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19th Hole

‘I don’t think that makes any sense’ – Patrick Cantlay calls out golf course architects

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In the past seven years, the BMW Championship has been played at seven different golf courses.

This year’s BMW Championship will be hosted by Wilmington Country Club in Delaware, which is a course that’s never been utilized in a professional event prior to this week.

Despite the novelty of the course, defending champion Patrick Cantlay sees plenty of similarities between Wilmington Country and the host of last year’s event, Caves Valley.

“I don’t think there’s too much strategy to this golf course. I think it’s pretty right in front of you and similar to last year,” Cantlay said ahead of his title defense. “The venues between last year and this year are actually really similar, I think, in style of golf.”

The course is relatively long, measuring in at 7,534 yards as a Par 71. Cantlay was critical of the way golf architects have used adding length as the way to attempt to make courses more difficult.

“I think it’s really long. I think it’s also strange to me that we play so many golf courses that all they do is add length to the golf courses. It’s so surprising to me that the golf courses that none of the guys who hit it far, they don’t go to Hilton Head, they don’t go to Colonial, they don’t go to the short, small, dogleggy tree-lined golf courses,” Cantlay explained.

“The way we combat the distance, the way these architects seem to think they want to combat distance is by taking all the trees out and playing it 7,600 yards and put the tees way back and all the par-5s are at 600 yards. I don’t think that makes any sense.

“I’m surprised every time I come to a golf course where they say it’s recently been redone and then there’s no real shaping of golf shots. It’s just how far can you hit it and grab your driver on every hole and hit it as high and hit it as far as you possibly can. If you can hit it 315 yards, you’ve taken out all the bunkers, and you’re maybe in the rough, but it’s way better in the rough with a 9- or 8-iron than it is maybe in the fairway with a 5-iron if you were to lay up to the fat part of the fairway before the bunkers.”

“I’m so surprised that they haven’t figured it out, and it just seems like we’re getting more and more of the same bomb-it-as-far-as-you-can golf courses week after week.”

Last year’s BMW Championship played extremely easy, with Cantlay winning at -27 in a playoff with Bryson DeChambeau. Considering his opinion that Wilmington will play similarly to Caves Valley, we are likely in store for another shootout this week.

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  1. Chuck

    Sep 5, 2022 at 11:53 am

    The problem that Cantlay is so terribly mischaracterizing is the problem of trying to restore courses to historical architectural values in an era of absurdity in terms of elite players using new technology.

    The changes to courses (taking out trees, restoring green sizes and runoff areas, emphasizing the ground game) that restoration architects are engaged in aren’t the problem and actually Cantlay knows it. Cantlay knows that there’s a critical, urgent technology-regulation problem and he said so not so long ago:

    https://www.golfmonthly.com/news/something-has-to-give-cantlay-on-distance-debate

  2. Livininparadise

    Aug 19, 2022 at 9:38 am

    I have never played the courses that cantlay is referring to, but i would tend to agree. The most fun courses that I have played always have angles and risk reward shots (bends or doglegs over heather, rough, sand, or water). Trees are not a necessity, I believe that they are best when used to define a hole, not just being a punishment for errant shots. One problem with a lot of trees is that they slow pace of play. If underneath the trees it is not maintained, people spend forever looking for balls.

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19th Hole

Data shows how much more difficult green become as the day progresses

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For many a golf bettor, betting on the first round leader of any tournament revolves around the early starters.

Even a cursory look at this week’s Australian Open shows the morning wave averaging 1.73 shots better than the afternoon players, resulting in 18 early starters finishing in the top-10 by the end of the day, including current leader David Micheluzzi.

However, over on the South African Open, the roles are reversed, with current leader Thirston Lawrence taking up one of 15 places on the front page of leaderboard for the late starters, who shot around half-a-shot less than the morning groups.

Naturally, there are many factors – wind, temperature, dew, grass-types and, potentially, overall quality of the groupings, but these are variables that can change from day to day.

Step in Lou Stagner, data lead of Arccos Golf and all-round numbers guru.

Stagner does not deal in emotion or factors that cannot be measured. It’s facts, figures and that’s your lot!

He will tell you that from the fairway, 80-yards from the pin, professionals simply don’t get as close as many believe:

On Wednesday, the man who once built a Lego model of Augusta #12, tweeted a table showing the variance in putts made by PGA Tour members under morning and afternoon conditions.

Taking stats over 17 years, the table shows an advantage to the early starters, not by much, but enough to consider.

There are plenty of places to take the stats, with a few respondents asking for a table on grass types through the day – Bent v Bermuda v POA – and that will probably turn up on Stanger’s twitter feed soon.

Of course, on a Sunday, later starters have the pressure of trying to win a tournament, which is why we tend to see flashy rounds from those a few off the pace on Payday, but it is enough to consider when trying to get that illusive three-figure first (or second) round leader.

Either way, two-time major champion, and regular tweeter Justin Thomas, decided this was his chance to get in an early excuse when he’s off late in the day.

Make of what you will. Perhaps the stats will one day include how many of these are for par saves against birdie putts, or is that too much?

Either way, Stagner continues to bombard us with stats that delight and entertain, and that can be no bad thing. Unless you are a buddy of Lou’s…

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19th Hole

Cam Smith fumes at ‘pretty s****y’ opening round at Australian Open

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After an incredible week at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, Cameron Smith is off to a rough start at the Australian Open. The Champion Golfer of the Year struggled to hit fairways all day long and finished his round at +1 which is eight shots back of first-round leader David Micheluzzi (-7).

Smith, who received a massive ovation from the crowd, was extremely displeased, calling his play “pretty shitty” as he went from his post-round press conference to the practice range. The 29-year-old also said it was “as bad as I’ve played in a long time”.

“I don’t think it was a mixed bag, I think it was all rubbish to be honest,”

“Maybe some delayed tiredness, maybe. I did feel a little bit foggy out there at times, but it’s not really an excuse, it’s my job to do all that stuff.”

Despite the uninspiring round, the world number three still feels as if he can get back into the event and contend.

“It’s not like I don’t know how to play golf, it was just a bit of a bad day.”

“I’ve just got a few things to clean up, I think. Like I said last week [at the Australian PGA Championship], I felt as though the golf got better every day.”

The Aussie is incredible at recovery shots and finding his way out of trouble. But if he wants to be the first player to win the Australian PGA and Australian Open in the same season since 2011, he needs to start putting the ball in the fairway.

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19th Hole

‘Take the first shot!’ – Epic outburst captured between golfers at Australian Club Championship

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Early this week, a clip of a hilarious outburst on the golf course was circulating the internet.

At the club championships at Cranbourne Golf Club in Australia, a golfer exploded in anger at another player who followed him on to the fairway.

During the two-part video, it looks like the man in red is angry at the older gentleman for hitting into his group.

At one point during the exchange, the man in white and grey says “Wanna smash me up, do ya?! I’m 61 years old!”.

Golf is game that can certainly bring out all of our emotions. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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