Hal Sutton talks to Cameron Morfit about the state of American golf, and in particular, issues confronting U.S. Ryder Cup teams and the PGA Tour.
The “high and long” way to play is an epidemic in the United States, Sutton says, but that style isn’t translating to birdies amid the ever-varied setups and unpredictable weather that define the Ryder Cup.
Courses continue to be built by developers trying to one-up each other in the race to build the next toughest track (even if it means driving mere mortals to quit the game) while the PGA Tour chooses broad-shouldered venues that cater mostly to bombers.
“That’s why I’ve kept hammering on it, and will until the day I day: Variety. We’ve got to have more of it,” Sutton said. “Play fast greens, play slow greens, play ’em all. Throw everything at every player. We’ll find out who the best players are. I told [PGA Tour commissioner] Tim Finchem, ‘You can cut 18 holes in the parking lot and Tiger will find a way to win.’”
To show that he’s walking the walk, Sutton pointed to Boot Ranch. He went out of his way, he said, to make sure the course included doglegs left and right, short holes, long holes and a variety of lies and looks.
“There’s a driver, there’s fairway woods, there’s long irons, middle irons, short irons, wedges and a putter,” Sutton said. “There’s 14 clubs in there. There’s a fade and there’s a slice. There’s a draw and there’s a hook. There’s a high ball and there’s a low ball. There’s backspin and there’s overspin. And by the way, they’re all part of the game, and by the way, you should know how to hit every shot and every club. If you’re on the PGA Tour you don’t have to."