So if hockey can pull this off, why not golf? What better game for evoking youthful memories and feelings – of school-house swings, piecemealed equipment, and of a dreamy, pastoral playing field.
How about the PGA Tour putting together a “Summer Classic” tournament?
Players use older, wooden-headed drivers and “woods,” plus forged, not cast, irons and wound, balata golf balls – the kind that anyone who is 30-plus years old today grew up learning the game with. Forget caddies. Players carry their own golf bags. No yardage books or pin sheets. Golfers eyeball everything and improvise their shots. Leave the bunkers rakes in the maintenance shed. Mow the greens so they actually putt at different speeds.
How much fun would that be to watch? And to play?
The NHL’s “Winter Classic” was a success in every possible regard. And no surprise, despite (or was it because of?) the rough conditions, the game’s premier player, the Penguins’ Sid Crosby, not only displayed his amazing puck handling skills but also scored the winning goal. To their credit, the NHL’s administration even bent the rules slightly in the name of equity by stopping play midway through the third period and overtime to allow the teams to switch sides, lest either one gain an undue advantage from the elements.
That, to me, showed a lot of imagination. Don’t let rules nerds ruin the game in the name of some abstract lawyerly adherence when what counts is the spirit of the sport. With a little imagination and guts, golf, too, can go back to its traditions. It might be the best way of showcasing itself.
You may recall I asked Tiger Woods about this in December and he thought it would be "fun."
Let's consider the obstacles here.
I could see players passing because their equipment suppliers say no or simply because they don't want to be embarrassed. Otherwise, what do you see as potential stumbling blocks for such an event?
I could envision a scenario where Tiger passes such an event early or mid-season for the reason he now skips Kapalua, Pebble Beach and Riviera (messes up his stroke). But after stating how fun he finds this kind of golf, and after telling Jaime Diaz that if he ruled the game the boys would be playing persimmon and balata, he'd have a hard time saying now to such an event in the silly season without looking foolish.