TPC at River Highlands

August 29, 2004

In 1984 the Greater Hartford Open (now the Buick Championship) moved to the TPC at River Highlands, which has one of the Tour's most tantalizing holes--the drivable par-4 15th. A Tour player can lay up with a five-iron, flip a sand wedge to the green and easily birdie the hole two or three times this week. But few guys will play safe because it's impossible for Tour players to see a green 282 yards away and not think eagle. In truth, though, bogeys will be more common than eagles at 15 because the two-tiered green is protected by a lake to the left, a deep, rock-hard swale to the right and sloping bunkers on the right and left.

As great a hole as the 15th is, I still pine for Wethersfield Country Club, the original site of the tournament. It was there, while looping for Arnold Palmer in the early '80s, that I witnessed the most entertaining celebrity pro-am ever.

Arnold started poorly before finally ripping a great drive. His playing partner, Mickey Rooney, congratulated Arnold by doing a somersault as we walked off the tee. Mickey wasn't exactly Paul Hamm, but the move thrilled the spectators. Mickey then announced that he'd do a somersault every time Arnold hit a good shot. Unfortunately, Mickey didn't do many more somersaults that day, but he did enough to make a bad round memorable.

*For 28 years--the last three months with his golden retriever, Woody--Gorjus George has drawn the yardage books that the pros use.

COLOR PHOTODAVID WALBERG (LUCAS) B/W DIAGRAMDIAGRAM BY GEORGE LUCASNo. 15 * Par-4 * 297 Yards

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)