Oak Hill Set to Test the Best

By Associated PressMay 21, 2008, 4:00 pm
PGA of AmericaROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Jeff Sluman, by his count, has played Oak Hill some 500 times, which should make him a surefire favorite entering this weekends Senior PGA Championship, right?
Think again.
Sluman isnt 25 any more, and Oak Hills renown and majestic tree-lined East Course has aged much better, maintaining its long-standing reputation as a place that can wear down anyone: the young, the experienced, the good and even the well-practiced.
Its just one of those courses that you think you can get, but you never do, said the 50-year-old Sluman, who grew up in Rochester and is a course member. I think that it doesnt lull you to sleep, but it just constantly puts pressure on every aspect of your game.
Sluman recounted being amused by Phil Mickelsons first impressions after Lefty opened the 2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill with a 4-under 66.
I cant get the quote perfect, but when Phil was here, he thought the course was pretty easy, Sluman said, before noting that Mickelson finished outside the top 20 (tied for 23rd). Oak Hill always has a way of getting back at you.
Then, as if on cue, the walls of the media tent shuddered after being buffeted by a heavy wind that should make Oak Hills 7,001-yard, par-70 tight and well-protected course an even nastier challenge for the field of 156 competing for the $2 million purse, of which $360,000 goes to the winner.
Add in a good chance of rain and a forecast high of 52'unseasonably cold even for upstate New York in May'for the first round Thursday, and it leaves some wondering what they might have got themselves into.
When I played here back in the 80s or whenever, it was a brutal golf course: And I could hit the ball pretty high and drive the ball very straight, said Greg Norman who, at 53, is making his Senior PGA Championship debut. So when you come to a golf course thats as tough as Oak Hill its going to be probably more mentally demanding now than it was back when we actually played the game very, very well.
Established at its current site in 1926, Oak Hill has hosted two PGA Championships, three U.S. Opens and the Ryder Cup in 1995. Out of the five combined majors played at Oak Hill, only 10 players have finished under par. And its a course thats earned its credentials, boasting such champions as Jack Nicklaus (1980 U.S. Open) and Lee Trevino (1968 U.S. Open).
Its a Donald Ross-designed course that Tiger Woods described as the best, fairest and toughest championship golf course Ive ever played. And that was after he finished the 2003 PGA Championship with an eye-popping 12-over 292.
And its a course that current Champions Tour money leader Bernhard Langer believes will hold up forever.
No matter how long the guys will hit it off the tee, it doesnt matter, said Langer, whos playing Oak Hill for the fourth time of his career. This course is very, very difficult.
Dont let the relatively short length or the fact that the course features only two par-5 holes fool you. Neither of the par-5s are reachable in two shots. And then there are the tight fairways lined by trees and dense rough'measuring 5 inches in some places'that demand both accuracy and length, followed by fast, sloped greens that can turn into adventures for anyone finding themselves above the hole.
Its everything, Langer said. Theres not one hole where I stand on the tee and I feel I have to make birdie here otherwise I lose half a shot to the field. Its a very tough test.
Langer, who counts two victories this season, is considered part of a group of favorites that includes Jay Haas, Tom Watson, Loren Roberts and Denis Watson, whos revived his game since winning last years Senior PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, S.C. Watson now counts four victories over the past year'one more than he won on the PGA Tour'and currently ranks third on the money list after finishing in a tie for fifth at the Regions Charity Classic last weekend.
For Sluman, 13th on the money list, he has only one objective entering this tournament'and thats to make the cut, something hes failed to do the two other times hes played Oak Hill as a professional.
I certainly feel I can play the golf course well, and if things go OK, you never know, Sluman said. You just have to wait until Sunday.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Sr. PGA Championship
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

    By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

    LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

    View this post on Instagram

    Finally got it down lol

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

    Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

    View this post on Instagram

    How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.

    Getty Images

    Sponsored: Callaway's 'Golf Lives: Home Course'

    By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 4:20 pm

    In this original series, Callaway sets out to profile unique golf locations around the country based on their stories, communities and the characters that surround them. The golf cultures across the series are remarkably diverse, yet in all cases it's the course itself that unifies and ignites the passions of those who play.

