Originally Posted by iacas
Sure it is. That guy ahead of you could have hit into a divot made by the group before him, or even by himself the prior day, while you could get a nice kick off a sprinkler head and have only an 8-iron to the green of a par five.
You can't do much to regulate luck. It happens, and it's both good and bad.
And in Kuchar's case, the committee ruled that the green was badly damaged, so they fixed it - just as they could do if the cup was damaged, or an animal came out and dug up a portion of the green and it couldn't be repaired in time, etc. Frankly, the only thing I found interesting about it was wondering who missed a putt and then slammed their putter down and didn't bother to fix the damage.
True luck is both good and bad, but regulations can enhance or lessen the role luck plays.
Suppose that the committee didn't fix the putter impact in Kuchar's line. Unless the guy who made it in front of him got fined, what incentive is there NOT slam your putter into the ground or drag your feet if you are in one of the first or middle groups on Sunday? Sure, you'll get a bad reputation (which might hurt for endorsements, etc), but from a scoring standpoint you are making your own good luck by creating more situations where a player behind you may encounter bad luck.
Sure a ball may kick from the fairway into the woods or vice versa, but if the rules of golf permitted lift, clean and place in your own fairway only, it would remove a bit of the luck element in terms of the lie that you get or the effects mud might play on your ball. Sure, you can argue that hitting out of a divot or less than perfect fairway lie is a skill (which I agree that it is), but you can't argue that winter rules don't help to eliminate 1 role that luck plays (aka the type of lie you get in your fairway).
Course set-up and design can also increase or decrease the role luck plays in the outcome- if you don't believe this, just look at mini golf.
In my ideal, the rules of golf and course set up should test skills while minimizing the role luck plays. In the case of something like winter rules, fewer skills are tested, but luck is minimized so it is a bit of a trade-off in my book.