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Do Hazeltine's XXL par 5s unduly favor Woods?

August 15, 2009

Three of Hazeltine National Golf Club's par 5s stretch longer than 600 yards, the longest of them 642 yards. Even its shortest par 5 is extra large at 572 yards.

"A bit daft," Ian Poulter called them in this TimesOnline commentary by Peter Dixon. The headline: "Huge holes helping Woods to drive on."

There does seem to be merit to the argument. Woods has played Hazeltine's par 5s in five-under par, helping stake him to a four-stroke lead heading into the third round of the PGA Championship. He has played the par 5s two strokes better than any of the 10 players within six strokes of his lead.

Then again, isn't it just more of the same for Woods, who already has won five times this year and leads the tour in birdies or better on par 5s, few of which approach the length of three of Hazeltine's four par 5s?

-- John Strege