With our golf season largely done now that we’ve had a freeze (some courses are still open but with limited daylight hours it’s hard to find time), I have to say that I managed to play my best golf of the year in September/October. I kept expecting my game to regress, but somehow I kept posting scores of 80 and lower. I’d like to say that I took lessons or had some mental breakthrough, but it came down to putting better and not taking a handful of 3-putts every round (again- no lessons or “oh wait- so I should putt the ball toward the hole” level stuff).
On that note, I have to say that the more I read about the “new” USGA, the less I like. Their inability to adapt bifurication with regard to belly putters is, I suppose, the starting point. As someone who plays other sports, it’s ridiculous to have the NHL govern beer leagues or the NBA try to govern recreational basketball (or at the very least give amateurs a different rulebook). But yet, the USGA waddles about trying to tell double-digit handicappers that they can’t use a belly putter. The “While We’re Young!” campaign was pure folly given that the pace of play at the US Open was glacial (and that’s with every hole having marshals and spotters helping players out). Lastly was the manner in which they handled their new TV contract. It’s “their” contract and they’re free to go to another body (and certainly they’re free to go to the highest bidder). But to make that announcement during the USPGA Championship is, at best, tacky and at worst a move on a par with not repairing divots and ballmarks (making matters worse were Glen Nager’s derogatory comments about NBC). I’ve been a member but I cannot and will not be renewing. To give the USGA another dollar is literally making a deal with the devil. The sooner Glen Nager buggers off the better for the sport.
The other imbroglio involved…wait for it…Tiger Woods who didn’t like Brandel Chamblee’s column about the year in review, and specifically, his comments about Woods’ frequent rules violations. That Woods’ handlers threatened legal action is almost comical. Woods had four rules violations in 2013. This from someone who has stated that he considers himself an expert on the rules. That the 4th estate is still afraid to be critical of His Tigerness is beyond silly (and if Woods can’t handle being criticized he should quit). Unfortunately, the path we’re going down is to where you’re going to have to have rules officials on every hole or with every group and the policing at tournaments will have to be done for the players and not by them. I do think the Tours (PGA and European) have to work out some form of rules change that prevents people calling in rules violations and players being DQ’d the day after. It’s unfortunate that this is where we’re at, but you cannot have players be unaware of a violation, sign for a score, and then be DQ’d because someone called in a violation that the player and his playing partners missed. Woods was bang-on wrong to be critical of Chamblee but you’re going to have to have a better form of policing the game.