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krupa

Adam Scott: Long Means Nothing to Us

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Former world No 1 Adam Scott has claimed courses have become far too easy for his sport’s best players. The Australian golfer launched his criticism after the Medina course record was shattered in successive days at the...

 

People have been saying this for a while but I don't think I've seen such a blunt statement from a Tour player before.

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Heck, I think Jack Nicklaus has said that for a while.  This comment was brought up in the No Laying Up podcast this week and I think that it's going to be hard for the tour to do anything about it.  Unless the courses that are played on decide to change how they keep up the course, the design isn't conducive to really challenging the pros.  

Which I think brings up two points: what does it mean to challenge the pros, and does it matter if they're challenged?

Is it challenging to hit a ball somewhere in the 126-129 yard range and control your spin?  Absolutely, but the pros can do it.  Is it challenging to hit off of side hill/uphill/downhill lies?  Absolutely, but the pros can do it.  Beyond what is physically possible with the equipment they have (so no hitting driver carry 400 or something), I firmly believe that a pro could hit a great shot within 3 tries of any shot you put in front of them.  So instead of managing tough conditions, they have to manage the challenge of actually birdie-ing enough holes to win or be in contention to the rest of the field.  That's where the challenge comes from in those scenarios and that seems like it should be enough.  This can also devolve into what meaning "par" has to a pro in a tournament, and really it isn't much.  Everyone is trying to shoot the lowest 72 hole score, and if the course is par 80 or 50, they're still going to try to shoot the lowest.

So, does it matter if the pros are challenged?  I think it's fine if they are from time to time, where the course truly punishes the not-great shots.  If every pro can pretty much hit any reasonable shot, adding another layer into what shot they should be hitting is definitely a skill.  It's not a skill that is tested every week, but I don't know if it needs to be.  The Masters, the Open, and the U.S. Open are all places where knowing the miss, evaluating the risks, and hitting great shots are important.  Is that enough?  Hard to say.  Is it fun just seeing everyone birdie a hole and move on?  Not particularly.  But is it fun to watch a pro hit a good pitch and have it roll back to their feet?  Not really.  So having times where both are true allows me to say that can appreciate each type of "challenge" more to the pro as a casual TV viewer.

Relating back to the comment: even the challenges that he brings up (forcing a certain shot shape on a tee box) I don't know will work.  The player will still figure out the longest club they can reasonably hit and do that.  If they have to dial back to a 3 wood instead of a driver if they aren't comfortable hitting a 20 yard draw, they'll do so and still be okay.  It doesn't change the "bomb and gouge" strategy, it just changes how far they bomb it to start with.  

I'm sure there's more I'm not considering at this point, but it's definitely true that a long and straight course doesn't challenge the players.  But what's the difference, and what would actually change?

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5 minutes ago, amished said:

Heck, I think Jack Nicklaus has said that for a while.

Jack is mainly concerned about his record being intact. He’s stated he doesn’t even watch golf anymore. Jack had his way for a long time with moving the goal posts. He needs to let it go and just stay silent on the matter. Dialing back the ball is asinine. 

I think all the belly aching about length is rubbish. Like you said, these pros are just damn good and will make the shot. Period. There are still current, top level golfers shooting over par. Golf will always win. Let them play.

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30 minutes ago, amished said:

So, does it matter if the pros are challenged?

Maybe, maybe not.  I think about professional pool.  For the general public, it's pretty boring to watch because every shot is so "easy".  People don't understand what goes into pocketing a ball and getting perfect shape on the next one.  So watching golf, when everyone is putting the ball in the middle of the fairway, then just hitting a wedge onto the green, and shooting at the pin, will eventually get boring to watch. 

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I think that the game has changed for better or worse depending on your opinion, but it is basically the drive and wedge/short iron show for tour pros.  Their game is different.  The only thing that seems to hold them back is severe deep rough and/or windy conditions, of which one is not controllable and the other doesn't always work.  When a course is soft from rain, -20 will be needed to win so matter how long and hard the course is.

If par is something that needs to be hung onto, you have to get rid of par 5's and driveable par 4's.  They are just too good to not have a birdie fest on those holes.  I've played one truly driveable par 4 in my life - they do it every week it seems.

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I find great irony in players saying that the courses are too easy these days and then complaining about course setups in the US Open.

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Quote

“Now the drivers are made so easy to hit that there’s no penalty for swinging as hard as you want to at every driver, because it won’t go as far off-line,” Snedeker said. “There’s no penalty for really going all-out on one.”

That line is interesting... I've seen enough wayward drives by pros that it just doesn't seem accurate.

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1 hour ago, amished said:

But is it fun to watch a pro hit a good pitch and have it roll back to their feet?  Not really.

