It's hard to discern why so many golfers putted poorly at the AAC in the 2011 PGA Championship. I was busy and didn't get to watch it. Plus the PGA of America does not post putting stats (and the PGA Tour doesn't get to do the Shotlink thing either), so there is a lacuna for this one event.
: "I hit 25 out of 36 greens and had 71 putts. I just had a nightmare, but cest la vie, said Clarke."
: "A birdie on his final hole, the par-four ninth, failed to give Martin Kaymer reason to smile after poor putting cost him dearly on Friday in his PGA Championship title defence.
The German squandered solid ball-striking with a total of 34 putts on the way to a three-over-par 73 in the second round at Atlanta Athletic Club where he was in danger of missing the cut.
Playing-wise it was fine, world number three Kaymer told reporters after posting a five-over total of 145, two strokes outside the early projected cut. Its just that nothing went in.
I hit every green in regulation on the back nine and I just made one putt and it was on the last hole."
I was just very unfortunate on the greens. Nothing really happened. I had a lot of lip-outs and putts that went over the edge."
: "The 34-year-old played his college golf at Auburn, about a two-hour drive from Atlanta, and still lives there. He's used to competing in the heat and humidity. He's comfortable putting on the Bermuda greens that are common in this part of the country.
"Being in the South, playing college golf in the South, I seem to play most of my good events around Bermuda grass," Dufner said. "I was pretty pumped up coming in. We don't get a chance to play too many majors on this grass."
: "McIlroy drove sweetly down the centre of the fairway as he began his attempt to catch up with first-round leader Stricker, who held a two-shot lead after shooting a 63 on Thursday.
There was an early setback to that bid, though, when McIlroy bogeyed his opening hole with a three-putt but a birdie on the 12th was followed by another on the 16th where he sank a 45-footer to the delight of his fans.
However, the Highland layout is well known for bringing players swiftly down to earth and McIlroy's hopes of making a strong push on Friday were dealt a serious blow when he found water off the tee on 17 and three-putted for a triple-bogey.
On the front nine, McIlroy bogeyed the third and eighth while getting a birdie on the sixth but he missed a couple of key short putts that could have left him in a stronger position."
"Rory McIlroys right wrist is still sore, but the bigger problem remains his putting.
For a second day in a row McIlroy took 33 putts, shooting a 4-over 74 his worst score of the week to drop to 7 over for the tournament. Through three rounds he also has a half dozen three-putts.
Another frustrating day; I got off to a terrible start, said McIlroy, who double-bogeyed the first hole and added three more bogeys on the front nine before making the turn in 40. I didnt have my speed at all on the greens. Ive struggled with it all week."
: First-round 77 (highest score in a major for Tiger), Tiger says he putted well. "Woods spent much of his round in the sand, converting only two of seven save chances around the greens. He hit nine of 18 greens and five of 14 fairways in regulation and used 29 putts." Missing 9 greens always lowers the total number of putts.
: Runup to PGA Championship: ""If the year was all about Atlanta now, I'd been putting too much pressure on myself," he said. "The near future's all about getting my putting sorted out and playing well next week in Akron (at the WGc-Bridgestone Invitational).
"That's a course I enjoy and if I keep hitting the ball as well as I have been I'm going to have a lot of birdie chances, but I need to start making a few of them now, he explained. "I'm not sure if anyone's ever led the greens in regulation after two rounds of the Open and missed the cut.
"It's frustrating because even when I've had good weeks this season (he won in Indonesia and Korea and lost the world No. 1 spot to Luke Donald after a playoff at Wentworth) there's only been a couple of good putting rounds rather than four, he added. "I'm trying to sort it out at the moment with my dad and with Pete (coach Pete Cowen). We've tossed around a few ideas and I'm working on a few different things."
Westwood went to a belly putter in April, but only for two competitive rounds before switching back to a short one."
LW finished T9 so he must have putted okay.
