trap is raked parallel to the fairway. So they changed the conditions.

"They used to have the most beautiful sand here. What's wrong with guys shooting good scores?"

I'm with him on the last point. That would be a good question for the Commissioner.