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.