124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Did They Balk at the Walk?

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The number of players who passed on the opportunity to play the Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill CC begs the question: Why?

"Guys have to walk for four days?" Scott Simpson said, positing the most interesting theory.

Thirty-seven players from the alternate list eventually made the field at Oak Hill. The Champions Tour allows players the use of carts, but the Senior PGA Championship is conducted by the PGA of America, which does not permit carts.

"I'd love to see us get rid of carts," said Simpson, for whom the walk Saturday was rather pleasant. Simpson birdied five holes on the back nine en route to a one-under-par 69 that was one of the few sub-par rounds shot over three days. "We're trying to do it. I don't know if that had something to do with it, with the weather forecast and slogging around in it."

The scouting report on Oak Hill might have been a deterrent, too. "It's pretty much the same setup we had for the '89 U.S. Open," Simpson said. "It's tougher than we're used to. You just can't hit greens out of the rough. If it was me I'd cut the rough down a little bit.

"But I can't imagine not wanting to be here. It's a great course and this is [the Champions Tour's] original major."

-- John Strege