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#1 jeanmc

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 02:51 AM

I think the AMEX was played on a local municipal course...how else can you explain the low scoring??? And to think that this was a WGC event as well.

Sure, there was a lack of wind, but surely that can't be used as an excuse everytime? Shouln't course designers plan for this in advance, or better still, shouldn;t the organisers plan for this? If you're gonna have the top players in the world play such an event, surely it should be a test for all and not just for players on the PGA tour, where it's basically point and shoot. If they're gonna make the effort to get the top players out there, then at least they should make them work for it...not just offer it to them...

Fair enough if Tiger goes out the first day and shoots 65 for a course record...it's Tiger we're talking about here...even better that he backs it up on the next day (he was quoted as saying the course was too easy anyway), but to have McCarron come out and shoot 64 on Sat and then both Sergio and Goose shoot 62s on Sunday...what the heck...not only do they both post course records...but to beat it by 2 shots as well...

from the limited coverage I saw...it seemed that the fairways were too wide, taking the rough out of play...you talk about the British Open this year, and the lack of wind on the final day...but that was just for one day...not all four days...

sorry for the b@#$ session here, but I think they should have played this on another course...what was wrong with Valderama...so what if Tiger keeps stuffing up 17...it's fun to watch...anywayz... :evil:



#2 james

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 07:28 AM

Shows how the almighy dollar has the most influence. If they wanted to hold the event in Ireland, why not use one of the great links courses Ireland is renowned for? Not use some goat track where guys are shooting mid 60's every day.

I can guarantee you that no-one would shoot (-26) on a links course. No way.

Mt.Juliet was bland, boring, and a waste of time. What an insult to get the best players in the world playing on a shocking golf course. No problem with having wide fairways, but the greens were too receptive and the bunkers weren't exactly difficult hazards.

As a friend of mine said: "not much Mackenzie at Mount Juliet".



#3 cazandpaul

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 04:15 PM

Have to agree with everything already said - imagine the outcry if 26 under was shot at Royal Melbourne, NSW, Pinehurst, Pebble Beach or any other of golf's true tests.

Methinks there may have been a few dollars thrown around.

Regards

Paul



#4 bruce

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 05:30 PM

I agree with some of that which has been said but I think it fair to say that when you have six of the top ten in the world's rankings finishing inside the top ten this week perhaps the end result was not as bad as some are suggesting.

I think that the better golfers shone through anyway. If there was a problem for me was that it all became a little predictable. I could not get too excited about the event. I am a fan of hard grinding courses where par is at a premium (exception being the destruction by the R&A of the great Carnoustie in 1999). At least here the best golfers dominated unlike at Carnoustie. Of more concern is the fact that the there will be no World Golf Championship events outside the US next year. Now that is a travesty

When you get the best fairways in the world (in terms of surface) the best greens that most of theses guys have played on, the benign overhead conditions that prevailed all week and one of the best fields ever assembled then something is going to give. It was like playing early morning draws every day with no wind, generous (perhaps too much so) fairways and perfect greens.

What surprises me more is the fact that this week at the Ryder Cup the Europeans have again chosen the Belfry to play the Ryder Cup. Where is the home advantage ( other than partisan crowds) on a course like The Belfry? In the three stagings of the event in recent years at The Belfry the US have won twice and the Europeans once.

To me it is a bit like the Spaniards staging the final of the Davis Cup on grass when their strength is clay.

I'm not sure how the selection process is carried out but if the Europeans have the major say then I would be going to courses like Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham, Royal St Georges etc etc to get some home ground advantage. It has been twenty five years since the event was last played on a British links course. There are of course many issues to be considered when staging an event the magnitude of the Ryder Cup, very importantly including tournament logisitics but when you consider that since its initial staging in 1927, never once have the Americans used the same course twice and the Europeans are using The Belfry for the fourth time in seventeen years then what's the story.

Having won there only the once in three attempts in an era when they (the Europeans) are now very competitive I would have thought the logical step was to consider alternative venues.



#5 james

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 08:18 PM

Bruce, we both know that the only reason for The Belfry hosting the Ryder Cup is money. Just as at Mount Juliet. Am I right in saying that the EPGA have some kind of pecuniary interest in the Belfry? That is the only reason that they'd hold it there four times.

If they were trying to establish a home ground advantage, you're right, they'd play at St Georges, Troon, Carnoustie etc. One look at the leadership from this years Open (no Americans were even close to being in contention) shows that the Europeans en masse are more at home on the links. Instead, the Belfry is an American-style target golf course that is the same as what the Americans play every week on the PGA Tour.

