Roll Back The Ball?

The clamoring for some kind of roll back of the golf ball is becoming louder by the day.  So many big names have added their opinion from Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods.  After reading Jim’s post at The Grateful Golfer, I decided to add my take.

I think the first question is what is the problem with players hitting the ball so far?  In my view, the sustainability of golf is at stake.  Right now many classic courses cannot host pro events anymore without increasing length.  This usually changes the character of course.  Not to mention longer courses require more water, money, and work to maintain.  In the current environmental state of the globe I don’t think we should be using more of our resources.

As a golf fan I enjoy some long drives, but I don’t enjoy courses being pitch and putt.  That is just my opinion, but I think golf fans would enjoy it if we could hold big events at some of the world’s classic courses without relying on weather or absurd rough to mount a challenge to the players.

So that is the issue I see, but what is the solution?  I’ll give you a few options and my thoughts.  I’ll be the first to say that I am not going to cite hard data, but it is out there.  Do the research and come to your own conclusions.

Roll back the ball

I think this will open opportunities to return to classic courses, increase sustainability, and reduce the need to have super long courses.  The problem is that amateurs may feel like they don’t relate to pros, but do they really anyway?  I don’t relate to 350 yard drives.  If they feel this way it may hurt participation in the game.

Smaller wood sizes and increased iron lofts

In theory the ball would spin more and have shorter flight.  Also we would have irons that are closer to what they say they should be instead of a 9 iron with 7 iron loft.  Now I think it would be naive to say that the OEM’s wouldn’t fight this hard.  Everyone loves lawsuits!

Conditioning

It always baffles me how pros get so much roll at courses they play.  I never get that at my home course and I don’t feel like we over water.  Somethings can surely be down to slow down the fairways.  If this results in more water usage though it may not be worth it.

I think the best fit is some type limited flight ball.  The other options are fine, but less clear cut.  We can standardize the limits on the ball so all the manufacturers can still compete.

This ball still gives the advantage to longer hitters, but they won’t hit it 350.  The problem I see is where to stop using it.  Do we go to just pro events or down to college?  I certainly don’t want to be limited since I may hit it 260.  So the answers are not easy, but I think we have to start having the discussion.  Let me know what you think.

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Justin Thomas, The $10 Million Man

The Tour Championship this past week capped off a truly breakout season for Justin Thomas.  My goodness what a season!  He had five wins, captured his first major, and won the big season-ending prize.  I don’t think he could have done any more to solidify player of the year.  If I had a vote it would be JT no doubt.

Additionally, not that he cares, Justin stepped out of the media-created shadow of Jordan Spieth.  We’ve been told about their friendship about a million times, but the SBK crew was always a step behind Jordan in achievements.  Thomas solidified himself as an equal this year with all of the success.  He is a legit Top 5 player in the world and could be a force for years to come.

One thing I am super excited about is JT’s inclusion in the President’s Cup and more than likely future Ryder Cups.  His personality and playing style will be a great addition to the events.  He should be a force for years to come.

Many congrats to Justin Thomas!  Now that we’ve given him his praise here are some other things on my golf mind.

  • I know this is posting after the President’s Cup, but even though I am excited about JT I am not overly thrilled about this particular event.  I’ve gotten to a place of golf viewing fatigue.  I am in my chill out mode until a few months when I will be anxious for The Masters.  So hopefully the US team won 🙂
  • I would really like to watch The Skins Game or a mixed-team event in November.  I like watching different formats after a full season of 72-hole stroke play.  Hopefully these come back in the future.
  • Will we see Tiger back in 2017-2018?  My guess is no for 2017, but maybe 2018.  I’m hopeful he can make some kind of healthy attempt at a comeback.  He’s my all-time favorite and I just want him to be able to go out on his own terms.
  • Thanks for reading!  I see the numbers and I am thankful for all of you.  It gives me the support to keep creating posts and content.

 

 

Thoughts on the FedEx Cup So Far

We are three fourths of the way through the FedEx Cup Playoffs and I wanted to share my thoughts on the tournaments so far.  I’ll go event by event to keep it simple.

The Northern Trust

The ending to this tournament was the best part.  You had a battle in the final round between two stars in Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth.  DJ came roaring back in the final round to force a playoff.  The extra holes began on the somewhat controversial 18th hole.  Due to the architecture of the hole longer hitters have a substantial advantage by taking the aggressive line over the water.  Dustin put this on full display when his drive resulted in an approach that was about 70-80 yards closer than Jordan’s.  A stuffed wedge and one putt later and DJ was the champ. This was a great start to the playoffs.

Dell Technologies Championship

I always like watching this tournament because it takes place outside of Boston, my favorite city.  Gil Hanse has done some extensive work to the course and he is one of my favorite architects working right now.  This event featured plenty of star power as well.  Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth were the primary players with Marc Leishman hanging around as well.  It was comical to listen to the announcers mention how good of friends Justin and Jordan are.  I mean, we all know they are buddies, but it was ridiculous how much often they brought it up.  I almost thought they may concede the tournament to Leishman because it would affect their relationship if they beat each other.  Anyway, JT turned it on over the last few holes and ended up cruising to the win.  Even though Spieth didn’t get the win he moved into first place in the standings.

