By Teddy Greenstein
5:26 PM EDT, August 24, 2012
Breathe easy, Ryder Cupfans. Medinah will be ready, according to PGA of America executive Kerry Haigh, who walked the course Friday.
“I think we’re going to be in good shape,” he said. “Obviously the summer stress has had its effect a little bit on the fairways, but overall we’re expecting the golf course to be in outstanding condition.”
Several of the fairways, including the 18th, had spots that were brown and patchy as recently as two weeks ago.
“The greens and rough already are in very good shape,” Haigh said. “And in the next 2-3 weeks, with cooler weather, we’re expecting the fairways to pop back.”
Jeff Sluman said much the same. The Hinsdale resident and assistant captain to Davis Love III said Monday: “We’re not playing the Ryder Cup today … I expect the golf course to be perfect.”
Now inside five weeks of the Sept. 28-30 event, Haigh walked the 18 on Friday with Curtis Tyrrell, Medinah’s golf course operations chief. They examined the fariways’ rough patches and discussed the plan for turning brown into green. They reviewed the path players and caddies will take from hole to hole and supervised the fixing of divots and ballmarks and leveling of sprinklers by the grounds crew.
“At this point,” Haigh said, “it’s all down to fine detail.”
Haigh’s title at the PGA of America is Managing Director of Championships and Business Development. He’s in charge of setting up courses for the PGA Championship and will tag-team with Love on Medinah’s setup.
None of that will be seriously contemplated until Sept. 4, when Love unveils his four captain’s picks.
And asked about the 15th hole, a drivable par-4 that can play as short as 280 yards, Haigh pointed out that based on “wind strength and wind direction,” the tee can be altered between Friday and Saturday’s morning and afternoon matches.
Love has made one thing clear: He will not have U.S. Open-style deep rough.
Said Sluman: “Hacking out of the rough is not so exciting. Birdies and recovery shots are very exciting for the crowd and fun to watch.”
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