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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Getting Ready... Taking Prisoners?

I'm giving you a link to an ESPN article that posed questions to four of their analysts. I thought I'd take a moment to tackle them myself.

(1) What can we expect from Adam Scott this weekend? (BTW, I believe Scott's presser is at 9am ET on GC today.) I'm kind of surprised that no one expects much from Adam. Does everybody really think Adam Scott is that weak mentally? We forget that the Open was his first real opportunity to win a major, especially "from the front." It was also his best-ever finish in a major -- the 2010 Masters was a T2 while this was a solo 2nd. I expect him to play very well this week because he'll be thinking about getting ready for the PGA Championship next week. Playing well in his defense at Bridgestone is perfect preparation.

(2) Next on the list: Pick a player currently outside the Top 12 to make the American Ryder Cup team. (You can find the current list here.) That's a no-brainer -- it's #13 Steve Stricker. Tiger ranks #1, so you have to add the guy who's currently his most consistent partner. Next question!

(3) Yes, I really like the Reno-Tahoe Open changing over to a modified Stableford system. Quite frankly, it makes almost no difference in who wins from a scoring standpoint; if you check past years from the old International tournament, you'll see that the "relative to par" scores put players in basically the same order as the Stableford scores.

What it does change is the players' mindset. In a normally-scored tournament, an eagle is worth one more stroke than a birdie; in the modified Stableford it's worth three more points. That sounds much "bigger" to the players, so they tend to go after them more. And given that the Tahoe tournament is up against the Bridgestone, it needs all the drama it can get.

(4) Finally, do the Champions and LPGA Tours have too many majors? Well, yes and no.

For the Champions Tour, yes because they're too close together. If they spaced them out, I might change my mind. For the time being, I'll just say they're too congested to have five.

As for the LPGA, I've commented on this issue before, last week being the most recent. Just to sum it up quickly, I believe they added the Evian Masters because they weren't sure they'd still have the Kraft Nabisco. (And as of this writing, KN hasn't re-upped their contract, so that's still a valid concern.) And even if KN does renew, the LPGA's concerted efforts to become global will make this workable because they'll have 2 majors in the US, 2 in Europe, and one more (probably the LPGA Championship) which they can move around Asia and Australia (and other spots as the game becomes more global).

The correspondents questioned in the article said that five majors "runs counter to traditional golf culture." They casually ignored the fact that the PGA Tour has the TPC and the Euro Tour has the BMW, each of which is often considered a "fifth major" by the individual tours. And if you disagree with that statement, let me refer you to Wikipedia's page about the World Golf Hall of Fame. Here are the PGA Tour criteria for entry into the WGHoF:
  • Minimum of 40 years old
  • PGA Tour member for 10 years
  • 10 PGA Tour wins or two wins in the majors or Players Championship
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it certainly sounds as if the PGA Tour equates the TPC with a major.

And if you add the four WGC events -- which are slowly gaining in status -- you have effectively created 9 majors on each tour. So let's get off this whole "four majors is sacred" kick. A major is simply a tournament of such importance that it is recognized by more than one tour.

So there you have my answers to the four questions ESPN neglected to ask me. But since when have I let that stop me? ;-)

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