Length No Gauge to Courses Worth

By George WhiteAugust 30, 2005, 4:00 pm
Bash it and go find it. And bash it again.
Sounds monotonous, doesnt it? Augusta National just announced another lengthening. A par-5 at Baltusrol was 650 yards ' 650 yards! Even venerable old St. Andrews is getting in on the act ' No. 14 was lengthened 40 yards in the recent big party, to 618 yards.
The driver is one of 14 clubs in a professionals bag. Its just one option from the tee box. There are the other fairway woods and there are the long irons. Each should also be an option. But its not really feasible now. Its totally a bashers game. If you dont rip it into the next time zone, you seldom win ' simple as that.
17th Hole - Baltusrol GC
Baltusrol's 17th hole played at 650 yards during the PGA Championship.
Michael Campbell laments the changes, the fiddling with golf courses to make them longer and longer. He laments it, of course, because he is just of average length. But he also laments it because golf is dangerously close to becoming a most boring sport, one where the pros merely knock the doo-waddling stuffing out of the ball, go find it, and then wedge it onto the green. And he laments it because it has taken so many good players out of the game.
He realizes, of course, that players are getting stronger and more muscular. And he realizes that equipment ' golf balls and clubs - have been radically improved. He realizes that agronomy is much better today than it was even 10 years ago, that fairways are more closely cropped today and the turf is vastly better. But he thinks that simply lengthening a hole to stupendous lengths is the wrong approach.
The solution is not to lengthen the hole, says the U.S. Open champ. It (the solution) is to toughen the actual design of the golf hole rather than lengthen the hole, I believe.
Length is obviously not the solution. Design of the golf hole is the solution to the problem here.
For example, he says, pinching in the fairways in the landing area of the big knockers will cause some serious mind games to start whirring. Can I force this club into that narrow area? Or would a more prudent play be to take a lesser club and lay back a little, making sure of getting the ball in play?
Yeah, it's a shame, really, Campbell says. Look at 14 at St. Andrews. Instead of putting it (the tee) back 40 yards, put two bunkers very close together 300 out and let them try and feed the ball through the gap.
I hit driver, 4-iron there I think on the practice day technology has helped all of us, but it's doing it the wrong way by toughening the golf courses up through length rather than toughness of the greens or the design of the hole.
And a lot of the supreme shotmakers are now just numbers in the field ' guys whom the game has passed by. Nick Faldo. Corey Pavin. Nick Price. And to an extent ' Campbell. These are players who learned their swings to work the ball, to be precise in their distances. Now, the premium is on something totally different ' raw length. And its too late for these gents to go back and totally retool their swats.
I think they should put a stop to something because it's getting ridiculous now, he said. It's just a smash, as I said before. There's no controlled shots now.
Nick Faldo - asked him about technology, how he can't compete anymore because he hasn't the power game for it. He's got the finesse. Every golf course that's 300 yards shorter, he'll be great, but right now he's 20 yards behind me or 10 yards behind me. He'd be 70 yards behind Tiger. He's hitting wedge to a par 4 and Nick's hitting 3-iron to a par 4.
You can't compete with that. That's why the likes of Faldo and a few other guys haven't competed because their games, back in the '80s and early '90s were great, but not in the 21st century.
Dont ask the course architects to stop the power grab. Architects have to get paid, you know, and the people who are paying the bills are demanding courses which are longer and longer.
They're just following instructions, said Campbell. Imagine being on another golf course. Say if I build a golf course in 2010 for a scenario, and I design a golf hole to be the longest par 4 or the longest par 5 in the world. That's a little notch in my little thing, you know, to actually achieve that.
But it'll be beaten in probably another six months' time, just like building the highest building in the world. As soon as one goes up, another year later, somebody else tops it. It's just human nature.
The fourth hole at Augusta is a par-3 - which is now going to be 213 yards - to a narrow green guarded by a deep bunker. Campbell says theyve taken the joy out of playing the course by continually ramping up the length.
It's no fun there. It's just a smash, just a slog. It's a power game. There's no finesse in the game, he says.

Campbell says he isnt going to be playing professional golf much longer. So, to him personally, its really almost a moot point.
I could retire by seven years' time - so 2012, he declares. After that, I don't really care, to be honest.
That isnt entirely truthful, to be honest. He cares a lot. But the people who matter dont. And those people hold the games future in their hands.
Email your thoughts to George White
Getty Images

Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

Getty Images

Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

Getty Images

Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

Getty Images

Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”