Responding to Geoff at his website and musing on my own:
Fair? Bill Fields is a moron, first off. Well, maybe not one might say - maybe golf has lost its roots, lost SIGHT of its roots at the elite or professional level. Golf was never meant to be fair (I know you've heard it before).
Several problems provide a conundrum as regards Oakland Hills and score-(s)/(ing).
When the field was so tightly bunched as it was after 36 holes it connotes a BAD SETUP. Excellence is not rewarded. Multilple ways to plod are devised, everyone loses.
What was most wrong with the setup?
Narrow fairways with "rough bunkers" and greens that demand angular appraoaches (hereby eliminated by NF + RB) that are unavailable? Perhaps Rees just did what he was asked.
Four inch vertical rough three feet from greens edge? Rock hard greens that don't receive anything but a spun wedge or very short iron?
Greens tucked on shallow shelves with said rough a mere meter away? (anyone who did not download the .pdf daily of pin placements really miissed out on watching TV)
The unintended consequence of "Game improvement clubs" which help the most skilled players the most?
Game transforming Driver-Ball combinations.
Protecting sacrosanct par?
It was a proverbial perfect storm with protection of par as the final determinant and simultaneously trying to maintain fairness. At least the best player in the field did win. Harrington winning on the two disparate setups that were the Open Championship and PGA Championship of 2008 makes him the player of the year for 2008.
Asking for avoidance of low scores, variety of play, strategic golf and accommodation of weather changes with today's equipment is too much. At least it was the most interesting PGA Chumpionship in years - thanks to Oakland Hills greens.
As my pal Martin in Scotland has always wondered as he stays up later and later in Scotland to watch American Tournamnets delayed by bad weather - why do they hold these tournaments in thee weather conditions (Thunder/lightning/ Sturm & Drang)?
Perhaps merely the answer is that Golf was never meant to be a warm weather or certanly not a HOT weather game. Changing conditions with such forced course conditions never work and that was proven again. Oakland HIlls remains a fascinating golf course, but not under major course setup -In America.