Players Blast Cog Hill
By Stephanie Wei under FedEx Cup

Retief Goosen gestures at Cog Hill in the second round of the BMW Championship

When Stewart Cink sounds off, your ears tend to perk up because it doesn’t happen very often and he’s usually got a point. “I am going to echo what Zach Johnson told me,” Cink said after his round on Friday, “that on a scale of 1 to 10, this course is a minus-3.”

In hopes of landing a US Open, Cog Hill owner Frank Jemsek brought in “Open Butcher Doctor” Rees Jones for renovations a few years ago. The peculiarly hot and humid summer in Chicago has only worsened the changes. Here’s a medley of criticisms from the Tour’s finest:

“The short answer is it’s just not that enjoyable to play,” said Geoff Ogilvy, who is at 3 over. “Look, if your mission is to really punish a slightly bad shot and make it really hard all day, then it’s a success. If your mission is to create a place people enjoy playing, then it’s a failure.”

“They’ve had a tough summer, you can see that. The course has suffered,” Retief Goosen said. “Some of the greens are a little bit on the raw side, and the fairways, too. So yeah, it’s not easy.”

“There have been some interesting things said in the locker room,” said Phil Mickelson, who has never been a Jones fan. “The owner here has done so much for golf, and we all hoped this (renovation) would turn out well and that he could bring a U.S. Open here. I just feel bad for him.”

“They’ve kind of lost a few of these greens,” said Tiger Woods, who shot 62 in the third round at Cog Hill last year. “They’re slow and a bit bumpy, but we all have to putt them.”

It’s no surprise that the player complimenting Cog Hill is near the top of the leaderboard — Marc Leishman shot rounds of 72-65 and is one stroke off the lead. In fact, Leishman loves the greens!

“Well, I read the greens pretty well. They’re some of my favorites. I mean, where the Tour is putting the pins, they’re not bad, where they’re putting the pins. They’re fine. There’s a few patchy spots, but it’s not as though you’re putting on a road or anything. They’re good greens. If you were to put these in front of a club golfer, they’d be like, these are good greens.

“I don’t know, when I hear other players making comments like that, which I’ve only heard through you guys, it sort of feels like you’ve got less players to beat because the guys that are complaining, they’ve already let it beat them, I think. I’m just putting on what we’ve been given. Everyone is playing on the same golf course, so that’s the way I’m looking at it. Like I said, it’s not as bad as what everyone is making it out, I don’t think. Every week we putt on perfect greens, and when they’re not quite perfect, it’s not the end of the world.”

With the quick turnover from the Deutsche Bank Championship which ended on Monday, many players are battling fatigue — or if you’re Matt Kuchar, you’re fighting a bacterial infection, too. Kuchar, who “felt terrible all day,” bogeyed four of the first six holes before rallying to post one-over 72 to take a share of the lead with Charlie Wi.

“Just kept talking to myself, hang in there, hang in there, gut it out, and I learned at a young age never to give up,” said Kuchar. “You never know when things can turn around for you in the game of golf.”


[Photo by Kyle Auclair/]