The mere mortals among us who walk around the golf course to get an idea of how far we have to go to reach the green have been using rangefinders for years.
The golf associations legalized them in 2014, which means that those who want to follow the letter of the law can use them to find courses, calculate handicaps and play along at various amateur events.
But there was also a local rule that allowed any tournament committee to prohibit its use at that event. As a result, they never got to participate in the various professional tours and major championships.
The U.S. PGA crossed that line last week by announcing it will allow aircraft into all three of its major championships: PGA Championship, KPMG Women’s PGA and Senior KitchenAid PGA. President Jim Richerson said the organization hopes to improve the flow of the game by giving players easy access to the yards they gain by pointing the device at the flagpole and quickly getting a number.
It was a big surprise to those who participated at the highest level of the game.
It’s so frustrating that they never asked those who know better than us what we think, said Paul Tesori, a veteran cadet who works for Webb Simpson. I really don’t think that will speed up the game, even for a minute.
On a normal hole I always have the number of the green, the number of the portage, the number of yards to the left or right and the number of yards behind the flag. The last number we get is the pine. What happens if the radar is more than one meter away ? Now we need to reset the rest of our numbers to match what we want to achieve with the shot.
Says an old caddy who doesn’t want to be identified: I am 100% against it. I think at the PGA Championship level, the optics are bad. In my opinion, this gives unprepared caddies and some others a chance to catch up.
I also don’t think it will speed up the game much, if at all, at this level. Most guys want more than one number.
The use of remote devices is appropriate for other levels of play, especially when shopping carts are not needed or used. The American Amateur, for example, allows them. But not the U.S. Open. In fact, no major professional tour or major championship system allows this, as the PGA of America is moving away from it.
Another caddie, Kip Henley, said the only real advantage occurs on rare occasions, such as For example at the 2017 Open, when Jordan Spieth’s shot on the 13th was followed by a… The hole at Royal Birkdale was so out of play that it was not possible to measure the length accurately.
He was damn good [Michael Greller, Spieth’s caddy], but 30 caddies would have 30 different numbers in that shot, Henley said. I understand that it speeds up the game on those shots, but only minimally. On the fairway, the player will always want the lead numbers, and the laser won’t give them to you. … This is a big mistake for me.
Oddly enough, this decision was not the main topic. Nobody yelled about it. And while the PGA of America and the PGA Tour have improved their relationship in recent years and work together in many ways, the PGA Tour has no plans to abandon home rule anytime soon.
In 2017, the tour tested the equipment at four ferry events in Corne.
We have decided, for now and for the foreseeable future, to prohibit its use at official PGA Tour events, PGA Tour Champions and Korn Ferry Tour events, the Tour said in a statement. We will assess the effect of truckers on competition at the 2021 US PGA Championship and then discuss the issue with player managers and the Player Advisory Council.
You can bet you won’t see them at the Augusta National during the Masters.
However, the PGA is an example of how there are different ways to apply the rules to different tournaments. It is already the only organization that seemed willing to allow preferential placement (lift, cleanliness and space) during their championships. It does not refer to the single-ball rule, which is applied at all levels of professional play. (The single ball rule states that players may only use one particular brand and pattern of ball during a turn). This is just one example.
A theory: The PGA of America represents more than 28,000 club professionals across the country. They not only teach the game, but also run golf shops and sell equipment. Maybe it’s a way to win the public’s love for remote devices. People may be persuaded to buy a product if they see the best in the world using it.
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Since Tiger Woods learned in early January that he had undergone his fourth microdiscectomy (December 23) and learned that he was already taking bullets, we have received little information about his condition. Woods has not yet given a public update, and it looks like he will not be involved with the media this week at the Genesis Invitational, a tournament he is hosting that could take place this weekend.
Woods dropped to 48th in the world rankings this week, meaning he will be eligible to compete at the WGC next week – which seems too soon for him to go back. This week marks eight weeks since surgery. Arnold Palmer’s invitation is also being questioned, although that is possible. So we’ll have to wait every week to see if he comes back. Arnold Palmer? Actors? Honda? WGC Match Play? The last of these was 13 weeks after surgery and a course on which – due to the format – he was able to play three more rounds two weeks before the Masters.
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Jordan Spieth has been in the news lately; he played 54 holes in Phoenix and Pebble Beach. Although in both cases it was not his twelfth success. Adding a PGA Tour victory – he finished T-4 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and T-3 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am – the fact that he had a chance should be encouraging for a player who has had so many golfing problems over the past three years.
However, Spieth’s inability to put the ball in play on the tee and some cold stretches with the club remain his downfall. The driver is a particular concern, as we saw on Sunday when he hit just six fairways at Pebble Beach. A pair of late birdies helped him to a 70 of 2 under par, but he squandered his chances with bogeys on par-5, 6 and 14. Spieth bogeyed a four-over par-5 this weekend – losing by three strokes.
As you can imagine, Spieth has seen a lot of good things in recent weeks.
If I turned around Friday night in San Diego and you told me I was going to share the 54-hole lead and I was going to play 54 holes two weeks in a row and really fight those two weeks, I would honestly say you’re crazy, Spieth said. I didn’t have much leeway after missing the cut [at the Farm Insurance Open] and I did really phenomenally from Sunday to Wednesday last week, which was probably the best multi-day I’ve done in a long time. It made me believe in what I was doing and keep doing it.
Multiple winners, shepherding contest, etc.
Following his victory in Pebble Beach, Daniel Berger became the fifth player to win multiple times in COVID-19 since the break. Berger again won his first race, the Charles Schwab Challenge, in June. Dustin Johnson (Travelers, Northern Trust, Tour Championship, Masters), John Rahm (Memorial, BMW Championship), Bryson DeCambo (Rocket Mortgage, U.S. Open) and Collin Morikawa (Workday Charity Open, PGA Championship) are others. … Berger played 26 consecutive rounds of par or better, the longest streak on the PGA Tour. … Since Spieth’s last win at the 2017 Open, Justin Thomas has won nine, Johnson eight, Brooks Koepka six, DeChambeau six and Rory McIlroy five. … Woods, who had not hit a ball at all at the Spieth Open due to injury, has since won three times. … Spieth is currently 62nd in the world rankings and could still qualify for next week’s WGC concession if he manages to enter the top 50 on Monday – although the event will go beyond the top 50 and fill the field with 72 players.