That certainly was the impression left this week by Mike Davis, the U.S. Golf Association's senior director of rules and competitions, who was attending the Masters.I would also take this as an encouraging sign that they are prepared to do something about distance, but the "Distance Myths" memo is another reminder that Logan was being kind with that last line.
"We haven't run into one roadblock looking at Merion," said Davis, adding that only a few remaining logistical issues at the Ardmore club, not the strength of the golf course, present any potential problems.
While Merion, host of four previous U.S. Opens, has been on a short list of potential sites for the '13 Open for a couple of years, its chances have improved as the prospects of another potential site, the Country Club in Brookline, Mass., have dimmed.
The Country Club, regarded by some as a favorite for the '13 Open because it would mark the 100th anniversary since Francis Ouimet won the Open there, has more logistical and township issues than Merion.
Davis, who spent the week of the U.S. Amateur at Merion last summer, arrived as a fan of the course and left an ever bigger one. Not even the fact that Edoardo Molinari, the eventual winner of the Amateur, was 7 under par through 15 holes in the afternoon round of his final match against Dillon Dougherty took away from Davis' respect for the course.
"Out of 312, how many did Merion stand up to?" said Davis, referring to the fact that relatively few players broke par in the qualifying rounds. "There are a few of us who want it to happen, and you can put me at the top of that list."
Still, Davis conceded, no matter how much he and a few others at the USGA might push for Merion, the decision belongs to the 15-member Executive Committee, a body every bit as political as the U.S. Senate.
I really disliked the Butler Cabin ceremony at Augusta. I always felt that the best thing to do would be to go right to the public presentation of the green jacket, with emotions still at a fever pitch and all the people and a national TV audience there to see it. To go inside the flower-infested catacombs of the Butler Cabin and watch the club chairmen perform the ceremony they were helpless — really let the air out of the balloon. One year Hord Hardin asked Bernhard Langer how he pronounced his name. Another year he asked Seve how tall he was. I would watch this with my face in my hands, but the club wouldn't have it any other way. Oh, well. FRANK CHIRKINIAN