Dear Editor: Sometimes it seems that you guys just don't get it. The reason that the pros struggled with the "narrow fairways" at Olympic, is because the "grip it and rip it" mentality doesn't work on tight courses. These younger guys, especially, are honed to take out the driver and so what if it's in another zip code....most of today's tournament courses are set up way to easy for the modern equipment in the hands of experts. Believe it or not, most of us amateurs enjoy seeing these guys struggle once in awhile like we do every round. I loved the Open.....and I haven't watched a minute of that boring Hartford thing this week.
Bob Brewer, Vero Beach, FLOur old friend Gene Martineau had a different problem post-Open. His was with the World Ranking.
Dear Editor: How can a player ranked No. 1 in the world continue to be ranked No. 1 despite being 0-for-34 in major championships and missing the cut in the U.S. Open? It really is a travesty to the rankings that a player can be proficient in ordinary tournaments and win a lot of money on not so difficult courses and be considered the best golfer despite not being able to compete on the more difficult venues.
Gene Martineau Roseville, CAGene, we agree that the World Rankings are endlessly baffling. And you are correct to point out that Luke Donald has yet to win a major. However. In 2012 Donald has 1 win, 4 Top Tens, and nearly $3 million in earnings. As for "difficult" venues, he was 6th at the Players, 12th at the Memorial, and, okay, only average (T32) at the Masters. In 2011, Donald tied for 4th at the Masters, tied for 7th at the Memorial, tied for 2nd at the Bridgestone Invitational on a tough Firestone course, was 4th at the BMW Championship, T8 at the PGA Championship, and T3 at the Tour Championship at Eastlake. No major wins, you're right. But some awfully good golf over a long period of time. Hence, his ranking. And, as reader Brewer points out, he wasn't the only one to struggle on those "narrow" Olympic fairways.
I was brought up in an era when commentators/writers of sporting events were supposed to be neutral and show no favourites. I am sick to death of how all the commentators/writers are ga-ga about Woods. They carry on with such biased views it is sickening. He can shoot plus 2 and it is "poor Tiger.'" Another player, who may have been leading and shoots plus 4, they say nothing. Among TV commentators, the late Henry Longhurst and Peter Alliss were so good. They may have had a favourite but it wouldn't show.
It looks like in this portion of his career, Tiger has to go through the same process of choking, etc. that most champions have to, that he didn't have to go through before. What happened to his short game?
I am normally a big Tiger Woods fan. However, after watching four days of a combined ESPN / NBC telecast I found myself rooting for anyone but Tiger. All of it due to the broadcasters in the booth. Never have I seen a group of national commentators drool over one athlete. During Friday's telecast the announcers sounded like a group of mothers at their kids' Little League game; "Great shot by Tiger !" Tiger is a surgeon," Tiger is the man to beat!" On Saturday NBC showed more of Tiger warming up than they showed of some players who were in contention.Yes, Tiger may have been the most exciting player in golf, but as we saw on Sunday, those days are gone.
Easton, PAIt's hard to explain why Tiger elicits such comment from you, whether he's winning, struggling or simply existing. What we do know, and what Sirak points out, is that Tiger is human. He's no less talented than ever, but he's having a harder time activating that talent than he used to. Just why is a mystery, or, as reader Moran points out, maybe a lost short game. Barring another visit from the Jungle Bird, however, nothing and no one draws more attention to our sport.
I really enjoyed the article getting Ken Venturi's take on the upcoming Open, "Recollections of a Native Son." He grew up there. To this day I miss him not being on the telecasts, and wished he were still around, now that we have the extended coverage's we get from the Golf Channel, ESPN, etc. To this day one of my favorite golf stories, or stories on life for that matter, is the one he told on an Open telecast several years ago, and again recently with Feherty, about his father finally telling he was the best he'd ever seen, when Ken was concerned about never playing again with his circulation problems.
We use his "Venturisms" ("Jimmy, now he's bringing 6 and 7 into the picture"... etc.) on the course as much as any 3 Stooges or CaddyShack line, and it always brings a laugh to all. He was a class act and true gentleman, whether playing or broadcasting. But why wouldn't he be, having been mentored by Eddie Lowery, Lord Byron and Mr. Hogan. I'm sure Jimmy, Gary, David, Verne and all those who worked with him are the better for it. You knew what it all meant to him every April at Augusta when he'd break down for a brief moment at the end.
