On Tuesday the USGA and R&A announced 87 changes — three new Decisions, 59 revised Decisions, one re-numbered Decision and 24 Decisions withdrawn – to the Rules of Golf that will be effective January 1, 2014, but there were four significant ones, with the most notable involving the use of high-definition or slow-motion video and other visual evidence in enforcing the game’s rules.
Golf’s governing bodies may have been prompted to make this new decision as a result of several controversies during the 2013 season, particularly the Oscillate-gate incident with Tiger Woods receiving a two-shot penalty for his ball moving at the BMW Championship.
There’s a world-class golf course in the middle of New York City — on the south point of the Bronx tucked under the Whitestone Bridge. The effort to build what is now called Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point nearly has the makings to be an episode out of the The Sopranos, but I didn’t have enough words or room to get into the long, dramatic history.
Instead, I wrote about the partnership of Mayor Bloomberg, Donald Trump and Jack Nicklaus that pushed to complete the 30-plus-year undertaking to bring a golf course to Ferry Point Park and previewed the ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the course that’s happening this morning. In fact, I’m going to be late, so I better run, but you can read in print on the front page of the Wall Street Journal’s Greater New York section (if you live in the tri-state area), or of course, there’s always the online version…
Jack Nicklaus has unveiled his own line of golf balls that are color-coordinated depending on which tees you play, which is intriguing for several reasons. Here are the details via the press release:
In May, the USGA and R&A made a joint announcement that they had decided to proceed with their decision to adopt Rule 14-1b — banning the anchored putting stroke — effective as of January 1, 2016.
While the PGA Tour and Commissioner Tim Finchem have voiced their opposition to the rule and a group of players who use the stroke have lawyered up, the Tour Policy Board convened the week of the Memorial Tournament and all signs seemed to indicate they’d follow the decree of golf’s governing bodies. After all, how confusing would it be to have two sets of rules and it’d be the PGA Tour saying they were above the game of golf, etc.
On Monday, the Tour announced the Tour Policy Board met this morning and voted to conform with the USGA and R&A’s rule. Here’s the press release:
I’ll save my critique of USGA setups for a little later in the week — I know, the suspense! — but suffice at this point to say, Merion is fulfilling its brief admirably. Mike Davis and his cult of par-worshippers couldn’t have asked for more. Bogeys are far more plentiful than birdies; players are beginning to eye shots with that slightly haunted, nervous look; and with every hour the course stays dry, scores tick steadily skywards. There will be no 62s this week.
Mission accomplished, you might think. But the consensus among media types and players alike is that Merion may well struggle to host another major championship. [Ed. note: Though the word in the member's pavilion is that the USGA is *begging* the club to return and in fact has already asked.]
It takes a long time to play 18 holes. Golf has been a slow game for decades — from the amateur game to the pro tours. And it’s no secret that due to the grueling, hardest test of the year, the U.S. Open moves at a sluggish pace. Well, change is coming! (But almost certainly not this week at Merion.)
After its year-long study (slow-playing slow play!), the USGA announced on Wednesday their pace-of-play awareness and public education campaign, which will include a series of new PSAs featuring Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Clint Eastwood, Annika Sorenstam, Paula Creamer and Butch Harmon.
I’m out the door and headed to Merion right now, so I figured I’d post this for your viewing pleasure.
Plus, you’re going to hear a lot about Merion’s storied history of hosting U.S. Opens this week, so why don’t you get started now? You can drop all sorts of knowledge on your friends and/or significant others to impress them.
Welcome to the “Golf’s Longest Day” — as it is marketed on Golf Channel — where nearly 1,000 players spread across 11 qualifying sites in the country are vying for coveted spots in next week’s U.S. Open at Merion. I’ll be bringing you updates from the 36-hole sectional qualifier in Columbus, which is held at Brookside CC and The Lakes G&CC (the “host” venue).
As longtime readers know, this is one of my favorite events to cover. I love watching PGA Tour pros biting their nails as they gather around the scoreboard at the end of the second round (which will be at The Lakes this year) and nervously watch the calligrapher handwrite the numbers. It’s a tense atmosphere, but the emotion is raw and real. It’s one of the few events left that have the old-school feeling to them, because realtime scoring is either nonexistent or delayed and big electronic leaderboards aren’t plastered around the course.