Why so long, Hazeltine?

CHASKA, Minn. – Billed as the longest course in major championship history, Hazeltine National at times looked like it was being primed to join the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Birdies came early and often and while that wasn’t alarming, the length to which Alvaro Quiro hit it was. Heralded for his length and ulta-aggressive style of play, the Spaniard needed just two holes to set the tone for the day – a driver off the tee and driver off the deck to reach the green at the 600-yard, par-5 11th.

Only thing is, a group was still putting. And not just any group, either, but one that included Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington.

“Sadly, the ball bounced more than we were calculating,” said Quiros, after shooting 69. “I apologized to (Woods, Harrington, and Rich Beem) on the next tee.”

Apology accepted, but Woods insisted it wasn’t necessary.

“I said, ‘Nothing to apologize for,’ ” Woods said. “That’s a hell of a shot.”

It wasn’t Quiros’ only one, either, because he again went driver, driver to reach the front of the green at the par-5 third – and that measures 624 yards.

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