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    This PGA Championship thriller has gamers and caddies spooked

    Jon Rahm hacks his approach via the tough on Monday on the PGA Championship.

    Getty Photographs

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. — It’s the query that will come to outline the PGA Championship as we all know it: The place on earth did the tough at Oak Hill come from?

    Via someday at golf’s second main, the solutions inform the story — if solely as a result of no two of them are alike.

    “It’s not fairly like a U.S. Open,” provided Patrick Rodgers, who took to greenside chipping observe from the deepest stuff he may discover on the observe vary Monday afternoon.

    “No, it’s not that thick,” Rodgers stated. “Possibly extra like a Memorial Event.”

    Simply because the phrases left his mouth, Rodgers’ ball flubbed from the tough and rolled a dozen toes previous his goal. His subsequent one was higher — his ball gently tumbling subsequent to the flag — however the harm had already been carried out. He grimaced as he dropped two extra balls into the turf and bought again to work. Evidently, the Memorial will be powerful, too.

    A stroll across the East Course on Monday revealed Rodgers was removed from the one sufferer. All all through the day’s observe rounds, golfers may very well be seen clubbing their approach via the grass with a morbid curiosity. Some wanted two or three photographs to belief their aggressiveness via the weeds, like an explorer testing a blunt machete. Sam Burns took the bizarre step of starting a observe session from the tough, however deserted that effort after successive cold-tops traveled a mixed distance of 100 yards.

    Whereas nearly everybody agreed that the tough at Oak Hill wasn’t practically as excessive as what’s anticipated from Los Angeles Nation Membership at subsequent month’s U.S. Open, there was extra disagreement round how troublesome it’ll play as soon as issues get underway this week.

    “It’s nearly like Winged Foot,” stated Joe Greiner, caddie for World No. 6 Max Homa. “It’s not fairly as thick, however the grass is completely different right here. The blades are thicker — and stickier.”

    Whereas there’s some room to quibble with the severity of the placing surfaces right here in Rochester, Winged Foot isn’t a foul comparability. The greens are additionally postage-stamp small and rimmed with related dollups of lush inexperienced grass, threatening even the least offensive miss. The fairways are city-sidewalk slender and angled rudely towards hazard. At Winged Foot and at Oak Hill, the punishment for a near-miss is nearly worse than that of a dramatic miss, the place at the very least one has the advantage of pedestrian site visitors trampling a few of the thick stuff.

    “The lie won’t look that unhealthy,” Greiner stated. “Nevertheless it’s nonetheless actually powerful to get the membership out.”

    It’s solely Monday, which — relying upon your perspective — means solely two issues: There are two extra days to develop it out additional, or two days to chop it. In some methods, the PGA of America has the benefit of participant goodwill hardly ever afforded to USGA course setups. That may very well be sufficient to outlive the thick stuff via the weekend. However with rain and chilly climate anticipated within the coming days, issues may rapidly develop uncontrolled.

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    That would spell hazard for the PGA of America’s course setup hopes, however it may additionally spell delight for the Rochester trustworthy, who it seems, have an opinion on the tough, too. The origin of that thick stuff, they are saying, is a century’s value of it.

    “My favourite event right here was in 1980,” one fan in a bucket hat provided with a smile. “Jack received right here at six beneath, and the tough should have been 5 inches excessive.”

    The followers of Western New York could have traded their folding tables in for folding chairs this week, however they definitely haven’t traded their ruggedness. The course they hope to see doesn’t resemble Winged Foot or Muirfield Village, however the Oak Hill of their reminiscences. That tough has bestowed complications upon six main championships value of professional golfers over these previous eight a long time. This weekend, nothing would make them happier than to succeed in quantity seven.

    “I hope they don’t reduce it,” the identical fan stated. “It’s extra enjoyable that approach.”

    James Colgan Editor

    James Colgan is a information and options editor at GOLF, writing tales for the web site and journal. He manages the Sizzling Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and makes use of his on-camera expertise throughout the model’s platforms. Previous to becoming a member of GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse College, throughout which era he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Lengthy Island, the place he’s from. He will be reached at [email protected].

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