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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 22:58 GMT 23:58 UK
Medinah gossip
Iain Carter
By Iain Carter
BBC Five Live golf correspondent

Five Live's golf correspondent Iain Carter on the magic of Medinah, which this week hosts the USPGA, and how there will be at least one woman on the course this week.

MEDINAH MAKES ITS MARK

Over the years Medinah has seen many changes. Members don't like criticism and there was plenty after the US Opens of 1975 and 1990 were staged here.

The course was deemed too easy in the wet conditions of '75 so a new 18th hole was built and the course re-routed, only for the three par-3s to be judged to be too alike in '90.

Seven years ago, when the USPGA was last played here, the last of the short holes, the 17th, was remodelled taking water out of play. Again it was a move that didn't meet with universal approval.

Phil Mickelson in action during practice at Medinah
Phil Mickelson will play the first two rounds with Tiger Woods

So architect Rees Jones has moved the green back to the edge of Lake Kadijah and it should make for a nerve-jangling 71st hole if things are tight come Sunday afternoon.

This could, however, upset Tiger Woods.

He holed a vital putt on the old 17th green to help stave off the challenge of Sergio Garcia in '99 - he may have liked to have returned to that putting surface this week to reminisce.

But the members believe the course tinkering has come to an end now. There are no plans for further redevelopment and at 7,560 yards the course is the longest in major championship history.

And the players seem to like it. Jim Furyk, Ian Poulter and Padraig Harrington have already all said how much they approve of the Medinah lay-out.

"It's a great course," said Poulter, while Harrington said any player who doesn't like it must have a problem with their game because he deems it very fair.

Harrington confirmed that his caddie Ronan Flood will also donate any winnings to breast cancer charities following the death from the disease of Darren Clarke's wife Heather earlier this week.

The Irish pair want to make a practical gesture after being urged by Clarke to compete this week rather than attend Heather's funeral.

Thomas Bjorn, another player close to Clarke, said he was here "feeling empty" and pointed out that the bereaved Ulsterman has many good friends in golf who will do all they can for him in the coming weeks and months.

On a lighter note, Ian Poulter has no plans to make any fashion statements here. "I'm not going outrageous this week. You can't do it every tournament, it takes a lot of time," he said.

DIAZ KEEPS IT IN THE FAMILY

There is a leading women's professional in action at the USPGA for the second year running. But this isn't a Michelle Wie-type attempt to compete with the men.

Laura Diaz and her brother Ron Philo Jr
Diaz helps her brother Ron Philo with a tricky putt

LPGA star Laura Diaz will be on the bag of her brother Ron Philo Jr, who qualified by winning the PGA Professional National Championship in June.

Last year at Baltusrol, Diaz performed caddie duties despite being four months pregnant.

Finally for now, here we are at an American major and once again the navigating skills of commentator Andrew Cotter have let us down badly - if anyone knows the whereabouts of Higgins Road on the outskirts of Chicago could you let him know!


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SEE ALSO
Golfing gossip
28 Jul 06 |  Golf
Golfing gossip
27 Jun 06 |  Golf


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