SI.com's John Garrity blogs about his chat with Rees Jones.
I must have been mistaken about seeing golf architect Rees Jones driving a bulldozer out on the course, because I just ran into him on the press center patio. "Does it bother you to see so many red numbers on the board?" I asked him.And...
"It doesn't bother me on the first day," he replied. "You see that at most every major, because they're trying to get the whole field through. But there are some real pitfalls out there once they hide the pins."
The flag on the par-3 17th, for instance, will keep moving diagonally right until Sunday, when it is practically in the water. Similarly, the hole on the par-3 second will probably work its way left toward what used to be a bunker, but which is now water, thanks to Jones' handiwork. "The closer the players think they're getting to that trophy," Jones said with gusto, "the harder it is to get there."
Having thrown down the gauntlet, Jones leaned over and picked it up again. "We don't have a backbreaker par-4," he said with a tinge of regret, "nothing over 480 yards. And we didn't convert any par-5s to par-4s, which we often do at majors. And we didn't know the ball was going to hold so well. The players can go for the flag, knowing the ball is not going to scoot."
"But it's not just the softness of the greens," he said. The clouds seemed to close in again on Jones. "It's the equipment, too. The manufacturers seem to be a step ahead of us all the time. They're making balls that come straight down" -- his eyes got big -- "and just stop!"Rees, you're not supposed to say that. Remember, the ball is off limits in USGA groupthink circles.