Thanks for the article, and Mr. Venturi, God Bless, and thanks for the memories. Enjoy your retirement.
Tom Boland Northborough, MA
Thank you for your fine article about Ken Venturi. I learned to play the game by watching the then "Wonderful World of Golf" sponsored by Shell Oil Co. Ken would give short golf lessons during some of the commercial breaks I had just started to play the game could not afford lessons. So I took them from Venturi, watching every single round on the weekends just to see what he would feature that week. He was a wonderful teacher and I learned not only the small technical things of golf but also learned to love the game that he so obviously loved as well.
Gene Young Mooresville, IN
Like you, I miss Venturi. In a way that even Johnny Miller cannot be, he was a bridge to different era of golf, one that we can remember as gracious, elegant and not so complicated. Would love to hear Ken on this week's Open set-up. Hmmm.
If you missed it, you'll also enjoy Michael Arkush's column arguing for Venturi's induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
photo: Getty Images
Our Front 9 Punchline Contest allows our Golf World fans' to help us write our magazine. Every Sunday, we invite readers to contribute a snappy comment for one item in the Front 9 feature each week. GW feeds the straight line on our Golf World Facebook page; readers contribute the punchline, which we publish.
We narrowed our list down to three worthy candidates this week.
This was the set-up line we supplied:"British bidder buys famous golf painting for $526,110 at an auction in London."
The winning punchline, supplied by Betsy Lindsay of North Hills, Calif., appears in this week's U.S. Open preview issue (June 11):
"Probably with the intent of photoshopping Sir Nick Faldo into the image."
Other punchline finalists:
Thomas B. Allen, Middletown, Ohio:
"He had just lost the bidding war for the original 'Four Dogs Playing Poker' painting, and was not going to be defeated this time."
Mark Harman, Ridgefield, S.C.:
"Another Euro later bid six figures to have a painting of Justin Leonard's historic 1999 Ryder Cup putt destroyed."
Check back for our next contest on our Golf World Facebook wall on Sunday for your next shot at getting published!
“What tees are you playing today?” That’s what guys always ask me before I head to the first hole. And when I say, “Any tee that puts me at 5,800-6,000 yards,” they roll their eyes and try to make me feel guilty about playing such a “short” course.
Well, I refuse to feel guilty. You see, 5,900 yards is my comfort zone. It’s where I’m challenged. It’s where I have fun. It’s where I keep track of my handicap.
So it was fascinating to sift through the responses Golf Digest got when it asked, via Twitter and Facebook, the following question:
Let's say you're playing against a woman who has the same handicap as you do. If money is on the line, should she play from your tees?— Golf Digest (@GolfDigestMag) June 5, 2012
Let’s begin with the kinds of answers that made me furrow my eyebrows:
Bobby isn’t the only guy who played the "equality" card. Sure, “equality” would hold true if the woman regularly records her handicap from the same tees as her competitor. Otherwise, playing the same tees is far from equal.
Jen explains it nicely:
@GolfDigestMag Anyone who understands handicapping knows you determine COURSE handicap based on the tees you play.— Jen Kuntz (@jmkgolfnut) June 5, 2012
Thanks, Jen. My eyebrows are back in place. On the other end of the spectrum were guys who demanded that women play from “women's” tees.
@GolfDigestMag No, she's a woman. She goes from the women's tee box.— zach moore (@thefifthscallop) June 5, 2012
Please know, Zachery, that there’s no such thing as “women's” tees. Tee boxes are created to accommodate golfers of various playing abilities, not golfers of different genders. Indeed, I’ve played with many men who’d be far better off if they teed it up from the forward tees. Just saying.
Other guys decided to “chivalrously” respond to Golf Digest.
@GolfDigestMagHer option. I'm a gentleman. And if she picks the short tees it gives me a good excuse if I lose.— The One Swing (@The_LOTL) June 5, 2012
Thanks, One Swing, but chivalry plays no part in determining the right tee box. While she should never have to play from any yardage that extends beyond her comfort zone, she shouldn’t milk the system by choosing a tee box that make the course much too short.
Lastly, a migraine-inducing response:
Dee Mike Carbone, via Facebook: "Depends on her size, is she a burly girl?"
Dee, size doesn’t matter. Really, it doesn’t.
