The Loop

This week's atrocious sports idea: make golf holes bigger, but only outside 100 yards

November 23, 2020

Want an idea that you're going to hate, and that I won't defend as anything but terrible, but which is appealing to me at least a little this tired Monday morning?

Of course you do. Who doesn't like getting mad at idiots online?

First, for context, I can't stop thinking about this shot from Robert Streb on the second playoff hole of the RSM Classic on Sunday:

It was an incredible shot that won him the event—Kisner needed a miracle up-and-down from the rough and didn't get close—but it was almost a walk-off. (Or a near walk-off, if you want to go full Debbie Downer...Kisner would have had a crack at holing out.) And it occurred to me that walk-offs are extremely rare in golf even on the green, and almost nonexistent on approach shots. As far as I can tell, a true walk-off from beyond the green or around-the-green area has happened once:

And here's a near walk-off:

I want more, because who doesn't love a walk-off? But the only way this is ever going to happen, let's be honest, is if they increase the hole size. And that's going to create problems on the green, because putting will be too easy. There's no solution...right?


The answer is holes that expand and contract. When a player is more than 100 yards away, the hole expands to be (let's say) two feet in diameter. When they're closer, within pitching/chipping/putting range, it shrinks back to normal hole size.

How do you do this? I'm not a scientist, but I have to imagine if we get the greatest minds of our generation together for a year or so—global warming can wait—we can find a way.

I know what you're going to say: This is genuinely the worst, dumbest you've ever heard. Not only is it never going to happen, but it would be awful if it did, an example of the worst kind of gimmickry. To which I would respond, fine. Shut up. I agree.

But still, think about it. Think about all the sweet walk-offs and hole-outs. Other than ruining the sport, you have to admit, there's something here.

The Long-Awaited Ascension of the Week: Daniil Medvedev

During the U.S. Open, perhaps somewhat prematurely, I wrote that...well, that Daniil Medvedev is your new tennis god. Big words, and they looked a bit stupid after he went out and played more or less like crap against Dominic Thiem, the eventual champ, in the semis, and then bombed out in the first round of the French Open a month later. However, his season was good enough to make the ATP Finals in London this past weekend, and one after another, he slaughtered his opponents. Good opponents, too: Alexander Zverev, Novak Djokovic, Diego Schwartzman, Rafael Nadal, and finally, in a bit of U.S. Open revenge, Dominic Thiem.

The championship match was a display of great tennis on both sides:

Of particular note is the fact that Thiem and Medvedev beat Djoker and Rafa, respectively, in the finals, and had each beaten the other of the tourney's Big Two in the group stages. A changing of the guard happens slowly in men's tennis, but it looks to be finally happening, if only in fits and starts. Barring injury, I'd be shocked if Medvedev doesn't break through at the slams in 2021.

The "By God, He Doesn't Deserve This" Athlete of the Week: Frank Gore

Did you know that Frank Gore is the third-leading rusher in NFL history? That's wild, right? But it's what happens when you've been pure quality for years, you're a five-time Pro Bowler, and you're still playing at age 37. But this could be Gore's final year, and as ESPN notes, he's staring down the barrel of an 0-16 season with the Jets. This quote is very sad:

"Yeah, I'd say it's tough, because it's the stage of my career. I was younger in San Fran and I always felt like, 'I got time, I got time.' Now, I don't know if I'm going to play next year and ... I don't know."

Gore made one Super Bowl, never won the big game, and likely never will. That's okay—it happens to a lot of great players. What's not okay is sending this man out on what would be one of the three worst NFL teams in history. The Jets are 0-10 right now, and weirdly enough, the only team left on their schedule currently below .500 are the 4-6 Patriots. That would be the team's final game, and it's at least plausible, if not likely, that they'll have to take down Belichick in order to avoid the ignominious 0-16 mark.

If the Jets can't stumble out of their miserable spiral and win a game, somebody needs to do Frank Gore a kindness, sign him for a game or two next season, and let the dude go out on a high note. He's too good to have to swallow 0-16 in his last tour of duty.