Friday, February 21 2020


Unassailable Character

Update: August, 20/2017 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

By Robert Bicknell

OK, let’s be honest here… how many people would have done what Christopher Crawford did at the US Amateur tournament… namely disqualifying himself after discovering an error by his caddie?

Crawford was competing at this week’s Amateur when discovering his last minute replacement caddie was using the slope-reading component of his distance laser (which are allowed, but not the slope component). 

Because the caddie had it on for the entire round, he disqualified himself for "multiple uses of a distance-measuring device with the slope feature activated by his caddie."

There comes a time when true character is displayed…

When asked if anyone would have really known if the slope function was on, Crawford replied that he didn’t gain an advantage but he knew the rules and felt he didn’t have a choice. He said that nobody else would have known, but he would have known.

For some people, winning isn’t everything. Sometimes, by losing, you win. This kid will go far in life for sure.

Now then, the PGA Championship is over and Justin Thomas has won his first major, but not everyone was happy with the way the course was set up.

For example, many of the pros played the course before the renovations and felt it was a nice comfortable test of skill, but after the changes they described it as very tough – especially the 4th hole, a par 3 where they added a lot of undulations to the green which rejected most shots.

Where they put the pin position, behind the bunker, didn’t make the pros any happier.

They also changed the rough from Rye grass to Bermuda and anyone who plays a lot of golf will tell you that wet Bermuda rough is miserable.

The question is how do you transform a normal golf course into something that can challenge the best players in the world, without going overboard?

If you look at Augusta National, for example, they always set up the course in roughly the same manner. Yes, they are known for making minor changes to the course during the months it is closed, but for the most part players know what to expect.

It’s like visiting your favorite relative’s house… it’s a comfortable feeling.

However, since the Masters is always held at Augusta National, perhaps that is not a fair comparison.

If we look at the US Open, we would see that the USGA has no idea how to answer my proposed question because they take every tournament site and turn it into a house of horrors. Pros are usually never happy with the set up and carry Maalox, Tums and Valium in their bags.

The R&A might be the best at turning a nice course into a challenging, yet fair, test of the best players in the world because they do it every year in the Open Championship.

There are no ridiculous holes, no trickery. Just a good solid golf course with quick greens, reasonably punishing rough and they let Mother Nature and the players themselves provide the fireworks.

That’s the best way to decide a champion…

Onwards… It looks like this year might be a worse rainy season than last year, which was actually quite mild here in Hà Nội.

Many places have seen quite a bit of rain and that causes wet soggy fairways and algae on the greens. Never fun for player, and bigger headaches for the superintendents who have to spray more fungicides. This also results in quacking from owners who have to shoulder the increased maintenance costs.

From a player’s point of view, it means less roll on the fairways, so where you might be getting a big drive during dry season, you will only get carry and a little roll when wet.

Fortunately, most of the drivers nowadays have adjustable lofts, so players can just dial in more height and blast off.

When I calculate my driving distance, I think carry and roll. This saves me a lot of headaches during the different seasons. For example, if I know I average 300 yards off the tee and if I know I carry a drive 285 yards and have 15 yards of roll under ideal circumstances, I can make adjustments when fairways are wetter or drier than normal.

Knowing your distances means more than just the totals… VNS


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