If there ever were a time you’d want to be a fly on the wall, one of them would definitely be during a discussion between the outspoken Phil Mickelson and course designer Rees Jones (who gave Cog Hill a makeover).
That is very unlikely to happen, but the next-best conversation would be between Mickelson and Frank Jemsek, owner of Cog Hill, site of this week’s BMW Championship.
Jemsek has seen his course taken a beating – both over the conditions and the redesign by Jones last year. Now he’s feeling the heat again, with Jones the target yet again.
Like it or not, Mickelson has been consistent with his criticism of Jones’ work. But, if you’re from Chicago, the criticism has been tough to take.
So, would Mickelson make his case directly to Jemsek and explain his issues with Dubsdread?
“I feel like the Jemsek family has meant a lot to golf,” Mickelson said after finishing his first round. “And there’s a lot of families that have meant a lot to the game, and I feel like as a player I would owe it to them to at least answer questions that they may have.”
Jemsek, would be willing to talk with Mickelson, but is hesitant to do so during a tournament week.
“I would look forward to talking to him,” Jemsek said. “I would guarantee I would listen. I really feel badly for his hatchet job on Rees. I don’t think Rees deserves it. It would be a great chance to talk to someone I wouldn’t get a chance to talk to (otherwise). “
Getting more and more involved in design, Mickelson contends that the average person should enjoy golf, not struggle to have a good time. His philosophy: letting everyone have a chance, no matter the skill level.
“You have to give the player an avenue to play the game running the ball on the ground,” Mickelson said. “So you want to create the ground that helps the ball get to the green. To make it challenging for the good player, then what you do is you create a little roll-off at the green. But you’re giving the guy that can’t fly it on a vehicle to have the ball kind of funnel towards the green. “
Jemsek agrees that Jones and Mickelson have a philosophical difference of opinion – and at the same times adds there is merit in what Mickelson says.
“I would basically sit down and listen and write down what he said,” Jemsek said.
Due to the economy, play is down on all four courses at Cog Hill, but in his own unofficial poll of players who have finished rounds this year, Jemsek says they generally like the changes and think the course is better now than it was before Jones’ makeover.
One persistent criticism: the par 3s are too similar. Where have we heard that before?