Course #3 Medinah Country Club: course guide
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Tiger Woods took the course apart in 2006, shooting -18 to finish five shots clear of his nearest rival on what was, at the time, the longest course in major championship history.
Renovations on Course 3 at the Country Club have been extremely frequent to prevent heavy scoring, but Woods is confident that despite the most recent set of changes aggressive match-play will pay off.
“As far as it being a match-play golf course, I think that it is set up for the ability to make a lot of birdies,” Tiger said. “The two times that we’ve played the PGA there, they set it up pretty hard and we still made a bunch of birdies. If we get the right kind of weather, and then being match play, where we naturally can be more aggressive, I can see there being a boatload of birdies there.”
In preparation for the 2012 Ryder Cup, Medinah members bought in Rees Jones to entirely rebuild eleven of the greens, with the architect also designing an entirely new 15th hole.
The 15th has been designed as a driveable par four, but with a newly incorporated pond adjacent to the green there is plenty of risk alongside the potential reward of making eagle.
Short fours are a key feature in match play golf and thus the Ryder Cup. 2002 European captain, Sam Torrence, famously moved the tee forward to make the 10th at the Belfry driveable and making heavy scoring more feasible.
Davis Love III the 2012 US captain has free reign on the set up the Medinah course and has kept it simple; the rough is down and the speed of the greens is up. Love believes that this set up will favour the American team, but also make the tournament more enjoyable for spectators.
“We’ve set it up the way we think fans will like it,” Love said. “People probably don’t believe that, but we set it up so that it’s fun to watch. You don’t want to see players chipping out and putting for par at the Ryder Cup. You want to see birdies. You want to see excitement. TV is going to like it.”
The PGA Tour typically plays on faster greens than in Europe, which would seem to favour the Americans. Then again, Europe has eight players on its 12 man team who have some form of PGA Tour membership this year.
“They putt better than us, it seems like, in the Ryder Cup,” Love said. “That’s why I’m excited going in this year that our guys seem to be putting well, playing well. There’s a reason we picked guys that were hot with the putter.”
One such putting maestro is Brandt Snedeker who comes into the Ryder Cup on red hot form having claimed the FedEx Cup and a cheque of $10 million.
A key feature from Medinah Course 3 is the number of collection areas that surround the greens and will collect errant attempts to make the putting surface. Rees Jones is a big fan of these so expect to see players falling into them all over the weekend.
Following the extensive re-design of the 15th, the 16th hole has been extended, so that it now stretches over 500 yards. The scene of Sergio Garcia’s ‘miracle shot’ in 1999, the 16th is lined with trees and is one of the hardest holes on the third course. Taming this par-5 could determine the destination of the Ryder Cup.
Find our PGA Championship betting pack: 2012 PGA Championship