Perhaps not every fairway at Medinah Country Club will look perfect for next week’s Ryder Cup. But overall?
“The greens are spectacular and the fairways ... they can play today,” Ryder Cup chairman Don Larson said. “The place is just awesome.”
Weeks of steamy, dry conditions in June and July left brown patches in some fairways, but Larson said you’d “have to look really hard” to find any flaws now.
“Curtis is smiling,” Larson said of Curtis Tyrrell, Medinah’s director of golf course operations. “He should be proud.”
NBC on-course reporter Mark Rolfing was at Medinah several days last week and said the greens “are going to be fantastic” and the fairways, while “a little spotty” have improved since the course was closed to all but Ryder Cup competitors.
“I don’t think there will be any issues with conditioning,” he said. “Normally the biggest concern would be the rough. But it’s minimal.”
The rough, that is.
U.S. captain Davis Love, who played Medinah last weekend with Steve Stricker, is keeping it low. He doesn’t want Medinah to play like a U.S. Open, as Oakland Hills did for the 2004 matches. The Americans got spanked at the Detroit-area course 18 ½-9 ½, and Love went 1-3-1.
Love wants to see bombers such as Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson hit driver and go for glory.
“Americans have the home-field advantage,” Rolfing said, “and Davis wants excitement. He wants the crowd to get into it.”
Love told the Associated Press: “You don’t want to see players chipping out and playing for par at the Ryder Cup … We’re a long-hitting, freewheeling, fun-to-watch team.”
Love and European captain Jose Maria Olazabal are slated to arrive at Medinah Monday afternoon for an official welcome. The teams will practice next Tuesday-Thursday, and then balls go in the air at 7:20 a.m. Friday for Foursome (alternate shot) matches.
But first, Larson said, “thousands of workers” will continue to put the finishing touches on the property, which will host about 40,000 people each day.
Larson said he has been struck by the “the size of everything … it’s like a U.S. Open or PGA Championship but supersized.”
The merchandise tent will be open to the public Saturday and Sunday, a chance for those without tickets to the event to get a flavor for it.
“People,” Larson said, “will be awestruck.”