The Skill Open?

Get the Washington Post ombudsman on the line!

We have some good old fashioned anti golf ball bias displayed by Leonard Shapiro, who not only dares to suggest a retro equipment tournament, but proposes that Nike run it!

Back in June, when the PGA Tour pulled the plug, for now, on Washington playing host to a tournament for the next few years, I received several e-mails from a friend and Northern Virginia neighbor, Howard Jensen, clearly a thinking man's golfer himself, who offered an intriguing alternative to the usual stroke play format for a tournament he'd love to see some day replace the Kemper/FBR/Booz Allen Open.

The play of Woods and Pavin over the last two weeks reminded me of his proposal, which follows mostly in his words. It includes a deep-pocketed sponsor -- he suggested Nike--that would put up the prize money -- say $5 million -- and dictate the rules of play that would go something like this:

Equipment: Nike selects a standard shaft, maybe graphite, and a standard ball (soft) that all players must use. The goal is to select a shaft and ball combination that, in the hands of the longest hitters, would only carry 300 yards maximum when hit perfectly.
See the bias. Criminal I tell you! Here's more from Len's equally biased friend:
"Skill with mid-irons and skill around the greens becomes a significant factor in professional golf again. The equipment in the bags of all players is identical, no tricked-up wedges, no fairway iron/woods, no fade driver/draw driver combinations. It's pure golf, pure equipment.

"This is not a radical notion. Every other professional sport uses standard equipment for all players, even NASCAR. The Battle Cry will boil down to a single question: Is it the player, or is it his/her equipment?

And naturally, this next point is just ludicrous. The plummetting ratings and Tom Fazio say the people want long drives, so they must want the power game, not silly stuff like this:
"Fan interest would be off the charts, drawing in even the casual golf fan. Sports radio and ESPN will have a field day hyping the event, and Washington would be the place to be in the world of golf.