Montreux kept in top shape | NevadaAppeal.com

Montreux kept in top shape

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – Doug Heinrichs, Montreux Golf & Country Club’s golf course superintendent, has a tough job this week.

It’s Henrichs’ job to get the 7,472-yard Jack Nicklaus-designed course in tremendous shape for the 8th annual Reno-Tahoe Open, yet make it a challenge for the 132-player field.

“We haven’t done a whole lot new,” Heinrichs said. “For members it will play tougher.”

Recent hot weather has forced Heinrichs to step up watering.

“On any given day, we will have a staff of eight to 12 out on the course hand watering so that we get the dry spots covered without overwatering areas that don’t need it,” Heinrichs said. “We want the course to be in tip-top shape.”

The greens, which read 11 on the stimpmeter, are being double-mowed each day and only hand watering is being used. By only hand watering the greens, the greens will dry out and harden, making them tougher to putt and tougher to hold approach shots.

Heinrichs said the PGA Tour dictates green speed and the cut of the rough. Heinrichs said when members play, the greens are 9 to 9 1/2 on the stimpmeter.

“Green speed is a big issue,” Heinrichs said. “They want these guys to be able to throw it up close. If the greens are too fast, we would have to use simpler pin placements.”

The rough has been grown out to 4 1/2 inches, which is about the same as last year. Heinrichs said he’s hoping that the rough is a little more consistent this year.

The players still say that Montreux, despite its length, its considered a pretty easy driving course because of its lack of rough.

NEW DATE IN 2007

The Reno-Tahoe Open will have a new date on the 2007 PGA Tour schedule. The tournament will move up three weeks to July 30-Aug. 5.

“There are many benefits of moving the date,” said Jim Kline, the RTO tournament director. “The tournament will be included in the FedEx Cup schedule.”

The FedEx Cup competition is a season-long points bonus program for players spanning 37 weeks. It begins with the Mercedes Championship in Hawai’i and concludes in a four-tournament playoff for $35 million, with the winner getting $10 million.

The PGA Tour cut 14 events from its schedule in order to create the FedEx Cup, which is similar to what NASCAR did a couple of years ago with its Nextel Cup points chase.

SPREADING EXEMPTIONS AROUND

Kline believes in spreading exemptions around, which is one reason why Elk Grove’s Spencer Levin, who finished in a tie for 27th last year and won $19,500, is not in the field last year.

“I don’t give exemptions to players two years in a row to the same guy,” Kline said Tuesday afternoon.

Levin has played in five events this year, both on the Nationwide and PGA tours. He is not exempt on either tour because he failed to get through the rigorous PGA Q-School.

VOTE UPCOMING

Kline said that the residents of Montreux will vote again in a few weeks on whether they want the tournament again.

The RTO has a four-year contract with the PGA Tour, but if Montreux residents vote against the tournament, it won’t be held. The residents approved this year’s tournament by a wide vote.

“They asked us to address a number of issues,” Kline said. “Having (side) roads cleared and moving some generators. There were no big issues.

“One of their complaints was that they were being asked to give up their course and show support when companies in Reno aren’t supporting it. We went out and got 84 new sponsors. That says something there.”

Kline also said that one member complained that the course was too difficult for a member’s course.

IN CASE OF A TIE

If two or more players are tied after 72 holes, a sudden-death playoff will be held. The players would play No. 18, and if a tie is still in place, would play No. 18 again. If it’s still tied after that, the players would play No. 15, 16, 17 and 18 if needed.

IF YOU WANT TO GO

Ticket prices are $15 for a daily pass, and can be purchased at the course. Tickets for the Wine Walk, a new feature at the course, go for $35.

Parking is $1, and the off-course lot is located off Mt. Rose Highway and Wedge Parkway. Just follow the signs once you get on Mt. Rose Highway.

•Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1281