What we can ascertain from the venue decision is that the EPGA places money as their top priority, rather than the result of the matches. Perfectly understandable, but in an ideal world this wouldn't be the case. Apparantly, the Ryder Cup is a huge source of income for the EPGA, which finances much of the Tours operation for the rest of the year.

I share a different philiosophy with you in regard to course setup - I don't like the "par at a premium" style as seen at the US Open and Carnoustie. Rather, I think the ideal winning score is 12-15 under...these guys are the best in the world: why try and embarrass them?



#6 Matt

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 09:00 PM

James, Americans have won 6 of the last 10 Opens and without the "money" events cannot be held or fields attracted. Look at the sorry state of tournament golf in Australia due to a lack of money. The experiment at The Grand may not have been a raging success but it was worth a try and to call it a "goat track" is a bit tunnel visioned.



#7 bruce

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 09:07 PM

yes good points James and I respect your opinion but I guess that's the great thing about opinions no one is necessarily right or wrong.

I too think Carnoustie was all wrong in 1999 and indeed it did perhaps embarrass many players although I think the R&A should have been more embarrassed. I caddied there in 1975 (the previous time The Open was held there) for Graham Marsh when he finished two behind the Watson and Newton playoff and the course was about right that week in terms of degree of difficulty. It is a brilliant golf course Carnoustie one of my favourites in British golf if not my favourite. Again however on the last day that year only four players broke par. That was when the wind picked up, and not a lot, for the first time in all four days (listen interview with Newton on audio interviews)

http://www.iseekgolf.com/interviews/interv...1&param1=newton

So the degree of difficulty of a golf course in relation to par is so often established by overhead conditions as much as those underfoot.

With regards to the Scottish courses being used they seem to have avoided using them with the only Scottish venue in the history of the Ryder Cup being Muirfield in 1973. As you say however that, rightly or wrongly, has been for commercial reasons. The Americans won there too but things are certainly a lot more balanced now.



#8 james

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 09:27 PM

Matt,

You've taken what I said entirely out of context. The only goat track I'm talking about is Mount Juliet. With regards to the money and Ryder Cup, I'm not suggesting that there is a choice, just lamenting how money has diluted the history of the Ryder Cup contest.

The Grand isn't a goat track - far from it. From what I'm told, it's deserving of a place in Australia's top 50 courses. However, I'll stand by my opinion that the Open should never have been held there: I can understand why the AGU went there (they needed the money), but in an ideal world, it wouldn't be necessary.

I understand that the AGU wanted to hold the Open in Queensland (perfectly reasonable and a good commercial move), but ideally they would have used a traditional venue (which in Qld means RQ). In 2003 they're going to use Moonah Links, which really is the epitomy of a goat track! It makes the Grand look VERY good.

Bruce, I've heard that the Ryder Cup is going to Wales next - is that true? Would you be able to a list of future Ryder Cup hosts? Thanks.



#9 bruce

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 09:40 PM

2004 Oakland Hills, Michigan USA
2006 Kildare Hotel C.C Ireland
2008 Valhalla G.C Kentucky
2010 Celtic Manor Wales



#10 jeanmc

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 08:01 AM

I actually thought that holding the Open at the Grand was a sucess...for TV viewing...coz it's different from past Open, where the course was pretty flat. At least with the Grand, the pros had to deal with more factors like hanging lies, trees guarding the green...it was a delight to watch. Tho I'm pretty sure the spectators have pretty sore feet at the end of each day. I applaud the AGU for having the courage to host it there, and whilst it'll prob neva host it again, at least it might give other courses the opportunity of hosting the Open, and shouldn't that be the way?!?!? Personally...I would like to see the Open played at the Vines in Perth...but that's another story...

Sure the Belfry is a good course. So's Wentworth and Woburn...and they don't host the Ryder Cup...personally...I think they should hold it at Wentworth, but that's playing into the American hands. Bruce's idea of holding it on the scottish links is excellent, and I'm wondering why it hasnt been played on one yet...scared the Americans would not come?!?!

I do like the idea that the host nation should pick a course that would favour the home team...look at Royal Melbourne as a classic example...the Americans did not have a clue...whereas it gave the aussies a great opportunity to parade their skills to millions of viewers...but what are the realistic chances that the yanks would be happy to come back down under??!?!

anyway...I'm looking forward to a well played Ryder Cup this weekend...let's hope the guys behave like gentlemen!!!

