Rozner: PGA Tour made mockery of Medinah

  • Justin Thomas celebrates his win on the 18th green in the BMW Championship final round Sunday at Medinah Country Club.

    Justin Thomas celebrates his win on the 18th green in the BMW Championship final round Sunday at Medinah Country Club. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/19/2019 2:14 PM

Musings and meanderings after a week at Medinah and the BMW Championship:

Sometimes it rains

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Last time, it was the "Miracle at Medinah." This time it was a mockery.

At 7,600 yards on a track that has in the past hosted very difficult major championships, Medinah was defenseless in the BMW Championship due to the rain and soft conditions.

It rains in August in Chicago. It gets hot and humid and it rains. Shocker.

But this is what the PGA Tour wants. It wants low scores, failing to understand that a true test of golf -- and showing full use of your bag -- is what's entertaining.

The rough was up from the Ryder Cup but down from what one club member said was a much tougher course a few weeks ago.

So with soft, wide fairways and juicy greens, it was bomb, gouge and stiff it with a wedge.

Yawn.

It's a shame because Medinah is a beautiful and historic course, and it's not the fault of those who prepared it or those who maintain it. This is entirely on the PGA Tour.

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Fans watch Tiger Woods, who had a constant police guard last week at Medinah.
Fans watch Tiger Woods, who had a constant police guard last week at Medinah. - John Starks | Staff Photographer

Tiger Woods won two majors at Medinah at the height of his powers and he could only snicker as he indicted the Tour -- subtly -- for not reining in the equipment companies and setting up courses properly.

He also seemed to question the weekly approach of the modern golf star.

"When I first came out on Tour, there was a lot of 1-irons off the tees. Just kind of get it in play," Woods said. "Now, you just pull out driver, bomb it down there and you're looking for three to four good weeks a year."

In other words, a couple times a year you get hot and hit fairways and you win. The other weeks, when you can't hit fairways, you stink. And the players don't care. They only need one good week a year to pad a healthy bank account.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's not the consistency. It's not about making a bunch of cuts. That's the difference," Woods said. "With today's equipment you can maximize a driver and absolutely bomb it and some of the guys sacrifice around the greens or short irons for the driver.

"The driver is the most important club in the bag now because of the way the game is played."

Woods sounded rather sad to see a legendary course torn to shreds. He was not alone.

Here's hoping Medinah gets another chance soon to show its teeth.

Presidents Cup

Tiger Woods' day is complete following play in the third round of the BMW Championship Saturday at Medinah. Woods is escorted by DuPage County sheriff's detectives Dave Chiesa, left, and Thomas Brown.
Tiger Woods' day is complete following play in the third round of the BMW Championship Saturday at Medinah. Woods is escorted by DuPage County sheriff's detectives Dave Chiesa, left, and Thomas Brown. - Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Unless he wins in Japan in October, it's hard to see captain Tiger Woods picking himself for Team USA.

The eight automatically qualifying for the Dec. 12 event were Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau.

Next on the list was Tony Finau, who's a lock for one of four captain's picks, when those are announced the week of Nov. 4.

Gary Woodland follows him and he's also a certainty -- if he wants it -- after winning the U.S. Open, but Woodland has twin babies at home -- born a few weeks ago -- so maybe he doesn't need a trip to Australia in the offseason.

Assuming those two and as it stands now with the fall season still giving some a chance to change minds, Woods has two spots left to choose from among himself, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Kevin Kisner and Phil Mickelson.

Fowler is Fowler, Reed is tremendous in these events, Kisner won Match Play this year and is a great pressure putter and Mickelson has never missed a team.

Fresh out of college, youngsters Collin Morikawa and Matt Wolff are tremendous match play competitors and it would show great foresight if Team USA gave one or both of them a taste of it now in preparation for future Ryder Cup events they are certain to be a part of.

Meanwhile, the only reason Woods would choose himself is if the PGA and television decided they had to have him for ratings.

Tip of the cap

DuPage County sheriff's detectives Thomas Brown, left, and Dave Chiesa are all smiles Sunday afternoon after guarding Tiger Woods and walking 90 holes with him last week at Medinah.
  DuPage County sheriff's detectives Thomas Brown, left, and Dave Chiesa are all smiles Sunday afternoon after guarding Tiger Woods and walking 90 holes with him last week at Medinah. - Barry Rozner | Staff Photographer

DuPage County sheriff's detectives Thomas Brown and Dave Chiesa had the task -- and test -- of walking 90 holes for the week and 10 miles a day guarding Tiger Woods in sometimes very high temps and humidity, all while keeping an eye out for any trouble.

But they did so with smiles and grace, always polite, even taking the hand of small children a few times and allowing them a very brief glance from inside the ropes so they could view Woods up close, when they had no chance to see past the huge galleries.

Nice job, fellas.

Barney Fife

While the police did a terrific job protecting players and fans, there are always some "security personnel" or marshals who let the temporary power go to their heads and treat paying customers like criminals, yelling at and admonishing them for the tiniest of errors, proving once again that you can't teach manners or social skills.

Not exactly a formula for growing the game or getting fans to fork over dollars next time around.

Playing fast

On Thursday when Tiger Woods flew the 15th green with a chip and the ball came to rest near a drain where he could have received relief, he stepped up to the ball and played within 30 seconds.

Nine out of 10 players would have called for a ruling and thus a 10-minute delay to get a marginally better stance.

Just asking

Everyone is interested to see what happens with the new format for the FedEx Cup at the Tour Championship, but what happens when they realize there will be no winner of the tournament crowned Sunday at East Lake, and what happens when the player with the lowest 72-hole score doesn't win anything?

Livin' on a prayer

Jordan Spieth on whether he should be considered for the Presidents Cup: "I don't feel I deserve it, but I also feel I can definitely help the team. That's how I'm supposed to think, right?"

Right Said Billy

After a Sky Sports on course announcer described a C.T. Pan chip near 16 green as sexy, Billy Horschel came running up to him off the air, laughed and said, "Please never describe anything I do as sexy."

And finally …

Tiger Woods on 25-under as the winning score at Medinah: "You shoot 20-under par and you're going to lose? That's a bit of a shock considering we've had major championships here."

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