Not sure why it took me this long, but I've figured out the perfect solution. Those of us that like it, like the "1 2 3 4" because it tells more of the story than "2nd shot." If the guy is near the green, for example, you'll know right away if he missed the green on a par 3, or if he nearly drove the green on a par 4. If he's in the fairway, you'll know if he's trying to get a GIR or give himself an eagle putt, etc, etc. It provides more info. Those who dislike it think it's redundant, and the space could be better used for some other information. They are right. In several of the cases (especially on the tee and on the green) the extra info is not necessary. And all of the ideas above for alternative info is great.
The solution is simple: Don't get rid of the "1 2 3 4," but rather, get rid of the "2nd shot" line. Now, those of us that like it get our extra info, and it's not redundant, and there is room for the other stats or whatever. Everybody wins!!
P.S. @newtogolf , I like your gamegolf idea, but think it would probably be a much easier sell to have the caddies wear it than the players. They already have the primitive hand signal game they play with Feherty and Maltbie, so this could make it a little easier and quicker.