Week In Review, March 12-18: Augusta Talk Continues

WeekInReview2.jpgAlan Campbell wrote about Tim Finchem and the WGC's staying in the U.S., calling the commissioner's conduct "despicable."  But as reader scott pointed out, "Phil Mickelson cant be bothered to skip trick or treating for the richest payday in golf--why do you think he will lift a finger to go to Europe for the Pizza Express WGC Open?"

Paul Azinger made some interesting comments during the Honda telecast, bemoaning how technology is depriving us of seeing real shotmaking and suggesting that there is no going back. But the better comments were on the thread after.  Smolmania wrote: "Roc can take all those little numbers and symbols that fly thru the air in his commercial with Tiger, and create a core that just doesn't fly so far. Will I -- a maybe better than average joe (5 handicap) -- not hit it as far? Absolutely. But neither will Tiger and the other bombers. . . and the game will be better off."

And Josh Hoisington offered this: "The difference between the Longest and Shortest average drivers over the years. As of now, the driving distance leader, Bubba, is averaging 320, Brad Faxon, I guess he's the driving distance loser? Anyway, he's averaging 260. Obviously it's early, but last year the difference was the same at the end of the year: Scott hend 320, Corey Pavin 260. The difference is 60 yards. In 1980, which is as far back as pgatour.com seems to go, Dan Pohl was leading with 275, the shortest hitter was averaging 240, making only a 35 yard difference."

John Hawkins reported in Golf World that it's CBS making the call to keep Gary McCord off the Masters telecast, not Hootie Johnson.  This prompted Frank Hannigan to write another Letter from Saugerties.

MacDuff gave us an updated look at his FedEx Cup points standings, which award points equally from event to event. The result? Playing well and playing a lot are rewarded. Another great discussion broke out after this post.
njmike pointed out what could be a nightmare scenario in the FedEx Cup concept: "Can you imagine Tiger winning two majors and nine events and not having enough points to win it? Ranked lower to someone that played in 25+ events- big deal."

And reader J.P. wrote, "the Top players really only play in the larger purse events, where they are payed a lot more than just your average Tour event. If every tournament purse was the same across the board as well as a Fed Ex Cup points structure, I think we would be seeing a totally different group of players being considered the Top Players."

Greg Norman let it be known to Tim Rosaforte at Golf World that he was contemplating a lawsuit to force the PGA Tour to open its books. Sean Murphy shared some of his experiences in a similar quest to Norman's.
And some of Norman's past comments were posted here and here.

The question of whether there is any interest in DVD's of golf events in their original telecast form, with bonus commentary and extras. Several readers offered great suggestions for possible events to release.

John Davis looked at the abysmal start to the Carolyn Bivens era, which now is about to have its first major, with golf's most prominent publication still not reaching an agreement on covering the LPGA Tour. Amazing.

John Huggan brought us up-to-date on the situation at Musselburgh.

And finally, (and I mean finally!), the drastic changes to Augusta National have taken center stage three weeks before the season's first major.

I wrote about the recent remarks of Nicklaus and Palmer, and the past writings of Bobby Jones.

Jack Nicklaus held a press conference and continued to question the design changes. Arnold Palmer tried to back off some of his remarks and also jokingly ducked the golf ball issue with Commissioner Finchem present.

Tiger Woods called the new look Augusta "interesting," his nice way of saying he thinks it stinks.

Ernie Els said the event has become no fun and may be the toughest of the four majors. Reader Steven T. noted, "The Masters is taking on some characteristics of a US Open course setup. Perhaps they will move up the tees on the back 9 on Sunday to create some fun. Perhaps not. Also, Jack Nicklaus must be really ticked off that Fazio got the job to rework AN instead of him."

And reader Jay wrote, "Tying this into the Nickaus in '86 thread, it was way more fun to watch because he was making birdies to roar past the field."

More Els remarks on Augusta and technology were looked at, but maybe the best comments about Augusta came from Mike Weir, who questioned what Bobby Jones would think of changes to his design.

Never has Augusta received so much (constructive) course criticism in a week from so many former champions. Maybe the club will re-think it's approach to the course?

More likely,they'll re-think inviting former champions as members or allowing contestants to play the course before Masters week.