By Andrew Both
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) – Former world number one Adam Scott thinks the Quail Hollow renovation is the equivalent of a person who undergoes a facelift just for the sake of it, not because it is needed.
The PGA Championship venue has three completely new holes, 18 re-grassed greens and dozens of more subtle changes from the course that last year hosted a PGA Tour event.
Scott reckons the course would have been just as well left alone.
“The positive is they haven’t messed the course up by changing it, which (sometimes) happens,” the 2013 Masters champion told Reuters ahead of Thursday’s first round.
“I’m not trying to sound like a smart aleck (but) surely they didn’t move the PGA here on the basis they’d only change three holes.
“They obviously felt they needed to do something for this event and they did. They’re nothing drastic like island greens or crazy features that are going to be pivotal.”
As for the new greens, a hardy strain of Bermuda grass, Scott warned the PGA of America to be careful where they located the holes.
“They’re severe greens with this grass. They seem very dry and fast at the moment,” said the 37-year-old Australian, one of only a few players who did not take the opportunity to play his practice round in shorts under the tournament’s new relaxed dress guideline.
“The pin spots they’re going to have to be very careful not to get too near edges (of the greens) because there are a lot of false edges (where the ball will roll off the green).”
Scott, who has had a relatively lean season, will use his second caddie David Clark on the bag for the first time in a major, as number one bagman Steve Williams has the week off.
He will leave nothing in reserve in what is likely to be his last appearance of the season on the PGA Tour.
He will return home to Queensland next week for the birth of his second child and will skip the tour’s first two playoff events, which means he is unlikely to qualify for the final two.
“I’ve played so inconsistently this year by my standards,” said Scott, who plans to use the break to watch his beloved Adelaide Crows as they head into the Australian Football League finals in first place.
“I really just haven’t got the results I’ve been hoping for and I’d put it more down to poor driving than anything by my standards.
“Usually that’s my strong suit and so is the iron play and it’s been a bit hit and miss. It’s there one day and gone the next,” he said, before departing with a gently self-mocking comment.
“Unfortunately the good work I’ve done on my putting this year hasn’t yielded any results because I’ve been putting for par.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar)