We’re three weeks away from the Ryder Cup, the biennial competition between the United States and Europe. The U.S. leads the all-time series 26-13 and holds the Cup after winning in convincing fashion at Hazeltine in 2016.
We’re counting down the days until the opening tee shot, no doubt.
Once again, The Open delivered a compelling final round befitting golf’s oldest championship.
The 42-year-old Tiger Woods seized the lead – and the golf world’s attention – early in the back nine, adding fuel to an improbable comeback. Jordan Spieth fought valiantly to defend his title. Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy thrilled the locals with spirited charges on the closing holes. In all, at least a half-dozen golfers battled atop the leaderboard as the holes dwindled and the sun began to dip over historic Carnoustie, which bared its teeth via strong breezes and hole locations tucked in corners.
The USGA has put forth a commendable amount of resources and efforts in its campaign to end slow play on the golf course. Slow play is a big issue that has continued to increase over the years. It’s time we get in gear and put it to an end.
USGA President Glen Nager outlines the following as the main components of the recently launched program:
Analysis of key factors known to influence pace of play
Development of a pace-of-play model based on quantifiable data
Improvements to the USGA Pace Rating System
On-site assistance at golf courses to help managers assess and improve pace of play
As Tiger Woods roared back to the summit of the world golf rankings, the above phrase was in the back of my mind. This phrase is often bandied about at my local club but I personally don’t think it is relevant to the regular amateur player. I think that keeping the ball in play from the tee is more important as it ultimately makes very little difference how many putts you take if you’ve hit 5 or 6 shots before reaching the green. However, I think the phrase is significant in the professional game where every player has a good long game, excellent short game, and everything else that goes along with being a tour player. Last week’s tournament at Bay Hill illustrated this point perfectly; where Tiger finished well down the rankings in almost every department apart from the most important one – putting!
Tiger Woods returns to competitive golf this weekend at the Fry’s.com Open in California. Having not qualified for the Fedex playoffs, it has been 7 weeks since Woods’ last competitive round when he missed the cut at the PGA Championship.
He returns this week having slipped out of the world’s top 50 for the first time since 1996; although he does have renewed hope, as it has been widely reported that he shot 62 last week at his new home course, Medalist in Florida, which included a fantastic back nine of 29. Whether this form can be carried into tournament play, and eventually into the Presidents Cup, remains to be seen…but at least it’s some positive news about the most famous man in golf…arguably the first we’ve heard about him in 2 years.