x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Plans to make things rough this time around for DWC

The man who prepared the Earth Course for last year's Dubai World Championship admitted he was powerless to prevent Lee Westwood mastering it with a magnificent display of his golfing talents.

Hamish McKendrick, right, with colleagues Geoff Hunter and Mark Tupling at the Earth Course.
Hamish McKendrick, right, with colleagues Geoff Hunter and Mark Tupling at the Earth Course.

DUBAI // The man who prepared the Earth Course for last year's Dubai World Championship (DWC) admitted he was powerless to prevent Lee Westwood mastering it with a magnificent display of his golfing talents.

"If somebody like Lee hits a purple patch like that, hardly misses a fairway and makes more than his fair share of putts, then the winning score is going to be a high number of red figures," said Hamish McKendrick, the course superintendent of the venue for the European Tour's showpiece finale which begins tomorrow.

"Somebody else might do the same this year and, if that happens, good luck to him.

"We certainly won't be embarrassed by a score in the 20-unders because we know we have set up a course that is worthy of such an important tournament.

McKendrick, an Australian who has been based at Jumeirah Golf Estates from the beginning of the golf project six years ago, has overseen a plan to make the rough on the course more difficult than it was last year.

"It will be 65 millimetres in depth this year compared to 50 last time, and I think that might create a larger variance in the scoring- a bigger gap between the winner and the guy who finishes 60th.

"If a player misses a fairway or a green this time, he is more likely to drop a shot than was the case last year.

"Also the course is going to benefit from being more mature than it was for its debut tournament."

McKendrick maintained that he and his green staff have the capability to toughen the course even more if the European Tour decree they want scoring to be more modest.

"Our greens are big and undulating and, if we wish, we can speed them up and make the pin positions more treacherous.

"But if that is not desired, then we can go the other way and set up more birdie opportunities."

With that in mind, McKendrick, who worked closely with Greg Norman, the course designer, to transform the former world No 1's dream into reality, is in the lobby for making the long closing hole a little easier.

"The Tour are looking at using one of the forward tees on the 18th on maybe two of the four days," he said.

"That is something I would like to see happen.

"It is definitely something they will consider when they set up the golf course.

"Variety is to be welcomed and, if some of the longer hitters can get up there in two shots - none of them were able to last year - then it will be good for the tournament and good for the spectators."