PGA Tour favours long hitters
they're trying to get us ready for the Senior Tour, he fumed.
Last time I said the LPGA, but they fined me for that.
getting old banging my head against a brick wall. They (the PGA
Tour) dont listen.
Forest Oaks, home of one of the oldest events on the PGA Tour, is
known for being one of the few courses on the regular tour to routinely
serve up thick rough reminiscent of a U.S. Open.
So Hoch was
surprised to find just a wispy growth of rough, barely two inches
long in most places, lining the fairways and surrounding the greens.
The rough (on tour) this year has been less than in almost
any other year I can remember, other than a drought, Hoch
Its a joke. Lets just have the whole tour for
the long hitters and not worry about accuracy.
Hoch, the 1989 Masters runner-up, has long been a vocal critic of
the PGA Tour field staff, who he believes too often set up courses
to favor the long hitters, such as Tiger Woods.
This has always been a tough course. Thats one of
the main reasons I came here, because I figured this is about the
only place I could find any rough, Hoch said.
Hochs anger boiled over when he played the 18th hole in a
Tuesday practice round at the same time as the ground staff were
mowing the already sparse rough.
The short-hitting Hoch has to rely on accuracy as his major weapon
and says the only tournament he has played this year with penal
rough was the Players Championship.
Defending champion Hal Sutton, another accurate but not overly long
hitter, also expressed disappointment at the lack of Forest Oaks
I like decent rough, because it punishes you if you hit it
off line, Sutton said. I think there should be a price
to pay if you hit it off line.
Added 1997 champion Frank Nobilo: I would prefer it (the
rough) to be a little higher. Its an older style course and
when the roughs up, its a better test. When the roughs
down its going to benefit the long hitter.
believes that the PGA Tour only favours the long hitters.
that the tour was setting up courses without much rough to encourage
aggressive golf, which a lot of spectators seem to enjoy.
PGA Tour tournament director Mark Russell, who is in charge of the
course set-up this year, defended the length of the rough, or lack
He said the rough this year was 2 1/2 inches high, and would probably
grow another inch by Sunday.
We think it is very penal, but in the past it has been
higher, Russell admitted.
The feedback from the players is they did not want
the rough as high as it has been in the past. You are going to get
varied comments from all the different players. The rough is 2 1/2
inches and we think that it is exactly where it should be.
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