PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- By the usual order of things, the player who complains about a golf course after a round is the one who stumbles to a score well over par. The ones who shoot 66 to work their way back into contention? Those guys are usually perfectly quiet.
Not so Jerry Kelly, the candid veteran who walked off the 18th hole at TPC Sawgrass and proceeded to lament conditions that have allowed a number of players to venture well into red numbers. Never mind if one of those players was him. After an opening 73, Kelly vaulted up the leader board thanks to a opening stretch of six birdies in his first 11 holes.
"There's no excuse for the greens. This is the fourth year," Kelly said, referencing the 2006 redo of the Stadium Course that introduced Bermuda greens. "They're soft. They're spongy. They don't keep them short enough. I'm disappointed in the way this thing is set up."
While acknowledging that the region endured one of its harshest winters in memory, Kelly said he still preferred the old layout that made many of the recovery shots he attempted on Friday an impossibility.
"I know it's a tough winter, but I was hoping they could stress these greens a little more," Kelly said. "It's a shame. I'd rather play on mud and dirt like we used to sometimes rather than play on a first cut. This is slower than the old fringe. I just remember what it was. It was really tough to get at some of these pins."
-- *Sam Weinman *