Since taking in a portion of Sunday's Target World Challenge at Sherwood, something's been bugging me about the playing conditions. Naturally it took until Wednesday for me to figure it out.
Now, I'm all for playing the ball down whenever necessary, especially in major championships.
But a Saturday rain combined with the newly sodded fairways (not draining worth a lick) led to poor conditions and balls covered with mud. Third round leader Geoff Ogilvy and eventual winner Tiger Woods hit their share of squirrely shots, with Ogilvy twice having mud wreak havoc that ultimately cost him a shot at defending his third round lead.
The decision not to play lift, clean and place sums up pretty much everything that I find disappointing about the current PGA Tour leadership: their consistent inablity to understand what makes golf entertaining to watch. As I understand it, this was tournament director Mark Russell's call, and it was not his best.
The Target World Challenge is an exhibition intended to entertain the fans, enrich the players and benefit a worthy cause. This is not the time to worry about the integrity of the game. The primary goal is to create some excitement, and in this case allowing the players to play shots with a clean ball would have been a lot more fun than what ultimately unfolded Sunday.
I appreciate the Tour's stated desire to uphold the traditions of the game, but this was not the time to do it.
If they want to get serious about integrity and protecting the traditions of the game, they should worry more about the impact of distance increases. I know, now I'm really delusional.