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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Note to Self: Bunkers Are Hazards

According to The Rules of Golf, published by the USGA and the R&A, a bunker is a hazard. For those of you who are new to the game, hazards are NOT where you want to be.

Apparently nobody explained this to the players at the PGA Championship. Bunkers are an undesirable place to go... yet everybody seemed to be attracted to them on Friday!

On Thursday -- and even most of Friday -- the short knockers dominated the leaderboard. They did it largely by avoiding the bunkers. If you land in the rough, especially the first cut, there's a possibility that your ball will sit up. You don't get that advantage in the bunkers. The AAC guys had quicksand brought in just for this tournament. (They called it "special sand," but we know what it is when your ball just rolls into the bunker and immediately sinks down an inch. Two caddies have inexplicably gone missing already!)

One of the co-leaders, Jason Dufner, hit every fairway and every green in the first two rounds. The other, Keegan Bradley (unusual on this leaderboard because he can launch his ball 300 yards), also seems to understand this principle. While he's only hit about 60% of his fairways, I only know of him being in one bunker Friday -- on the ninth hole -- and he seems to have learned this great lesson in just his first major. Why, here he is now!

Bradley from a bunker on #9

Short and crooked won't get it done -- at least, not at the Atlanta Athletic Club. But it looks like long and crooked isn't much good either. If you made the cut there this week and happen to be reading this, here's a quick tip that will stand you in good stead this weekend:

Bunkers are hazards, fairways are not.
Hazards are bad, fairways are good.
Avoid hazards, hit fairways.

Trust me, this advice is gold. And anybody who made the cut -- and follows this advice -- has a decent chance to win this major.

Oh, and for any of you weekend golfers out there who are reading this... it's good advice for you as well. Smiley

The photo came from the seattlepi.com site.

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