1. It was reported this week that the famous Road Hole 17th at St Andrews will be lengthened by 25 yards for the 2010 Open Championship. The extra yardage will stretch the hole to 490 yards. Dumb. The R&A has been wanting to add length to this hole for years – as far back as 1964. But then it played as a par 5. “The 17th was played at the same yardage in 1900 as it was in 2005 and this fueled our belief that the formidable challenge of this iconic hole should be returned for the Open Championship,” said Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A. “Over the years we have seen the threat from the road behind the green, and to a lesser extent the Road Bunker, diminished as players have been hitting shorter irons for their approach shots, allowing them to avoid these hazards more easily. This change will ensure that the hole plays as it was originally intended.” Why does everyone feel they have make things harder by adding length? Everyone knows the course’s main defense is the wind, not length. Case in point, Rory McElroy hit 7 iron to this hole during the Alfred Dunhill Cup recently. Why? because there was no wind!
2. The 2010 LPGA Tour schedule will feature only 16 tournaments in the US, and none in Florida and Hawaii. Thanks Mrs. Bivens. Smash-up job. As far as Florida goes, we can all thank Bobby Ginn for screwing so many people with shady real estate deals that his communities, which feature a slew of Nicklaus, Palmer and Watson courses, will become ghost towns, and the fantastic courses once spotlighted on the PGA, Champions and LPGA tours will now go unnoticed and likely fall into disrepair.
3. I love checking out new equipment, which always made the annual trip to the PGA merchandise show in Orlando a weekend to look forward to. It used to be that club companies would show off their new stuff in January at the show and release the equipment at the start of the next season in the spring. I’m not quite sure what’s going on now, with clubs being released all the time, on no particular schedule. Some clubs come out in the fall, some in spring, and others in the middle of the year. Taylor Made seems to have new drivers out every 6 months. Since the R7 came out, we got the R7 Superquad & TP, R7 Limited & TP, Burner & Burner TP, Tour Burner and Tour Burner TP, and now the R9, R9 TP, R9 460 and R9 460 TP. As soon as you buy one it’s replaced by another. Cut it out people.
4. I see more and more courses in the south are choosing not to over seed their greens this winter. I applaud this move. Over seeding has traditionally been done to counteract the color change of bermuda grass. When it goes dormant in the winter it turns yellow. Most people that come to Florida on vacation think yellow grass is dead, so courses started over seeding their courses with a rye grass seed to make the course green again until the spring when the warmer temps would wake up the bermuda. I hate over seeded courses so I’m very happy to see this change in behavior. Even though the courses play better and the greens roll smoother without over seeding, I suspect the main reason courses are not doing it as much is purely financial.
5. Speaking of Bermuda, The PGA Grand Slam of golf is being played this weekend at Port Royal Golf Course. The competition features the years four grand slam winners – Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink and Y. E. Yang. The players get $200,000 – fourth place money – just for showing up, with the winner of the 36 hole stroke play event taking home $600,000. This year, this event can be summed up with one word. Yawn.
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