Hawkins: It's All About Jack

Golf World's John Hawkins misses the point behind the Memorial bunker furrowing, chalking it up to appeasing Jack Nicklaus. He obviously didn't get the message that people find it ridiculous when players would rather their ball up in sand than rough.

The lead reminds you that Darwin, he ain't.

Fortify a PGA Tour venue with four inches of lush rough? Bravo! Gooseneck the fairways, hide the pins, triple-cut the greens? You betcha. Create furrows in the bunker sand? Are you freakin’ nuts?

And the real reason behind this furrowing madness...

As for the notion that tournament officials ignored standard procedure as determined by the tour’s own policy board, one can only chuckle. The players themselves are all too aware of how little influence they have in Camp Ponte Vedra’s version of democracy, particularly when it involves Nicklaus. Jack wanted grooves in the sand so the boys would have harder time short-siding an approach, splashing out to two feet and moving on. The tour wasn’t about to object to the wishes of the man they just named 2007 Presidents Cup captain, a man who almost always gets what he wants and is usually right.
“Why does everybody want a free ride?” Jack pondered during the Friday telecast. “You don’t hear much [complaining] from the good players. The tour said it wants to keep doing this—we’ll find out whether [it has] any guts or not. It will be interesting to see what [happens] next week.”
Next week? You can bet the tour will follow the path of least resistance at Westchester and beyond. The bunkers will return to their pristine state, the moaning will cease, and it will be business as usual. Nicklaus has always cast the Memorial as something of a Masters knockoff, complete with its own little set of rules (caddies wear white jumpsuits, no reporters on the practice range), many of which have been abandoned over the years. It’s Jack’s way of reminding us who he is, a right to which he is perfectly entitled, and Camp Ponte Vedra isn’t about to play the role of heavy one week each year.

Somehow, I think there is a whole lot more to this than coddling Jack Nicklaus's ego.