One is the “Lon Hinkle Tree” at Inverness Club in Toledo, which was planted before the second round of the 1979 U.S. Open because Hinkle was driving into the 17th fairway to play the 8th hole. USGA officials deemed the situation to be presenting a danger to golfers and spectators, and one that slowed play. Another involves this week’s Ryder Cup venue, Medinah CC. In 1999, 19-year old Sergio Garcia captured the hearts of viewers by striking his ball around the base of a huge oak tree on No. 16 and then gleefully skipping up the fairway in pursuit of his ball that found the green. He would not win, but he did put a scare into eventual champion Tiger Woods.
This week Garcia will not be able to duplicate the shot because the tree is no longer on the 16th hole. Disease fell the mighty oak and it was removed in November 2009. But alas, if Garcia still longs to see the tree he can. Its trunk was cut up in sections, with the largest piece now serving as a part of the landscaping at the entrance of the maintenance building at Medinah.
— Jeff Bollig, GCSAA senior director of communications