The Loop

Even on clear day, water playing unwanted role

October 02, 2010

NEWPORT, Wales -- On Friday what we learned about Celtic Manor is that its $1 million drainage system isn't enough to keep up with a relentless rainstorm.

On Saturday we learned that its 18th hole, however dramatic, is also quite goofy.

To wit: the climactic moments of the second four-ball match between Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar and Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. After Kuchar and McDowell each laid up with their second shots, both Cink and McIlroy had a go at the green. Cink's ball landed three feet shy of the green in the fringe, but caught the downslope and trickled into the poind.

After McIlroy plunked his in the drink on the fly, the fourth shots by both players illustrated the hole's severity. Playing from the drop area, Cink appeared to land his ball deftly a few feet short of the flag, only to watch that, too, suck back and down the slope back into the pond.

"I was disappointed not to hit a good shot on the fairway and I was licking my chops," Cink said.  "Of course we knew they were rolling back in the water."

McIlroy suffered an even crueler fate. The Ulsterman landed his wedge PAST the hole, but also saw it suck back to the fringe, where it began its inevitable descent into oblivion.

Final tallies: two players two-putting for par, two players with balls in their pocket, one match halved. And oh yeah, one green design worth revisiting.

-- Sam Weinman