BIRMINGHAM, AUG. 9 -- Defending champion Payne Stewart's scathing remarks about the condition of Shoal Creek for the PGA Championship have been met with either stony silence or curt replies from tournament officials.
Stewart and PGA of America President Pat Rielly, who oversees the tournament, had this pointed exchange at the champions dinner the other night. Stewart had called par-72 Shoal Creek unfair because of the long, deep rough bordering the fairways. Rielly told him he had read his comments in the papers.
"I said what I felt," Stewart said.
"Well, I'm not cutting it," Rielly said.
End of conversation.
Almost. As Stewart related the story, he couldn't help adding that the PGA's contention that the rough is only 3 1/2 inches long is at the very least inaccurate.
"I'd like to take him out there with a ruler and measure it," Stewart said.
Almost as controversial as the length of the rough is the hardened state of the greens, which drew a variety of descriptions from players. First-round leader Bobby Wadkins said balls were rebounding off the surfaces like "basketball goals." Tim Simpson called them "granite." And One Hazy Green
Ken Green was disqualified today when he missed his tee time. His excuse was a bit convoluted.
Green said he had gone by the tee times printed in USA Today. The problem was, USA Today went by Eastern Daylight Time, an hour's difference since Birmingham is on Central time. So Green thought he was supposed to be on the first tee at 9:46 instead of 8:46.
But the real problem was that Green hadn't properly checked the pairings, which happened to be strewn all through the locker room.
He was replaced by Jay Delsing. Ryder's in the Storm
Nick Faldo has a bone to pick with the PGA of America. There are only 12 non-Americans in the field of 152. The English star said at the very least the PGA should have invited the European Ryder Cup team, since it invites the members of the U.S. team.
The Ryder Cup, the biennial U.S.-Europe competition that is golf's equivalent of Davis Cup, is administered jointly by the PGA of America and the European PGA. Europe has dominated the last three competitions, with two victories and last year's tie at the Belfry in England that kept the cup over there.
"The U.S. team is invited, but our team, who've done quite well in the last three events, aren't," he said.
This Is Not 1984
Lee Trevino, the 1984 winner at Shoal Creek, shot 77 today, with a 40 on the back nine. He was among a those who had real trouble on the difficult course, including 60-year-old Arnold Palmer with an 81.