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June 20, 2004

7th Hole is too hard: Get Over It.

All I read about this morning was the 7th hole. I say every writer and player out there should shut up! Boo hoo, # 7 is too fast, unfair and just too tough, big deal. I say cut your bellyaching, play golf and get paid way too much money for doing something we all love to do. Yes, it was difficult, but these guys are pros and this is their job. Regardless of the conditions: wind, rain, thick rough, fast greens, whatever it may be this is what they do.

Only 27% of the players hit the green in regulation and there was only 1 birdie. Difficult hole, yes. What's more important to me is this was fun to watch. Watching the balls roll off the green made this hole by far the best spectator hole on the course.

And here's what pisses me off about players complaining about the 7th hole. Every player in the field played the same hole with the same pin placement; there is no unfair advantage for anyone. Ernie Els called this hole ridiculous, which yes it was ridiculously difficult, I say shut up and golf.


Anonymous said...

A golf blog. Very cool.

Two observations:
1. The 7th hole was too hard, but you are right - its too hard for everybody, shut up and play.
2. If you want to make the big bucks like the pros do, all you gotta do is get good and turn pro. Simple, eh? America, the land of opportunity.

Michelson had a great opportunity to show his creativity with that lightning-fast downhiller he had on the 7th yesterday. He wrote an article about 8 years ago in Golf Digest about how to handle just that type of putt - putt it sideways.

I had a putt like that shortly after I read the article - a shot on a two-tiered green that somehow defied gravity and stayed on the slope. I took his advice, and the ball nestled down within a foot of the hole. My friends were flabergasted.

Hey, Dr. Philly Mick - take your own advice!

Charles Bird said...

So what if the 7th is "unfair". They're all playing the same hole with the same pin placement. The best golfers will eke out a par one way or the other and move on.

AmbiDextri said...

Yeah when you earn as much as these guys do, doing something that is after all a game, then sympathy for their moans is always going to be limited. Shut up and play indeed.

But, I'm gonna throw in a but, a hole should not be defined by luck. Not in the US Open anyway. A player should never be put in an impossible situation while on the green. If he hits it in the trees sure, but on the green never. Mickleson made double without making a mistake. That's what's ridiculous. The USGA screwed up and can't even admit it.

So yeah, these guys don't have much room to complain but this time I think they did.


OnePuttLarry said...

I enjoy your site a first visit. About the 7th hole...true, the 7th has been equally fair for all the golfers; however, this morning, that proved untrue! Several golfers this morning played 7 with disastrous results, so a decision was made that the green be watered between player groups. As Johnny Miller put it, if they didn't water the green, you would have several foursomes backed up on the 6th tee waiting! The 7th hole was a joke and is not a true test for the best golfer. True, golf is a lot of luck, but the 7th hole, up until the decision to water between groups was not a fair test, although fun for viewers to watch the antics of the golf balls rolling off the green and rolling off the green and rolling off the green. At least one golfer has posted an 11!!!

Anonymous said...

If the greens are too fast, why not let the grass grow a bit. As it is it's more like a green film over packed dirt at these events. It eludes me as to why anyone would be surprised at the speed of these overmanicured billiard tables.

Anonymous said...

Too hard to play, or too hard to play on?

I wasn't there, so I have to relie on what I saw, hear and read. My opinion is that the USGA went too far based on the weather-gamble they made. The toughest challenge, the best golfer...fine. But to create a situation that "appeared" to favor luck over highest-level skill ruined it for me as a viewer. To shave, roll and dry-out greens to the point where whether the ball wobbles left or right on it's own dimples is beyond "challenge"....into probabilities. In other words, luck. On any course, a ball nearly at-rest with the leather of the hole should not roll completely off the green.

While I think that the USGA solution to the fairways and rough may be partial solution...maybe they should look at longer greens-grass and much slower Stimpmeter reading rather than higher. Historically, greens used to be mown at the height of modern fairways, and fairways were much deeper, though sometimes rolled. Make it a challenge to get "through the grass", not "over the grass" as in current set-ups. A Stimpmeter reading of 8 used to be typical, not 12-14.

Another old-practice that might compensate is the pristine condition of the sand hazards. Old old-time designer thought thay should look like a herd of elephants just tramped-through. Now they are pristine and so smooth that unless the shot drops in vertically, the ball usually has a nice lie out in the center of the hazaed where it rolls to the lowest point. Why is a ball "rolling" in a sand hazard?

Length isn't the answer, nor are stone-hard greens...maybe they have to "roughed-up" the entire course environment. As a viewer or spectator, I should be seeing skill and challenge...not probability and luck.

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