Date: November 22, 2013
Author: Martin Blake / Royal Melbourne

Shock and awe on World Cup greens

Tournament officials have moved to soothe the players concerns after Jason Day hinted that the Royal Melbourne greens were so hard and fast that they were &apos&aposunfair&apos&apos today at the World Cup of Golf. Two players said they had heard the greens were running at 15 on the stimpmeter, an astonishing figure. But the PGA Tour of Australasia&aposs tournaments director Andrew Langford-Jones said the stimpmeter reading this morning was 13.8, adding he had not heard any complaints from players in the locker room. Denmark&aposs Thomas Bjorn is the halfway leader at eight-under-par after adding a 68 to his first round 66, one shot ahead of American Kevin Streelman. Australia&aposs Jason Day is tied-third with Portugal&aposs Ricardo Santos at four-under, just four shots from the lead. America leads the teams competition. Langford-Jones dismissed the suggestion by Day, although he acknowledged that the failure of forecast showers to materialise, and the fact this is the second consecutive tournament at the venue, had impacted on the condition of the greens. “It&aposs hard, it&aposs fast, the old lady is where we would have wanted it to be. It&aposs a great test of golf and I think the scores are proving that,&apos&apos he said. &apos&aposThe greens have got a lot more grass than at the (2011) Presidents Cup. Balls are holding, good shots from the fairway are holding. That&aposs the main thing for us. At the Presidents Cup there was less grass. They&aposre quick. We don&apost like to compare but they&aposre certainly no quicker than Augusta, maybe about the same. I think it&aposs probably exactly how Royal Melbourne should be played.&apos&apos Langford-Jones said with more rain forecast, organisers would ensure that there were no dramas over the weekend. “There&aposs always the option of turning the sprinklers on but we don&apost want to do that. We want Royal Melbourne to play exactly how everyone expects it to play. That&aposs hard and fast and bouncy. Good shots are stopping and good putts are going in. “We&aposre not playing American-style target golf; we&aposre playing what Royal Melbourne is traditionally known for. I can assure you they will get no harder and no faster. We&aposll look at the forecast and the winds and hole locations are normally planned around the direction of the wind.” In context, Day&aposs comments related to a single shot by Irishman Graeme McDowell, his playing partner, into the 10th green. The Queenslander said players were using &apos&aposa guess-timate&apos&apos of how far pitch shots would bounce, and that McDowell&aposs eight-iron rolled 30 paces from front to back of the green. “That is a little unfair to have the ball bounce, you land it perfect on the front of the green and it bounces 30 paces over the back, is a little unfair I think,&apos&apos he said. “Other than that I know they watered the greens a little, some are inconsistent, but the course is in great shape.&apos&apos American Kevin Streelman compared the conditions to the Open Championship at Muirfield this year. “If you&aposre downwind, downhill, you can&apost stop it. Someone said they&aposre rolling at 15, which is very fast.&apos&apos But Streelman, like Bjorn, has fallen in love with the “awesome&apos&apos course. Bjorn said indifferent bounces had to be accpeted by players on a course like Royal Melbourne. “I&aposm in awe of it, and that&aposs rare when you&aposve played as many rounds of golf as I have. I love this place.&apos&apos The Dane rejected any thought of unfairness. “It&aposs very playable if you play it sensible,&apos&apos he said. LEADING SCORES -8 Thomas Bjorn (Denmark) -7 Kevin Streelman (US) -4 Jason Day (Aust), Ricardo Santos (Portugal) -3 Stuart Manley (Wales), Hideto Tanihara (Japan), Matt Kuchar (US), Martin Laird (Scotland). TEAMS -10 USA -7 Denmark -3 Australia, Japan