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Some pros not happy with ‘ribbon tees’

‘Ribbon tees’ allow opening-shot placement to be moved from round to round. (Tyler Tjomsland)
‘Ribbon tees’ allow opening-shot placement to be moved from round to round. (Tyler Tjomsland)

You’ll probably see the phrase “ribbon tees” in print or hear it during the telecast of the U.S. Open. It refers to tee boxes and the surrounding area being cut at the same length so they essentially run together with little or no variance.

“They kind of meander and allow us to put tee markers where we want,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said.

You’ll probably hear about Davis’ plan to put tee markers on slight slopes, an unprecedented decision that has prompted squawking from some pros. Davis stressed that it would only be “on slight slopes.”

“There may be domes where we may give the players a little downhill slope, a little uphill slope, a side slope,” he said. “That’s interesting.”

He knows it could be greeted with negative reactions.

“I think it’s actually an innovative, neat idea,” Davis said. “Listen, we’re not going to be putting tee markers on a slope that’s 6, 8, 10 degrees. Generally speaking, architects build maybe a half degree slope for surface drainage. All of a sudden if (you tee off) a 2-3 degree slope you start to feel that. We won’t go overboard with it.”

Davis mentioned the idea to Tom Weiskopf and Greg Norman as they toured the course in April.

“Those two are major champions and architects,” Davis said. “They loved the idea.”

In some ways, Chambers Bay has ribbon greens in that it’s sometimes hard to determine if your ball is on or off the putting surface. Officials said that won’t be an issue during the U.S. Open because the greens will be more clearly defined.

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