Perhaps fearing area readers might cancel their subscriptions, deputy editor Michael Cochran said, "Nobody at Golf Magazine would dispute Chicago is one of the great cities in the world as far as passion for the game."
Cochran said weather and affordability weighed heaviest in the equation.
"There may be a slew of great public-access courses in Chicago, [which our numbers acknowledge,] but if you're stuck with too many unplayable, lousy days to play, then it also hurts in the rankings," Cochran said.
OK, we'll concede Chicago has about five good weather days per year. But Cochran's weather argument takes a hit when you consider Columbus, Rochester, Detroit (12th) and Indianapolis (16th) all are in the top 20. At last check, those towns have weather comparable to Chicago. There aren't many January days where you see players in shorts on the golf courses in Detroit.
Then further defying logic is Chicago's ranking under the category of quality of courses, which is defined as "The best courses in the best overall condition." Chicago is fourth.
And Chicago placed first in number of courses designed by "esteemed architects."
John Kaczkowski, the BMW Championship tournament director, asks the obvious.
"How can Chicago be 46th and ranked one and four in those categories?" Kaczkowski said. "Those are two pretty big categories, aren't they?"
It almost sounds like a scouting report for a baseball player saying, "All he can do is hit for average and power."
"Yes, 'quality' was a significant category," Cochran said. "But if the citizenry can't afford them or they have to fight for the tee times, then it doesn't resonate as well."
It is, however, a remarkable thing that though golf courses are often in lovely places it frequently so happens that the beauties of the landscape are to be seen from anywhere except the course. Who, for instance, ever heard of a self-respecting sea-side course where one could get a view of the sea! One may hear it perhaps roaring or murmuring, according to its mood, beyond an interminable row of sandhills, but save with the artificial aid of a high tee one never dreams of seeing it. So it is at Portrush, in accordance with the best traditions, and only two or three times in the course of the round does a view of the surrounding beauties threaten our mental concentration on the matter in hand. BERNARD DARWIN