BMW Championship

I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch a ton of this one.  I had a deadline at work the Friday of the tournament and I came down with something as well.  Even if that wasn’t the case, Marc Leishman’s extraordinary play made this one a bit of a snoozer.  He seized control on Saturday staking himself to a five stroke lead.  Well he finished it off with the same margin.  Great playing, not great theater.

So now we move on to the Tour Championship.  I’ve seen plenty of articles that discuss golf finishing the main season before football starts.  I couldn’t agree more.  I love golf, but my interest wanes with work obligations, Clemson football, Patriots football, and wanting to get in as many rounds as I can.  East Lake is an interesting place as it doesn’t seem to favor one type of player.  Hopefully it will go down to the wire!

The New Golden Child

Congrats to Justin Thomas on taking down the 2017 PGA Championship!  He is now the newest first time major winner.  With three wins already this season it was going to be a success, but this cherry on top makes it one to remember forever.

JT put together a wonderful final round that was a bit sloppy at the end, but had plenty of precision when it mattered most.  The cushion on 18 was crucial as it allowed him to play that super difficult hole a little differently.

The PGA is a great tournament for him to win with his father and grandfather being PGA professionals.  That makes this a storybook ending that the media will eat up. It was awesome to see his parents overwhelmed with joy at his victory.  Also seeing Jordan, Rickie, and some other players stick around until the end was cool.  These guys want to beat each other, but aren’t afraid to support their friends when they are in contention.

Well played, Justin!

2017 PGA Championship Picks

Three posts in a week, now we’re cooking with gas!  Don’t get to used to this though as I still have a real job :).

The last major of 2017 is upon us.  I am pretty excited about this one due to the proximity.  I won’t be able to make it up to the event, but Quail Hollow is a course I have walked around plenty.  It will be a great challenge to the pros and always seems to crown impressive winners.

Before I get into the picks, I wanted to take a moment to address the recent news that the PGA Championship is going to move to May.  I think this is a great idea for a few reasons.

First, it opens up the tournament for many more venues.  Courses in the south and west can definitely host more easily.  One thing I like about the PGA is that it tends to go to newer venues even though the US Open has been changing its tune on that front.  The new date may allow viewers to see tracks they wouldn’t otherwise.  Let’s get back to Riviera and Champions Golf Club.  Let’s see new places in California, Texas, Oklahoma, and The Carolinas.

Second, football is king in September.  NEWSFLASH!!!  I am not the first person to share this opinion, but golf should end by early September and give these guys a break.  I miss the Silly Season and Fall events that are low stress for everyone but guys fighting for their cards.  I want to see more mixed team events, more events with players mic’ed up, and more events that are just different from 72-hole stroke play.  Bonus opinion: Will this allow us to bring back the Skins Game? Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Third, this sets up an action packed stretch of golf from March to August.  The Players, The Masters, and onward.  I’m all for it!  Then when the calendar hits September I can be all in on football with the exception of the Presidents/Ryder Cups.  Coincidentally those tournaments make for great tailgate viewing.

Alright, now on to who I think will take home the hardware.  I will stick with my initial pick at the beginning of the year.  Rickie Fowler kicks in the door and wins. My reasoning?  Quail is a place he has had success and I just think his time in coming.  If not now, within the next two years.

Other players that I think will be in the mix…

  1. Rory McIlroy – He should live at Quail Hollow.  He plays the course extremely well and seems to always be in contention here.  I almost wanted to pick him to win.
  2. Hideki Matsuyama – Guy is just on fire right now.
  3. Jordan Spieth – He always seems to be around the lead anyway, but I don’t think he completes the Career Slam this time.  Contrary to popular belief, it is hard.

I’m not a dark horse is going to win this tournament.  A lot of big name guys have decent form coming into the tournament.  Let’s sit back and enjoy what hopefully is a great event.

 

Spieth The Magician

That was an incredible finish from Jordan Spieth this past Sunday!  As a fan, I spent most of the final round feeling terrible that he was going to let another major slip away.

And then came The Drop.  The drive Spieth hit so far right ended up with him having to drop his ball on the driving range.  What happened on the following holes was spectacular, but what I think really won him the tournament was the bogey he made after that drive.  It kept him within shouting distance and set up the fiery stretch on the next few holes.

Another thing that stood out to me was the sportsmanship between Kuchar and Spieth.  Jordan apologized for the delay and Matt was very gracious.  It was the epitome of classiness.

Spieth now joins some rarefied air.  He’s got three legs of the career Grand Slam before his 24th birthday.  He’ll have the chance to complete it as Quail Hollow next month.  I hope to be there to see it.

2017 Open Championship Picks

I haven’t had a lot of time to write lately so this post is going up late.  It’s also going to be a little shorter than usual.

I’m going with one pick, Jordan Spieth.  I’ve been thinking he would win this tournament since the end of last season.  His game fits the course and he has taken a nice bit of time off so he should be well rested.

With all golf tournaments you just never know.  I also like Justin Rose and Jon Rahm this week.

There you have it, short and sweet.  Enjoy the Open, one of my favorite events of the year.