As golfers take practice rounds, final course tune-ups take place at The Country Club


“I think we are all excited about the test that this golf course offers; It seems that it is going to be a brutal test of golf, and that is what this championship is about, ”he said. Phil Michaelson in one of his no LIV Golf responses on Monday.

Mickelson, who played here in the 1999 Ryder Cup, said: “The course is in perfect condition. It is a remarkable golf course. Several tees have been lengthened from ’99 for as long as I can remember, but it seems to play the same way.”

With knee-high fescue, slippery, rough and hairy greens hidden by slender, undulating fairways, and outcrops of puddingstone vying for space with twisted amoeba-shaped bunkers, the course is designed to put the game to the test. golfers at all levels.


Combine that with most golfers being new to the course, or at least several years after their last visit, and the degree of difficulty only increases.

“It’s a cool place, it’s very in front of you, it’s old school,” he said. justin thomaswho missed the cut at the US Amateur Championship here in 2013. “I’m sure it’s going to be long, hard, firm, fast greens.”

Thomas flew to Boston last Monday specifically to take part in a practice round before heading to Toronto for the RBC Canadian Open.

Justin Thomas speaks to the media during a news conference Monday at The Country Club in Brookline.Cliff Hawkins/Getty

“I didn’t remember this amount of rolling and sloping on the greens,” Thomas said. “I love the addition of the short par 3 [No. 11, 131 yards]. I think every golf course should have a short little hole like that, and it has a hell of a green where they can putt some tough putts, you can make 2 or 4 in a heartbeat.”

Matt Fitzpatrick back on the course, the champion of the same 2013 US Amateur where Thomas missed the cut.

“In 2013, you had to hit fairways and greens,” said Fitzpatrick, who will participate in his first practice round Tuesday. “The fairways were very, very narrow and the rough was thick, and that’s why we really did well that week, as well as playing very well. I think from what I see, it’s the same thing again, which is good.”

the grass is greener

From winter through this spring and including this week’s forecast, New England weather has been very, very good for the grass at The Country Club.

And that bodes well for making the course setup for the 18 holes of this week’s tournament as challenging as possible.

“From an agronomic standpoint, it’s about being able to make the golf course firm, being able to get good green speeds, and with the cooler weather we’ve had, that’s generally a beneficial thing because it doesn’t put stress on the turf. , but it’s warm enough for the grass to grow,” he said. darin bevard, director of the USGA agronomy championship. “And, putting a premium on accuracy, growing the gross is very important. The weather had been pretty good to begin with, but that little bit of rain we got on Friday morning helped set things right.”

The gross was cut Monday, and the main gross was cut every day from now on to stay at 3 inches.

The Greens?

They will cut each other at least three times a day so that they play as quickly as possible.

“From the tee to the green, the roughs, everything, it’s really healthy, which is a good place to start when you have to tighten it up a little bit, you know, with a little extra maintenance and that kind of thing. ”, said Bevard. “But, no, the weather has been great.”

About 19 mowers came to 18th Street Monday at The Country Club for a quick touch-up.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Bevard was not familiar with The Country Club until he began his preparation for this event four years ago.

“You don’t train to run a marathon the week before it starts, you start with a lot of time out,” Bevard said. “People don’t realize there’s a lot of planning that goes into getting ready to peak for this week.”

And the course is in full swing, thanks to the weather on top of four years of planning?

“We’re here,” Bevard said. “We’re fine-tuning now, but that’s by design. We don’t need to peak on Monday, we want to peak on Thursday, so we’re working towards that.

“Everything is very, very good.”

Mickelson, who is involved in the LIV Golf Tour controversy more than any other LIV golfer here, expressed excitement about everything he hears from the gallery.

Golf fans were in attendance Monday at The Country Club as many waited to get autographs from golfers finishing on the 18th hole.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

“I think the Boston crowd is one of the best in sports, and I think they’ve been very supportive of me, and I appreciate that very much over the years,” Mickelson said. “I think his enthusiasm and energy is what creates such a great atmosphere, so whether it’s positive or negative for me directly, I think he will provide an amazing atmosphere to celebrate this championship.”

quick wit

Fitzpatrick, 27, who was the first Englishman to win the US Amateur, is now ranked 17th in the world. He is also a top notch prankster.

Asked about getting a spot on the press conference set list, Fitzpatrick said, “It’s because everyone is leaving the PGA Tour. That’s why. They’re digging up the scum.”

Fitzpatrick is staying with the same Jamaica Plain family he stayed with nine years ago and also visited that November for his first Thanksgiving.

“I really don’t like Thanksgiving food, it’s not for me,” said Fitzpatrick, who called green beans “the worst thing ever invented.”

How about clam chowder?

“Awful too. I’ve never tried it, but probably terrible, yes.”

numbers game

The 156 golfers will play the first round on Thursday in groups of three, 26 groups from the first hole, the other 26 from No. 10.

The first group starts at 6:45 am, the last at 2:42 pm

Some No. 1 notables: Jon Rahm (7:18 a.m.), Jordan Spieth (7:29 a.m.), Justin Thomas (1:14 p.m.) and Mickelson (1:47 p.m.). On the 10th: Rory McIlroy (7:40 a.m.), Sergio García (1:03 p.m.), Bryson DeChambeau (1:47 p.m.).

Michael Silverman can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB.