Beck Blog: I love the way the greens are rolling
Chip Beck says the greens at the Ocean Course have gotten progressively better from Monday to Wednesday, which in his book is more than nice. As is his first-round pairing with Mark O'Meara and Loren Roberts.
By Chip Beck, Special to PGA.com
Editor's note: Chip Beck, a member of the victorious United States 1991 Ryder Cup team, is back at the Ocean Course for his debut in the 68th Senior PGA Championship. Check back each day for another edition of his exclusive daily blog.
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- I got out there today and the golf course is good. It's tough but really fun to play, too. My game's been progressing really well to this point. It's the best I've played so far this year and I feel good about the nature of my game right now.
My main thing this week in preparation for my first major on the Champions Tour was to pace myself. I qualified last week (May 14, 2007) in the local qualifying for the U.S. Open in Oak Forest, Ill. so that meant golf on Sunday and Monday, then I played every day during the Regions Charity Classic last week. That was a lot of golf so this week I just wanted to make sure I was fresh and ready for the tournament. I feel very prepared -- we got to face really windy conditions this afternoon, but that's when the course plays its toughest and best.
The greens have gotten better from Monday until now. They've gotten better every day in the respect that they are smoother and getting faster. That's been nice. They keep cutting down and rolling them, which I think is really important to do. They've done a great job preparing the golf course.
One thing that makes a difference for me is that it's always nice to play a course that I have some really good memories on. We're still playing on most, if not all, of the same tees that we played in 1991 at the Ryder Cup. And it's great to go to a place where you really feel comfortable.
There's no doubt about it, you tend to do better when you're more comfortable. I've played a lot on courses like this, where it's all about playing strategic golf. You have to place the ball well and know which sides of the green to play it from, which ones would be the best place to come in from. It takes a lot of strategy, commitment to hitting the middle of those greens and playing smart golf.
As far as the greens go, I just love a course with this size greens. It seems like the greens are a little different from 1991. I remember from the Ryder Cup that the ball broke a lot more. Now, the ball seems to have a lot of double breaks but not a lot of triple breaks.
It's a short game paradise out there. Sure, you can get yourself in precarious situations, but I think it rewards a guy who is patient. There's a focus on chipping, putting, the short game. And what more would you want from a major championship?
On Thursday, I'm paired with Mark O'Meara and Loren Roberts. I haven't played with Mark O'Meara in a long time, so obviously I'm looking forward to that. I love his tempo and demeanor on golf course and, obviously, he's a great player who's won a lot of majors. I feel comfortable with them, so that's always helpful.
One thing about O'Meara is, he's a seasoned player and has enough tournament experience to handle the wind difficulties. He's won at Pebble Beach a lot and there are similarities between those type of courses and here. It really aids a player like Mark O'Meara that has a lot of major championship wins and someone that has been seasoned over a long period of time having seen most of these types of courses. It's truly a links-style golf course and there are all kinds of funny positions can get yourself into. He's a cool-headed person who can handle it extremely well.
It's supposed to be windy tomorrow morning, though generally speaking we want a little wind out here. It not only makes things a lot cooler, but it makes it a lot more interesting and a lot more fun for everybody.
My wife is going to come in late Friday night after she gets our daughter off to prom, which is obviously a big, exciting day to be there. She's really handling the home front at this point and it takes a lot of support. We golfers couldn't really do it without a good wife like that to take care of things at home. My 14-year-old will be turning 15 this Sunday, so there's a lot going on at the home front. It's a good time in life for us and we're really enjoying all those different experiences that are kind of new for me. It's been great so far.