August 11, 2011
Phil Mickelson doesn't have the fondest of memories when it comes to Atlanta Athletic Club, site of the PGA Championship. The last time he was here in 2001, Mickelson watched David Toms lay-up on the 72nd hole, before holing a 20-footer to win his first and only major.
While Mickelson probably still remembers that final round, the Atlanta Athletic Club course he played back in 2001 is nothing like the one he's playing this week.
That's because golf course architect Rees Jones redesigned the course in 2003, making some significant changes that Mickelson clearly isn't a fan of. Following a 1-over 71 on Thursday, he ripped into Jones' redesign.
"... I also think if you look at the four par 3s here, it's a perfect example of how modern architecture is killing the game, because these holes are unplayable for the member," Mickelson said.
Mickelson went on to point the finger at Jones' redesign as a big reason why the game of golf hasn't increased in popularity over the years -- it's because the courses are too difficult.
"It's a good reason why, in my opinion, this is a great example again of how modern architecture is killing the participation of the sport because the average guy just can't play it."
Earlier in the week, a few players complained about the length of the 265-yard par-3 15th, so the course is already getting some choice words from the players in the field. But Mickelson's complaint clearly hits at an issues of the courses being too difficult for the casual amateur.
Who knows if other players in the field agree or disagree with this assessment, but it's clear Mickelson isn't a huge fan of Rees Jones designs, or modern golf course architecture, for that matter.