Editors' BlogApril 16, 2007

Masters Slope

__"I'm just a normal guy from Iowa."

--Zach Johnson__

Those debating the merits of the "new" Augusta and the Masters course set-up, should enjoy the discussion about what Augusta's championship slope rating ought to be on Golfclubatlas.com. Suffice it to say, discussers agree it's stratospheric. Meanwhile, as reported in Golf World this week, ratings were up. Overnights were up one percent, but now national numbers have arrived and the picture is brighter: Ratings increase eight percent over 2006.

Some will argue that it was that likeable kid Zach Johnson who did that. Mark Rylak of Bedminster, New Jersey, out in USGA country, is one of them. "It appears as though yet another major championship was won not only by an American, but an American who went to college.  I'm not sure what was more impressive, Zach Johnson's winning performance on the course or his conduct following his victory in interviews.  His intelligent comments and kind words to his wife and others were priceless.  Further proof that not only does collegiate golf lead to major success on the golf course, it also leads to the development of fine young men like Mr. Johnson."

Mark refers disparagingly to Hank Haney's lightning-rod piece in Golf Digest in March, which argued that college is not always the answer for young talented golfers. I'm not sure it was college or even  Zach Johnson being a good guy that drove those ratings up, though. I think it was the scene that was set early on the back nine when Tiger stood to make the kind of charge Jack had so many times in the past.  Tiger in contention, even when he fails to seal the deal, is good TV.

-- Bob Carney

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