Memorial Rougher Than Ever

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 28, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 The Memorial TournamentDUBLIN, Ohio -- A consensus is forming among players that hitting out of the rough at Muirfield Village Golf Club these days is like swinging a magnet through steel wool.
 
Course designer Jack Nicklaus disagrees.
 
Nicklaus, the founder of this weeks Memorial Tournament, believes the hay bordering the fairways and greens is no worse than in the past.
 
Its the same, he said Tuesday, comparing this years gnarly, grabby calf-high rough with years past. Its just a more consistent rough. Because of a wet spring, the rough has really gotten a very consistent growth.
 
Almost everyone else sees things differently. Defending champion K.J. Choi is convinced the rough is much more punitive than a year ago when he avoided major problems after veering off the courses fairways.
 
This year the rough around the greens is two times longer than what it was last year, Choi said through an interpreter. Its going to be very tough if you miss the green.
 
The Memorial has long been a favorite stop for tour players, mostly because of the $6 million purse, championship conditions and milkshakes in the mens grill that can make you weak in the knees.
 
The list of the pros favorite things, however, will never include the lighting-quick greens, sinkhole-deep bunkers and dozens of treacherous threats that Nicklaus built into the course.
 
And that list certainly wont include the rough at its current depth and consistency. A shot just a few feet off the generous fairways may or may not be findable. If a player locates his ball, the biggest problem is advancing it forward more than a few feet.
 
The course has wide fairways so the penalty will be stiff if you miss, Mike Weir said.
 
Deep rough is bad enough but with the rain that always seems to pelt Muirfield Village the week of the tournament'and did again on Tuesday'the rough is downright dastardly.
 
Once the tournament gets under way on Thursday, youll undoubtedly see some big hitter wade into the rough, pull out a wedge and whack away at his ball. No matter where the shot ends up'and it could go sideways, 100 yards or just 2 inches'the sudden stop when the grass grabs his club will send shockwaves throughout his shoulders and the rest of his body.
 
Sergio Garcia, fresh from two weeks in his native Spain after winning THE PLAYERS Championship, knows the dangers that lurk for anyone finding the deep stuff.
 
You know that if you miss the fairway, its going to be a little bit of a struggle because (the course) is set up like a major, he said. The rough is thick. Unless you get quite lucky, its difficult to get it to the green with more than a 7 iron or 6 iron.
 
On a course that stretches 7,366 yards, and could get longer if rains come on the weekend as expected, that leaves little margin for error.
 
Nicklaus said he would not advise anyone missing the fairways or greens.
 
I dont think the guys will enjoy hitting the ball in the rough this week, he said with a knowing smirk.
 
Choi cemented his victory a year ago with a terrific par save from behind the green at the par-4 17th hole. His 6-iron approach had bounded 30 feet over the green, nestling into the heavy, twisted grass. As he looked over his next shot, he was faced with a touchy sand wedge to a pin just a few feet onto the back of the green, which then slanted downhill. Nine times out of 10, even the best players in the world would either leave the ball in the deep rough or knock it back off the front of the green.
 
With a ferocious swing, the former weightlifter from South Korea popped the ball out to 15 feet and then holed the putt.
 
During his practice round on Tuesday, Choi and his caddie laughed when they returned to the scene of that heroic shot.
 
We kind of joked and he said, We definitely cant be doing that again, he said.
 
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    Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

    Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

    The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


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    And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

    Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


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    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.