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Home Daily Golf Briefs Daily Pulse for February 13, 2018


Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
VOLUME 8, NUMBER 30                                                         
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “I'm probably better than what I think I am, but I’m not a person that likes to go hit a bunch of balls on the range or just work as hard as I probably should. I've got to figure out how to keep that focus on trying to get better instead of just being okay where I'm at.”

BRAIN TEASER: Golf was represented at the 2018 Winter Olympics in the opening ceremonies. Who was it?

OLD NEVER GETS OLD! The Royal & Ancient Golf Club announced the 150th Open in 2021 will be held on the Old Course in St. Andrews. It will be the 30th time that The Open has been held in the back yard of the R&A. Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “The Old Course is something special for us and every other golfer, there is something magical about the Old Course and an Old Course Open Championship.”

The Old Course first hosted The Open in 1873 when the 13th Championship was played over an 18-hole course for the first time and was won by Tom Kidd. Since then, the hallowed grounds have witnessed some of golf’s most notable players go on to become Champion Golfer of the Year including JH Taylor, James Braid, Bobby Jones, Peter Thomson, Bobby Locke, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods.

“It is always special when The Open returns to the Old Course and I am sure that excitement, both here in St Andrews and around the world, will build in anticipation of this special occasion,” said Euan Loudon, Chief Executive of St Andrews Links Trust.
“Almost every great champion in the game has played on our famous Links and we look forward to welcoming the next generation of golfing greats for The 150th Open.”

THE BIG PICTURE: The Open Championship is an economic driver to wherever it’s held. “The Open brings about 100 million pounds worth of value to the region in that one week, week and a half, that we'll be there. It will put Carnoustie in the 600 million households around the world that will watch The Open. People will see that and hopefully enjoy the Scottish summer,” said Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A.

“And most importantly, the playing of The Open around Carnoustie brings people to play Carnoustie and to stay in Carnoustie or Dundee, to eat, to buy, go shopping if they wish to, for decades. That's the big picture, and we have to make sure that we keep to the big picture and also make sure that we deliver a fantastic championship that makes golf proud and Carnoustie proud.”

BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY: Speculation is never a wise strategy; yet many people are prone to employ it, even trust it. In its recent press conference to announce the 150th Open Championship returning to St Andrews, the R&A was drilled on a variety of topics with one in particular that should raise an eyebrow or two. The never-ending debate over the distance golf balls travel in the professional game appears to be coming into the spotlight soon.

“We'll be publishing the distance report shortly. It'll be out within the next month,” reported Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A. “And there is a statement in there from the USGA and the R&A on the data that's contained within it. I want to be careful not to preempt that too much.

“At the Open Championship you heard me, I think for the first time, talk about the balance between skill and technology, and that was in the context of ball hitting distance,” he continued. “And I think hitting distance is very important to focus in on, that it's not just about the ball, it's about the hitting distance, and this balance between how much skill and how much technology is available. There's no doubt in my mind that the technology has made this quite a difficult game and just a little bit easier, and at a time when we want more people to play the game, I think that's a good thing. But we do also think that golf is a game of skill and should be reflective of skill, and when you look at the points Mike (Davis) was making last week (at the USGA annual meeting) around golf course lengths, which is something he feels very strongly about, has floated in the U.S., you put those two things together, it's something that we have spent an awful lot of time thinking about and how we want to golfballsdo that.

“When you see the report, the distances, the raw data is available out there on the website. We don't make up the data. Some people think that we do, but we don't. We actually take it straight from the tournament. There are some things that you will see. One is that there has been a significant move up across all tours, and we're looking at the longest on record average driving distance, and you'll see that in the data, and both of those have caused us as well as our colleagues at the USGA, serious concern. We had talked for a number of years about slow creep, and this is a little bit more than slow creep. It's actually quite a big jump.” This would suggest, even to the uninformed, that the ruling bodies are prepared to some action rather than continue to talk a so-called good game. 

“Our 2002 joint statement of principles put a line in the sand, or purported to put a line in the sand,” Slumbers continued. “Our view is when you start to look at this data now that we have probably crossed that line in the sand and that a serious discussion is now needed on where we go. And it is a multifaceted matter. It's extremely complex. And you can rest assured that we are very serious to make sure what's right for golf. But there are a lot of things to consider, a lot of stakeholders involved. And that will be part of the next stage for both the R&A and the USGA. The data is going one way, and as I said, I don't really want to preempt the report, but that's where we're now thinking.

“There's a lot of work still to be done with a lot of people, and engaging with not just the game but the equipment manufacturers and all sorts of things, but that work we now feel needs to be done. I'm rather pleased that we've got this facility here to enable us to do our bit on it. I'm hoping that we have a constructive conversation with all stakeholders for the good of the game. What do we want to do? We want the game to expand. We want more people to play. We want to see it as a skillful game. I love seeing the best of the players out there doing it. I think we will all work and talk around this whole distance issue.”

Buckle your seatbelts; it could get bumpy in the days ahead. That being said, Slumbers and his cohorts are acutely aware that change is never an easy thing, especially in the golf world. “I think a lot of people would like to see it happen tomorrow, but that's just not life. It's not reality,” he admitted. 


TRY AND EXPLAIN THIS? Potter turned pro out of high school and worked in a cart barn to help pay the bills and save up for Q-school. He played two-day tournaments to try and earn a few hundred dollars so he could keep going. That’s life on the mini-tours. When he finally made it to the Tour, he missed the cut in all 24 tournaments he played. In the seven starts before Potter’s first PGA Tour victory, the Greenbrier Classic in 2012, he missed the cut five straight times and didn’t crack the top 50 in the other two. In the nine starts after that victory, he failed to make the cut three times and didn’t crack the top 50 in the other six. He was No. 246 in the world when he stepped onto the first tee Sunday at Pebble Beach. READ MORE>>>

ANSWERS: “I'm probably better than what I think I am, but I’m not a person that likes to go hit a bunch of balls on the range or just work as hard as I probably should. I've got to figure out how to keep that focus on trying to get better instead of just being okay where I'm at.”--Ted Potter Jr after his victory at the 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Inbee Park’s status as one of South Korea’s most important athletes was confirmed on Friday during the Opening Ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Park was one of the final Olympic torchbearers and one of the last to run in the stadium.