Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Don't Lose Control of Course, Singh Tells USGA

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Don't Lose Control of Course, Singh Tells USGA

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

PINEHURST, N.C. -- On the eve of the 105th U.S. Open, players are concerned that the Pinehurst No. 2 course doesn't pose the same hazards as Shinnecock Hills did for the 104th Open.

Vijay Singh of Ponte Vedra Beach, the world's No. 2-ranked player, even related a playful threat he directed at Tom Meeks, the United States Golf Association's senior director of Rules and Competition who oversees the course set-up for U.S. Opens.

"I told Tom 'if you lose the golf course, you'd better hide . . . but there's going to be no place to hide, because we're going to find you,' " Singh said Wednesday.

The USGA leadership came under relentless criticism by players and media last year when some greens at Shinnecock held virtually no shots when the weather turned windy and dry on the weekend. Thirty players shot in the 80s in the final round and only one, Robert Allenby, shot even-par 70.

There are concerns by the players that Pinehurst, with bowled, severely sloping greens, would present even more of a problem.

"The roll-offs are a lot harder than Shinnecock," Singh said. "It's a lot tougher set-up. I've been hitting wedges [to the greens] and it's not spinning back."

USGA officials have heard. Championship committee chairman Walter Driver said the greens will receive water if needed -- unlike the night before the final round at Shinnecock.

"We learned last year . . . we learn every year from the U.S. Open," Driver said. "We're very attuned to the weather conditions and if we need to put water on the greens, we will."

Singh said the course as it played during the final practice round was "tough but fair." But he said it was on the edge.

"We're pleased with the condition the golf course is in right now and we are certainly going to make every effort to ensure that will carry out throughout the week," USGA president Fred Ridley said.

FUNK IS CONFIDENT

Although he has hit fairways better than anyone on the PGA Tour for the past 15 years, Ponte Vedra Beach resident Fred Funk doesn't have a great track record in the U. …

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