I've got to hand it to the officials running the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational, which begins today at Washington National GC outside of Seattle. The two-day, 54-hole event has been approached in a very different way both on and off the course.
A Facebook page dedicated to the tournament that is packed with entertaining and goofy videos highlighting the fun that has been had at the event in the past.
A Twitter account dedicated to following the tournament (twitter.com/Kikkor_invite) that will provide real-time play-by-play for those interested in following it.
A dedicated commitment to fighting slow play.
The third point is something I wrote about in the edition of Golf World Monday that landed earlier this morning. Matt Thurmond, the men's coach at Washington, and one of his former players, James Lepp, the 2005 NCAA champ, have created a organization they're calling Under Four. The initiative is intended to promote "faster play for a more enjoyable golf experience."
Last week, Thurmond and Lepp (who founded Kikkor Golf, a golf-shoe company, after getting out of school) wrote what Thurmond described to me as a "manifesto" outlining ways that players can pick up the pace on the course. Among the points are "Walk fast. Be an athlete" and "Be ready before it is your turn to hit" and, my personal favorite, "Play better." The manifesto, entitled "Make Today an Under Four Day," was distributed to each coach in the field to read to their players before the event and will be repeated to the players on the first tee for every group today.
"Every player is going to be on the clock from the first hole," said Thurmond, who knows that trying to get the players around in four hours is going to be ambitious but felt like things have gotten so bad regarding pace-of-play in college events that something needs to be done.
Another interesting initiative the tournament is doing is after each round, a player's pace of play will be listed next to what they shot on the scoreboard to help highlight tortoises and hares.
My guess is that rounds are still going to take nearly five hours to play (hope I'm wrong) but I applaud Thurmond and Lepp for making a point of emphasizing that there's a problem and the players are the ones that have to appreciate and do something about it for the issue to finally be solved.