Monday, July 21, 2008

Hey Golf: Get out of the stone age!

I like the commercials for Top-Flite Balls where the guy checks to see if the golfer is worthy of the product: "Winter rules?" "Cheating". "Gimmies?" "Make the putt". "Mulligans?" a withering stare.

However, there are a slew of ridiculous rules that are selectively enforced that make no sense, give the "perpetrator" no competitive advantage and need to go. Two great examples occurred this past week.

The first is the insane DQ-ing of Michelle Wie for "failing to sign her scorecard". She actually did sign it, but she left the scorer's trailer without signing, was called back by volunteers and signed. After playing her next round, she was informed by the LPGA that she was out of the tourney. Now I know the LPGA hates Wie, but this is ridiculous. What is the injury to other competitors that happened here? And even if such an injury could be conjured up, why DQ? Why not 2 strokes? Or an hour in the stocks? Or the comfy chair?

The second example is from the British Open. In 35 mph winds on slick greens, golf balls will move without being hit. Yet if you ground your putter behind the ball and it moves before you hit it, you incur a penalty. Even worse, according to the rules official. If you address the ball and then back away without re-marking the ball and the ball moves, it's a penalty. So we treated to the sight of golfers altering their putting styles, trying not to ground their putters behind the ball, twitching and jitterbugging around worried about breaking this rule. Why?

It's beyond time to modernize and streamline the rules of golf.


Unknown said...

and in protest, i refuse to watch any more golf.

Anonymous said...

On the links yesterday I was chatting with my partners about the origins and reasoning for the rule. It's basically concerned with the possibility that grounding the putter rather than hitting it could cause the ball to move. Why should that matter? Imagine a putt sitting on the lip of the cup that doesn't go in. You ground your putter and it falls in. How do you rule on that? So golf has a simple, albeit sometimes unfair, rule to manage it.