Breaking News! Ogilvy Concerned About Direction of Game

I know Australia is a bit disconnected from the world sometimes, but how do you explain The Age sending out a story on Geoff Ogilvy's comments about the state of the game as breaking news? The comments, reported by Golfobserver's John Huggan (which The Age obnoxiously did not cite), were made Friday or Saturday of the U.S. Open and reported in a June 20th column.

Well, no worries, because it is still a column worth reading. Unfortunately, you have to read a cached version because the original is not viewable as Golfobserver moves to a new host. 

Actually, forgive me, but this is my personal clipping archive and since I didn't copy the original comments over, here they are from The Age's uh, exclusive.

"Two important aspects of golf have gone in completely the wrong direction," said Ogilvy.

"Most things are fine. Greens are generally better, for example. But the whole point of golf has been lost.

"You don't measure a good drive by how far it goes; you analyse its quality by its position relative to the next target. That doesn't exist in golf any more.

"The biggest problem today is tournament organisers trying to create a winning score. When did low scores become bad? At what point did the quality of your course become dependent on its difficulty? That was when golf lost the plot. The winning score should be dictated by the weather.

"The other thing is course set up. Especially in America there is too much rough and greens are way too soft. Then, when low scores become commonplace, they think how to make courses harder. So they grow even more long grass.

"But that misses the point. There is no real defence against a soft green.

"If the first game of golf was played on some of the courses we play today, it wouldn't be a sport. It would never have been invented. People would play one round and ask themselves why they would ever play a second. It would be no fun."

Ogilvy was particularly critical of US Masters officials at Augusta National.

"With the greens they have there, you don't need rough. They are always going to be firm," said Ogilvy.

"Move the pin ten feet and the other side of the fairway becomes the place to be. That's the aspect that has been lost. And if Augusta misses the point, what hope has golf got?"

Ogilvy questioned the R & A's set-up of last year's British Open venue at the Home of Golf at St. Andrews and the infamous Road Hole.

"It's the most fearsome hole in golf and yet they had to grow all that silly rough up the right hand side," said Ogilvy.

The Australia also took aim at the USGA, organisers of June's US Open where Ogilvy became the first Australian in 11 years to win a Major.

Speaking of the 2005 US Open host venue of Pinehurst where Sydney-based Kiwi Michael Campbell won, Ogilvy remarked: "All of the bunkers were in the rough."

"And all the best angles were taken away by the USGA growing long grass in the spots where the best drives should have been allowed to finish. It was a mess."

Ogilvy's biggest fear is that the new direction of golf is filtering back to the weekend hackers and spoiling the game.

"I don't care, if people want to see us hacking out of long grass all the time, it's fine with me," he said.

"But the trouble is that everyone in golf follows us, the professionals. So it gets harder to find fun places to play.

"All of a sudden my dad is out there chopping around in six inch rough, losing his ball every time he misses the fairway and having no fun. Which makes no sense. We play a game that 99.9 per cent of golfers have no hope of duplicating."