It's always something.
If they're not grousing about the new 3/4-inch rough at Augusta National, they're moaning about the turtle-backed, impossible-to-hold greens at Pinehurst No. 2 or the narrow fairways and unforgiving rough at Carnoustie.
This week at the 81st PGA Championship at Medinah No. 3, the greatest golfers in the world are mostly concerned about the short and the long of it. The 7,401-yard, par-72 venue is the longest in major championship history, and they'll be hitting to greens that may be among the fastest, considering all the burned-out brown patches caused by the continuing drought.
Still, most players believe Medinah has been set up just right for this championship, despite its enormous length. Because fairways are so hard from so little moisture, golf balls just keep bouncing, allowing even some of the game's shorter hitters to visit places they've never been before.
"It is going to require higher shots and the ball coming in a little softer because the greens aren't very large," said Justin Leonard. "It's going to test everything."
It's also going to be the final chance this year for marquee players without major titles on their resumes -- such as David Duval, Colin Montgomerie and Phil Mickelson -- to break through. This event has produced a number of first-time major winners, including 11 of the last 12 champions.
Duval won four times this year before The Masters, but hasn't lifted a trophy since the first week in April. This year, he hasn't broken 75 in his last six rounds in a major.
"I don't think you could rate my performance [in the majors] much above mediocre," Duval said. "It's probably not quite what I had hoped for, but I have another good opportunity here. I have some great history and great memories here."
Montgomerie has three top 15 finishes in majors this year and comes in off a nine-shot victory in the Scandinavian Open Sunday, the largest margin of victory on the PGA European Tour this season.
"If I win in a major it happens; if I don't, I won't lose any sleep over it for the years to come when I retire from this game," Montgomerie said.
Mickelson, who has 13 career victories in the '90s, tied for sixth in The Masters and was runner-up to Payne Stewart in the U.S. Open. He has played only once since the Open, missing the cut at the British.
The favorite, as usual, will be Tiger Woods, who let both the U.S. Open and British Open titles get away mostly because of his balky putter. He ranks first on tour with a 68.66 scoring average and has finished in the top 10 in 11 of the 15 events he has played, with three victories on the PGA Tour and another in Germany. In his last six events, his worst showings were ties for seventh, at the Byron Nelson Classic and the British.
"I'm obviously playing pretty good," said Woods, the longest hitter in the field after John Daly, the '91 champion, withdrew. ". . . I like the course setup. It's nice to see some fairway out there, and it's nice to actually use your driver."