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DALLAS — Golf, like all sports, is all about practice.  But, one thing the PGA Tour’s players can’t practice is where they’ll be aiming each day, as the hole locations aren’t installed until around an hour before each round of a tournament begins.

John Lillvis is one of the people who decides where the pin placements will be.  A PGA Tour official for about 14 years, he says the layout of a course mostly dictates where the holes should be.

“The biggest thing is trying to figure out what the course architect is trying to do, where does he think the hole should be, how the course is set up.

“We don’t design the course, we just play the course.”

Actually, officials don’t play the course themselves prior to a tournament, which presented an additional challenge for this year’s Byron Nelson as its new home, Trinity Forest Golf Club, had never before hosted a professional tournament so there were no previous records to rely on.  Lillvis stepped on the gigantic, sloping greens for the first time just the day before the first round and has been keeping a close eye on how things are playing out.

“We’re still looking at it.  We’re still fine-tuning it.  We may change a little bit.”

While the weather forecast influences officials’ decisions, Lillvis says the leaderboard is largely irrelevant.

“We don’t really care what the score is.  We don’t at all.  We’re open to input, but for the most part we’re very neutral.  We try to do what’s right for the competition.”

So whenever you think a hole looks too easy or too hard, just remember: there’s a method to the madness!