McCabe On Fay's Crop Circles

David Fay can't wait to tell Jim McCabe that the drop circles at Winged Foot were his idea.

Drop areas had cropped up all over Winged Foot -- 50 in all, seven around the 18th. White chalk circles were seemingly at every turn of the head and even worse, they were being used, even if it meant moving the ball closer to the hole.

Good gracious, what's next? Players can buy mulligans on the tee for $5? Gimme putts if they're inside the leather?

Surely, someone in the US Golf Association had goofed. The matter had to be brought to the attention of the executive director, David Fay. Did he know about this?

Turns out he not only knew about it, he initiated it. And he denied my request for two minutes of his time.

``You'll get more than two minutes," said Fay. ``This is my baby. This is why I'm wound up."

Imagine if we could get him this worked up about the ball!

``This slow game has, over the years, gotten slower, and in my judgment part of it was dealing with these things in `big-time golf' called temporary immovable obstructions," said Fay, his reference being all the grandstands and scoreboards that are constructed. Fay estimates that it takes as much as 10 minutes to take a free drop on a ``TIO" ruling, because it involves an array of particulars, like keeping the arc so that the angle of the shot remains similar, not moving the ball closer to the hole, getting patrons out of the way, taking down ropes.

``And time spent doing a TIO drop is time you never get back."

Almost Meeksian in its tone.