Tiger Designs His Ideal Golf Course

By George WhiteNovember 7, 2000, 5:00 pm
It was Tuesday, the normal day for an Eldrick T. Woods' visit. Yes, that Tiger. Tuesday's are Tiger's day for several reasons, but the primary one is because that's the day he wants to come to the pressroom. You talk to him then, or you don't get your question about the odd stuff answered. Most writers want something new, something different answered, so they show up on Tuesdays. Other tournaments, they show up on Wednesday. When Tiger is in town, they show up on Tuesdays.

This one goes under the category of `odd stuff,' all right. What, someone wondered, would Tiger do if he were an architect and he had to design par-4s and par-5s? He would, of course, have to defend against the Tiger Woods' of this world, the ones who whip a driver and an 8-iron to a par-5 green.

There are two points, Tiger said. 'The golfers are getting stronger,' he began, but that was just a smokescreen. Here's the real answer:

'The agronomy is playing a big part of it,' he said. 'The fairways are so much faster than they used to be.'

'You look back at any of the old tapes of the `70s, and especially the `60s - look how slow it used to be. Hitting the fairway, you would get about 10 yards on a roll, if you were lucky.'

'You turn the ball over (hit it with a left-to-right roll), it can roll 50 or 60 yards like it's nothing. That shortens up the hole quite a bit if you can use the spin correctly.'

And what would he do to bring back the courses to a reasonable length? Simply grow the grass a little longer. It's simple. After all, the fairways are as close, as tightly manicured, as the greens used to be 50 years ago.

Of course, those are the courses HE plays. The normal human being doesn't play Augusta and Pebble Beach and Muifield and Bay Hill. He plays at his local municipal course, where the fairways are still fairways, and even the greens are as long as some of the fairways where Woods plays.

Tiger won't be designing your local muni, of course. If he gets into the course-design business, I seriously doubt that it will be a course where the average golfer goes to hack it around. But still, he makes as interesting point about the finer courses. Let them grow to get the distance under control.

Woods added the notion that golfers are getting stronger and bigger and more athletic. He didn't say that most of us have plenty of room left to make par-4s and 5s honest, but then, he probably doesn't know what it feels like anymore to attack a 525-yard par-5 with a driver, 3-wood and a 7-iron.

Tiger went on to discuss one venerable track that has done about everything it can, including changing the way it cuts the fairways - Augusta. They haven't decided to let the grass grow longer - heaven knows they haven't done that. But they have managed to get scoring under control, even on a course which borders today on the shortish side.

'I started playing there in '95, and they have changed the cut of the grain,' he said. 'I mean, it used to be down-grain, now it's all into the grain.'

Eventually, though, Augusta will have to face the fact that it can't compete. Too many Tigers and not enough Corey Pavins will be attacking its fairways. They can let it grow, but they can't do the one thing that will truly add length.

'Over time, I think they are just going to run out of room,' he said. 'Because that facility doesn't have a whole lot of real estate,'

He's right, of course - some day when the average size of golfers is 6-foot-5. Most of us here won't be around to see that day, however. Augusta National, I'm happy to say, is going to continue to be a golf course. The day is a long way off when it will be re-introduced to its original purpose - that of a nursery.

Will golfers continue to get longer, causing Augusta to 'run out of room', as Tiger put it?
Getty Images

Mullinax fires course-record 62 at Valero

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 9:01 pm

Trey Mullinax surged into contention during the third round of the Valero Texas Open, shooting a 10-under 62 that set a new course record on the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio.

Mullinax started the day seven shots off the pace, but by the time he completed his round he had taken a one-shot lead with the overnight leaders still on the course. The former Alabama standout caught fire on the back nine, shooting a 7-under 29 despite a bogey after chip-ins for eagle on No. 14 and birdie on No. 16 to go along with an eagle on the home hole.

"It's probably one of the best rounds I've ever had," Mullinax told reporters. "To go out there and shoot 62 on a hard golf course is really good."

Mullinax appeared headed for a missed cut after a 74 in the opening round, but he bounced back with a second-round 68 to earn a weekend tee time and his third-round score broke the previous course record of 63 held by multiple players.

The 25-year-old finished 137th in FedExCup points last season, leaving him with only conditional status this season. His lone top-10 finish of the year came at the Valspar Championship, where he survived a Monday qualifier and went on to tie for eighth, and this marks only his third start since the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

"Obviously I would like to play a little more, but the tournaments I get in, I'm really excited about playing golf," Mullinax said. "I've loved every start I've gotten, and I'm very thankful to be in the position I'm in."

Mullinax holed a putt to clinch a national title for the Crimson Tide in 2014, and he finished T-9 at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills. But success has been fleeting among the professional ranks, meaning Sunday's opportunity to notch a career-best finish or breakthrough victory is nothing short of enticing.

"I'm sure you'll be nervous," Mullinax said. "To have a chance to win or just go play good golf is what I came here for, so that's what I'm going to do."

Getty Images

Quiros maintains one-shot lead through 54 in Morocco

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 7:46 pm

RABAT, Morocco - A birdie on the last hole gave Alvaro Quiros a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Trophee Hassan II.

Quiros' birdie on No. 18 allowed the Spanish golfer to sign for an even-par 72 on Saturday to stay at 7-under par overall and clear of four players in second place.

South African pair Erik van Rooyen and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, France's Alexander Levy, and Finland's Mikko Ilonen were just a shot behind at 6 under heading into the final day at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat.

Quiros is a seven-time winner on the European Tour, but went six years without a victory until last year with his triumph at the Rocco Forte Open in Italy.

Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II

He's seeking a wire-to-wire victory in Morocco after sharing the first-round lead with Bradley Dredge before taking it outright on Day 2.

Quiros had an on-off day in the third round - he said it was ''suddenly great shot, suddenly not so good'' - and carded four birdies and four bogeys to come out even and still hold on to his lead.

Van Rooyen shot 71, Bezuidenhout 68, Levy a 69, and Ilonen the best round of the week so far with his 6-under 66.

Ilonen had seven birdies and just a single bogey - on his first hole - to leap 23 places up the leaderboard and into contention for a first tour title since 2014 when he won the World Match Play Championship.

Getty Images

M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

Marina Alex was second after a 68.

Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

Getty Images

Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.