Originally Posted by LuciusWooding
I don't see how making majors more difficult would improve anything, it's all about the strength of the field and the size of the reward. Who cares if the winning score at Augusta is -14? And how can you suggest St Andrews be dropped? I agree Carnoustie is probably a better course, but still. Try playing the Old Course in a 30mph gale with no roll on the fairways. It's been bad luck lately that we haven't had a really tough Open. And the suggestion that we pick Irish courses to hold the BRITISH Open is a pretty odd one. I don't think the Irish will go for it unless they change the name. Not that there aren't great links in Ireland, it's just that there has been a spot of trouble between the UK and Ireland for a good while now. The US Open is all about tricked up courses and all, which is fine, but no need to make the PGA the little brother of the US Open.
If you try to fight the longest players with course design, you'll lose every time. There will always be that one guy who has wedges into the 500 yard par 4s, plays the par 3s like a pitch and putt, and gets an eagle chance on anything under 600 yards. That's 600 yards uphill, no doglegs and wind in your face. And meanwhile Luke Donald is back at the ladies tee hitting his second, needing a long iron to reach those long par 4s and laying up on a lot of the par 5s. He's not thinking about cutting back the ball or lengthening tees, he needs all the distance he can get. Everything honestly balances out pretty well for the average 290 hitter on tour, IMO. That's all they can do when there's such a difference between the longer and shorter players.
Anyway, I think Freddie deserves to get in on the basis of sheer style. Not something that can be said for too many players.
OK, let me break this down.
St Andrews will be played (I think) in two years. Right now, there are 11 holes including the two par three's that players will take irons or 3 woods on the tee. To paraphrase Moe Norman, Par 4's that don't require a wood from the tee should be made illegal.
It's not bad luck that the Open is not played in bad weather on a boggy track - the thing is played in July in mid-summer when the most light is afforded the British Isles. It does not guarantee great weather, but it certainly helps. Besides, a 30 mph wind and no run on most links courses make it a bit tougher...you may not even be playing because of the ball moving on certain exposed greens (Hoylake anybody?).
Here are some Irish courses that would qualify (they are in Northern Ireland, part of the GB) - Portrush (take anyone of the courses for a test), Royal County Down, Portstewart Strand (unbelievable course) for starters. Go over there and play them - if you break 100 on a clear day at RCD, let me know, I'll buy you a beer.
The US open is fantastic. It's the very fact that the course is tricked up and not dumbed down that makes it the best major. The PGA should not be it's little brother - it should be it's brother, end of.
I don't think length is the answer, but I do think that tightening the fair way cut is one way to work out who is straighter. As for Luke Donald, I suggest he gets in the gym, or change ball, or change driver. If you ain't knocking it 305, it's doubtful you are gonna win a major from back at 290.