Protect par and make golf interesting again
Reader Mike McQueen, regarding the arbitrary nature of par, states, "Fans like to see long drives and greens hit, rather than guys hacking the ball out sideways from knee-deep rough” (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 27).
Not this fan. Professional golf has gotten boring – to the point that I barely can watch – because all we see on TV is fairway, green, birdie putt, easy par (or birdie, or eagle). Part of the problem is how golf is televised. We see only the best golfers, and best shots, on that particular day, notwithstanding that many pros are out there off camera, hacking away.
For me, at least (and many of my golf buddies), seeing pros deal with golf the way we do – hitting out of trouble and scrambling to save par – is far more interesting. Where is the creativity in watching Gary Woodland play the 18th hole at Pebble Beach with an iron, iron, iron and birdie putt?
The best event on the PGA Tour last year was the Tour Championship in Atlanta. The players had to contend with deep Bermuda rough, the same as we have at my club from mid-July through September. The players had a lot of trouble with that rough, and were penalized heavily for inaccurate drives. It was a hoot to watch.
Casual golfers would benefit from a weekly show on Golf Channel (or as part of each tournament) devoted to seeing the worst shots of the week, and how those golfers got out (or didn't) of it. Birdie fests are boring and are a big cause of declining viewership.
There’s a risk in adopting McQueen’s approach
I liked reader Mike McQueen’s comments about adjusting par on certain courses for certain venues because it is “just a number” (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 27).
My major concern would be that Johnny Miller would come out of retirement so he could reinforce, again and again and again, how great his 1973 score in the U.S. Open’s final round truly was.
One-ball theory prompts many questions
There seems to be a common theme among some Morning Read “inbox” contributors that everyone should use the same type of golf ball.
Five brands of ball have won on the PGA Tour this year: Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade, Bridgestone and Srixon. If independent distance tests were run hitting each of the five balls with the same equipment and same swing speed, I expect there to be maybe 5 yards’ difference in driver distance from the best to the worst. Five yards on 300-plus-yard tee shots is a rounding error. One millimeter off the sweet spot probably has more effect than that.
So, think about it: Isn't everyone pretty much using the same type of golf ball?
But let's say there should be one ball. Who determines the specs for this universal ball? The PGA Tour? The USGA? If you leave it to the Tour, the one ball that it designs would be basically what touring pros are playing now. Bombers sell advertising and tickets, so you'd have the same distance issues you have now.
If the USGA designed the ball, would it design what's being played now or would it design a reduced-distance ball? If the USGA were to design what we have now, again, no change. If the latter, couldn't that force the Tour to design its own tour ball? Now we're into bifurcation. And why would I want to play a reduced-distance ball when I know there's an equally performing, longer ball made?
The one-ball argument makes for interesting conversation. But when you peel the onion, it really doesn't fix anything.
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