RYDER CUP DIARY
By Steve Chappell (@CentenaryHGK)
In case you didn’t know, for this year’s Ryder Cup they’ve changed the routing a little bit.
One of the signature holes at Hazeltine is No.16. For the Ryder Cup, it’s hole No.7. In total, they’ve effectively swapped holes No.7, No.8 and No.9 with No.16, No.17 and No.18.
The reason for this? It was mainly to manage crowd movement because hole No.7 plays down along the lake shore and the tees can be moved up to make it a driveable par-4. But it’s quite early in the round now on this routing so I can’t see it happening.
"The decisive holes are 14, 16 and 17"
In matchplay circumstances, any of the holes from 13 or 14 onwards are going to be vital – but the ones that are going to be particularly decisive are 14, 16 and 17.
The 14th is a great hole. It’s not overly long for a par-4 given the length player hit the ball now but the players will be hitting towards a very tight target with deep bunkers in front of and at the sides of a sloping green. It’ll be an interesting one, for sure.
It means there’s a big element of risk in the approach shot, and that’s something that can also be said for the 16th. There’s a lake to the left of the green there and it’s important to play a slight draw off the tee.
The fairway slopes down towards the green so I guess players will be looking to hold back onto the upslope or the plateau at the head of the fairway to make sure they’re not playing from a downhill lie.
As for No.17, even though it’s the shortest hole on the course, it sits in a bit of a bowl with hospitality chalets running all down the left-hand side, meaning the wind could really come into effect.
We’ve seen in the past at the likes of Royal Troon in previous years, the Postage Stamp sometimes plays as the hardest hole on the course in par ranking. A hole doesn’t have to be long to cause issues.
There’s plenty water to the right and the green is tiny with bunkers all around. We’ve seen in the past at the likes of Royal Troon, the Postage Stamp can easily play as one of the hardest holes on the course in par ranking. A hole doesn’t have to be long to cause issues – and the 17th is going to be an example of that.
The most of the media coverage we’ve seen while we’ve been over here is the telecast from Golf Channel and, with Danny Willett, the media has certainly jumped on that big time.
I’d figure that the American fans are now going to give him a fair bit of stick but, from my experiences here so far and reiterating what I said yesterday, the people here are very nice. If the Ryder Cup was being played up the east side or in Chicago, it might be more of an issue.
With the passing of Arnold Palmer, there’s been a lot of talk too about the spirit of the game. So it’ll be interesting to see how things pan out of the coming days.
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