DUBLIN, Ohio – Muirfield Village Golf Club was always going to be set up for birdies during this week’s Presidents Cup. It was Mother Nature who ensured those red numbers would be plentiful.
Heavy rains which led to lengthy delays during each of the first two days have softened up the golf course to the extent where players can take dead aim at flagsticks.
The result was that many of Friday’s foursomes scores more closely resembled those of fourballs.
Ernie Els and Brendon De Jonge posted a score of 8 under through 15 holes in their victory over Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan. In the match ahead of them, Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley posted a front-nine 30 before closing out Jason Day and Graham DeLaet with a score of 6 under through 15 holes.
Of the 160 holes that were completed on Friday – 80 for each team – there were just 16 bogeys and only one score worse than bogey, a double by the team of Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen on the par-3 12th hole.
“The greens have been soft all week,” Els explained. “And the flag positions, you know, especially yesterday, they really put it into the run-offs so you could feed the golf ball. So they are not protecting the course like they might do on a Sunday of the Memorial. They are setting up the course where you can make some birdies if you play properly.”
“I love it,” Mickelson said. “People want to see birdies. We don't want to be playing defense; we want to be playing offense. And when you do that, you're winning holes because of great shots, not because of others' mistakes, and I think that's exactly the way it should be in these team events.”