An excellent Golf Digest article after last year's Italian Open didn't make for fantastic reading for organisers of the 2023 Ryder Cup.
In the piece, a host of named and anonymous competitors more or less trashed the layout at Marco Simone Golf Club which will welcome a second Italian Open this week ahead of next year's tussle between Europe and the United States.
"The greens are immaculate and the surfaces brilliant," said mild-mannered Oliver Wilson before adding: "But there are nine greens you can't see when you are hitting your approach shot. There is so much elevation change. Not once did I think, 'This is a great hole.'"
Others, who requested anonymity, said the greens were "horrendous" and the seventh, in particular, was "appalling".
Feel for Matt Fitzpatrick, who has a dreadful Ryder Cup record and must be wondering how the hell he can improve it on a course where he said: "I was in the middle of a fairway, on a downslope, hitting a 5-iron to a green way above me. It made no sense. I've hit a good drive, I'm in what should be the ideal spot, and I couldn't keep my ball on the green."
The unusual test of hitting to greens hidden by significant upslopes tends to be limited to quirky club tracks in the likes of Yorkshire or Shropshire, or weird plots of land on the Spanish coast.
It makes working out who might be suited by this peculiarity a little challenging, but Port Royal, host of the Bermuda Championship, does have a few holes which fit this odd template and that was the first line of thought that took me towards first pick Lucas Herbert.
The Australian made his PGA Tour breakthrough in Bermuda last year, thrashing a pair of 65s mid-event to set up the bid and then securing the trophy with a fine Sunday 69.
Since then he's been a bit up and down, but top 15 finishes in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, PGA Championship, Open and BMW Championship are a reminder that he has a touch of class.
And that's what I want from the three picks this week. They're up against a decent top trio in Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick and Viktor Hovland: potentially high class players who have something in the tank, but are also flying under the radar a little.
Herbert has been excellent on the DP World Tour in the last three years, with 13 top 30s in 19 starts with two wins (at the 2020 Dubai Desert Classic and the 2021 Irish Open).
Then there are those greens. In that article Jay Townsend says: "The greens are as good as any putting surfaces I have ever seen. If you hit a good putt, it is going in."
And Herbert? He ended the 2021/22 PGA Tour season ranked first for SG Putting.
Next up is another Aussie, but one who has experience of the track.
Last year Min Woo Lee ranked third for SG Tee to Green off the back of excellent work off the tee and around the green, plus solid approaches.
It helped him card 64-68 to open up a two-shot lead heading into the weekend before finishing T12th.
He's had a tough season on the PGA Tour but I just wonder if having last Friday off hasn't turned it around.
He had no option but to take a day away from the range (it was closed), headed into London, and even took a wander past Buckingham Palace. "It was just nice to be with my friends again and see familiar faces," he said.
Next day he thrashed a brilliant 62.
He closed with a 70 for T42nd, but that's fine. We're after clues here not the extensive report that flags him up.
Another week with friendly faces, memories of last Saturday and re-acquaintance with the track can hopefully lead to further improvement.
Dane Rasmus Hojgaard completes the youthful trio for this week and, as with the other two, I just think there's a little juice on the bone.
In his case, it's clearly not quite coming together, but I also think he's closer than the raw finishing positions suggest.
In his last 15 starts, which takes us back to late March, he's been inside the top 10 at the end of at least one round 11 times.
There have been flat patches and poor rounds, but there has also been plenty of fine golf.
In recent times that has been the case too.
On defence of his European Masters title in Crans he opened with a 65 for tied seventh and a 68 still had him T15th before a Saturday 76 ended his week.
He opened with a 63 on home soil in the Made in Himmerland before a hat trick of 70s typified that flat patch factor.
Last week at Wentworth a first round 67 had him T10th and he spent the rest of the week inside the top 20.
He got off to a slow start in last year's Italian Open, just sneaking into the weekend, but only five men went lower than him in the final two rounds.
A quirky family defence of the title won by his brother last year is not beyond him
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