Clarke leads chorus of complaints over monster par-three


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The Independent Online

The joke doing the rounds here is that Atlanta Athletic Club members use the par-three 15th for the nearest the pin competition and the longest drive competition.

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At 260 yards it is almost inconceivable to the hacker and the pros here have also been aghast. Darren Clarke explained the gripes most eloquently to website Irish Golf Desk.

Said the Open champion: "Rumour has it that the 15th is 265 yards off the back tee so that's a cunning par-three, isn't it? At some stage they are going to realise that length is not the way to toughen up the golf course.

"The best par-threes are often the short ones and at some stage somebody is going to figure that out. I don't see what the obsession is with length, length, length."

Par-threes aren't supposed to be long, counters Clarke. It is a view also shared by the world No 1, Luke Donald. "I've never been a fan of long par-threes," said Donald. "The greatest par-threes are all short." Continued Clarke: "The Postage Stamp at Troon is just 126 yards."

What makes the 15th yet more daunting is the water guarding the green. It's difficult to be that accurate with a wood. "If they put us off the back tees, I would be hitting a three-wood and would have to hit it well or reload because balls don't float," said Clarke.

The organisers have pointed out that the hole is downhill. Clarke had his own inimitable response to that claim. "Yeah, it is," said the Ulsterman. "But it ain't that much downhill."