PGA Championship - Preview Day 2
Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

4-inch rough at TPC Harding Park has been two years in the making.

Between the foggy weather and formidable rough, TPC Harding Park will likely play longer than its posted 7,521 yards at the 2020 PGA Championship. The rough is four inches tall in spots and often damp and sticky thanks to the marine layer that lingers around Lake Merced. Locals have a name for these gloomy conditions – Karl, who has his own Twitter account, @KarlTheFog. How well players avoid the rough, and at times escape it, could determine who wins the Wanamaker Trophy.

“They have pinched in the fairways a little bit and the rough is thick; it’s lush,” said Tiger Woods on Tuesday. “With this marine layer here and the way it’s going to be the rest of the week, the rough is only going to get thicker, so it’s going to put a premium on getting the ball in play.”

Kevin Teahan, San Francisco’s Department of Recreation & Parks golf and turf manager, has been working with Kerry Haigh, the Chief Championships Officer of the PGA of America, to dial in the perfect conditions. “If you are in the rough, the Cypress trees and the dew will really impact your next swing,” Teahan said during an interview on Golf Channel’s “Live From” coverage on Monday.

The maintenance staff has been grooming the rough for two years to prepare for the course’s first major championship.

“We took the rough down two years ago. We overseeded it very heavy twice a year to get it to be thicker,” Teahan said. “We just maintained a good fertilization plan and kept it mowed, kept it groomed and de-thatched it a few times.”

Like many of us during the pandemic, the rough may or may not get a haircut anytime soon. “They are talking about us maybe mowing it again Wednesday,” Teahan added. “That’s a decision that’s not been made yet. We want it to play as a good defense for the course, so I'm hoping Kerry just leaves it where it's at.”

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