Hazeltine's No. 16 takes its toll: 28 bogeys, 0 birdies


CHASKA, Minn. -- The 16th hole at Hazeltine National Golf Club has developed quite a reputation here this week for the 91st United States Open. A nightmarish reputation at that.

Yesterday, the 384-yard par-4 proved even more ghoulish than it had during the first three days. "If you don't hit your tee shot when you're supposed to, you can be there all day," said Nick Price.

Said Fuzzy Zoeller: "It's an architect's dream, one of those holes that looks good on paper. But it just doesn't work on the golf course."

With the wind swirling during the the third round, it didn't work for anyone yesterday. There were 28 bogeys and no birdies, and for the second straight day the hole was the toughest on the course.

Balls were hit all over No. 16. Into the water between the tee and the fairway. Into the marsh between the water and the right side of the fairway. Into the traps hugging the left side.

Price, who started the round at 1 under par and finished at 2 under, felt fortunate to come away with a bogey.

"On a day like today, that's a good score," Price said.

Price compares the 16th hole to No. 12 at Augusta National, the nasty little 155-yard par-3 over Rae's Creek. "It's the most terrifying hole to play in the wind aside from No. 12 at Augusta," Price said.

* For those wondering what third-round co-leader Payne Stewart will be wearing today, stay tuned. Stewart was bedecked in the color of the Chicago Bears when he won his first major, at the 1989 PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes outside the Windy City.

He already has worn the Minnesota Vikings' colors during this year's Open. Will he don his purple and gold again? "I'm going to wear the last pair of clean pants I've got," he said. "I think they're black."

* Some guys never can get away from the game, even after withdrawing from the U.S. Open. When reached at his home in Danbury, Conn., Friday, Ken Green was asked by a reporter what he was doing. Green, who had an opening-round 81 here and took the first plane out, said that he was playing video golf.

"I just sliced it," he said.

Talk about art imitating life.

* Paul Azinger, the leading American on the world rankings (fifth) coming into the Open, will be taking some time off for arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder.

"I woke up this week and couldn't raise my arm enough to put on deodorant," said Azinger, who missed the cut here by a shot at 4-over-par 148. "I've kept it a secret because the last thing people need is to hear golfers complain."

Golfers complain?

Is Greg Norman Australian?

* Defending champion Hale Irwin and former Masters and defending British Open champion Nick Faldo have been afflicted by the same problem here this week: bad putting.

"If I could hole a putt, I'd have a chance," Faldo said. "My putter has done a good job in the past, but now it all adds up to zip."

Said Irwin: "I have to get unconfused. The conditions are fine, but I have so many things I have to work on in my head, I'm all mixed up."

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