Guys, if you have such an issue playing against us from different tee boxes, I’d welcome a unique challenge: come up to our tees. C’mon, I dare you.
@GolfDigestMag When designing a course what is your thought process? To encourage or discourage the average handicapper?— John Coronado III (@johnciii) May 31, 2012
JACK: Actually, John, all of our design strategy begins with the average player. Recent studies suggest that less than two percent of golf is played from the back tees. So why wouldn’t you design for the 98 percent of those playing the golf course? My philosophy has always been to give golfers room off the tee, and then put a premium on the second shot and around the greens.
Early in my design career, I was often contracted by a developer who wanted me to design a championship golf course that could one day host a Tour event or even a major championship. So that was my directive. But at that time, there wasn’t as significant a disparity between the best players in the world and the average player. Today, equipment has created a game played by the touring professionals that the average player can’t relate to. So when we approach a design project, we focus on creating a course that the average player will find enjoyable, memorable and challenging. Then we go back to find the tees where the big-hitters or gorillas can play from.
@GolfDigestMag What are your top three tips for putting? (You're a crazy good putter!!— Josh Beams (@JoshBeams) June 1, 2012
JACK: The other day at the Memorial Tournament, I was talking to Jaime Diaz of Golf Digest about the very topic of putting. Without a good setup, you haven’t got a chance, and there are three basic setup fundamentals that are important to putting.
First is the grip. I want my hands opposing each other. I want all four fingers of my right hand on the putting shaft, and I want the index finger of my left hand to overlap the last finger of my right hand. It’s called the reverse overlap grip. And my thumbs are basically down the shaft. A little adjustment for comfort is fine.
Second, your eyes should be over the ball. The most important part of “over the ball” is what I call “down the line, over the ball.” It may be a little behind the ball which is the way I putt so that I can see the line. Or, what is probably preferable, and a way I wish I could’ve putt, is my eyes directly over the ball. That way I have converging lines cross on the ball, allowing me to hit the ball right at the base of the stroke. With my method, I am slightly behind the ball so that I’m looking down and the base of my stroke is slightly before the ball, which means I have to make an extra effort to carry my putter through the ball.
The third important fundamental is that your arms and shoulders should always be on the line of the target, whether you have an open stance or a square stance. The reason for that is because it must be comfortable and putting is no different than any other shot. You have to be comfortable to be able to hit the shot properly.
To recap: Reverse overlapping grip; eyes over the line of the target; arms and shoulders down the line. Then it’s just a matter of swinging the putter and hitting the putt.
I’m a long time Golf World subscriber and occasional letter-writer. I noticed that not much has been made of the 1 stroke penalty Ross Fisher received for slow play in the tournament in Wales. But if you calculate the cost of that penalty, you'll find it was approximately $80,000! That is an awful lot of money to be fined, especially on a day when there were wet conditions which also contributed to the slow play. Plus, that penalty put Mr. Fisher two (or maybe even three, I can't remember, but there was a 3-stroke swing between Mr. Jaidee and him) strokes back of the leader and that affects the manner in which a player proceeds toward the end of a tournament.
I know slow play is a problem with which the tour must deal; however, when the PGA (or any tour) considers just how much each stroke means to the players these days, not only in the amount of money involved but in how their season (and in some extreme cases their career) can be affected by a single additional stroke (see the LPGA tournament from two weeks ago), discretion and caution must be used. I, for one can deal with (in fact, I don't mind it at all except when I'm on the course) slow play. But, there is simply too much at stake for the players to think a knee-jerk, "just penalize the culprits" policy will solve the problem.
Ron Sirak is all wet. He says that the penalty imposed on Morgan Pressel seemed unfair, but "the rule was properly enforced." How about this? The slow play rules have no place in match play! For goodness sake, there were only 4 people on the golf course. I am certain that the spectators wanted the play to go on longer, not to end early. Match play, so admired by golf writers, brings with it the healthy tradition of gamesmanship and psyche. If you're out with a speed demon, you dawdle. If you're with a slow boat, you either match his pace or try to drag him along in your wake. If you're just away on a makeable putt, you study it from each and every angle while your opponent sweats his shorter effort. When the going gets tough you grind. Get with it, guys. You want match play, you get the whole package. Think Walter Hagen!Skip Reinhard, Bridgewater, NJ