In 2009, three years after Rees Jones’ $5 million nip/tuck of Cog Hill’s Dubsdread layout, Phil Mickelson quickly set the standard for criticism: “In the pro-am and the first round I had the same yardages and hit 5-iron on every one of the par-3s. That’s a failing grade in Golf Architecture 101,” Lefty lamented.
Last Monday, Geoff Ogilvy’s reaction to the news he’d scrambled into the top 70 on the FedEx Cup points list was a measure of how deep player disdain for the Dubsdread layout runs: “I get rewarded with a trip to Cog Hill,” the Australian deadpanned.
On Tuesday, GTC gave Jones – whose restoration handiwork includes this year’s PGA Championship venue (Atlanta Athletic Club) and East Lake, site of next week’s Tour Championship – a chance to fire back at the growing criticism of some of his projects but the “Open Doctor” declined to enter the fray.
“I’m not going to address that,” Jones told GTC. “No comment.”
Some think this week’s BMW Championship could be the last played at the south Chicago staple. The Tour’s penultimate playoff event is scheduled to be played at Crooked Stick next year and Cherry Hills in Denver in 2014, but where the tournament will be played when it is held in Chicago-land remains unknown.
Although Jones wasn’t interested in defending his work at Cog Hill, which he called a “restoration … an updating,” course chief executive Frank Jemsek told Crain’s Chicago Business this week that he was pleased with the architect’s work.
“What Rees is trying to do is keep up with the best players in the world,” Jemsek said. “He's trying to figure out a way to get a step ahead. When somebody gets a step ahead of me, I know I don't like it.”