'I can't remember a year where they played this soft,' Sluman said of the receptive greens on the 6,759-yard course, one of the PGA Tour's shortest.
'The scores might even be lower than normal this year because the ball's not going to run into the rough. We'd rather hit one more iron into the hole with less roll. Then you don't have to worry about the gargantuan rough.'
Sluman shot a 23-under 261 last year -- one stroke shy of Loren Roberts' 72-hole record -- to win by two shots over Tim Herron and Steve Lowery. Sluman also won the event in 1998.
After finishing his pro-am round Wednesday, Sluman said the rough was 'really severe on every hole.'
Brown Deer Park is an old-fashioned course that rewards solid strategy and accurate drives more than brute force hitters.
'I personally like golf courses where you have to think off the tee and use a bunch of different clubs,' Sluman said.
So does Kenny Perry, who said Brown Deer Park is a thinking man's course.
'I love it here. The golf course fits my game perfectly. I just have good feelings here. I just like the style of play here,' he said.
In seventh place on the money list at just under $3 million on the strength of his Colonial-Memorial sweep, Perry is the leading money winner in the field at Brown Deer Park, where he has finished in the top five each of the last three summers.
Brown Deer puts a premium on iron play and putting while neutralizing the long hitters.
'You can only use four drivers a round here (on holes 1, 6, 10 and 18). I like that,' Sluman said. 'It's not just get up and gorilla golf it. Part of the beauty of it is you really get rewarded for thinking well and hitting good golf shots out here.'
And that will be especially important with a soggy course.
'I would call it muddy,' Jerry Kelly said.
Divots: The purse this year is a record $3.5 million, including $630,000 first prize. ... The course plays to a par 70 after the fourth hole was changed from a par 5 to a par 4 with the removal of a large oak tree that guarded the right side of the fairway. ... Shigeki Maruyama, the 2001 winner, isn't surprised the field includes a half dozen Japanese players. He said cut-out-of-the-woods Brown Deer Park is similar to many of the tree-lined courses so common in Japan.
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