Daily Mail Stunning Revelation: "Vast majority of golfers will enjoy playing the Old Course as much as they always have."
There are silver linings in things like this Old Course fiasco: we learn which writers give the game serious thought and which are mailing this one in.
Derek Lawrenson, whose work I respect, unfortunately offers such an example well beneath his talents by taking a cheap shot at Darius Oliver's thoughtful analysis of the Old Course changes which, I should note, several American golf writers told me was the first effort they had seen to genuinely crystalize the issue. Longhurst, this is not:
Here's a prediction: when the changes are made, the vast majority of golfers will enjoy playing the Old Course as much as they always have.
The BBC's Iain Carter presented a more thoughtful analysis of the situation and quotes R&A in house designer and Chief Executive Peter Dawson, who is now getting downright snippy at all the criticism:
"If anyone is suggesting that the Links Trust should conduct some kind of worldwide phone-in consultation, I'm afraid that was never considered," Dawson said.
Good to know the frontman of golf's Olympic movement is sensitive to the rest of the world's concern!
After hearing Dawson's take, Carter concludes:
If there is a need for change it is surely down to the fact that the golf ball travels too far at elite level. If it's all about stiffening the challenge and demanding more precision it is because players are using seven and eight irons for approaches rather than threes and fours.
Yet that Sanders Open of 1970 was also the Championship in which Tony Jacklin raced round the front nine in 29. Forty-two years on and still no one has bettered 63 in an Open at St Andrews.
The fear of that record being broken in 2015 is what lies behind the changes that are being made. But why? Do we really need to constantly make our golf courses more difficult? Does that make the game more fun?
The sport is about who makes the lowest score. You don't extend a marathon course or dig some potholes to make it more challenging because today's runners complete it too quickly.