Apparently, the 2006 switch from bent to Champion Ultradwarf Bermuda made the greens faster and firmer, especially for the contours made for the bent surface. This combo means controlling the approaches is a problem, and THEN the putting is the next-level problem due to the steep contours.
"Phil Mickelson played Atlanta Athletic Club recently and said that when the greens were redone in 2006, too much contour was added. He said they were way too undulating for the speed they were and assumed that they would be slowed dramatically for the PGA.
Some, maybe, but not to the comfort zone that the pros deal with on a weekly basis.
Responsible for course revisions in 2006, Rees Jones said contour of the greens was the same, but that the switch from bent grass to bermuda had made the surfaces firmer and faster.
Anyone who has played Arkansas courses that have made the transition to bermuda can attest to the difference. Those same folks can witness that were talking about more than putting. Some of us who employ a divot tool regularly on bent greens rarely need it on bermuda.
Hitting to firm and fast bermuda, even the pros must play from the fairway. Jones added almost 300 yards to the Atlanta course, changed some driving angles and brought more bunkers into play."
[harry king, recurring theme at a major, Arkansas News, 10 Aug. 2011,http://arkansasnews.com/2011/08/10/recurring-theme-at-a-major/.]
Here is the AAC superintendent's report:
"Clutching two golf balls, Ken Mangum hopped out of the cart and strolled onto the eighth green. He rolled an orange ball that briskly covered about 20 feet and stopped level with the hole. A white one, dropped straight down from knee high, bounced slightly, almost imperceptibly.
A combination of three varieties of grass has the Atlanta Athletic Club course ready for high temperatures and perhaps high scores.
Thats what you want, he said, pleased at the condition of the putting surface.
Mangum, the golf courses director at the Atlanta Athletic Club, could scarcely find fault with any aspect of its Highlands layout, the site of this weeks 93rd P.G.A. Championship, despite a scorching summer that has pan-fried other courses in this golf-centric region.
The heat doesnt bother us, he said recently, referring to the 18 holes and the crew of 68 paid and 50 volunteer caretakers. Thats why my blood pressure is average now.
Mangum might be coping with some serious hypertension had the club not heeded his suggestion to select an amalgam of three grasses all heat-resistant for the Highlands redesign.
Diamond Zoysia. Tifton 10 Bermuda. Champion Ultradwarf Bermuda.
That might sound like the lineup of bands at a reggae music festival. But for Mangum and the course architect Rees Jones, those were the preferred brand names to recarpet the acreage.
Mangum claims that no other course in the world offers the same combination.
The process dates to 10 years ago, soon after the club last opened its gates to the P.G.A., the seasons concluding major. The field feasted on the generous course. David Toms shot 15 under par to beat Phil Mickelson by a stroke.
Mangum maintains the low scores were more a product of Mother Natures work, but he and Jones conspired to heighten the difficulty this time.
The total distance was stretched about 250 yards to 7,467 yards. Bunkers, which once beckoned 240 to 270 yards from the tees, were repositioned as far away as 340 yards. Lakes and ponds were shifted, and in some cases extended closer to greens.
Fairways were narrowed, many of them changing direction slightly in midstream. Greens were formed to generate what Mangum called championship speed.
Mangum is braced for questions from players about the Stimpmeter rating, which gauges how fast a putt travels. He intends to answer by pointing to T-shirts worn by aides, bearing the words: Stimpmeter Readings: $100. It is a measurement he considers misleading.
The code to crack the course, he suggested, begins with avoiding the rough off the tee. He said controlling approach shots out of the deeper growth onto the green would be challenging.
Even if some fussy players equate the fairways to a trampoline and the greens to a hockey rink, unanimous approval is expected of the course appearance and the absence of adverse affects from the blast-furnace heat."
[Mike Tierney, A P.G.A. Course Is Made to Take the Heat, NY Times, 8 Aug. 2011,http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/sports/golf/pga-courses-new-turf-can-take-atlantas-summer-heat.html]
Plus, the greens are a bit large at AAC, and that encourages three-putting.
Putting Coach and Theorist