Yesterday at the O
Fourteen as a short drivable par 4 was a non-sequitur. It was never designed as such and does not consequently work all that well as one.
Rees is not responsible for 14, but he has done a primary design of a decent drivable par 4 as such and has done an OK job. The good ones tend to work well when they are designed similar to the last 225-330 of a really good par 5 with some sort of hazards other than the greenside ones to negotiate.
Exhibits A B & C are Riviera #10, Easthampton #2 and even TPC Scottsdale #17. A central hazard and/or great angles makes the hole exciting. Fourteen at TP is just a funky long par 3 in this configuration, IMO.
As regards Tiger's wild drives getting him a real break, the really wild drives coming to rest where spectators handle them and free drops are given could be handled by OB lining each side of the fairway at the edge of the quality high grass. No need to drop, just re-tee. It would be boring and non-dimensional, but hey, this is the USGA Open and that's how it's supposed to be - painfully fair.
Just do it. That's what Phil Knight say, isn't it?
I for one want to see Rocco truly win it today; maybe Tiger won't be quite so wild and get his due - the cabbage. The Old Guys will maybe get another Major. Heck, we all know that Tiger will have at least 25 (and 10 Green Jackets) when he's done (Or 19 and then go have knee surgery) so I hope Rocco earns this one; and yes, I do know I am in the really small minority, am a racist, live in the past, am fat (but at least I am tall) and anti-Tiger to boot, so save the comments, I've been told all that enough.
And please, no "Hogan-esque" comments when Tiger wins. If you think that - then you need to read up on Bantam Ben, the Wee Ice Mon, the biggest bastard that ever played the game at the highest level. 'Cause you don't know Hogan.
Back to TP
Here's a Reesification (done by fazio) of a great classic course in the name of "hard and fair" for those that can't recognize it.
It is just what the USGA wants. If the game is going to evolve into the modern smash and grab with professionals and elite amateur players so different from the average player, just take a bunch of modern thoughtless, non-strategic designs and USGA them up and have an Open Rota like the famous organization.
Imagine this. Take Rees's Golf at THE Bridge on Long Island. Narrow all the fairways to 22-28 yards depending on where you are on the course, make the course hard as a rock, line every fairway with graduated rough and allow no spectators on the property to avoid negating the rough's impact and in the process, never visit Shinnecock again. Take what you did with GATB and repeat it in six or eight other areas round the country and voila!
A perfect USGA Open every time. Throw Fazio a few bones as well. Each of them can design a painfully fair, narrow thoughtlessly bunkered course anywhere.