Carlos Monarrez reports that the R&A setup of Oakland Hills teetered on the edge of absurdity for Monday's Open Championship qualifier. But this that stood out about Rees Jones's rees-toration of his father's bludgeoning of Donald Ross's masterpiece:
Sean O'Hair, who recovered from a triple bogey on the first hole to shoot 68, wasn't a big fan of the 238-yard uphill par-three 17th or the 498-yard uphill par-four 18th. Both holes require an approach shot with a long iron or lofted wood to a narrow green.
"The last two holes are ridiculous," O'Hair said. "I hit five-wood into 17, the par three. And 18, it's like where do you hit it? If you're a little bit right, you're screwed. If you hit it down the left side, it's going to release through the fairway and you've got nothing."
So nice to know some things haven't changed. Steve Jones will be pleased. The lamest finishing hole in major championship golf remains intact.
Seriously, how is it that this hole was not addressed? Didn't RTJ II add the fairway bunker down the left that caught Lehman in the 1996 Open?
The South was lengthened about 350 yards under the recent update, and Monday it played its new full length of 7,445 yards. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which conducted the qualifier, chose the pin placements.
"These are very, very tricky greens," said R&A director Michael Tate. "We have not put them in the most difficult places. Some greens it's very difficult to find anything less. I think also this is a qualifier event for a major championship. It's not a regular tour event. This goes directly into a major, so you might reasonably expect that things are a little tougher."