Jacklin expecting fireworks at scene of 1970 win

Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:13pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) - Hazeltine National, this week's Ryder Cup venue, is a true test and a better layout than it was in 1970 when Tony Jacklin shook up the golfing world by becoming the first British winner of the U.S. Open in 50 years.

American Dave Hill caused a stir when he finished a distant seven strokes adrift of Jacklin in second place, saying the course should be turned into farmland.

It has undergone a couple of facelifts since then. The routing is different this week to how the club members normally play it but Jacklin is expecting fireworks from the 24 players representing holders Europe and the United States.

"It's a big golf course, everything about it is big," the 72-year-old Englishman told Reuters in an interview on the practice range as he prepared to play in the eve-of-competition Past Captains Challenge.

"It's 7,628 yards long, around 500 yards longer than it was back in 1970. There's a lot of sand out there, big greens and it's important to keep on the right side of each hole," added Jacklin, Europe's most successful Ryder Cup skipper of all time.

"It's a good driving course because there are traps everywhere if you miss the fairway off the tee. It's the real deal, among America's top 20 golf courses, no doubt about that."

The holes that are going to play as the 15th, 16th and 17th, where every green is fronted by water, look certain to provide some match play drama this week.

"I was listening to the club professional this morning and he was saying the reason they switched the course around was to make it a very exciting finish," said the Florida-based Jacklin.   Continued...

Tony Jacklin of England tees off on the first hole during the first round of the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am golf tournament in Haikou, China's Hainan province October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu