Share “For a change, dry Muirfield might bare its...”

For a change, dry Muirfield might bare its fangs

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 30, 2014 at 6:21 pm •  Published: May 30, 2014
Advertisement

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Ben Curtis grew up just a few miles from Muirfield Village Golf Club.

He's seen the course designed by Jack Nicklaus bare its fangs. But most of the time, it's been a docile track when the pros come to town about the same time the spring rains drench the course.

Maybe not this year, however.

A dry week — there are areas in the central part of the state that haven't had rain in 10 days — has helped the course play harder and faster than usual. Curtis, who grew up in nearby Ostrander, Ohio, thinks it could get treacherous if, as is predicted, the rains stay away and the sun stays out throughout the weekend.

"Yesterday the balls were kind of hitting and stopping; today they were taking one or two bounces before they would stop and weren't quite spinning back as much with the wedges," said Curtis, who is at 4-under 140 after rounds of 69 and 71. "So, yeah, with the dry conditions and no rain in the forecast, it's going to be fun."

Last summer, Nicklaus was relishing the course hosting the Presidents Cup in the autumn because there usually is not much rain in Ohio in the fall. But the international competition — much like the Memorial, traditionally the first PGA Tour event up North each year — was plagued by hard rains, high winds and soft conditions.

But this tournament might be different.

"If it does stay dry, it's going to be a great test over the weekend because we're going to see the greens get a little fiery," said Adam Scott, tied for ninth at 5-under 139.

___

LATE DISAPPOINTMENT: It appeared for a short time that Justin Rose had made the cut on the number by birdieing the final two holes.

But he knew better.

His iron shot into the signature par-3 12th hole in Friday's second round of the Memorial Tournament nestled into the deep, thick grass just over the green.

"It was one of the worst lies I've had for a while," Rose said. "Through the green and a shocking lie."

Rose, who won the Memorial four years ago, took a limited swing at the ball because he feared that he might hit it more than once.

"I actually tried it and I knew that double-hitting it was a possibility," he said. "So I tried to sort of leave the club there."

Still, he felt a second impact on the club after he first struck the ball. He knew immediately that he faced, at the very least, a one-stroke penalty.

So, he notified an official on the course and played on, the extra shot likely awaiting him. He wondered if he might have even hit the ball three times and was unsure what the penalty might be for that unlikely possibility.

He made two bogeys on the next four holes but birdied the final two holes, completing a 1-under 71 that left him at even-par 144 — on the scoreboard, at least.

"Obviously people were excited because I got back to even because the scoreboard hadn't adjusted for the double-hit," he said. "I knew in my mind I was always one worse than the board, so that wasn't a surprise to me."

Rose said he couldn't remember ever hitting a ball twice with one swing.

"It's so alien," he said.

Amazingly, that wasn't the only double-hit of the day. ...

___

BAD SPAN: Rory McIlroy's day started out OK. His tweaked knee loosened up after some ice and physical therapy and he played his first three holes in even par. He was clear of the field at the Memorial by three strokes on a sunny, warm Friday at Muirfield Village.

Then it all came tumbling down.

"It seemed like anything that could sort of go wrong did go wrong out there," McIlroy said.

He caught some tree branches on his second at the relatively easy par-4 13th and the ball ricocheted almost out of bounds into an even more wooded area. He ended up with a double bogey.

At 14 — which he doubled in his opening 63 — he did it again. This time his second shot ended up in the small creek which wends its way through the par-4 hole and he again made a 6.

The real quirky stuff happened at the 15th, a 522-yard hole that almost everyone in the field goes for in two. McIlroy's shot to the green went into the deep rough left of the green. While blasting out, he had a double-hit which he immediately called on himself, resulting in a one-shot penalty. Once again, he made double-bogey.

He went from a big lead to a tie for 20th through the first wave of players. By the end of the day, he was ...

McIlroy said he had been losing tournaments with three or four bad holes in a stretch until he won at Wentworth on Sunday. After his Memorial-record opening round, he had credited the low score to avoiding any bad spell.

And then came 13, 14 and 15 in the second round.

"These little runs I'm getting on where it gets away from me, I was able to avoid that last week," he said. "Not so much this week."

McIlroy's 43 on the back nine marked the fourth consecutive PGA Tour event — and the fifth time in his last six — that McIlroy had at least a 40 over nine holes. All have come in the second round.

Continue reading this story on the...