After many, many years on the job, Kerry Haigh has grown accustomed to the oft-dire pretournament reports about the condition of golf courses that are preparing to host big events.
Then the PGA of America's Managing Director of Championships and Business Development flies in for one of his many tours of said facility, spends a couple of days walking the entire course, and calmly issues his findings to the media.
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That's just what the laid-back Haigh did recently after spending a few days perusing the No. 3 course at Medinah Country Club, which will play host to the 2012 Ryder Cup later this month.
Everything is going to be just fine.
Here's a portion of his chat with the Daily Herald:
Q. Intense heat, little rain … in your eyes how is the course holding up?
A. I've been on the golf course two or three days with Curtis Tyrrell (director of golf course operations at Medinah), and with the support of the club members who have pretty much agreed not to be playing on the course -- that's allowed us to get the fairways back into shape.
The greens are in great shape. The rough and the tees are really good. The heat stress just kind of affected some of the fairways, but with the break in the weather we've got a good plan in place and we expect the golf course to be in wonderful shape on Sept. 25.
Q. Is one month enough to finish the work on the fairways?
A. Absolutely. As long as the temperatures drops a little so the grass can recover. (Some) grasses don't do well with 90-degree temperatures and 70 degrees at night … like most of us don't well in those temperatures (laugh).
Q. It's more patching up portions of the fairways rather than a big overhaul, correct?
A. No, no (overhaul), it's just where the Poa kind of shut off. But that will come back too once the temperatures cool down.
It's just a break in the weather is all that's needed. Then everything is ready to grow back, recover and be in good shape. A month is plenty of time to do it.
Q. Have you found over the years that dealing with rumors about course conditions leading up to tournaments is just part of your job?
A. In most venues leading up to an event, you do a lot of things with golf courses to prepare them. It's not until the week of -- that is really when you're aiming for the course to be its best.
And with the summer heat you have experienced here in Chicago, it's no secret that there's some challenges there. It's no different from other venues where we play championship events.
Q. The word is you're going to keep the rough low. Is that just to ensure that it's pars and birdies that win holes?
A. To be honest, that really hasn't been determined. That's how it's been the last 18 months or so. Things like that, the captain (Davis Love III) does have an influence on.
I think Davis is waiting to see the makeup of his team, and if he does want to make any changes, he'll do so over the next little while.