Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Open and the Graduated Rough Crowd

Following the Open, I listened to commentary on the Golf Channel and PGA Tour Radio from pundits talking about how they thought that Merion should have had graduated roughs. Their opinions were that this was somehow fairer. I don't know about fairer but it certainly would have made the Open easier. First of all, the Open isn't some egalitarian tournament, it's a Championship with the implied purpose of identifying the best golfer. The US Open is supposed to test many things including one's mettle.

But let's get back to just why graduated rough does not necessarily help identify the best golfer. Now if the ideal landing area for every hole was in the middle of the fairway, then I might buy into the graduated fairway idea but at Merion the preferred landing areas are rarely in the middle of the fairway and may vary from day to day based on the pin locations and what club you are hitting. So, if the ideal landing area is on the left side of the fairway and the golfer misses the fairway to the left a few yards, the graduated  rough would aid a slightly errant shot. However, if the player hits the ball 25 yards right of the ideal landing area he could land in graduated rough. Did we help identify the best golfer?

Life is not fair, just like golf is not fair and the attempts to make golf fairer will succeed about as well as governments trying to make things fairer...perhaps we could ask the Politburo for advice on fairness.

You may want to read-

Libertarian Philosophies in Golf Course Architecture

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