Got Ideas Readers Chime In

By Adam BarrAugust 28, 2005, 4:00 pm
Last weeks column about developing profitable alternative golf venues (3-hole, 6-hole, etc.) to combat stagnant growth in rounds got a lot of impassioned response. Heres a sampling from the electronic mailbag.
The course I play, a 1,200-yard 9-holer, is the stepchild of three much longer courses which are maintained by the Los Angeles City Parks and Recreation Department in the Griffith Park area of L.A. While others hang around waiting for their tee times and pay upwards of $30 for a round at the longer courses in the same system, this little gemis the perfect course for amateurs, beginners, better-players-now-seniors, and the seasoned golfer who just wants some irons and putting practice. Players make the circuit in everything from flip-flops to top-of -the-line FootJoys, [using everything from] from off-the-rack to custom-fitted clubs, and you'll see the range of tee shots from big Berthas to 9 irons.'Kriss Wagner, Glendale, Calif.
My wife considers me a golf snob (I say purist), but there must be a place for people who are interested in the game to get the necessary experience that we purist (snobs) demand they have before we let them on our muni's. My son is 8 and goes to the range with me. I can't take him on a course, and there are plenty of other entertainment activities vying for his time and interest. My wife has him in music, dance, soccer, karate and on and on. But I can't take him with me to the muni until he is 10. That makes no sense.'Dwight McLeod

So there seems to be some willingness to rethink things. But others rankled at what they perceived as suggestions to change the game for the worse.
I heard you out and you couldn't be more incorrect. Call me an old-timer. I have played golf for 46 years. I welcome anyone to the gameHowever, respect for the traditions of the game should be maintained. Asking someone to wear proper attire isn't asking too much. The clothing need not be new or expensive (much of my golf wardrobe is neither), only neat and clean. 'Roger Denny
If a person is going to play a game, they should acclimate to that game! There are already too many people playing who haven't bothered learn the rules of the game, the history of the game, or basic golf etiquette. (Etiquette-I had to look up the spelling, but I know what it means on the golf course.) I play on public courses. Trust me, a decline in rounds played by a few percentage points would be a welcome sight in my area. 'Ron

Fewer rounds would be a good thing? Ron, if you think you pay too much now, just wait until demand really dips. But here I owe an apology. I should have been clearer: I never meant to suggest that those who play a full 18 and who prefer to follow the games most rigorous traditions should have to share the course with those who take a more relaxed view. Some restaurants require gentlemen to wear jackets, some dont. Theres no reason there cant be a selection of golf courses of all sizes to accommodate varying tastes in game, dress, and atmosphere.
As to a strict line on what people wear, Im as devoted to my iron as the next guy, maybe more. But can public golf in its current state afford to be so persnickety? And beyond golf, the hard truth is this: In a free society, the only sartorial right you really have is to dress yourself. Everyone else is on their own. God Bless America.
I liked this economically realistic e-mail from a man who insists on playing his own way, even though he doesnt get as many rounds in as he did before the birth of his child.
Oh, and I suck. I have played for about nine years and range from mid-80s at best, high 120s at worst, and most often barely break 100. I use foot wedges and mulligans quite often, but I don't care. It makes me happy, and if I'm happy then I will come back and keep spending money on green fees. I consider myself a golfer even though I don't always play it down and count every stroke, but I also can't hit my drives 200 yards straight away, so if a foot wedge here and there makes the difference between a happy 101 or a mad as heck 120, I'll take the foot wedge happy 101 any day of the week.'Brent

Some people went out of their way to see at least two sides of this multi-faceted issue.
With all due respect I can not disagree with you more. I grew up in a lower middle class family and became a caddie at age 14. I am now a member of a private club. I have seen golf from all sides. The one area I don't care for is people who come out to a full 18 holes, for any reason, that don't know at least some etiquette.
I do agree with you about other facilities. I have seen enough pitch and putts in my life (that's where I started, never have had a professional lesson and now I am an 8 handicap) to know that's where people should go.'Stephen M. Carew

And speaking of realism:
Golf should be fun and the more folks we can include, the better the game's overall health. Since all sports go through evolutions, why not golf as well? 'John Huttenlocker, North Tonawanda, N.Y.

Thanks to everyone for reading and writing. And keep your opinions coming.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”