The Secretary of the R&A, Peter Dawson, has recently opened himself up for Q&A from the golfing public. Recently, a man named Neal Walker Coventry wrote in to ask "Should something be done to prevent technology's influence on the game?" In this day and age, "technology" is being blamed for just about everything that's "wrong" with the game of golf, and the Secretary's answer to the question bothers at least one of the self-appointed guardians of the game. On his blog, Geoff Shackelford, a small-time author and golf course architect, replies with the blather typical of his side of the technology debate.
Your first shot on any par four or par five sets up the rest of the hole: are you pitching back into the fairway or attacking the flag? Do you have a wedge or a 6-iron in your hands?
Pros and high-level amateurs have been repeating the mantra "high launch, low spin" for a few years now. In January, we even published a chart showing optimum launch angles and spin rates. Great, you're thinking to yourself: "I'll get fitted for a driver and soon I'll be crushing the ball off the tee, long and straight." And you may… so long as you can get fitted.
I spent a day with the guys of the East Coast Acushnet (Titleist, FootJoy, etc.) Science Van at Tam O'Shanter of Pennsylvania and watched several fittings. The next day, I underwent a fitting myself as they ventured to Kahkwa Club here in Erie, PA. This is my first-hand account of that experience.
The inaugural playing of the Newport Cup has come to a close, and with it, an 11½-8½ Blue Team victory. Though we'll have coverage of the event in later posts, this story will share with the world some of the scoring.
As many know, our first two rounds at Talamore and Pine Needles were played in two-man best-ball competition, while our final round featured singles matches at Davis Love III's Anderson Creek. Each member of the Newport Cup played with every member of his team and against every member of the opposing team at least once, and we all had a great time getting to know each other.
Apparently Michelle Wie needs to keep a copy of the Rules of Golf handy in her golf bag. Or perhaps she needs to start calling rules officials over when she feels unsure of her decisions. Either way the newly crowned darling of supergiants Nike and Sony learned an important lesson after her disqualification this past Sunday at the Samsung World Championship: even if you think you're sure of the rules, ask an official!
Wie learned this lesson the hard way but it's one she will never forget. Aside from the fact that it cost the Hawaiian $53,126 and a fourth place finish this week (a mere pittance from the amount she will be receiving from the two industry giants), it also shows her game and mental attitude to be a bit amateurish. But let's give her some slack… she just turned sixteen!
Sports Illustrated journalist Michael Bamberger had a twinge of conscience the day after Michelle Wie took a drop after declaring an unplayable lie. Bamberger felt that Wie had dropped the ball closer to the hole than her original position. Further inspection and discussion with rules officials seemed to confirm that she had taken a drop approximately one foot past the original lie. Had Bamberger brought up the infraction immediately Wie would have brought home a paycheck instead of a goose-egg.
There are two relevant issues here. The first thing to consider is that Bamberger clearly should have brought up the discrepancy immediately. If he felt that she had taken an illegal drop he should have gone to a rules official on the spot and cleared his aching conscience then. Withholding this information for a day cost Wie a paycheck and caused her unnecessary embarrassment. Correcting her mistake was impossible as she had already signed her card. Had the issue been brought to light at the moment, she could have corrected her mistake.
The only things I heard last week about the Presidents Cup was the constant talk of the event being the "Ryder Cup wannabe." I could care less about all the talk because the Presidents Cup is one of my favorite events in all of golf. The last time the event was played, it ended in a 17-17 tie, and that gave the critics a bigger excuse to moan and groan. Well, the 2005 version has come and gone, and the winner wasn't decided until the birdie putt was holed by Chris DiMarco on the 18th hole in the final pairing at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club.
The Golf Channel served as the exclusive home for the Solheim Cup this year, providing coverage from 9am until as late as 8pm on each of the three days of play. They covered the press conferences beforehand and had post- and pre-game shows nearly 100% dedicated to Solheim Cup coverage.
The 2005 matches were some of the most exciting ever witnessed. The U.S. team fell behind early 5-3, but pulled back to 6-6 and then 8-8 entering singles play. Needing 14.5 points to win the Solheim Cup back, the first five matches included blistering play by Paula Creamer and Laura Diaz en route to an eventual 15.5-12.5 American victory.
The 2005 Solheim Cup rivals or surpasses even the (blowout that was the) 2004 Ryder Cup in terms of excitement - despite the fact that it's women's golf. Yet The Golf Channel's coverage rivaled only public access programming in its appeal. Could the coverage have been any worse? It's tough to imagine.
On October 15 and 16, The Sand Trap .com is holding the initial Newport Cup matches in the sandhills of North Carolina. The competition will be similar to the Ryder Cup (albeit with smaller teams) and should be great fun.
The Newport Cup is named after the location of the first U.S. Open, the Newport Golf and Country Club in Rhode Island. Held in 1895, professional golfer Horace Rawlins of England was the first champion.
We've yet to choose team names for the two competing teams, so this year they'll simply be the Red and Blue teams. The ball supplies the "white" in a patriotic theme. We'll choose team names at the event. Perhaps we'll be in an irreverent mood and play Team McAvoy versus Team Spackler, or perhaps we'll keep things historic. We shall see…
E. Michael Johnson of Golf World has published an article which says that the USGA sent a memo yesterday to manufacturers announcing a proposal to limit the moment of inertia (MOI) in drivers. If adopted, the proposal will go into effect March 1, 2006.
Moment of Inertia has been a hot selling item lately… on putters, but its use in drivers has taken a back-seat to two other existing limitations - head size (460cc) and Coefficient of Restitution (or CoR, capped at 0.830). MOI is a measure of a clubhead's ability to resist twisting on off-center hits. High MOI = more forgiving clubs. In March of this year, the USGA said that MOI had tripled in drivers since 1990 (yes, since the persimmon days). The March notice also mentioned three other areas would be looked at: spin generation, MOI, and the adjustability of woods and irons (see: TaylorMade r7 Quad).