Renovated Cog Hill takes a beating from frustrated players at BMW

geoff ogilvy
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The renovated Cog Hill is "just not that enjoyable to play," says Geoff Ogilvy.
Nancy Armour
Associated Press


Published: Friday, September 10, 2010 | 8:04 p.m.

Cog Hill is taking a beating this week.

The longtime home of the Western Open was renovated by Rees Jones ahead of last year's BMW Championship, and players aren't happy with the changes. The greens are getting most of the criticism -- "hard" and "bumpy" are two of the more popular adjectives -- but the rest of the course isn't making the grade, either.

Only 22 players are below par after two rounds of the BMW, the third event in the FedExCup.

"The short answer is it's just not that enjoyable to play," said Geoff Ogilvy, who is at 3 over. "Look, if your mission is to really punish a slightly bad shot and make it really hard all day, then it's a success. If your mission is to create a place people enjoy playing, then it's a failure."

Frank Jemsek and his late father, Joe, have long coveted having a U.S. Open at the public course they own in Chicago's western suburbs. When Cog Hill was made one of the rotating sites of the BMW Championship, they turned Jones loose on it, hoping the changes would make it worthy of an Open.

Jones lengthened the course to 7,616 yards, rebuilt the greens and made a few other tweaks. The changes have only been exacerbated by Chicago's unusually hot, humid and rainy summer.

"They've had a tough summer, you can see that. The course has suffered," Retief Goosen said. "Some of the greens are a little bit on the raw side, and the fairways, too. So yeah, it's not easy."

But not everyone is so quick to criticize.

Marc Leishman, whose 65 Friday was the low round of the day, said the greens aren't nearly as bad as everyone is making them out to be.

"Every week we putt on perfect greens, and when they're not quite perfect, it's not the end of the world," He said. "There's a few patchy spots, but it's not as though you're putting on a road or anything."

Besides, everyone is facing the same conditions.

"They're slow and a bit bumpy," Tiger Woods said of the greens, "but we all have to putt them."