"To make the golf course a little more competitive to par"

Doug Ferguson looks at the utter meaninglessness of par as a barometer of a successful championship, and why everyone still clings to it's value even though they know better.

"We can get caught up too much in numbers," Ben Crenshaw said Monday. "You still add up your score at the end of the round. And they're still going to give the trophy away to the guy with the lowest score."

That's worth noting because twice in the last three weeks on the Florida swing, the courses have played as a par 70. Mark Wilson won the four-man playoff at the Honda Classic after finishing at 5-under 275 at PGA National, which sounds like a more grueling week than if they had finished at 13-under 275.

Now, Palmer has converted Nos. 4 and 16 at Bay Hill into par-4s, and it will play as a par 70 for the first time in the Arnold Palmer Invitational Thursday through Sunday.

"I did it just to make the golf course a little more competitive to par," Palmer said.

Oh joy! Thank God the NCAA tournament will be on at the same time.

A couple of players earn big points for these comments...

Todd Hamilton might have the best solution. The former British Open champion would like to see only one number on the signs at every tee, and that would be to identify what hole you're playing.

"Get rid of the par. Get rid of the yardage," he said. "Go play the course."


If a player was trailing by one shot coming down the stretch, the last reasonable place to make up ground was the 16th. Find the fairway and you would have a shot at reaching in two and make birdie at worst.

"I thought 16 was a great swing hole," Trevor Immelman said. "You have to hit the fairway, and then you might have a mid-iron to the green. And if you miss the fairway and lay up, you could spin the ball off the green and then you could make bogey. I felt like it was such a great hole coming to the end of the tournament."

And, in lieu of one of his snappy baseball metaphors, David Fay at least hovered on the verge of a Yogi-ism:

"I do think there's a school of thought out there that the USGA is fixated on par," Fay said. "We're not fixated on par, but we like the idea that par is a good score."

Not fixated, but we really fixate on the idea of as a good score.