Oak Hill Country Club is going to play long.
Despite some of the chatter- cold temperatures and a steady breeze gave players trying to get some last-minute practice headaches. There were some assertions late-Tuesday that perhaps anyone could win this PGA Championship. A notion that the course is setup in such a way that guys who don’t hit the ball as far will have a chance to play along with the longer hitters.
After watching Wednesdays practice rounds- that couldn’t be further from the case.
Consider this: The home stretch of this golf course, the last two holes- were both playing into the wind today. We watched a group of shorter hitters be left with long irons and hybrids into the green. It’s cold, windy, and the golf ball simply isn’t flying like it does in 80-something degree weather.
Most of those shots did not make the surface.
Those moments will prove costly in this tournament. And the way the course is setup- guys like Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, and Cameron Young will have the opportunity to flex their muscle.
To put it another way, a guy hitting 4-irons or hybrids all week isn’t going to outduel one of the best in the world hitting mid- or short-irons into these greens.
Tony Finau said hitting the ball straight off the tee would be a top priority. “You’ve got to hit it far, and you’ve got to hit it straight. This golf course is going to start from the tee box,” he said. “If you’re not hitting enough fairways, you’re not going to be able to play this place very good. The guy that’s going to win this week is going to be driving the golf ball really well.”
Zach Johnson echoed the sentiment and called it a ‘proper test’. “Obviously, you know what you’re going to get at Augusta, and everybody loves it. You know what you’re going to get at the Open across the pond. It’s links-style golf, and everybody loves it. The U.S. Open has their schtick,” he said Wednesday. “This one just really takes on a new being every year, and I love that. The consistency is that there’s inconsistency in where we go, and I love that.”
Meanwhile, Trevor Immelman, who will be in the booth this weekend said there isn’t any ‘faking it’ at Oak Hill. “What freaked me out as a 23-year-old was how narrow it was, and how precise you needed to be,” Immelman said. “The greens are not overly undulating, but they keep you on your toes. There is no ‘faking’ it out here. No hiding.”
Press Conferences from Wednesday
Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, and Jon Rahm talking about Oak Hill’s new setup
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