Year In Review, Vol. 12: Flogging and Narrowing

FlogGolf2.jpgIt's all Johnny Miller's fault, really.

His comments at Doral were transcribed here (thanks TiVo) and picked up by a few writers, helping to give the bizarro bomb-and-chase approach to narrow fairways its name. Oh, and did I mention, flog spelled backwards is...sorry...

Jack Nicklaus had some interesting things to say about flogging. From the Whistler Something and News:

Nicklaus would like to see the golf ball change, he admits that he is no longer a mainstream player. Nicklaus said the game has shifted from being 80 per cent shot making and 20 per cent power to the opposite. “It is evidenced by looking at the top five money earners on the PGA Tour. Not one of them are in the top 20 for driving accuracy,” Nicklaus said. “I am not saying they can’t play differently, but they have chosen power over strategy because it has been rewarding.”

Many players talked about flogging at the U.S. Open, perhaps the first time most spoke about it at length.2005.jpg

This was my favorite flogging stat: blogger Paul Kedrosky's moving graph that showed Tiger's transition from Hoganesque precision to first rate flogger.

Then Tiger had to go and say at the PGA that this flogging thing won't change until you roll back the ball. You know, technophobe that he is.

I don't see why they won't continue making the golf courses longer, just because guys are going to continue to hit it further, and it's just kind of the nature of the game until they put there's a speed limit on the faces and on the balls, but we seem to every year find something a little bit faster and a little bit longer. Granted, guys are giving up a lot on the greens by going to harder balls to hit it further, but that's how the game has changed. It's not relying upon spin around the greens anymore. It's about distance off of the tees.

Nick Faldo and Paul Azinger talked about it on the air. Exchanges like that or a look at the money list, or the mockery the players made of the Pinehurst setup, might have prompted the USGA and R&A to study grooves as a result of the flogging.

Meanwhile, as fairways got narrower and courses longer, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post really stepped up and tied the issues together nicely. It'd be nice to read something like this column in a golf magazine too.