NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – The good news? A “designated tournament” policy may be coming to the PGA Tour. The bad? AT&T National may be a prime candidate for designation next year.
From some Tour types setting back brotherly love 20 years to the classic lines of Aronimink Golf Club turning back the clock on timeless perfection, “Cut Line” covers and critiques the circuit’s return to Philly.
Fast play. On Thursday Joe Ogilvie teed off in the morning’s first group, rounded Aronimink in just over four hours and signed for a 66, proving once and for all that you can play well and fast.
After his round Ogilvie was asked that since golf is a game of honor and players call penalties on themselves – and their playing partners, on occasion – why isn’t the habitual violation of the circuit’s pace-of-play policy ever self-enforced?
“In golf if we did that you could make an argument, wow, that was a little dodgy there, although it would be really fun,” Ogilvie said. “It would have to be on HBO because I don't know if it would be for the kids’ ears.”
The classics. It is a curious reality that most nostalgia is misplaced. The old Boston Garden was cramped and dingy, a ’62 Ford Mustang is loud and uncomfortable and the 1927 Yankees were . . . well they were pretty good.
In golf, however, old never seems to fall out of fashion. This week’s stop at Aronimink just outside Philly is example No. 943 why classic venues are almost always the best venues.
“It could host a major right now,” David Toms said. “They’d probably need to take the grandstands around 18 up another three or four stories, but it’s very good.”
And, for the record, traffic along Newtown Road is not very good, but it’s an expressway compared to the parking lots that were 17 Mile Drive last month and the Long Island Expressway last year.
Tweet of the Week (Posted: June 21): @ianjamespoulter “Laying in bed can’t sleep. U.S. Open does that to you, great week but is very mentally disturbing. It’s like chopping your fingers off 1 by 1.”
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Designated tournaments. The proposal, which is aimed at improving the strength of historically weak fields by requiring top players add a wanting event to their schedules, got a nod from Tour commissioner Tim Finchem on Wednesday and players seem largely supportive of the measure.
Of course, the fact top players must be mandated into doing what’s right for the Tour leaves “Cut Line” flummoxed.
“That’s what I tried to do, that’s what Arnold (Palmer) and Gary (Player) tried to do,” Jack Nicklaus recently said. “I’d say guys I’m going to go play such and such a tournament, I haven’t played there in a while. I’d try to pick one or two tournaments I hadn’t played in and tried to get there. I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do.”
A Tour that prides itself on self-policing should add two just for having to be told.
Cold hearts. Have to admit, as we watched Sunday’s happenings unfold at TPC River Highlands last week we saw Bubba Watson’s waterworks coming from the outset of the playoff.
Watson is more emotional than one would think a guy named “Bubba” could pull off, but it’s genuine and refreshing for a game that values stoicism and conformity. All of which made the talk-show backlash that followed Watson’s emotional first victory that much more curious.
If a guy who sports pink golf shafts and an emotional hair-trigger is the most compelling topic the talking heads can come up with, they need more focus . . . or a hug.
Inexcusable absences. There is a disconnect between what Tour players say and what they do. A tournament’s golf course are the Nos. 1 and 1A deciding factors on whether they will play said event.
That was until Woods set up shop on the Fourth of July weekend. Woods gave the frat brothers Congressional and Aronimink, a huge purse and plenty of pork and in return the world No. 1 got three of the top 20 players in World Ranking this week.
Blame it on a tough spot on the calendar between two majors, the holiday weekend or the annual European exodus this time of year. Or, just blame it on short-term memories. Players don’t miss Nicklaus’ Memorial or Palmer’s Bay Hill out of respect for what the legends did for the game. Has Woods’ impact on the professional game been any less profound?
“Players are going to have to realize they need to be here,” said one Tour player. “Tiger paid for most of these guy’s second homes.”