Monday, August 17, 2015

A "Day to Remember" at the PGA

Australian Jason Day no longer has the distinction of being the best player to not win a major. If you've followed the Major championships in golf closely the last five years, you're fully aware that that a major corral was inevitable for a player who since 2010 has tallied eleven top ten performances on golf's grandest stage. I've decided to dedicate this piece to channeling my thoughts on a through and through entertaining competition that ended crowning  a deserving champion.

My first thought are on the scoring conditions that we were privy to this weekend. I'm somewhat of  a golf purist in the sense that when I sit down and observe a major championship, I want to the players receive the stern test. Some of my favourite tournaments have been when the winning score is near over par, such as Winged Foot in 2006 or in the 2003 Open Championship when one under par hailed Ben Curtis victorious. I enjoy watching the players struggle to a certain extent to a point of par should be seen as a good score on a hole whilst keeping you in contention for the respective championship. What we've witnessed largely in the last couple years with the exception of the ever controversial U.S Open staged at Chambers Bay, the scores have been borderline ridiculous. These players are superb right now and will continue to get better so I appreciate that the players ultimately are going to raise the bar, but organizations such as the PGA of America or the USGA can still do their part in differentiating these premier events from the weekly fiascos we call the Barracuda Championship or the Sanderson Farms championship.  This week in particular, the weather conditions aside from the overly gusty round one were pristine which made Whistling Straits an easy(easier) test then seen in 2010 when Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer battled  it out while Dustin Johnson left perplexed to what actually classified as a bunker. The firmness of the greens, or lack thereof left me disappointed as this seems to a quarterly year talking point when discussing the greens. Why do certain analysts on the Golf Channel, and I'm singling them because they get the bulk of the attention during the week even though there are other media outlets who do this as well and that's continuously coddle the associations for their philosophical view that greens in major championships must be receptive. What's wrong with firm greens which penalize errant tee shots because from the rough on glass hard greens you won't be able to hold the ball but on our recently typical spongy greens even shots hit in the tent area evidenced by Matt Jones can be translated into a green in regulation. Tougher pin placements, firmer greens and more penile rough equals a much more enjoyable Major Championship.

The other part of the story that needs to be addressed is the tee time draw and how that had a significant influence on the results. Case in point our champion Jason Day's draw compared to that of runner-up Jordan Spieth.  Day played the Thursday morning-Friday Afternoon draw while Spieth consummated in the Thursday afternoon-Friday morning draw. Conditions early in the morning in Thursday were calm and scoreable but the wind gusts drastically increased which made Spieth's one under jaunt noteworthy but still left him three behind the eventual champion. What can be done to change the draw to allow players equal opportunity to win, or at least a more comparable scenario as nothing brainstormed would lead to a perfect solution as frankly we don't live in a perfect world. One thought I had is dividing tee-times strictly on world ranking. To avoid another incident when a world class player such as Day is given an "easier" draw, let's iron out the times by making sure the top say sixty players in the event are given one draw and the bottom half given the opposite draw to ensure equality. On the surface, you're probably opinionating that their are many flaws with this theory but the only one I'll give any credence to is the television network wanting marquee players playing throughout the entire day. This has validity but the counter argument I'll lean towards is by having all of the top players on one draw, the likelihood of having more players that are marketable playing meaningful on the weekend increases. Guys like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, who I'm unsure will ever contend again were greatly affected by the draw.

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