For over a year now flogging (or Tigerball) has been a much-debated topic on this site and written about on Golfobserver.com, so it was nice to see the Golf World cover story on this radical new approach that younger players are taking.
Ryan Herrington and Tim Rosaforte explore the concept with excellent sidebar support from Dave Shedloski, Matthew Rudy and E. Michael Johnson, focusing on the how the players are able to power the ball via equipment and improved physical conditioning (though in lumping J.B. Holmes in here, they appeared to ignore his comments earlier this year that suggest physical conditioning has little to do with his prodigious length).
The main story is a solid overview with several interesting anecdotes. Though I was disappointed that they didn't explore the role that course setup may be playing in all of this. (The narrower they get, the more pointless it becomes to worry about hitting it in the short grass...).
Loved this from Bubba Watson:
My goal is to hit it inside the white stakes. No matter where it is, fairway, in the trees, as long as I have a swing [I'm happy].
More worth your time is Herrington's blog post on the story. He looks at who in college golf will be the next wave of floggers ("big bangers" just doesn't quite work).
He includes more comments from a coach quoted in the story who talks about the mindset of younger players:
“A lot of people look around and say, ‘that’s really different,’ ” says Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler. “Well, not to [them] it’s not. It’s second nature. [They've] done it [their] whole life.
“It’s just crank it on down there and deal with it,” he continued. “Because I think they feel like short shots, no matter how hard they are, they’re really not that hard any more. You heard growing up ‘Don’t get that in between yardage. Don’t get that finesse shot.’ Well they laugh at that now. There are no hard shots if you know what you’re doing. They’ve figured out how to get it up and down and how to hit the flop and how much better the wedge is. How much more spin … now you’re reading you can get too much spin. So there are no hard shots if you know what you’re doing. So it just becomes an absolute birdie fest.”
“I think it’s a culture. Guys just play different. I mean I can go up and down my team and it’s little guys and it’s big guys. To see where we play from … that’s one thing about being at a place where you play the same place all the time. We’ve been at Golf Club [of Georgia] for eight years, nine years now. I can’t tell you how different it is. There were par 5s initially they didn’t go for. And longer par 4s now that they just try to knock it on, shorter ones now. Or just get it up there around the green and get it out of the bunker rather than with a wedge.”
And Herrington ends his post with this:
One last point … this philosophy of play in many respects is much like baseball catering to home runs and basketball evolving into dunk contests. Yet while people dig the long ball, that doesn’t mean it’s good for the game. Just as each of the coaches said that the Big Bang theory is practiced in college golf, they all each lamented this fact, longing for the time when shot-making was still important. I have to say I agree with them. By becoming infatuated with distance, players aren’t necessarily better, just longer.
Oh boy, another one to the add to the converted list. This media bias is contagious!