A playful article about the rigors of the Montreux golf course sparked a fierce reaction during the Reno Tahoe Open, according to some sources.
The day after the article by Gazette-Journal sports editor Chuck Carlson was published, an RG-J hospitality tent at the event was vacant and a sign within read “RGJ not welcome here anymore.”
“The tent had been totally emptied out.” said Casey Childers, who attended the tourney.
“On the front … it actually said, ‘Carlson sucks,'” he added.
A third sign said, “Way to support Reno sports.”
Carlson confirmed that the article caused a reaction. “You could say that,” he said.
The article that inspired the ire was not particularly outrageous, especially for sports pages. It basically said that the course was easy. “Montreux Golf & Country Club, aka the Mount Rose Putt-Putt and Water Slide Happytime Zone, has been as difficult to navigate for these guys as a trip around the bathtub,” the piece began.
Carlson wrote that the players in the tournament “made Montreux, a solid if unspectacular stop on the tour, look a little ridiculous. They are shooting for the pins with impudence. They are holing shots from the fairway for eagle and dropping long putts, and one guy, Yusaku Miyazato, knocked down two holes-in-one in the same round Friday—a first in PGA Tour history. Will MacKenzie has four eagles in two rounds and is threatening to tie the PGA record of five. It was a surreal, entertaining day that left the impression if you didn’t shoot 66, you didn’t have a chance.”
“I think they need a sense of humor up there,” Carlson said. “I didn’t even think I wrote anything that was particularly insightful. It was just [that] I’d talked to some people who’d been there, and I watched a lot of it, and it was pitch-and-putt for the first couple days, and I thought it was worth mentioning.”
Since local golfers have often made similar comments about the course, the reaction of tourney organizers was surprising. In fact, Carlson wrote that the ease of play was “no indictment of the golf course” in some of the players’ eyes.
Other commentators have published similar observations about the course. The tournament has an international reputation for effortless play. A South African newspaper, the Mercury, carried a story on the Reno open that was headlined, “Records all round … no matter where you played.”
“The players still say that Montreux, despite its length, is considered a pretty easy driving course because of its lack of rough,” wrote Darrell Moody in the Nevada Appeal last week.
Open officials were not available for comment. However, Bruce Berlet of the Hartford Courant later reported that Bill Whedon had scored a double ace before Miyazato. It happened at a 1955 event in Connecticut.