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Sunday, March 23, 2014

He Said, She Said

Have you heard about the unrest that's been brewing between the LPGA players and the USGA concerning the back-to-back PGA-LPGA majors at Pinehurst this summer? If not, you must have been asleep for a few months.

If you've been confused about the reasons behind it, Beth Ann Nichols did an article for Golfweek a few days back that explains it very well.

5th hole at Pinehurst #2

Here's the basic arguing point: The women seem to like the basic idea of back-to-back US Opens as a publicity tool, but they thought they would be playing Pinehurst first instead of second and are concerned about the course being "divoted up" by the time they get there. So Mike Whan called in USGA Executive Director (and Chief Setup Dude) Mike Davis this week to explain the logic behind the decision... and apparently many of the women don't buy it. The article Nichols wrote is the first I've seen to explain that logic.

Davis says, "Plain and simple, it has everything to do with the agronomics.” He says it's much easier to make the green speeds match if the women go second. (The greens will have to watered more for the women to make them receptive to their shots, which come in lower with less spin.) You can understand that.

The women, however, are upset about the thousands of divots the men will dig out of the course. You can understand that as well.

Nichols also quotes Stacy Lewis as saying that too much of the USGA plan depends on the weather... and the women aren't so sure they like that. Again, you can understand the skepticism. (Hey, I live in North Carolina. The weather has been rather... eccentric during the last few years.)

Let's get one thing clear: The controversy is going to continue until both US Opens have been held. We'll just have to see how everything turns out. But at least you now know what all the hubbub is about.

You can thank Beth Ann Nichols for that. Thanks, Beth!