Difficult Quail Hollow could present major role reversal

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Difficult Quail Hollow could present major role reversal

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By Larry Fine CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) – Henrik Stenson said this year’s PGA Championship at Quail Hollow starting on Thursday represents a role reversal with the U.S. Open. Over the years, the U.S. Open has had the reputation of presenting the most difficult conditions among golf’s majors and the PGA was known for course set-ups that allowed players to attack pins. “I think if you look at this year, the U.S. Open played more like a PGA normally plays, and this one might play more like a U.S. Open normally plays,” Sweden’s 2016 British Open winner told Reuters after his Wednesday practise. “In general this is going to be a difficult week and you’ve got to keep the melon on,” added Stenson, suggesting a cool head could be a key to success. June’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills produced a slew of scoring records, which is not likely to be the case at Quail Hollow. The course’s new greens have dominated talk from players, who have been exploring the perils of hitting into the grain or down grain on the firm, fast Bermuda grass putting surfaces. “The greens are tough,” South African Louis Oosthuizen told Reuters. “Better stay below the hole. I think there’s going to be loads of lag putting this week, even from short distances. “If you’re in the wrong spot you can’t really afford to go for the putt,” the 2010 British Open champion said. Stenson said positioning approach shots was difficult. “The problem here is that you very rarely can get a ball where you want to,” he said. “Because of the design of the greens you have a lot of slight uphill into the grain, and on the other side it goes downhill and away.” Double Masters winner Bubba Watson praised the greens. “The greens are perfect. The greens are running so fast, so nice,” said Watson, although he said he would follow a conservative game plan. “Most of the time you are hitting into the fat of the green because you’re hitting such long irons or hybrids,” he said. “I’m gonna hit a tonne of hybrids this week, because the fairways are so soft because of the rain. The guy that wins is going to hit a lot of safe shots to the fat part of the green.” Young Spaniard Jon Rahm also liked the greens. “I think the greens are fantastic, they roll great. They are really fast down grain, but if you hit it on line there’s a high percentage of them going in. “It will be complicated for everybody.”

(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Toby Davis)
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