Frankly, we would like to congratulate Justin Rose, a great golfer and deserving US Open champion.
The other real winner is the game. The guardians of our game have made a courageous move, turning the corner, and have proven that we need to adopt a different mind set about distance.
The driver is no longer sacrosanct, and should now take its rightful place in the bag as just another club, not the most important club in the bag. We have for too long modified course designs and tournament setup, to cope with the few who have one particular skill – i.e. the ability to drive the ball a long way — we can now sit back and recognize that we do not have to use a driver on every par-4 and par-5. Merion and the USGA have clearly made this point.
We now acknowledge that the measure of a good golfer is not only in his/her ability to drive the ball a long way. Driving the ball long and straight is definitely a skill required of a champion but not the only skill. We have for too many years played into the hands of the long hitter by lengthening championship courses. The trickle down effect has been that some great old clubs have felt the need to lengthen their courses, removing them from the category of enjoyment to tiresome for the vast majority of the members.
Thank goodness this is – I hope – about to change. This is why the game is the real winner along with Justin Rose at Merion. We have now allowed a larger sampling of good golfers to exhibit many other skills and have the opportunity to win.
A 6,885 -yard course – as it was set up for Sunday — proved, without doubt, that patience and a variety of good shots other than long drives is what it takes to win.
Irrespective of how far some golfers can drive the ball we DO NOT need to continue to lengthen golf courses for championships. We now need to allow those in charge of course setup to exhibit all of their setup “skills”, rather than the brut-force approach of just moving the tees back.
Congratulations to the USGA for a great championship but more so, for a very important change in mindset.
I say that 95% of the existing courses present the appropriate challenges for 99% of the golfing population – except those courses which have mistakenly been lengthened beyond reason.
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