Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tough Pins + Amateurs = Long Rounds

A topic we were looking to cover on the blog this week was lengths of the players' rounds in the Stanford International Pro-Am on the LPGA Tour. Beth Ann Baldry focuses on this issue, as well - one endemic to pro-ams - for Golfweek.

LPGA officials didn’t help the inevitably long days with questionable pin placements and long par 3s. This is the tour’s first pro-am tournament since 2001 and players had plenty to talk about:

• Let’s start with the par-3 second hole on the Miller Course. Weighing in at 210 yards, it ranks as one of the longest par 3s LPGA pros will face all year. Add the element of amateur players into the equation and it’s no wonder players were waiting 45 minutes to an hour on the tee. (I’d tell you the hole’s scoring average for the week, but the tour didn’t keep stats on the Miller Course.)

• LPGA COO Chris Higgs convened the media Friday afternoon to revisit a conversation on course setup that took place the day before. He stuck by all of his comments from Thursday, adding that six-hour rounds were “normal” for this type of format. He also said tucked pins on these undulating greens were sometimes easier for players to get to than those sitting in the middle of these rather severe greens.

If it’s so hard to find accessible pin placements on these two tracks, then why bring amateurs here?
Can't argue with that logic at all. Pro-am events - generally - should be played on fairly easy courses. That is part of the reason why the Chrysler Classic on the PGA Tour is in such trouble. The rotation, including the Classic Course, is a nightmare for an amateur to play. Turnberry appears to be the same thing. Obviously, the LPGA Tour enjoyed having a pro-am on their schedule. It is good for the Tour. But, the unwritten rule is that pro-am courses are easy. The only exception to that rule on the planet is at Pebble Beach.

1 comment:

The Florida Masochist said...

Pebble Beach is the exception. The amateur can struggle mightily, but tell his friends how he took an 11 at PB's 18.

I was out on Miller on Friday. Only I among the media made note of the construction work going on nearby. A condo or apartment building was being built, and you could hear the sledgehammers pounding away.

Groucho Marx said it best about the slow play.

"Either he's dead or my watch has stopped."