I think it’s neat that the USGA and the PGA of America teamed up to make a song for you to enjoy in celebration of their 2016 championships. Have a listen. No, it’s soothing…really.
If you were able to survive that without wanting to punch a kitten, congratulations. It’s been that kind of year for the two main bodies for the game of golf in the United States.
After two majors of watching the USGA demonstrate it’s inability to manage a 2-car parade much less conduct a national championship, it was the PGA of America’s turn to take control of the Kars 4 Kids jingle of a nightmare that has become what conducting a major championship has turned into. Go ahead, listen to it. LISTEN TO IT! Kind of makes you want to beat someone with a gravy ladle.
Before we get into the PGA of America’s litany of stupid, let’s congratulate Jimmy Walker on the win. He played great and deserved to win, but unfortunately, people will only remember what a damn mess the PGA of America made with the tournament. Let’s go to the tape, shall we?
1) Why on earth must they continue to hold tournaments in the dead of summer along the Eastern Seaboard when it’s usually hot, humid, and with daily thunderstorms a fairly common occurrence? The next two championships are in Charlotte and St. Louis, so expect hot and humid conditions along with thunderstorms being a frequent occurrence. The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.
2) Not to toot my own horn but holy shit-balls, I gave the pros a schedule for 2020 that moves the PGA Championship to the end of the West Coast swing. Seriously. Follow it and you won’t have the folly of having 2 major championships over a 3-week period. My schedule puts a marquee event in late February (PGA), March (2 WGC events), April (Masters), May (Players), June (US Open), July (Open Championship) and August (Olympics). A reduction in travel making it easier on the players, and an added PGA-LPGA team event. You’re welcome. It took me 2 double scotches, a composition book, and 45 minutes. I even have the sendoff event prior to the Olympics in Vancouver (easier flight to Tokyo).
3) You know where you don’t see summer thunderstorms? The West Coast. I’d love to see Denver get a major (my 2020 schedule puts a tour event in Denver), but you’ve got Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco as easy options. Sahalee near Seattle, Pumpkin Ridge near Portland, and Olympic Club/Harding Park/Pasatiempo all near San Francisco (not to mention Pebble Beach). Go to southern California and you have Riviera and Torrey Pines (all VERY worthy tests).
4) So no big shock when it rained on Saturday. And rained some more. Look, I can’t say enough about the monumental efforts that the course superintendent and his team of volunteers put in to get the course playable on Sunday (seriously- most courses wouldn’t have looked anything close to that good), but it shouldn’t have come to this! Come Saturday, when storms were expected, did they go to a two-tee start and move the times up (they’d have come VERY close to getting finished up)? Of course not (the PGA Tour does this quite often), because reasons. That it didn’t storm on Sunday is nothing short of a miracle. This malarkey about “we believe everyone should play the course starting at the 1st hole” sounds great, EXCEPT THEY DO A 2-TEE START DURING THE FIRST TWO ROUNDS! So does the US Open (the Open Championship doesn’t but they don’t see thunder/lightning and they have longer daylight hours; the Masters has a limited field so they don’t need the 2-tee start).
5) The only reason to not do it is to bend over for CBS/TNT, which is a damn disgrace. As others have pointed out, I give Fox a lot of grief for their golf coverage but they did move things around back in June (the dumping out of Fox over to FS1 because of regular season baseball is still inexcusable under any circumstance- NBC would have stuck it out). Clearly TNT didn’t want to interfere with Law & Order (and related) reruns. Can we point out that NBC/Golf Channel did a better job covering the women’s British Open than TNT/CBS did with the PGA Championship?
6) There was this 180 that the PGA of America pulled. I mean, this is some grade-A bullshit they’re serving up. On Saturday they said, in effect, no way would they play lift clean and place (they said this in an interview with CBS Sports Network). Here was the corker- in the third rounds being finished on Sunday (in the same conditions they’d face later that day) they played it down. But for the final round it was ball in hand time (this had NEVER happened before in a major). I don’t always agree with Dan Jenkins of Golf Digest, but he’s right when you call it “lift, place and cheat” (he’s almost always hilarious though).
7) Rough. Look, I know that people at Oakmont get boners over having 8″ rough, but can we please knock this off? I agree with Secret Tour Pro (who may or may not be Australian…who am I to speculate?) that they should cut the rough back. The Masters doesn’t have rough, and the Open Championship doesn’t get overly penal with rough until you get into the gorse which comes into play if you get REAL wild. Does that diminish these events? Of course not! The USGA was going in this direction (2014 @ Pinehurst) but now they’re back to growing some tall cabbage. I’d rather see less of it but mowed against the grain to give the players something to consider.
8) Hello Friends. We need to talk about Jim Nantz. Other bloggers and folks on Twitter wittier than I have got the knives out for CBS’ coverage, and while at first I was cautious, it’s apparent that despite some talented people doing good work (Peter Kostis and Dottie Pepper are great at what they do), Nantz is phoning it in (he was freaking brutal at the Canadian Open). Faldo isn’t much better. I’d like to see less advertising for his (Faldo) sponsors and more of “tell me something I don’t know” analysis. Not sure if they need to cut his (Jim Nantz) workload back (he does a full NFL season, plus NCAA basketball, plus a lot of golf- when he was doing 2 NFL games a week I can’t help but think that was adding up) or take a look at lightening his load. Look, with NBC committed to the NHL for another 7 years (excuse me while I go throw up in my mouth while thinking about Pierre McGuire) spring weekends aren’t an option for NBC during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Ideally, CBS would acquire the Players Championship and a WGC event and in turn, turn the PGA Championship AND the Barclays over to NBC/Golf Channel. I know Nantz loves golf but he’s losing his fastball, as it were. Even if they pulled him off of doing basketball, it would probably help.
Who’s Pierre McGuire, you ask? Allow me. You’ve been warned. And since he left TSN for NBC, he’s only gotten worse.
9) On a positive, they didn’t have a rules fiasco, and Pete Bevacqua wasn’t shit-faced drunk during the trophy presentation, so they got that going for them.
Showing my age more than a bit, but enjoy some REALLY early Siouxsie and the Banshees. Yup, she was that first artist I had the hots for.