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U.S. Open Course's Curves Punish Golfers' Power, Reward Finesse
June 15, 2006

(Bloomberg) -- Tiger Woods spent a few hours last month showing children at a clinic in Arkansas how to bend a golf shot around a corner and still have the ball land on target.

At this week's U.S. Open, that talent will help top-ranked Woods and other players battle Winged Foot Golf Club's West Course, where curving fairways and a deep rough might be a match for 300-yard (274-meter) drives that usually fly straight as a string.

Such tee shots likely will carry through the 10 curving fairways, or doglegs, on the course in Mamaroneck, New York, and wind up in 6-inch (15-centimeter) grass. While new club and ball designs have added length to shots, players say they've also made it harder to curve the ball around trees and fit it into the shape of fairways, which tend to be straighter on other major layouts such as Augusta National Golf Club and Pinehurst, North Carolina's No. 2 course.

"With the length they drive the ball these days, they'll be hitting it through the fairway and into the rough if they hit it straight,'' Tom Nieporte, Winged Foot's head professional for the last 28 years, said in a telephone interview.

Founding members of Winged Foot told architect A.W. Tillinghast they wanted ``a man's course.'' The club has hosted four previous U.S. Opens, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Senior Open, the U.S. Women's Open and the U.S. Amateur. A par-70 layout that plays at 7,264 yards, Winged Foot produced the highest winning score in relation to par at a U.S. Open since 1963 --Hale Irwin's 7-over total in 1974.

Read more at Bloomberg

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