How times have changed.
After a quick walk around Le Golf National, The Man Out Front can say the 2018 Ryder Cup venue is in sensational condition but is noticeably cruel to tee shots missing the landing areas by more than 10 yards. The course features a lush cool season mix of grasses throughout, with a 3-yard wide transitional cut between fairway and 3-inch maintained rough in length, give or take a few strains of grass.
After the 10-yard wide transitional area of maintained rough — no picnic for even the strongest players– the rough turns downright nasty. Clearly cultivated to severely punish tee shots, expect to see some lost ball searches and hack-out shots at the many holes where water fronts the green complexes.
While Thomas Bjorn has repeatedly said the setup would not be cultivated to create a perceived European advantage, the European captain has signed off on the European Tour setup maintaining what players see in the annual European Tour event. Then again The Forecaddie couldn’t help but think the hack-out rough so close to the landing areas could also backfire and frustrate Europe’s bomb-and-gougers such as Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm.
Accuracy and conservative play will be at a premium at the 2018 Ryder Cup. Couple the extra pressure on driving with European team’s experience, and Team USA has a lot of preparation ahead over three days of practice.