PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Oh, these players know better.
Balls spinning back on the green.
Errant shots staying in the fairway.
Gouges from the rough holding the green.
It might not get any easier than what they faced Thursday at Oak Hill: No wind, soft greens from overnight and afternoon rain, and warm, humid air.
“The scores under par could piss the PGA off and they may not water the rest of the week, not cut anything, cut the greens really fast,” Scott Piercy (67) said. “You never know what they are going to do. If they keep it relatively similar to this, I think it’s fair. It rewards good golf shots.”
Said Adam Scott: “The best score out there is 5 under par from the best players in the world. I don’t think that’s anything to be ashamed of.”
But there are many reasons to believe that the low scoring is short-lived.
Consider this: A quarter-inch of rain fell overnight, so the greens were receptive, the fairways essentially played wider, and the shots in the rough weren’t penalized as severely because the soft greens could hold the balls that came in with no spin.
The rough, of course, will only getting thicker and juicier as the week progresses, after it was topped off for what was likely the final time on Wednesday. And the Day 1 hole locations were relatively accessible (and even more so with the softconditions).
“This golf course can easily be protected with pins,” Graeme McDowell (70) said. “I hope they don’t go too hard on the course (Thursday) because we might see a few evil ones (Friday). They can soon tuck these pins away and make this is a difficult test.”
Another thing to keep in mind: Only nine players – ever – have broken par in a 72-hole major at Oak Hill. It always punches back.
So by the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, it’s a safe bet there won’t still be 35 players in red numbers.