The buck stops here

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

The Comet flew into London long before the LPGA stars start to arrive.

Jim Haley of San Francisco -- known as Comet -- has been at the London Hunt and Country Club since Monday, setting up the golf course for next week's Canadian Women's Open.

Haley is the LPGA Tour tournament official on site.

He is the tour official the players will be screaming at one minute if they don't like the setup or sweet-talking the next if they are short of money after arriving in London from the Women's British Open. Haley also runs the LPGA finance office on site.

His major role will be setting the pins and tee blocks every day of the tournament, beginning Thursday.

He said the course will play close to 6,611 yards every round. He said if tee blocks are up on a hole, the pins will be deeper into the greens. He does have some concerns about placing pins on some greens, such as the par-three eighth. He doesn't think spectators will see it on the front right corner.

"I work in partnership with Bob Pattinson (the superintendent) and Sean Van Kesteren (the tournament director for the RCGA)," Haley said.

"I was here last fall and looked at the course with Bob Pattinson. I come to a tournament a week ahead. There's eight of us that do this. I go to five. I was here in 1993 (for the du Maurier Classic).''

Haley has been with the LPGA for 21 years.

The last few months, Pattinson, under LPGA orders, has allowed the rough grow to five inches in length in some spots. Some members, grumbling they had to play in such difficult conditions, can rest assured the LPGA players won't get a break.

The rough has been cut to three to 3 1/2 inches and Haley said it will stay that way for the tournament.

As for the course itself, Haley said the Hunt Club layout, refurbished a few years ago by U.S. course designer Rees Jones, will be a good test for the women.

"It's well above average in condition and as a test," he said. "When you set it up, you try not to be tricky. Challenging is what I want to say it should be."


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