It’s the debut of the pros roundtable in 2016 and naturally we discuss Jordan Spieth, tough par 5s, rule changes, coyotes, turkeys and cows.
Periodically in this space we quiz area pros on a variety of topics. Today’s threesome: Circling Raven’s Tony Cuchessi, Indian Canyon’s Doug Phares and Sun Dance’s Matt Strandberg.
Q: What is the toughest par 5 in the region (can’t be on your own course)? What makes it so difficult?
TC: No. 3 at The Club at Black Rock. Very demanding tee shot, must be very accurate with trouble down both sides. With a good, long drive it’s tempting to go for it on your second shot but the green is very well protected and narrow. Most players are forced to lay up, setting them up for a shorter approach on the third shot. Because the green is narrow it’s much more receptive to a higher shot that lands soft and stops. Once on the green, players must guard against three-putting because the green is usually very slick and has plenty on undulation.
DP: My vote for the toughest par 5 goes to No. 16 at MeadowWood. It usually plays into the wind and each shot; the tee shot, the layup and the approach are very demanding. Five is always a good score.
MS: The toughest par 5 in my opinion is No. 5 at The Creek at Qualchan. With hazard on the left and out of bounds on the right throughout the entire hole, your commitment and trust in your swing will be tested. If you hit a good or even great tee shot, it is almost impossible to reach the green in two, and not a good risk-reward play to even attempt. Par is always good on that hole.
Q: Your best story about a golfer-animal encounter on a course?
DP: While I was the head professional at StoneRidge I received a call about cows being on the course. I drove a cart down to check it out and they were right, there were about 10 of them. I did my best cowboy imitation and herded them with the golf cart back to their ranch.
MS: No good animal stories. Unfortunately.
TC: We had a group tell us a story of a young lady who didn’t like coyotes and while playing No. 15 at Circling Raven chased two of them throwing golf balls and yelling because they were stalking a flock of turkeys. She wanted to protect them from the coyotes. I didn’t see it but I bet it was hilarious.
Q: The anchored putting stroke has been banned. If you were king of the sport, what’s the first rule change you would implement, and why?
MS: You should be able to be able to wear shorts in PGA tournaments if the weather is really hot.
TC: I would waive the rule where an amateur may not play for prize money. If an amateur is participating in an event with pros and they win prize money why not pay them? They deserve it, right? Right now they must sign a waiver, if they make money in an open event they must not accept price money. It’s a little confusing to me, just saying.
DP: What, I’m not the king? I’d probably get rid of the flagstick rule. The rules should help promote faster play and that one doesn’t seem to. While I was at it I’d rescind the ban on anchor putting, too.
Q: It’s 2036. Between Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, who will have won the most majors, and why?
TC: I pick Spieth. Like Jason and Rory, he has the complete game to win majors but I think what sets him apart is his mental attitude. Nothing seems to rattle him. He seems to be cool, calm and collected under major pressure. Yes he’s human and can have a collapse like the final round in this year’s Master’s but his attitude and mental toughness is a huge asset. As long as he keeps his focus and desire to win Jordan will have plenty of major victories in his career. Plus only being 22 years old he definitely has father time on his side.
DP: Obviously they’re all great but my money is on Speith. The main reason I say that is because he’s the best putter of the three. It also seems to me that he’s the strongest mentally as well.
MS: I think Spieth will have won the most majors. I think his level-headedness, consistency in his swing and amazing putting will pull ahead of Day and Mcllroy.
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