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Richard Caring plans Wentworth changes after criticism

South Africa's Els putting for birdie on the par five 18th at Wentworth
Els putts for birdie on the controversial par five 18th at Wentworth on Friday

Wentworth owner Richard Caring will address criticisms of his revamped course after accepting responsibility for the most controversial change.

Lee Westwood led the complaints at the PGA Championship about a new stream and elevated green that make it harder to go for the par five 18th in two shots.

"The green could be slightly lower, which is what (designer) Ernie Els wanted to do," conceded Caring.

"I was a bit more theatrical than he was but Ernie was right, I was wrong."

Ironically, Els managed to reach the 18th green in two shots on Friday after a fortuitous bounce saw his three wood tee shot skip along the fairway, before he flipped his seven-iron approach to within 15 feet of the pin.

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He left his eagle putt short, but walked off with a birdie to be well placed on three under, three shots off the lead held by England's Luke Donald at the halfway stage.

"I knew it (the 18th) was going to be a problem," said Els. "You have to keep the owner and players happy, but as a designer you have your own philosophy to follow.

"It was all approved and then it changed again and I was a little disappointed about that.

"But we've got an owner who has invested a lot of money, is a keen golfer and wanted to see some drama.

"He didn't want to see 18 under par winning anymore, so we said we'd achieve that.

Ernie Els

Els defends Wentworth changes

"Unfortunately 18 is a talking point and I'm not particularly fond of the eighth green, but after the tournament we'll take all the comments into consideration and go again accordingly."

Caring spent £6.5m revamping the West Course at Wentworth and admitted he had not quite got it right first time, but that he would make more changes before the European Tour's flagship event returned in 2011.

"The 18th was a dream I had," he said. "I wanted to give the spectators a bit of excitement, a bit of theatre.

"We might have gone slightly too far because it's proven to be quite difficult.

"I liked it a little higher. I thought we should tempt the pros to hit the second shot into the green rather than laying up.

"We will talk to the pros, who we really want to listen to. I just had a chat with Lee Westwood, who is the third-ranked golfer in the world, and he gave me a few ideas.

"It's Ernie's call at the end of the day but I believe the 18th will have changed and there might be one or two other tweaks.

"We have put a lot of time, effort and passion into it and we won't stop until we get it perfect."



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see also
Calm Donald takes Wentworth lead
21 May 10 |  Golf
Westwood criticises new Wentworth
20 May 10 |  Golf
Willett in front at new Wentworth
20 May 10 |  Golf
Westwood up to third in rankings
17 May 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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