I don't really think that happens that often.

"Good pitch" is relative too. Depending on the pin placement, a "good pitch" might be aiming away from the pin and leaving 15 feet for par, but if the pro chooses a higher risk option to get the shot close to the flag, then sure there could be the risk that they hit a "good pitch" and it rolls back to them because it needed to be a "great pitch" to get it close.

1 hour ago, amished said:

Relating back to the comment: even the challenges that he brings up (forcing a certain shot shape on a tee box) I don't know will work.  The player will still figure out the longest club they can reasonably hit and do that.  If they have to dial back to a 3 wood instead of a driver if they aren't comfortable hitting a 20 yard draw, they'll do so and still be okay.  It doesn't change the "bomb and gouge" strategy, it just changes how far they bomb it to start with.  

And if they are forced to be shorter off the tee, that means they will have longer approaches into the greens, which means they will (on average) have higher proximity to the hole and shoot higher scores.

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44 minutes ago, krupa said:

Maybe, maybe not.  I think about professional pool. 

That is the worst possible analogy.

Evey pool table is exactly the same and the point is that golf courses are not. A 61 at Medinah is not the same as 72 somewhere else because the geography is different.

32 minutes ago, Jeremie Boop said:

That line is interesting... I've seen enough wayward drives by pros that it just doesn't seem accurate.

IT is 100% accurate. They all agree they'd rather hit 120 from rough than 170 from the fairway. The wayward drives are outliers and do not come into the equation. 

Are you suggesting that guys like Koepka suffer because of their length?

1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

Jack is mainly concerned about his record being intact.

Nonsense. He knows his Major record will never be broken.

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4 minutes ago, leftybutnotPM said:

That is the worst possible analogy.

Evey pool table is exactly the same and the point is that golf courses are not. A 61 at Medinah is not the same as 72 somewhere else because the geography is different.

I think he was just trying to say that if something looks too easy, it's not fun to watch. Not that pool and golf are the same.

38 minutes ago, Jeremie Boop said:

That line is interesting... I've seen enough wayward drives by pros that it just doesn't seem accurate.

I think what Snedecker is saying is that the modern driver is Long AND Forgiving. You aren't penalized as much for missing the sweet spot. In that regard I agree with him. But I don't think that's a bad thing. 

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11 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I think he was just trying to say that if something looks too easy, it's not fun to watch. Not that pool and golf are the same.

 

Of course, but golf fans watch golf and pool fans watch pool. They generally know what's going on and can see that a drive that lands on a 330 yard par 4 with a lake next to the green is a pretty impressive effort. I am not aware of people who don't like pool watching much of it. Likewise, non golf fans don't watch golf because  they think it's a bunch of fat old guys driving around chasing a little white ball.

14 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

 

I think what Snedecker is saying is that the modern driver is Long AND Forgiving. You aren't penalized as much for missing the sweet spot. In that regard I agree with him. But I don't think that's a bad thing. 

Yes - The superiority of guys like Greg Norma evaporated when the larger metal drivers arrived. A lot of the younger players appear to be as good as Scott off the tee now and it's because of forgiving technology.

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I have never shed a tear over par being beaten or a course record being set by the pros. They are experts. They are supposed to make it look easy. No one goes to a concert to hear a violinist struggling through the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. I marvel at their virtuosity.

These guys are playing against each other, not some magical par.

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1 minute ago, gjunkie57 said:

I have never shed a tear over par being beaten or a course record being set by the pros. They are experts. They are supposed to make it look easy. No one goes to a concert to hear a violinist struggling through the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. I marvel at their virtuosity.

These guys are playing against each other, not some magical par.

What he said

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1 hour ago, ChetlovesMer said:

ou aren't penalized as much for missing the sweet spot.

Right. All over the world we’re all just smashing those drives down the middle. The slice is all but gone.😏 And as for the pros..gosh he’s right, I can’t remember the last time a pro hit a driver OB or off the fairway...come on.

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1 hour ago, leftybutnotPM said:

Nonsense. He knows his Major record will never be broken.

That’s your opinion, However Jack has said otherwise. So...fact vs opinion there. Sorry, you’re wrong. But that’s OT.

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14 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

That’s your opinion, However Jack has said otherwise. So...fact vs opinion there. Sorry, you’re wrong. But that’s OT.

Jack is diplomatic.  But in any case......

Please point to ANYTHING that indicates that he is concerned about his record remaining intact.

I challenge you.

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1 minute ago, leftybutnotPM said:

Jack is diplomatic.  But in any case......

Please point to ANYTHING that indicates that he is concerned about his record remaining intact.

I challenge you.

Other than him saying that very thing? You’re wasting my time kid.

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