Focus on the Par 5s
Joe Passov continues his, “The Ryder Cup Will Be Won or Lost on Hazeltine's Par-5s," by quoting Tom Lehman, “The times we’ve won, we’ve done better on the par-5s. Whether it be alternate-shot or best-ball, we haven’t played the par-5s all that well in the team portion of the event. So the focus would be to see how we can play the par-5s better.”
A formidable four and three tough shots
Joe advises us, “Hazeltine boasts a formidable quartet of par-5s, with two beefy holes on the front nine, the 3rd and the 6th, checking in at 642 yards and 633 yards, respectively, followed by two more outstanding tests on the back, the 606-yard 11th and the 572-yard 16th.
Elsewhere Edward Colman is talking to Hazeltine head pro Chandler Withington who reveals three key shots the stars will need to hit.
Here’s Chandler’s heads’ up on the three tough shots
1. 18th tee shot
The further and straighter you can hit it in matchplay, the more pressure you'll put on your opponents.
But if you find a bunker off the tee here, you're giving them hope.
2. 17th tee shot
Once you've established this, you also need to take into account where the wind is coming from and what ball flight you would play to give you the biggest room for error.
The short 17th at Hazeltine is a great example of this.
Because the water is right I look to play a bit more of a low draw, starting it off the tree on the right side of the green. I know that if I hit it and it doesn't draw, I'm OK.
If it draws too much I'm missing to the left of the green and I'm still dry.
I'd be nervous about playing a fade that could get away from me and end up in a hazard.
3. 15th approach
If players can execute a right-to-left tee shot on the 15th, the ball will run leaving about 80 yards in.
You can expect to see the pin in the back corner, a location that needs a low, scudding pitch shot to access it.
Controlling trajectory is about controlling your follow-through.
If your hands finish high, the shot will fly high. If they finish around your belt, the ball will fly a lot lower.
Not such a big deal – Yeah right Jack!
Perhaps it’s with thoughts of the 1991 “War by the shore,” and the 1999 “Battle of Brookline,” that Jack Nicklaus is quoted as saying, “The Ryder Cup to me — we make a little bigger deal out of it than I think should be. I think it’s a goodwill event. It’s a great event to have bragging rights for Europe or bragging rights for America. It’s a great format; it’s a great competition. There’s a lot of nice things about it, but I wish we wouldn’t make such a war out of it. I love the Ryder Cup, I loved playing in it. I love being a part of it.”
Hopefully the behaviour of the teams and the spectators will not create a “Horrors at Hazeltine,” headline for the golf historians.
Link to Joe Passov and Edward Colman
Quote of the Day
“The par-5s are going to be big.” – Tom Lehman