Keep the wives inside the ropes I say... biggrin.gif



#11 james

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 09:02 AM

Mau, if you're trying to suggest that The Grand is a better Australian Open venue than Kingston Heath, I'll dedicate my life to finding you, and having you hung, drawn and quartered. That comment is pure sacrilage!

It was a semi-successful one-time visit only - not something that the AGU will be too keen to do regularly. The Open has always been held on our best courses (ie. top 20), and the Grand doesn't reach this level (despite being a good members course).



#12 jeanmc

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 07:21 PM

james...

cant say that the Grand is a beta course than Kingston Heath...neva played either of them, so I'll reserve judgement...

but...shouldn't the Open be played at more courses around Australia??? Like the US Open this year at Bethpage...it now means the USGA may look to more public courses as US Open venues, and not just have the same elite courses hosting the event.

What's the point if the Aus Open keeps getting held at the same 5,6,7,8 courses year after year (sorry...donno how many venues they've been...)
I believe that as the national Open, the AGU should not be afraid to try other courses...and so what if it turns out to be a disaster...at least it's the same playing condition for all...(granted that sufficient preparation has taken place)...least they'll know not to go back there...

anywayz, we'll see what happens in the future... biggrin.gif



#13 james

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 07:57 PM

Mau, like you, I think the USGA did a great thing taking the US Open to a public course: Bethpage Black. It took the championship to the masses, and showed a great tradititional golf course in all its glory. However, there can't be too many courses in America that can hope to replicate Bethpage, because their facilities aren't good enough.

The Grand is almost the absolute opposite to Bethpage. It isn't a course that everyone can play, if anything, it's probably the most difficult to access of any of the Australian Open venues (you can play as a Manager's Guest at any of the older clubs). So you could reasonably argue that this was an example of the AGU taking the Open "away" from the people!

The only successful thing about 2001 was that it brought the Open to Qld.

There is also the issue of the tournaments credibility. What players are going to come from overseas (besides appearance money) to play a second-string (ie. not a world-class course) course? The Australian Open has always had the same successful formula: a traditional tournament on a traditional course. Its like the British Open on links course: the championship and the style of venue go hand in hand (although maybe the association isn't quite as strong).

I'll give you a quote from American Charles Howell III in the Grand locker room, who came to the 2001 Open as a relatively new professional. This was his first Open. "Why are we playing here, when there are so many great golf courses in this country".

You'll also be interested to hear why the Stableford tournament has moved from The Lakes to New South Wales. It's because the Tour then has Royal Melbourne (Heineken Classic) and New South Wales back to back. They figure that this has more chance of enticing the overseas players than a blah resort course that they could have gone to. The early indications are that the players are going to stay for the NSW event, because they want to play a tournament on that course.

It's a move in the right direction for the tour. What they need to is to play the old, traditional courses, along with a select group of the best modern courses, which might encourage more players to make the journey here for a tournament or two.



#14 Matt

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 08:20 PM

You sound like an interesting potential four ball partner James. I admire you're passion, though I hardly think The Lakes is a "blah resort course". I agree that NSW is an attraction for the players but for the spectators it is very difficult: transport is a nightmare, hilly, few viewing areas etc. I guess they have to factor that in. Unfortunately I think the course rates about fourth behind $$$, order of merit impact and convenience/schedule for the top players. Read "Tournament Week" by John Stregge it gives a good insight into what the players like.



#15 james

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 09:50 PM

What is it with people on this forum taking my comments out of context!?! If you carefully read what I said: "more chance of enticing the overseas players than a blah resort course that they could have gone to, what I was saying is that the Tour probably wouldn have gone to a blah resort course if they hadn't settled on NSW. Nothing to do with the Lakes at all. The decision to leave the Lakes was made well before they had decided on a new venue.

My apologies to anyone who might have been "offended".

Yes, NSW is a nightmare from a logistics standpoint, and may pose a few problems. But what I'm trying to say is that the PGA Tour should make an effort to use our best courses: obviously some are better suited to tournaments than others. NSW will never be a regular tournament venue, but the the Tour should be applauded for at least taking the risk.

Playing good courses is a way to put the Australasian Tour on the map. Next year we will be the only tour in the world to play two courses of RM and NSW quality in two weeks. We have so many good courses: why not use them to gain a reputation?

Why do you think that the Heineken has gained a notch in prestige since moving to Royal Melbourne? The players assign greater significance to the event because of the great venue. It's a shame that the event had to move from Perth to achieve this.
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