Saturday, January 20, 2007

I've just cruised into Sahalee, and boy, are we in for a treat this week. I already have a crick in my neck from looking upwards at these trees. On some of the holes out here, it gets dark about 4:30 p.m!

One thing that always frustrates me about the PGA Championship is the way that the course is set up. Every other major has its own unique character, and I think the PGA should be as much of a combination of the other three as is possible. When was the last time you saw a player in the trees at a U.S. Open? You probably can't remember, mainly because the ball is choked by thick rough before it can get near a tree. It's the same thing around the greens. You never see a bump and run, or a low checking sand wedge, only the high chop and flop.

When this subject comes up, I always ask people this question, "If you were allowed to watch only one golf tournament per year for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?" The answer is invariably, "The Masters." But of course the reason is, at The Masters, you never know what's going to happen next. The British Open is similarly entertaining, because it provides the player, even after a wayward shot, with the opportunity, depending on his skill level to play the miraculous recovery shot. In the U.S. Open and the PGA, such opportunities do not exist. The 90° rule applies, not only for Casey but for your golf ball. At Sahalee this week you will see a lot of sideways chip-outs.

If Sahalee was set up with narrower fairways, say 20-25 yards, and there was short rough all the way to the trees, this would open up a whole new world of entertaining possibilities. We'd see plenty of players in the woods, but this time they would have a lie that might tempt them to take more of a risk. Players would have to figure out whether or not the ball would jump. Judging the flyer has sadly become a dying art, due to the severe rough that infests not only U.S. Open and PGA Championship courses, but regular tour venues also. I know I've said all of this before, but I figure that if I say it often enough, eventually someone might listen.

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