Friday, April 29, 2005

New TPC gets mixed reviews

Pete Dye is without doubt one of the most important influences in golf over the last three decades. His work at places like Habour Town and TPC at Sawgrass revolutionized design after years of stagnation resulting from the dominance of Robert Trent Jones.
But one has to wonder if Pete's best years are now behind him. He's no spring chicken, has battled cancer recently, but he keeps working.
One of his latest course, the TPC of Louisiana (which he built with design giants Kelly Gibson and Steve Elkington), is the host of this week's New Orleans tour stop. Like the tournament itself, it seems
no one cares much for Dye's latest course.
John Daly, ever the astute observer, said there were "zits" all over the course. Of course, Daly was referring to the pot bunkers that Dye employed as a design feature. Daly then went on to say that he hated courses that had bunkers in the fairway and that he never plays well at those types of courses. Big John must have been imbibing before he made those remarks because he won the British Open at The Old Course, which, the last time I was there, had its share of bunkers in the fairway. Then again, he compared last week's course in Houston to the Old Course. Consistency, John, consitency. Glad to see John's game is coming back together, cause he's still got a two cent head.
The reality is that the TPC course model seems to have faltered. Several of the new courses have not performed or are utterly mediocre.
Still, after all the comments, my favourite came from Vijay Singh in an article yesterday: "They (TPC courses) all kind of look alike." Now that's not much of an endorsement of Dye's work or the TPC model in general, is it?
Well, even the
security guard at the TPC wasn't keen on Pete's latest design, turning the legendary golf architect away from the gates when he tried to come to the tournament.

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