The Players

I obviously haven’t played every course out there, but TPC at Sawgrass is the finest modern design there is.

My problem with most modern designs is there is no where to play from. You hit the fairway/green, or you are reaching into your bag for another ball. The fairways are too big and the areas in which you can hit the ball and still play it, are too small. There are elephants in the greens, but the areas around the hole are flat.

This leads to professionals on their game shooting 10 under par every day and 15 handicaps and long hitters who lose control of occasional drive find them unplayable. 😀

Other than the island green at 17, every shot at Sawgrass has a place to bail out to. You might find recovery difficult, but you can always bail away from the trouble and try to recover. It visually gives you a place to bring it in from.

I am reminded of #10 at Pebble Beach. One of the hardest, tightest holes in golf, but you stand on that tee and it invites you to hit it in the fairway by hitting a cut off the left bunker.

That is what TPC offers. It gives a clear inviting way to play every shot. That is what I found about architects like Ross, Macenzie and Tillinghaust. They invited you to hit good shots and penalized you a 1/2 shot if you did not.

Modern architects invite you to hit the ball off the planet by aiming tee boxes into the jungle, putting framing bunkers in the wrong spot and putting mounds in the fairway that deflect the ball into the canyons.

Some would say that is British Open Golf. I would disagree. British Open golf deflects the ball from the fairway and green into pot bunkers, heather and difficult lies. Most modern courses deflect the ball off a 10,000 foot crevice at the base of a glacier.

Many people would say the same of Pete Dye, but my experience with Dye courses are the ones he did (like Sawgrass and PGA West Stadium) are well done, while the ones with his name on it that people complain about were mostly done by his sons Perry and P.B.

TPC at Sawgrass is one of the gems on the PGA Tour. It is one of my 2 or 3 favorite courses to play and I love watching The Players and am one of the people who is a dork and calls it the 5th major.

PS-I can’t criticize Tiger for faking how serious his injury was because he was playing like crap…I have done this a few times myself.

If the past is any indication, it is probably fairly serious.

The way his game has been this year, I believe he would have had a hard time at Sawgrass even if healthy. He hardly ever plays well there.

BTW-regardless of how easy the pins were setup according to the players…64 is playing some golf on that track. Well done Nick.

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14 Comments

  1. woody

    “PS-I can’t criticize Tiger for faking how serious his injury was because he was playing like crap…I have done this a few times myself.”

    Heh-heh, nice pick-up…especially coming from you, a Tiger fan. I thought the same thing. We’ll never really know…but, he looked quite normal walking around, climbing steps, and getting into his Mercedes. O’Mera’s comments on their practice round didn’t indicate a physical problem.

    And, the icing on the cake was the view of Tiger and Foley on the range, where Foley was trying to teach him what looked like Moe Norman’s Master Move.

    Triple on the 4th…run for cover.

    Pete Dye…railroad ties = awful. Whistling Straits…when a bunker does not have a defined margin, how can it be a bunker?

    Reply
  2. Mike from Canada

    I think Tiger’s injury is serious and leaves us to wonder… is Tiger done? That swing at the Masters was not a big deal and wouldn’t hurt a normal person.

    Monte, what do you think about this? Is Tiger’s knee too far gone. I have read that he has had 4 surgeries on that knee. The surgeries don’t appear to be working.

    Reply
    • rojoass

      I’m a fan of Tiger’s game (well…..he used to have a game)
      Not a fan of anything else about him.

      http://rojoass.com/

      Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      IMO, It doesn’t matter how far gone his knee is, he can still be great.

      My philosophy about injuries with all my students is pain free first and good shots second.

      Tiger has shown he can play well with a terrible swing.

      I would work with him on some home made swing that doesn’t put pressure on his knee, have him hit balls for an hour a day and spend the rest of the day on short game…which is what won him every title anyway.

      Reply
      • Mike from Canada

        Really?!? I’m surprise by that Monte. I know you can play with a lot of injuries but a knee like Tiger’s?

        Well I hope your right, but I am less than optomistic. I was talking to a buddy of mine last night and I asked him, when was the last time Tiger was completely healthy? We weren’t sure.

        To build the swing you are talking about would take a lot of changing and practicing. Does Tiger have that kind of time and can his knee take that amount of practicing?

        Reply
      • s.

        Tiger wasn’t always wild off the tee. Especially with his 2-iron.

        Here’s an oldie, but a goodie. Tiger & Butch talking about swing changes. Notice the goal, at about the 3-minute mark: lead the Tour in driving accuracy. The show, “Golf Channel Academy,” aired 4/11/2000.

        In days past, Tiger was top-five in distance. And, if he had been as wild as recently, they never would have talked about leading the Tour in driving accuracy. It was actually in his sights.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PplQjd6ZP88&feature=related (8:27)

        Problem…try to have bad mechanics snuff-out feel, and you mess with BALANCE. And cause knee problems? Tiger vs. Rocco at the Open was painful to watch.

        Reply
      • Mike from Canada

        s.,

        I believe Tiger had his first knee surgery in college. Tiger’s knee is not a result of swing changes, IMO. Tiger has abused his knee with a violent golf swing, running (seriously bad exercise for the joints) and vigorous workout routine. He has continually abused that knee and I just wonder if there is any chance it can be healthy.

        Reply
  3. Calvin D

    Sawgrass. Great golf course. I played it twice and enjoyed every single second of it. I can’t think of another course where that is true. At Sawgrass you always had a logical option that would give you a chance. Just a complete pleasure even if you weren’t playing well.

    Reply
  4. mike

    I don’t always agree with you, but your thoughts on modern architects are exactly how I feel. Your comments about canyons and 10,000 foot glaciers is spot on. Well said.

    As for Sawgrass I mostly like the course but what happened to Phil Mickelson on one of the par 3’s on the back is ridiculous and should not happen. If you hit the center of the green the ball should not end up in the water.

    Reply
  5. Mike Z

    I have no doubt that Tiger’s knee is causing him some discomfort, or even pain. However, I followed him on-course at the 2008 Open Saturday through the Monday playoff. Lets just say that he never grimaced or winced after his good shots.

    Reply
    • Mike from Canada

      Whatever Ratief!

      What are you even saying… that the torn ACL and fracture weren’t that painful? You’re being plain stupid.

      Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Tiger is a tool with his “knee whining” on every putt that dares not to go in…for all 72 holes.

      However, a bad shot usually means something didn’t happen in sequence and something crashed into something…and that will cause pain where there is injury.

      That’s why it seems like he only grimaced on bad shots.

      Reply
  6. bret

    We have a Perry Dye public course here in Wichita KS and its an architectural mess. Blind hazards, no bailout areas, a double dogleg where the green is obscured even from the layup area, and my favorite – carry/layup decisions that are a mess. Either fly your drive 250 into prevailing south wind, or hit a 170 yard layup and have 230 to the green (into that same wind)

    Reply

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