In 1976, during my second week as a yardologist, a lie landed me
in the doghouse at Muirfield Village. I'd finished mapping the
course, and since my net worth was $250, I figured that I'd save
$50 in printing costs by using the club's copier. As I tiptoed
into an office in the clubhouse, a secretary looked up and said,
"Who are you?"
"I'm an official making copies for the tournament," I told her.
The job took an hour. As I was hurrying out of the office, I ran
smack into Herb McDonald, Muirfield's G.M., who pointed at the
1,200 fresh copies in my arms and gruffly said, "What's that?" I
fessed up, and Herb's response was to not only keep the copies
but also to ban me from the club, so for the next few years I
mapped the course at night with a flashlight.
The 18th hole has changed dramatically since '76. The alterations
reflect course designer and tournament host Jack Nicklaus's
disgust with the distance revolution. There used to be just one
big bunker to the right of the landing area at the turn of the
dogleg. As guys began blasting drives over the dogleg, Jack began
adding bunkers and pushing back the tee, but that didn't help.
Last year several pros airmailed the dogleg and flipped a sand
wedge onto the green, causing Jack to flip out. Over the winter
he added five more bunkers to the dogleg, hoping to force
everyone to play the hole the way he designed it.
Sorry, Jack. Technology is always going to win this fight.
*For 28 years Gorjus George has drawn the yardage books that the
B/W ILLUSTRATION: DIAGRAM BY GEORGE LUCAS No. 18 N Par-4 N 439 Yards
COLOR PHOTO: DAVID WALBERG (LUCAS)