    “Golf Lives: Home Course” focuses on three distinct home courses across the country – one in D.C., one in Nebraska and one in Portland, Ore. All have very different golf cultures, but are connected by a deep love of the game.

    Click here for a look at all three episodes in the series, as well as past Golf Lives films (check out the trailer below).

    And here’s a breakdown of the three courses in focus: 

    FILM 1

    Langston Golf Course (Washington, D.C.)

    Opened in June 1939, Langston is steeped in a rich history. Known for its triumphant role in the desegregation of public golf, the course has been integral to the growth of the game’s popularity among African Americans. With its celebratory feel, Langston shows us golf is not unifies individuals, but generations. 

    FILM 2

    Edgefield Golf Course (Portland, Ore.)

    The air is fresh, the beers are cold and the vibes are electric at Edgefield. You'd be hard pressed to find a more laid back, approachable and enjoyable environment for a round. Overlooking stunning panoramic views of northeast Portland, two par-3 pub courses (12 holes and 20 holes) wind through vineyards, thickets of blackberry bushes and a vintage distillery bar. All are welcome at Edgefield, especially those who have never swung a club. 

    FILM 3

    Wild Horse Golf Club (Gothenburg, Neb.)

    In 1997, the locals and farmers living in the tight-knit town of Gothenburg decided to build a golf course. A bank loan, a couple of tractors, and a whole lotta sweat-equity later, their prairieland masterpiece is now considered one of the best in the country. Wild Horse is the soul of the community, providing unforgettable memories for all who play it.

    Getty Images

    Pepperell likely sews up Masters invite via OWGR

    By Will GrayOctober 15, 2018, 2:13 pm

    Eddie Pepperell received a trophy for his win Sunday at the British Masters, but another prize will be coming in the mail at the end of the year.

    Pepperell held on to win by two shots at rainy Walton Heath, giving him his second win of the year to go along with a pair of runner-ups. The Englishman started the year ranked No. 133 in the world and was as low as 513th in May 2017. But with the win, Pepperell jumped 17 spots to a career-best 33rd in the latest world rankings.

    It means that Pepperell, who finished T-6 at The Open while fighting a hangover in the final round, is in line to make his Masters debut next spring, as the top 50 in the world rankings at the end of the calendar year become exempt into the season's first major.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    Another player now in the mix for that top-50 exemption is Emiliano Grillo, who went from 62nd to 49th with a T-2 finish at the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic. Grillo has played in two Masters but missed this year's event. Marc Leishman moved up eight spots to No. 16 with his win in Malaysia, while T-2s result moved Chesson Hadley from 75th to 60th and Bronson Burgoon from 162nd to 102nd.

    There were no changes among the top 10 in the latest rankings, with Dustin Johnson still ahead of Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. Francesco Molinari remains in sixth, with Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth rounding out the top 10.

    Both Koepka and Thomas are in the field at this week's CJ Cup in South Korea, where they will have an opportunity to overtake Johnson for world No. 1.

    With his next competitive start unknown, Tiger Woods stayed at No. 13 for another week.

    Getty Images

    USGA, R&A unveil new limits on green books

    By Rex HoggardOctober 15, 2018, 1:53 pm

    Following a six-week feedback period, the USGA and R&A unveiled a new interpretation of the Rules of Golf and the use of green-reading materials on Monday.

    The interpretation limits the size and scale of putting green books and any electronic or digital materials that a player may use to assist with green reading.

    “We’re thankful for everyone’s willingness to provide feedback as we worked through the process of identifying a clear interpretation that protects the essential skill of reading a green, while still allowing for information that helps golfers enjoy the game,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior managing director of governance.

    Players will be allowed to continue to use green-reading books beginning in 2019, but the new interpretation will limit images of greens to a scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480), and books can be no larger than 4 1/4 inches by 7 inches (pocket-sized). The interpretation also bans the use of magnification devices beyond normal prescription glasses.

    The USGA and R&A will allow for hand-drawn notes in green books as long as those notes are written by the player or their caddie. The rule makers also dropped a proposal that would have limited the minimum slope to four percent in green-reading material.

    “These latest modifications provide very practical changes that make the interpretation easier to understand and apply in the field,” Pagel said.