Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands

The Loop

Pros and Ams: The Gap

January 07, 2008

Our U.S. Open Contest got Robert Stanton of Bellington, Mass. started, as in, "Don't get me started!"


Where is golf going? There is such a gap between an average pro golfer and an average amateur. Fifty years ago the average golfer could relate to his or her professional counterpart, but not now. Where do I begin--swing gurus, trainers, equipment improvements, and let's not forget the most important game improvement since the invention of the wooden golf teeâ¿¿agronomy. The conditions of the tour's golf courses are a totally different environment than what the average player experiences. The average player could benefit tremendously from these pristine conditions.

What if Torrey Pines was forced to take care of their course on the maintenance budget that my home course uses, it would be a whole different game. I believe a single-digit handicap could easily break 100 on an Open course. What about an average tour player, I bet they couldn't't break par at

my track! Let's bring the tour players back to reality; no caddies, no yardage books, spike marks ,unraked bunkers, divots, no galleries to keep the ball in play, paying for practice balls, hitting off a rubber mat because there is no grass. I wonder what Gary, Jack, Arnie, Sam or Ben would say ?

Oh, Robert, where do I start? First, you're right. We play two different games. But we always have. In the old days they played balata and we played surlyn and they used blades and we used game-improvement irons and there was no comparison in our games. Now they use our game improvement stuff and beat us by even more.

As for the pros playing on your home course, don't ask. The pros played on my home course in Michigan once and Jack Nicklaus shot a record 27-under par for four rounds. Ouch.

These guys are good. Poor maintenance would make them higher-maintenance, but they'd score just as well, I'm afraid.

--Bob Carney