Ammerman Speaks

Thanks to Steven T. for noticing this Joe Logan sit down with recently retired USGA Executive Committee member Craig Ammerman, who gets right to the point:

Q: What are the biggest issues facing the USGA and golf?

A: The USGA needs to find a new revenue source or two, which is why you've seen announcements about corporate sponsors (American Express, Lexus). Over the last 15 years, the staff of the USGA has more than doubled because we are doing things nobody thought of 20 years ago. To continue doing them is going to require additional sources of revenue because the single biggest source - TV rights fees - are declining.

Hey, I can think of oh, at least $500,000 in savings that could go to the recently scratched tuition assistance program.

This is interesting.

Q: The USGA has been criticized by some of the biggest names in golf, like Jack Nicklaus, for dropping the ball on the golf ball. Are they correct?

A: In 2002, the executive committee approved spending whatever was required to learn all there is to know about the golf ball. The staff and those they've retained have done that. The final piece, or a final piece, should be obtained this year when balls made by leading manufacturers to go 15 and 25 yards less than today's ball will be field-tested with players of all skill levels. Decisions that follow will no doubt be influenced by those field tests.

Now, why is that no one at the USGA can give that answer when asked about the ball testing? That wasn't so hard, was it?

Q: Any disappointments or business left undone?
A: The worst thing that happened in my five years was [the super-slick seventh green] Sunday at Shinnecock. It was embarrassing. I was supposed to be out on the course as a rules official that day. Once I realized what was going on, I spent the day in the media center, so I could give [USGA president] Fred Ridley and [championship committee chairman] Walter Driver a summary of what reporters and players were saying.

But they took that information and handled it so well!

What, they weren't able to see for themselves it was a disaster. Oh that's right, no, they couldn't.