One week after expressing concerns about the greens at Oak Hill Country Club, Tiger Woods on Tuesday declared “the golf course is in fantastic shape,” saying “it’s going to be a great test.”
Woods, the world’s top-ranked golfer, fielded questions from the media during a half-hour news conference at Oak Hill as players prepared to compete in the 95th PGA Championship. The East Course, he said, “(is) dry now, it's got some speed to it, and the rough is certainly up, and it's clumpy. It's imperative to hit the ball in the fairways and hit the ball on the greens, because it's going to be tough to get up and down.”
“This is a very difficult golf course,” he added. “(The) fairways are perfect; greens are getting up to speed now. It's just a very difficult golf course.”
Woods, recalling that he first came to Rochester to play at Monroe Golf Club as an amateur, said “this is a great golfing town. … People are into their sport up here, into golf, and it's a great community for golf.”
In a separate session with the media, No. 2-ranked Phil Mickelson (seen at left, signing autographs) echoed Woods, saying "the golf course here is just in incredible shape. It's one of the best setups I've ever seen. The way the PGA has set it up with the graduated rough, the way they have rewarded good shots, and they have not overly penalized poorly struck shots, they have severely penalized poorly struck ones. I just think it's incredibly well thought out and should identify the best player this week."
Add Mickelson: "(The) challenge of this golf course is the severity of the back to front pitch of most of the greens. That to me is one of the biggest challenges that Oak Hill provides, because if you do miss it long, getting that chip shot to stop close, especially out of difficult rough where it's hard to control the ball chipping, that's the big challenge."
Among the thousands of spectators at Oak Hill Tuesday was Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, who led a group of lawmakers visiting the championship site. Duffy described himself as "not a very good golfer; I am a golf fan."
He touted the economic benefits of hosting the PGA Championship.
“I do appreciate the business part of golf, if you look at what it brings," he said in a statement. "Aside from jobs and businesses, and money and merchandise, this course could be filled with site selectors from companies from around the world for the whole weekend. You see all the chalets where people are looking to bring companies to a certain area for business. We are going to be very aggressive promoting New York State.”
For more tournament coverage, go to RBJ Extra: The 95th PGA Championship.
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