Who hasn’t cringed each time the video replayed Jean Van de Velde’s spectacular triple-bogey meltdown on the 18th hole at Carnoustie in the 1999 British Open? The women who’ll tee it up tomorrow in the Women’s British Open probably won’t have to worry about suffering the same fate since the powers-that-be moved the tees of the “Home” hole up about 100 yards from where the men last played it in the Open Championship four years ago.
Paula Creamer, for one, was disappointed.
Too short. “The setup was a little bit different than what I thought it was going to be here,” Creamer told reporters Wednesday on the eve of the first women’s Open ever at Carnoustie. “It is playing pretty short.”
The 2010 U.S. Women’s Open winner suggested, instead, that 18 — now a 386-yard par-4 — would be more challenging as a longer par-5.
“Why not play it further back and even play it all the way back and make it a par‑5,” Creamer suggested. “Eighteen doesn’t play…the way it should be played….Who knows what they can do with the pin placements out there, tuck them behind bunkers and whatnot to make it a little bit harder for us.”
Defending Open champ Yani Tseng seconded Creamer’s notion that the tees should be farther back. She noted, however, that variable weather conditions could dictate the way golfers played the layout.
“They put all the bunkers out of play, put the burns out of play, so it’s a little different,” Tseng said. “If it’s windy that bunker is still going to be in play, and…the last hole is going to change a lot.”
Creamer, by the way, picked up a bit of local knowledge when she visited Scotland before last week’s Evian Masters. She played twice with a local caddie, who was Carnoustie’s club champ, as her regular looper, Colin Cann, took copious notes while walking the course.
Thanks to her prior play on the links set-up, Creamer made some modifications to the clubs she’ll carry. She added rescue sticks, hybrids, a 4-iron, and a different 5-iron. She also removed a 5- and 7-wood and one of her usual four wedges.
Belly putter stays. Michelle Wie was another golfer making some changes. She put a long putter in her bag two weeks ago and used it — with indifferent results — at the Evian.
The 21-year-old Stanford student will employ it again at Carnoustie and said she went with the belly model just to shake things up.
“I thought it was time for a change,” said Wie, who’s tied for 140th on the tour in putting with an average of almost 31 putts per round. “I’m obviously trying out different grips and different ways to do it, but I just thought it was time for a change and we’ll see. I like it so far.”
Sixty-two total putts (32, 30) for two days at the Evian (she missed the cut) would seem to tell a different story, but it was all part of the game, said Wie.
“You know, some people asked me what made me change it,” she said. “But I think everyone has experienced changing putters, changing techniques. It’s nothing thrilling, I guess.”