Unlucky No 7


FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Mike Davis, the director of rules and competition for the U.S. Golf Association, has a simple philosophy – the players, not the course, should be the story U.S. Open week.

If the sampling of give and take on the practice range Tuesday afternoon was any indication, Davis’ plan has already missed the mark.

Atop most stories of woe on Tuesday was the par-4 seventh hole. At 489 yards it played into a slight breeze during practice rounds and the results were the stuff of legend. Up-and-coming Australian stud, Michael Sim, hardly among the field’s shorter hitters, hit driver-driver and was short of the green. David Toms hit driver-3-wood and still had 30 yards to the putting surface, and J.B. Holmes, the poster child of the bomb-and-gouge set, made it to 15 feet hitting driver-5-wood.

“I hit a good drive, right in the middle of the fairway, and had 241 (yards) in . . . 241,” Stewart Cink sighed, repeating the distance as if to convince himself it really happened.

The hole, which features the course's largest bunker but will likely be played shorter if the course stays wet, was the fourth-toughest during the 2002 Open with a 4.478 average. If Tuesday was any indication, expect “Unlucky 7” to vie for toughest in show this week.

Asked how he thought his redesigned monster was shaping up, renowned architect Rees Jones offered a sly smile, “It’s easy.”