From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Cog Hill’s fairways could be paved in Olympic gold

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It may be a case of putting the cart before the horse, but at this present time it appears Ty Votaw has a pretty good idea of which course would host an Olympic golf event if 1) Chicago gets the nod on November as the host city for the 2016 games, and 2) golf is included in the games. That course, for all intents and purposes, would be Cog Hill Golf and Country Club, the very same venue that hosted the BMW Championship last week.

Golf Digest Digital Writer-at-Large, Thomas Bonk, found most of the field in good spirits are the event. The good vibes not only mean Rees Jones’ May 2009 redesign was a complete success – it now also appears to mean the course could be in for an even bigger stage if all the pieces fell into place.

It’s too early to speculate, Votaw said, but the reviews of Cog Hill by the players at the BMW Championship were generally favorable, if that accounts for anything. Even after Tiger Woods tore the course apart for a record nine-under-par 62 on Saturday, that did little to detract from the venue’s luster.

“The golf course is fantastic,” Padraig Harrington said. “It’s a big, tough golf course. They can throw anything at you out there, if they play this thing from the back and put some tough pins in there.”

Said Tiger Woods: “It’s longer, the greens are much more difficult, the bunkers are a lot deeper.”

After re-opening in May following a $5.2 million redesign by Rees Jones, Cog Hill measures 7,616 yards if played all the way back. Jones said if the course is played in the Olympics, there are teeing options that would come into play.

“Because of the gap in the quality of players in the Olympics, they could set up the course easier,” said Jones, who also supports Cog Hill as a potential site for the U.S. Open. “Cog Hill last week proved itself a major championship venue.” (

True, the course did play a tad easy; but for the most part the players glowing reviews were enough to give the course a big thumbs up. While I’d have to disagree with Jones’ remarks about setting the course up to play easier for the Olympic games — the venue should test the best players in the world if they’re going for a gold medal — I do feel the course would need to soften a couple of its edges before hosting a list of players from various countries who’d probably get eaten alive by a PGA tour track. (Remember: some countries will qualify for the event with players we’ve never even heard of.)

Regardless, I think Cog Hill is the right course for the job. It was a shame to see the event move from a staple of the PGA Tour, to a rotation course in the FedEx Cup’s BMW Championship event, and at this present time, I don’t see another course out there that would be better suited for the job.


Written by Jonathan Wall

09/15/2009 at 4:16 pm

Posted in Cog Hill, Olympics, PGA Tour

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