Press Pass Rule 88 Validating No 1

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Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
 
Hot Topic
Do you agree with the LPGAs 88 Rule that states if any non-member shoots 88 or higher, she is banned from playing on tour the remainder of the year?
 
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
Seems like the penalty doesn't fit the crime, doesn't it? Too harsh. I am also a little perplexed at why they plucked the number '88' out of the ether. Why not 90? Why not 100? Finally, as we saw, there's an easy way around the rule. If you are close to shooting 88 or worse, just withdraw before the end of your round.
 
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
Yes. It's the highest level of women's golf and the LPGA Tour should protect itself from non-members who don't have the ability to compete against those who do.
 
Steve Duemig Steve Duemig - Panelist, Grey Goose 19th Hole:
I most certainly do. A professional tour is supposed to be for the best of the best. There must have been a reason for this rule to be implemented in the first place, based on the past. The USGA has a similar rule, when trying to qualify for the Open, based on number of strokes over the course rating, and future applications.
 
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
No. I dont think that a finite number such as 88 makes sense. Obviously golf courses vary in terms of difficulty so the standard should be relative to difficulty. The USGA uses a formula relative to the course rating. Its a better system.
 
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
I like the rule. I have no idea why it's 88, but if you can't break 88, especially in decent weather conditions, then you have no business playing on tour -- any tour. That being said, I am in no way offended by special players like MacKinzie Kline getting the occasional sponsor's exemption.
 
Hot Topic
This week is the McDonald's LPGA Championship. Does Lorena Ochoa have to win a major to validate her position as the No. 1 player in the world?
 
Hewitt:
Lorena Ochoa deserves her ranking at No. 1. She is the best player on the LPGA right now, week in and week out and the stats prove it (she dominates so many categories). But before we begin to think of her as a dominant player in the Sorenstam mold she is going to have to start winning multiple majors and she's going to have to figure out how to be a more consistent closer.
 
Sands:
Yes. Greatness in golf is measured by major championship titles. Plenty of players have won majors who were not great. But to be considered great in golf, I think you have to win at least one major.
 
Duemig:
Golf is probably different than team sports in that aspect. Many great players in sports have left competition without having won a Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, etc. I don't think having to win a major to validate a ranking is neccessary. A ranking is based on the player's perfomance over a certain period of time. If a person can grab hold of the No. 1 ranking without having won a major during that time, then blame the system. Getting to No. 1 validates that player by getting there. However, if you are judging a career, that is a whole different matter.
 
Rolfing:
No. It is clear to me that Lorena is the No. 1 player in the world and certainly winning a major would validate that position even more. I think it is likely that Ochoa will win a major this year, but even if she doesnt I still think she will finish the season as No. 1.
 
Baggs:
Lorena is the best player in the game today ... but she's not dominant. At least not compared to Annika before her. Unfortuantely, Annika set the standard for greatness on the LPGA. In order for Lorena to be seen as dominant -- which is what we like to think of No. 1 players being -- she has to win majors. Not one, but multiple. Given her talent, I'd be suprised if she didn't get at least one this year.
 
Hot Topic
Woods and Mickelson are among those who have gotten an early look at Oakmont. Do you think this U.S. Open site will play tougher than Winged Foot?
 
Hewitt:
Clearly, Oakmont is a tougher golf course than Winged Foot. How tough it plays will depend on how tough the USGA's Mike Davis sets it up. Davis is a reasonable man. He wants the golf course to play fair. But 'fair' is a subjective concept. I think if it's hot, windy and dry at Oakmont, 10 over par could be the winning score.
 
Sands:
Depends on the weather. If it's hard and fast the winning score will be over par. If Oakmont is softened by rain the winning score will be under par.
 
Duemig:
I do, because of the severity of the greens at Oakmont and the length they have added. When players are having to hit woods to certain par-3s, it minimizes their accuracy chances, thus coming up with many more difficult situations.
 
Rolfing:
I believe that Oakmont will play even tougher than Winged Foot. Any rain at all this week will thicken up the rough. I also think that Oakmont has the most difficult sets of green complexes in championship golf.
 
Baggs:
I never really bought into all of the complaining players do before a major, all the whining about how hard the course is going to be and how no one will finish under par. Until last year's U.S. Open. For once, they were right and no one finished better than 5 over. I think this year's winning number will be a little lower, but if it's hot and dry, then over par could still win.
 
Hot Topic
Tell the readers: whats the ONE thing youre most looking forward to this week?
 
Hewitt:
I'm looking forward to the biggest story in golf happening. This week that story would be Michelle Wie winning the McDonald's LPGA. I'm not saying that would be the 'best' story, just the 'biggest.' Nor am I predicting a Wie triumph. The 'best' story would be Lorena Ochoa winning her first major. And, by way, it would be pretty cool if Annika Sorenstam won at Bulle Rock, too.
 
Sands:
I'm looking forward to a great week in Memphis. It's the best field that tournament's had in years. The new date before the U.S. Open certainly helped. The good people in Memphis and the fine people who run the event deserve to show the world's best players that their tournament should be a regular stop for them each year.
 
Duemig:
If her poor wittle wist is OK this week, I want to see if Michelle Wah, errr, Wie, can finish a tournament, without making any excuses. What's the weather forecast? Hope it's not too hot for her.
 
Rolfing:
I am most looking forward to seeing what Michelle Wie decides regarding the LPGA Championship. If she plays, the scrutiny and pressure to turn things around from last week will be very intense.
 
Baggs:
I want to see Ochoa carry a lead into the back nine Sunday at the McDonald's LPGA. She has had trouble, including last week, in closing tournaments. I want to see if she has it in her to close a major championship.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - McDonald's LPGA Championship
  • Full Coverage - Stanford St. Jude Championship