The unprecedented pairing of the Australian Masters and World Cup in back-to-back weeks at Royal Melbourne posed only one possible issue: two weeks of tournament conditions on one course which happens to have some pretty wild green contours.
While officials are downplaying the griping, the scores and player comments suggest Royal Melbourne is on edge heading into Saturday's third round of the World Cup. Matt Murnane reports.
One of the tournament's headliners, Ireland star Graeme McDowell, admitted the course was ''driving him insane'', however insisted he was loving the challenge of lightning putts and sometimes impossible-to-judge approach shots - comparing it to the type of test you only got at golf's majors. That appraisal was backed up by Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, who leads the individual section of tournament at eight under par, and his closest rival American Kevin Streelman (-7), who added that the pace of the greens seemed as quick as Augusta, the home of the US Masters.
But it was comments from Australian star Jason Day, third at four under, that set off concerns that controlling the pace of putts and the bounce of approach shots could prove impossible as the course continues to deal with the toll of hosting two tournaments in two weeks.
Asked whether he felt the course was verging on being unplayable, Day's response forced Australian PGA tournament director Andrew Langford-Jones to face the media and squash concerns that the organisers could be facing a potential problem over the weekend.
''You look at the ninth hole. G-Mac [McDowell] landed his [approach shot] just on the green and it bounced and rolled 30 paces,'' Day said.
If memory serves, a very nice approach area short of the green is provided to land the ball short and run it up. Just a thought!
Martin Blake said officials downplayed rumors of epic Stimpmeter readings.
Two players said they had heard the greens were running at 15 on the stimpmeter, an astonishing figure. But the PGA Tour of Australasia's tournaments director Andrew Langford-Jones said the stimpmeter reading this morning was 13.8, adding he had not heard any complaints from players in the locker room.