It is becoming a new rite of (early) spring: flog talk at Doral.
While Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson waited on the 18th tee during Saturday's third round, Johnny Miller and Dan Hicks discussed the play:
JOHNNY MILLER: Tiger Woods, the odds of him hitting this fairway are no more than 30%.
DAN HICKS: Tiger, 6 of 13 today, Mickelson 4 of 13 and both those golfers are right in among the leaders here.
JOHNNY MILLER: It’s hard to believe, really when you look at these numbers.
DAN HICKS: Yeah it is.
JOHNNY MILLER: Especially Phil, 4 fairways, come on Phil, you’ve been hitting a lot of 3 woods, 3 metals and still not hitting the fairways.
DAN HICKS: This has been the trend here at Doral. We saw a lot of the same thing last year with Phil and Tiger.
JOHNNY MILLER: It’s not like these guys are missing them by 3 feet or 2 feet. They’re out there pummeling their gallery.
DAN HICKS: Davis Love remarked earlier this season that “our game is about hitting out there as far as you can and you take your chances from there.”
JOHNNY MILLER: Well, that’s why I’d like to see the USGA—if you’re listening—let’s go back to V grooves. And then all of a sudden if you’re missing fairways, you’re not going to take advantage of all these lies in the rough. You’re going to have to play maybe, you know hit it on the face or it’ll float up the face or maybe you’ll get a zinger. That was really a big part of the game of golf. I’m telling it’s been eliminated by these square grooves. Some of these players are switching wedges every two months just to they can take advantage of the rough.
I'm all for investigating the groove thing.
But it's like a kid with a cavities having their dentist suggest a new toothbrush to prevent future problems.
Nice start, but something is causing the cavity besides an old, soft brush.
In golf, flogging started with the newfound ability to carry a ball 300-330 yards, all courtesy of optimized launch conditions. This change, caused by the USGA opting to stick with Iron Byron instead of updated testing, allows elite players to get on a machine and pick up 25-40 (at least) yards without lifting a single weight. It remains the root of the problem.
It seems that the question of distance off the tee must be addressed before delving into the issue of whether grooves are an issue.
Think of it another way. If the USGA gets rid of square grooves, do you think Tiger and others are suddenly going to start using irons off the tee to hit more fairways on some 7,500 yard course?