CROMWELL, Connecticut (AP) — Tournament officials said Wednesday that changes will be made to the TPC River Highlands golf course after it scored low last week during the PGA Tour’s annual Travelers Championship.
Andy Bissett, executive vice president and managing director of Travelers, told The Associated Press that club officials are already looking at modifications to the course to make it more difficult for professionals next year.
“We take all the feedback we get very seriously,” Bissett said. “I can tell you there are changes already underway. We are striving for this event to be top notch and will do everything we can to make it better every year.”
Keegan Bradley won the tournament by hitting a course record 23-under 257, a shot better than Kenny Perry’s previous record from 2009. There were eight rounds of 62 or better during the week, which featured some rainy, but not windy days that kept the greens soft.
After his final run, Rory McIlroy, who finished 18th and placed seventh, called the 6,852-yard, par-70 River Heights course “outdated.”
“I don’t particularly like the tournament to be like this,” he said. “Unfortunately, technology has passed the course, hasn’t it? It kind of made it obsolete, especially as mushy as it was with the little rain we had. So, again, like conversations going back to, you know, golf ball reduction And things like that, when we come to courses like this, they’re not as challenging as they used to be.”
Bissett called those comments “a blessing in disguise”. On Monday, he said, he emailed several of the top golfers on tour asking for their feedback.
“I told them, I’m no expert on golf courses, but you are. What can we do?” He said.
He said there are about 10 specific suggestions that he feels can be implemented immediately. He said he spoke to the course officials, who agreed to modify it.
He didn’t elaborate on those modifications, but there were suggestions such as increasing the number of hazards on the track, increasing the rough area, cutting back on greens or narrowing down some of the fairways. Championship officials said that due to land constraints, there is not much that can be done immediately to lengthen the course, and it is among the shortest on the Tour.
Nothing specific has been decided for 2024, tournament director Nathan Grubb said.
“The tour owns that property,” Groppi said. “It’s one of the PGA Tours we’re on, so it will ultimately be their decision. But they’ve always been a very good partner when it comes to anything that might benefit the tournament.”
McIlroy, for one, said he wasn’t a fan of the idea of making the trails narrower and the roughness rougher.
He said, “It brings everyone together. The scheme is something like (Los Angeles Country Club, where the US Open was held) where you have goals wide, but if you miss, it’s a penalty. This isn’t that kind of golf course. It’s not that kind of golf course.” Planning. It doesn’t have the ground to do that. So, you know, unfortunately when you get soft conditions like this and you have the best players in the world, that’s what’s going to happen.”
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