Enough grousing! Difficult conditions needed to find best in a major
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but professional golfers came together for a major tournament and ... whining ensued.
I know it’s not exactly newsworthy, as this sort of thing happens all the time, but that’s the point. This sort of thing happens all the time. And it’s got to stop.
I realize the British Open, which wraps up today, has been a stiff test over the past four days for those good enough to play in it. Still, that’s the key — those taking part are only the ones good enough to be playing in it. As such, they’re the best of the best. But so far, the only thing they’re the best at is complaining.
During the last week or so, numerous members in the field have complained about a variety of things. Let’s address a few, with the biggest being Muirfield Golf Club seems to be a bit hard this week.
Wait a minute. A golf course might actually be dried out during the summer? I’m shocked. (That’s sarcasm, in case it isn’t coming through loud and clear.) Could the grounds crew at Muirfield water the course a bit more? Sure. Should they? I’m not so sure.
Therein lies the biggest problem in the whole scenario. Pro golfers have been coddled for so long they have no idea what it’s like to play anything but the top 1 percent of all courses in the world. Yes, a top-flight tournament deserves a top-flight course. But even with “flaws,” what they’re playing right now is still better than 99 percent of anything else out there.
I understand almost everyone in the Open played all sorts of courses when they were younger, but they’ve forgotten what it’s like to play those less-than-perfect ones. If a pro wants to see a really “tough lie,” I’d welcome them to come out and play any of a number of courses around the midwest in a month or so when the scorching summer has had a chance to dry out the fairways. Have fun trying to take a divot on the hardpan that passes for a fairway during drought-like conditions, or finding a clean lie when it’s hard to find more than three blades of grass next to each other. Show me how well you play on that, and then I might be truly impressed.
With the dry conditions at Muirfield, a complaint seems to be balls are getting “too much roll.” You know what some of us regular golfers call that? A bonus. Most hackers would love to add 80-100 yards on all our drives. I for one would welcome the troubles that come with being longer off the tee.
Besides, you would think “the best in the world” would be the best at adapting to conditions. But apparently these golfers want things how they want them, and if they don’t get it, the only recourse is to complain.
Among the other complaints were the greens were too fast and pin locations on those greens were too tricky. You would think guys who’ve been at it this long would know tournament officials are going to do things like that. I’ve never played in one of golf’s major tournaments, but I can guarantee you two things before it starts — the greens will be fast and hole locations will be tough. If you don’t know that, you’re not paying attention.
Phil Mickelson even had the nerve to complain about the par-3 third hole playing at 274 yards, saying, “You can’t even reach it.” Maybe, if you’re me, a 274-yard par-3 is a stretch. But again, these are professionals, and that’s not too much to ask. The fact Phil, who I normally like, would whine about it just makes him sound childish.
While some rain might have softened up the course if they had gotten any, you can rest assured someone would be having a hissy fit about having to playing when it’s wet. And they haven’t even had to contend with much wind, which is normally a common part of the British Open experience.
Perhaps it’s time to just shut up and play, because I’ll bet whoever comes out on top today won’t have complained much this week. He was too busy taking care of business.
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