Week In Review May 7-13: Welcome Billy

WeekInReview2.jpgWe kicked off the week discussing the departure of Hootie Johnson, and while I mourn his retirement, reader Chris H. says, "Let's face it, Hootie choked on so many different fronts. There are so many that it's a waste of time to go into all of them. Now if ANGC can get Hootie's name off the course design and restore it to Jones-MacKenzie original then I'll be a happy hacker."

John Huggan wrote about the slow play epidemic, prompting this from reader R. Thompson: "No wonder Tim Finchem won't release the details of the new television contracts. It's as Huggie has pointed out, people are bored witless, and it's mainly the equipment dwarfing golf courses. However, if courses are lengthened rounds will simply take longer to complete. Let's stop the nonsense and slow the ball down now."

After Billy Payne's first press conference where he used some interesting language regarding the possible "resolution" of the equipment situation, Old School wrote:  "1. Nothing over 360cc driver heads. 2. A tolerance on Cor from 109mph to 112mph showing an 83% transfer of energy and a diminishing Cor value starting at 113mph.
3. A restriction on Core Hardness for golf balls, going back to the core hardness of balls used in 2001-2002 whould be fine."

St. Pete said, "'RESOLUTION', looks like Billy and the Boys have been studying the stats for the last 5 years on distance. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened from 2002 to 2003, that's when things really got out of hand and have continued to escalate. The balls and drivers of 2002 is where the USGA said it was drawing the line. I agree with OldSchool, lets simply go back to drivers being under 400CC and golf balls that somewhat compressed."

The Bloomberg story on drugs in golf elicited a whopping 31 comments, all of them tgreat. A few highlights:

R.Thompson: "It's interesting to see the PGA Tour go after a Casey because they were worried about endurance being one of the requirements but then pull this sort of phony baloney out. The PGA Tour should be testing to find out who is benefiting from steriod use giving those players an unfair advantage with endurance."

Michael: "The PGA Tour and USGA do not even test for recreational drugs, it has to be the only major sport that plays for millions, and where players endorsements are in the millions, then dismisses the notion that there is any drug use taking place. What are they smoking in Ponte Vedra?"

Sean Murphy: "Whoever thought professional golfers had a drinking problem? Who ever thought professional golfers had a gambling problem? Who ever thought professional golfers wouldn't be experimenting with recreational drugs? Who ever thinks golfers are not experimenting with steriods is completely naive."

GeorgeM: "While control of steroid use by minors is appropriate concern for parents and schools, why is it an issue for governing bodies? The current state of affairs in sports other than golf is not helped by testing. There is too much testing and too severe penalty for suspect results."

H.W.: "...the PGA Tour should be required to meet the same standards that Congress is requiring MLB. Those standards are being imposed by Congress to ensure the youth of America is not taking steriods to one day become MLB players. The same common sense should apply to the PGA Tour, and Congress should be asking for drug testing to be imposed for all the same reasons."

J.D.: "Until there is evidence? The evidence is in the testing, without testing there is no evidence. I noticed that the Commissioner declined to comment on something important to the integrity of the sport. He's not only showing his lack of integrity but is also sending the message to pro golfers no testing will be conducted until there is sufficient evidence."

Rob: "Recreational drugs, or even sports enhancing drugs, anyone who oversees rolling a green of a U.S. Open in the middle of the night should be drug tested!"

Rick reminded us of this quote from Jimmy Vespe: "It was a refreshing article you just ran about drugs not being found in golf, but it is not entirely accurate. I was an intercollegiate golfer for a major Division-I college, and have plenty of friends on Tour. I can say without question drugs -- though on a small scale -- have been used to enhance performance in golf for years. Guys smoke pot quite frequently on Tour to stay focused and calm, and take beta blockers for the same reason. It is in ALL sports -- unfortunately."

N Gn:  "Tour officials don´t push for drug testing because they are afraid of what will come out. They lie when they say there are no evidence. French Open, a few years back. French authorities notify they will conduct drug testing during the championship. What happens, more than 40 players withdraw the week prior the tournament! Need more evidence?"

And J.D. again: "Swinging for the walls with today's drivers and golf balls, where players are left with wedges from heavy rough, is all about being super strong to survive and claim greatness in the process. Greatness today based on illegal substances building muscle and endurance for golfers is the topic and testing should be conducted periodically."

On the reader report about a power struggle at Augusta National, RGB had this to say:  "Buying up companies and selling off their parts for profit is second nature for the members of Augusta. Capitalism is king, except when it comes to this one particular golf course. There's the line in the sand and this golf ball thing has now gone too far. Good luck Payne."

And Hux: "If Hootie and his cronies are the good guys, then the badies must really suck."

Regarding John Davis' story about equipment testing at ASU that might pass along savings to golfers, Scott wrote: "Pass On A Savings? Manufacturers started producing todays multi-layered balls for pennys compared to three piece wound balls, and then jacked up the price of todays balls. Who is he kidding?"

Regarding the latest confusion on rangefinders reported on by Jim Achenbach, Scott Stearns writes, "Whats the big deal, anyway? the USGA wanted to create an way for the growing number of GPS-enabled courses to remain within the umbrella of the rules. Most tournaments aren't allowing them. So What? If your course votes not to use them so be it."

Ned Ludd wrote, "I'll tell you about "slope," as in "this is indeed a slippery slope we find ourselves sliding down." If someone at the USGA only had Colbertian gonads, these devices would have been declared illegal from the get go. How can handicaps be compared and utilized when one is the product of a rangefinder and the other is not?"

And finally, Smolmania made his most spirited defense yet of rangefinders: "Information should not be illegal. Especially when the pace of play is retarded by those pacing off distances to the detriment of everyone else on the golf course. As for the stupid people who buy a device that claims to measure the distance a golf ball will travel up and down a particular slope, who does Bushnell think they're kidding? Up hill 10% translates to x less distance? For whom? With what clubs, what balls, what swing speeds? Why doesn't the USGA spend some of their war chest figuring out why the damn ball goes so far, instead of worrying so darn much about how far it is on my next shot? Oh that's right, excess distance is a myth."

Just another quiet week in the weird world of modern golf!