To the Royal & Ancient Golf Club and the United States Golf Association: A backbone
Over the past 15 years or so, golf at the very highest level has sadly become a less interesting spectacle. The world's leading players are, almost without exception, hitting the same shots time after tedious time. Gone are the likes of Lee Trevino and Seve Ballesteros, men who could conjure up subtle fades and draws rather than simply aim straight at distant flags.
Then there are the courses the biggest events are played on most weeks. Stretched almost beyond imagination, covered in more and more unimaginative rough and with pin positions cut ever closer to the edge of putting surfaces, the tracks played by the leading professionals encourage a crash-bang-wallop style of play that has all but lost almost every semblance of subtlety.
The root cause, of course, is the golf ball. It goes too far and it flies too straight, facts the R&A and the USGA are well aware of, but are loath to do anything about in case those big-bad manufacturers like Titleist and Callaway and their big-bad lawyers take them to court. The game's cowardly administrators have let us down. They have dropped the ball.
As each year goes by I fear the true sporting spirit of match play is less and less in evidence. We find a growing disposition for play to concentrate on the figures that are registered at a hole rather than on the question of whether the hole is lost or won in a purely friendly match.