Sunday, May 3, 2009

Thoughts on Quail Hollow finish

Some Sunday night thoughts from my seat in the pressroom at Quail Hollow, where Sean O'Hair just won this PGA tournament by a stroke over Bubba Watson and Lucas Glover:

-- “The Green Mile” – holes No.16-18 -- is lauded time and again by everyone here as the sort of dramatic, incredibly difficult closing that every tournament needs.
You know what?
Call it heresy, but I could do with it being a little easier. It made for an anti-climactic finish – especially on Nos.17 and 18. The only way the best golfers went on Sunday when they reached those two holes was either sideways or down. You could just about forget making a birdie at either place.

O’Hair went bogey-bogey on those last two holes and still won. There were only two birdies on No.17 all of Sunday. Two! I understand making the course a test of the world’s best golfers, but there needs to be more of a risk-reward balance there. As it was, it felt like the final round was won after a couple of missed field goals or something -- sort of anti-climactic, despite the closeness of the scores.

-- Quail Hollow does seem to produce a worthy winner each year, however. O’Hair certainly was that. Anyone who turned pro while still in high school, struggled through the sort of golf boot camp that his unbelievably demanding father put him through and came out whole on the other side is fine in my book.

-- Zach Johnson’s shot directly off the tree at No.2 was one of those cringe-worthy golf moments that heartens hackers everywhere. When you saw Johnson looking back over his own left shoulder to find his ball – that just doesn’t happen very often. He ended up with a triple-bogey and that pretty much knocked the third-round leader off his game -- that and a splitting "headache," Johnson would say later.

-- When Tiger Woods drove the green at No.14 but then three-putted for par from 23 feet Sunday, that was it for him. He ended up finishing fourth and losing to O'Hair by two shots, and he had two strokes he could have gained there had the eagle putt dropped.
Tiger never recaptured his first-round magic here – shooting a 65 Thursday and then three straight rounds in the 70s after that.


-30-

10 comments:

Jason said...

interesting that you don't care for the setup of the Green Mile, use Sean O'Hair as an example...AND you fail to mention his birdie at 16. Should probably tell the whole story when trying to make your point. but i guess that's the rub, his birdie to start the Green Mile flies in the face of your assertion.

Anonymous said...

It was so sad for the writers and the press when their main focus of tournament, which was Tiger Woods, didn't produce what they wanted to write about. The same goes for the broadcast teams on The Golf Channel and network folks. I imagine the headlines in tomorrow's Observer will be, "Tiger falls short by two strokes."

Ryan said...

yeah....i click on the panthers and i have a story about golf.....interesting indeed........

Anonymous said...

I'm very happy that this tournament is in Charlotte and I hope it will lead to a Ryder Cup event on US Open.

But I don't really give a damn about golf.

Anonymous said...

One, Quail's 16, 17 and 18 seem to consistently psyche out only the older, more experience golfers. Last year, for example, none of these seemed to bother Anthony Kim very much as I recall. Two, in 2009, gusty winds and some overly-aggressive attacks led to these high hole scores: Ya get greedy at these three holes and you pay the price. Three, the diabolical pin placement by the PGA surely doesn't help matters ... added to the (in Tiger's words) "crusty", wickedy-fast greens .

The fact that there have been no repeat champs in the 7 years the PGA tour has stopped here speaks volumes about the consistently inconsistent nature of the weather conditions, the course itself plus the legend and lore of Quail Hollow's beautiful, diabolocal "Green Mile".

Leave Quail Hollow as it is. The world's best need to calm down and figure 16, 17 and 18 out ...

Anonymous said...

Scott:

You need to be writing about gold with windmills and clown's mouth. This is The PGA. I would rather watch this than some course where the leader is up by 8 strokes and the winning score is 23 under.

Apply for the NASCAR beat position, PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

golf, not gold.

Anonymous said...

On 17, I saw many birdy opportunities, but all but only 2 dropped. Phil was on the edge of the green but shorted his putt..like many others. They were in position for sure. That's a stretch of 3 awesome holes.

SBull said...

Zach Johnson had a 'splitting headache' on Sunday at Quayle Hollow, at the Masters he said it was his allergies...

Anonymous said...

Too bad the Observer couldnt wish Tiger into the #1 winning spot and others to lose because all we have been reading about is Tiger Tiger Tiger ... Same ole broken record.
Hate to tell you but yo golden boy Tig is on his way down and soon to be washed up so better be pumpin on some different ones for a change.
And golly gee whiz we dont think the game of golf will just crumble and wither away but it is hilarious to watch the media TW worshipers look so stupid. LOL.