Was Hazeltine National "Unfair"
By Kickntrue on 8/19/09
Was the course for the PGA Championship setup "unfairly?" I think you can make the case it was. Before I lay out the argument- I want to be clear that we're dealing with fairness more so than difficulty.

The matter in question specifically is the rough- and if you should be penalized for good shots that happen to end up just off the fairway in bad lies. I don't want to take away from Geoff Shackelford's post- but here is one thing he has highlighted from John Huggan of GolfDigest,
This, folks, is not what golf is supposed to be about. As [Geoff] Ogilvy pointed out in the wake of what was a generally disappointing personal performance, "the difficulty of your shot should be dictated by the position the ball is in, not the lie that the ball is in."
It's really a pretty interesting idea- because overall you'd have to say the scores were where you'd want them to be for a major- but it does seem wrong to penalize someone for hitting a great shot, getting a little unlucky, and then they're toast. A couple examples of this were Tiger's irons shots on both 17 and 18 on Sunday. He hit the shot he wanted- but with the kicks he got- was left hacking and praying- just like your or I would.

At any rate- check out the post from Geoff- who rocks by the way.


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[ comments ]
greendevil says:
I do believe the course was fair; I've come to expect seeing long rough at championship courses and I'm sure the pros have too.

I watched quite a bit of coverage of the PGA Championship and I saw nothing that would lead me to believe that Hazeltine was setup much differently, if any, than other "major" courses.

I actually think the rough looked easier to play out of than the course I played last Sunday: Elks Run Golf Course in Batavia, Ohio. The rough was so thick around the greens that I just could not easily chip out; I actually had 4 chips on one hole trying to get out of the rough. Even though my score was a few strokes higher as a result of the brutal rough, I had a blast playing that Greg Norman designed course.
Pipeliner says:
you cant tell how "fairly" a course is setup unless you play it....looking at it on TV doesnt tell you how a lie is....
Kickntrue says:
@pipeliner- i agree- but we're going off comments from pros... not tv, or my opinion.
chadmicheal07 says:
Hazeltine was set up fair, it was just set up really tough. and i understand where you say you cant tell everything when watching on tv but thats not necessarily true because on tv you actually get to see more then as to when being there.
and trust me i know i was there for one of the rounds, i don't live to far from Hazeltine. I do like the graduating rough instead of how it was right off the fairway, mainly cause i dont really like the bomb and gouge technique we see by the big bombers.
Torleif Sorenson says:
In Tuesday's Minneapolis Star-Tribune, columnist Jim Souhan gave mostly props, especially the driveable 14th. But he offered a couple of suggestions, like creating at least one risk-reward par-5 on the second nine, since longer par-3s and par-4s "stress golfers and lead to drama. Long par-5s tend to be simply boring. Who wants to see the greatest golfers in the world play three conservative shots?"

I wish I could have been there; Hazeltine National is only about a 30-mile drive from my house. That said, I'm grateful it was on television. I think my fellow golf fans in Minnesota reflected pretty good credit upon themselves; Souhan wrote about how veteran golf writers were astounded by the attendance and atmosphere. Major kudos also to the officers, staff, and members at HNGC. Well done.
Backquak says:
I have to say that as long as all the players are playing the same course in the same conditions you have a fair course no matter if it is tough or easy
C-4 says:
STOP Whinning!..everybody has to play the same course..so It is fair!
Pipeliner says:
kickn, i was refering to the post above mine
mjaber says:
I'd have to agree that since everyone played the same course, it's fair. Lucky and unlucky things happen, regardless of how the course is setup. ANYTHING can happen during 4 days of golf. A weird bounce off a divot, a drive skipping through bunkers into the fairway, a wayward drive into the trees that ricochets into the fairway.

Have you ever noticed that most complaints come from those who did not play as well as they were expected to?
greendevil says:
@pipeliner, you must not be watching golf in HD. With the clarity of HD and the great camera work in television coverage now, a viewer can tell exactly how good or poor a lie is.
falcon50driver says:
Pipeliner and I live in South Texas and Louisiana, that new fangled TV hasn't made it's way this far south into the bayou yet.
daveh says:
They are called PROS. The course should set up tough. I agree, it's the losers that whine
bducharm says:
NOT the lie it is in??? Really??? Seriously??? Come on, the course was setup very fair AND the rain made it even more fair!!! I LOVE what the organizations (USGA/PGA) are doing to bring in driveable par 3's, etc. Hazeltine was fair and it will be a great Ryder Cup site in 2016!!!
Pipeliner says:
"@pipeliner, you must not be watching golf in HD. With the clarity of HD and the great camera work in television coverage now, a viewer can tell exactly how good or poor a lie is"

haha like merlin says, we havent got all that new fangled fancy tv....we still pull it in on black and white with rabbit ears
jwilder78 says:
"Hazelton" National?
Kickntrue says:
@jwilder- only took 15 comments... haha
mngolfballer09 says:
the course did set up fair. And I was there. Tigers shots were poor on both 17 and 18. He set himself in bad positions with little green to work with. Most of the players did say in their press confrences that the course was Long but Fair
Patrick McKay says:
What's not fair is that after making millions from sponsorships and tour wins, guys like Geoff Ogilvy think that long rough is worth crying about while most people are just hoping not to get laid off during the recession. Keep crying Geoff!
dottomm says:
It's Golf, so you could argue it is NOT fair.
tennesseeboy says:
I agree, the difficulty of your shot should be dictated by the position the ball is in, not the lie that the ball is in.

If the ball is positioned in the fairway, the lie should not be a problem. If you don't like the rough, don't hit your ball there.
abz says:
the PGA markets the tour and its players with the tagline "Thes Guys Are Good." so, either they are good enough to NOT be in the rough in the first place, or they are good enough to get out of the rough. if they hit a great shot to begin with, then it won't be near the rough. if it ends up (unlucky bounce or not) then the shot wasn't that great to begin with.
cjgiant says:
I have no idea if it was fair or not, but I've complained numerous times about course conditions. If I hit a good shot and short-side myself just off the green and end up with an difficult lie, and it woulda been better for me to miss by more, then that seems a bit ironic at least, if not a bit unfair.

But, anywhere you go you can have just as good luck (pros landing way off line, but in trampled down rough) as bad (landing in divot in middle of fairway). The "unfair" argument is interesting but those who point out everyone plays the same course have perhaps the strongest point.
ipv6freely says:
I don't get it... boo hoo the rough is long... maybe you should have hit the fairway, then?
duanea says:
I think it WAS fair. All the golfers had to contend with the same problem. Nobody had an advantage. If they had trouble with the rough, they should have stayed out of it. They are pros! They should be able to handle it. Man up, you guys!
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