I know it was like, soooo last week, but remember this is my personal clipping archive and I had to grab these comments from Golf World writer John Huggan's Senior Open Championship game story:
Actually, Watson isn't quite right there. On a Muirfield all but covered in long grass -- "It is worse than Carnoustie in 1999," he had said earlier in the week -- there were plenty of other nasty spots he could have found on that 18th hole. The level and extent of the rough, in fact, had come in for almost unanimous criticism over the four days of an event that will shift to Royal Troon next year under new sponsorship, MasterCard replacing Aberdeen Asset Management.If there was any doubt the people running the game have no golfing souls, this should do it:
"It's serious -- six inches of rough under two foot of hay fescue," shuddered senior debutant Nick Faldo before shooting an eight-over-par 292 that left him eight shots adrift of Watson in a tie for 14th place. "Very severe and very narrow."
Others were less circumspect in their opinion of a course set up that some felt was more difficult than that at Carnoustie one week previously. Former Open champion Sandy Lyle, a spectator at Muirfield, was just one calling the length of the rough "ridiculous."
"It misses the point of links golf, which is to create a variety of shots and allow players to hit recovery shots if they are good enough," said the 1985 Open champion, who turns 50 next February. "Why is it that tournament organizers insist on reducing every player to the same hack-out when they miss a fairway? I don't get it. I bet the spectators are bored watching everyone do the same thing."
Lyle wasn't alone, either. Many players shared his bemusement at the level of point-missing achieved by tournament organizers who had ignored a request from the Muirfield greenstaff to cut the rough as much as two months before the event. "There was no decision to make," insisted championship committee chairman, and Muirfield member, Alistair Low. "The wet summer produced the rough we have this week, and the course would be this way whether we had a tournament on or not."
But, of course, they did have an event to run, one that sadly lost some of its luster for most of the field.
"I think if you go [in]to the rough, you are dead," said a prescient Eduardo Romero of Argentina, who finished T-4 despite hacking his way to a double bogey at the 71st hole. "Just play sand wedge and lob wedge and put the ball in the fairway and try to make bogey, that's all. It is more severe than Carnoustie because it is so wet and very thick."