Justin Thomas stood on top of the interview podium on Thursday night, having scored a three-under-67. He was proud of himself for fighting south of the hills in tough conditions, refusing to allow a tough break to spoil his focus.
He looked at the reporters and answered one question we’ve all been wondering: What’s the deal with these caches?
“It’s definitely my hardest sand—the hardest sand I’ve ever played in, just because, first, it’s not very consistent,” said Thomas. “Like day 8 today, I told Bones it was wild. Like my left foot when I was kind of digging, it was a little bit like From the naked I felt, and then my right foot was very good, as usual, and under the ball it was like hitting this.”
“This hit,” JT said, again, as he stood on a felt platform in a media tent in the Southern Hills parking lot. Nothing about it can be easy, consistent, predictable, or enjoyable. But that is the case at this week’s PGA Championship.
hideouts south of the hills, As GOLF.com reported earlier this week, a little more “pebbled” than players are used to going out on the round. No, not Pebble Beach LLC. It is covered with pebbles meaning the sand is not as fine as usual. The rocks small and small that I would never bother with are much bigger than the premium grain materials you see at John Deere Classic. As a result, players get a little confused.
“It’s a bit of a guessing game sometimes because these things are a little different than what we’re used to,” said Taylor Gotsch 69 years later. “I’m sure some other players have talked about it, but the individual grains of sand are huge compared to the norm. It kind of makes it a guessing game and makes bunkers really punitive, really.”
Bunkers are supposed to be dangerous, in theory. Gooch made sure to practice out of shelters frequently during his practice runs earlier this week. It’s one of those things that may or may not affect his grades. You can never tell how much early work in the vault will ultimately help during the tournament. But it so happened that Gooch fired his volley into the 16th straight into the cup, some great fortune for the Oklahoma native. Not a bird, though. Just for your normal savings.
Another problem with gravel bunkers is that the gravel doesn’t stay in place. It also lands on the green and even piles up over the course of the day’s play, making things difficult for groups setting out in the afternoon. Just ask Scotty Scheffler.
“So there were a lot of hits I had today, especially in the back nine where the pins are close to the bunker, like 17 is a good example, where guys, if there’s some people splashing out of that bunker, all those pebbles are going to shoot into the green And it can affect your vault shot, too.”
Scheffler found two bunkers late in his run, losing his landing spot, he says, by only one yard. The result: two ghosts in his last three slots.
“Bugs aren’t supposed to be that easy. It’s definitely frustrating to go in there and have a sort of pebble shoot the ball off the line, which is something you can’t see. I shouldn’t be in a lot of bunkers and put myself in three I think today, which is definitely Not where I want to be.”
Ian Poulter warned us all When talking to Zephyr Milton About this issue early in the week. It feels prophetic, now that the shots matter, and you watch Tiger Woods throw a holeshot at an 8 that makes its way through the shallow sand, the ball nearly rolling across the far side of the green.
Poulter was concerned about the consistent spin out of the sand. This is one thing these professionals care about more than anything else. yarn. And according to Poulter, there’s really nothing you can do to balance out any weirdness. You just have to play it normally. And frankly, avoid those bunkers as if you were avoiding water hazards. The results are too varied to be risked.
“Some of them don’t have sand. Back up on that felt platform,” said Thomas, “But when you do it it’s very cobbled, and sometimes you can kind of put them between the face and the ball and see them advance and move away from the line. I’m sure you saw by watching the coverage, it’s really hard to turn around; Basically impossible.”
We’ve been watching coverage. And obviously we’re better off on this side of TV.