It has been just 2½ weeks since the elite of golf tested the newer, tougher Blue Monster golf course at Trump National Doral.
During the tournament, particularly after the second round Friday, irate comments about the course were rolling off the tongues of the pros as easily as they can roll in two-foot putts.
The comments usually used the words “unfair” and “ridiculous” and “way too difficult.”
The WGC-Cadillac Championship, including tournament chairman Butch Buchholz, listened and took note. The course, which was completely rebuilt after the 2013 Cadillac Championship, will undergo some more changes, or tweaks if you prefer, before next year’s event.
No, it will not be the multi-bulldozer, ground-razing that occurred before this year’s tournament, but there will be some alterations in various spots. The Trump National Doral hierarchy, including Big Boss Donald Trump, heard the players’ complaints and whines and took them in without resentment or anger.
“There will be some changes,” Buchholz said of the course. “I know the PGA people and Trump will be talking about some changes. I think they knew that was likely to happen even before they started this year’s tournament. It’s inevitable that when you build a new golf course like we did, it will be tweaked. “The players recognize that.”
What did some of the morevocal players say about the Blue Monster, particularly after that second round in the 2014 Doral:
• Tiger Woods, when asked what the most difficult hole was, replied: “Numbers 1 through 18.”
• Hunter Mahan: “I felt stressed all day.”
• Francesco Molinari: “I’m just glad my round is over.”
• Zach Johnson: “It was a grab-your-lunch-pail-and-go-to-work day. I felt like I was playing The Open Championship.”
• Harris English: “Did I cuss the golf course? Yes, there were a couple of times.”
It needs to be noted that the Friday round, when 113 balls went into the water, was played in winds from 20 to 40 mph, and scores have always skyrocketed on the Blue Monster — even before its transformation — in windy weather.
The higher the winds, the higher the scores is the simple correlation.
In addition, pin placements were at their most difficult on Friday, not factoring in the difficulty the wind was adding.
The course is certainly more difficult than before its makeover. Only three players shot under par for the 2014 Cadillac Championship. The pros didn’t like that statistic, but the fans actually enjoy seeing the pros struggle in some fashion like Joe Average Golfer does.
Once Doral’s final two rounds were over on Saturday and Sunday, when better weather conditions prevailed, the comments were a little more muted. The pros didn’t necessarily have smiles, but they were willing to say the course, with a few changes, would be just fine. Even better than fine.
Part of Buchholz’s job is to concentrate on the fans, and that’s what he is continuing to do in the tournament’s aftermath.
“It was a great experience for the fans,” Buchholz said. “Where else can you go and eat Joe’s Stone Crabs and Shula Burgers.
“We want to make it one of the finest golf tournaments in the world. We’re an international city, and we want to make this golf tournament a huge international event.”
And the final word came from Trump following the tournament.
“It’s a tough course,” he said. “It’s a big, bold course.”
The pros will readily agree with him on that point.
THAT’S A FACT, JACK
How many lefties have won a major? Not that many. Just four.
OK, Phil Mickelson is one everybody knows. The other three are Bubba Watson, Mike Weir and Bob Charles.