Frank and Valerie, love you guys and thanks for the frequent frankness. Please tell me why distance range finders are not allowed at the U.S. Open?
Thanks for your greetings and support.
The ban on electronic measuring devices (EMDs) in championship play is a question many of us have.
All I can say is that “tradition” is sometimes hard to define or understand in this instance.
I very much agree with some traditions – maybe just basic manners my father taught me – such as removing your hat when shaking hands with someone after a round — or any other time of greeting — or whenever greeting a lady. Also don’t wear your hat (cap) in the club house, or any house.
Perhaps I am just old fashioned but we play an old-fashioned, mannerly game.
When it comes to permitting the use of EMDs in championship play my feeling is that we parted with the tradition — of not allowing distance-measuring devices — a long time ago.
Hundreds of years ago, a good caddie was the first ‘distance measuring device’. This then followed a natural progression, of 150 yard markers, to sprinkler head markings, to “Stroke saver” yardage booklets etc. – even on the Old Course at St Andrews — and now EMDs to provide the same information that was available from a good caddie, and still is, if you can find one and afford his/her services.
We now allow the Open competitor all the information necessary to obtain the exact measurements to the flagstick including a “pin-sheet” or hole location sheet for every green – provided to every competitor by the championship committee on the first tee, every day of a championship.
If we are not concerned about providing the information, why would we possibly be concerned about HOW to get it?
This is, I suppose “tradition,” which may not make sense if we think about it. So let’s not think about it.
There are some genuine advantages to getting the distance information a little faster but speed is certainly not of sufficient importance to influence the decision. How you get this information is important from a “traditional” point of view.
If we go back in time to the days of Old Tom Morris, he didn’t have the advantage of reading — on the sprinkler head — the distance to the front of the 18th green, because they didn’t have sprinkler heads, or even sprinklers in his day.
What would Old Tom have done if he had an EMD available to him today? I suggest he would endorse its use, if it stopped all the dithering around and slowing play to look for a marked sprinkler head or a march stone in the yardage booklet etc.
Let me know if you think the Major championships should allow EMDs during play, and if so when?