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Published: Wednesday, 6/25/2003

Fleisher fears Inverness just too tough


He made no direct reference to the 1974 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, golf's best-known “massacre,'' but practice rounds left Bruce Fleisher using the same word while speculating what this week's U.S. Senior Open at Inverness Club could be like.

“I'm trying to enjoy myself a little bit more, not having to test myself week in and week out anymore,'' Fleisher, the 2001 Senior Open champion, said of life after the age of 50. “I have had 41/2 wonderful years. [But] I come to Inverness and it's like hitting a brick wall. You have one tough golf course this week.

“If it's over par that Inverness needs or wants or desires, so be it. Personally speaking, I like to have a little bit more fun. This could be a situation where one guy could really run away [with] it if he is really on and the rest of the field is lackluster. I think it's more enjoyable for the viewing public if you have a horse race, rather than a massacre.''

After Johnny Miller shot a 63 in the final round of the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont, the United States Golf Association answered with a setup the following year at Winged Foot that resulted in Hale Irwin winning with a 7-over-par total. It was dubbed by the media the “Massacre at Winged Foot.''

Fleisher, who earlier this year won his 16th Champions Tour event since joining the circuit in 1999, said he would not be surprised if the winning total at Inverness is also in black numbers.

At Aronimink, where the Senior PGA Championship was held earlier this month, he said, “You couldn't move [the ball] 30 feet out of the rough.

“Now, we come here this week and I have to tell you it's another course [where the rough demands] pitching and wedging out. It's imperative you keep the ball in play. You will not score out of the rough here, I can guarantee you that. This golf course keeps you off-balance ... visually, it's very intimidating.''

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