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6/18/2007 01:13:00 PM
Five additions to the 2008 US Open
Angel Cabrera survived the US Open's tough course to win the tournament by one stroke.
Photo by AP
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com
I didn't plan on it, but somehow I got suckered in to watching most of the US Open yesterday. Parked on the couch, I watched a few hours of challenging golf, although "challenging" may be too kind a word. The desire to construct a difficult course for a major championship is understandable, but it also means we viewers are treated to four days of defensive golf. Oakmont seemed unbelievably hard to play, so much so that the winner, Angel Cabrera, finished a sizeable 5-over par.
What we watched this weekend was basically extreme golf, requiring better-than-perfect shots with every swing. And that's not exciting, it's just tedious.
The US Open should be exciting, shouldn't it? Ain't that America, the home of the free? Let's make next year's US Open something to really remember. Here are five additions to the 2008 US Open that I'd like to see…
1. Land Mines: I don't mean the kind that injure and maim, but golf would certainly be more interesting if there were occasional devices implanted throughout the ground that would maybe give a guy a hotfoot or just spray smoke into the air. We don't want to see any damage done, just the occasional frightened golfer hopping a few feet into the air or into his caddy's arms.
2. Wind Machines: No need for tornado-force gales, but an occasional blast in the 15-20 mph range would be appreciated. It would also clear the smoke trail from behind John Daly.
3. Pirates: Hey, everyone loves pirates, and since ESPN is involved with the telecast it would seem an ideal cross-promotional vehicle for the DVD release of Pirates Of The Carribbean 4: What The Hell Is This About Anyway? Personally, I'd love seeing Captain Jack Sparrow burst from the woods and, with a flick of his sword, remove any and all valuables from Tiger's possession. Besides, Tiger has OnStar. He'll be fine.
4. Varied Traps: Limiting golf's traps to just sand seems rather, well, limiting. How about a few traps filled with jagged broken glass, or maybe just a trap on fire? Think that wouldn't make guys steer way clear?
5. Exploding Golf Balls: Call me simple, but I find few things funnier than the old exploding golf ball trick. Guy steps up to the ball, takes a few serious practice swings, then realizes he's been punked. I'm not going to limit your enjoyment -- go wild here. Of course, we'd have to get the caddies involved, so maybe we could get a sponsor to pitch in something like $1,000 each time a caddy made the old switcheroo.
How would you spice up next year's US Open? Let us know below…
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com.
Last Man Standing Golf. The guys have clubs, use em'. I think Cabrera could take out Furyk with one good swipe of a sand wedge. A well-placed 3-iron by Mickelson and we wouldn't have Tiger dropping out of any more potential majors due to pending child birth.
Okay, let's make some suggestions that could be somewhat realistic.
1. Player makes a birdie - gets to move up to the next tee on the next hole. 2. Player makes worse than a double bogey - a club gets removed for the rest of the round. 3. Player makes an eagle or better - gets to replaced removed club or remove a club from another player's bag for the next round. 4. Player shoots 80 or worse - has to dress like Carl from Caddyshack for the remainder of the tournament. 5. Player breaks course record - gets immunity from any future Johnny Miller comments for the rest of his career.
Varied traps are actually kind of a cool idea, though I don't think jagged glass or flaming pits are going to be implemented anywhere outside of Whitaker's mind ;)
But one could perhaps imagine creating different grades of hazards by using different sized stones rather than sand. Or, imagine a depression in the middle of the course filled with intentionally high rough, sort of a "cross-rough" if you will...
On a less serious note, if you are going to have pirates, you'd better have ninjas too, or else this could get really ugly...
How about every green has five flagsticks but one pin location is like the Whammy? If you putt or chip into the wrong hole your ball is immediately jettisoned a thousand feet in the air and you are disqualified from the tournament. It would certainly cut down on those 5 hour rounds if only 3 golfers finished the tournament.
Because the event will be played near Hollywood, make Tom Cruise the ceremonial intergalactic head of the the USGA that day. Before teeing off all players must pledge eternal allegiance to Mork from Ork or be incinerated by a laser beam.
FULL CONTACT! For ratings there would be nothing better than to see two guys vying for the top spot throwing blows or body checks on the back nine on sunday. Have to make it like hockey though, can't use the sticks as weapons.
LONGER HOLES! You got a 300 yard Par 3... you have to make a Par 5 hole that NOBODY can reach in two. OK, you got up to 660+ yards, but then you have Cabrera hitting a 390+ yard Tee shot... come on! Make a huge 700 or 800 yard Par 5 where it would require everyone to take at least three strokes to reach the green!
FAN INTERFERENCE! Those spectators on the side of the fairways, let them in the play! If a player goes so far offline with a shot, the spectators should have every right to pick the ball up and throw it in any direction they want, or they could just stomp on it and bury it further in the ground! This would ensure the players do not go that far offline, or they would just hope that their fans are where they hit it.
BEER! Anyone that's a weekend golfer, knows that drinking is part of the game, well on the weekends anyway. Well, let's see how the pro's do when they're a little tipsy. you play the first two rounds sober, but once you reach the weekend and make the cut, you are required to drink at least one beer per hole. This would make that par saving putt on the 18th to force a playoff that much more interesting. Unless you're a certain middle aged golfer with a gambling problem... I think he's a little tipsy evertime he's on the course anyway!
FOUR CLUBS! Make every single player play with only four clubs in the bag, that's it. Get rid of all the Hybrids and Lob wedges and all the specialty clubs people are playing with now a days. Say a 3W, 7I, PW, and a Putter, but a max of only four clubs can be carried during any round!
First, they should allow birdies. I watched the last 1 1/2 hours and didn't see a single one; couldn't be a coincidence. Second, and much more important, any time a guy yells 'get in the hole' when someone is driving on a par 4 or 5, he should be required to give the golfer a piggyback to his ball. That would save a lot of energy and maybe lead to a birdie.
How about adding a skeet shooting element? Let the other guys in your group fire at the ball in flight to try to knock it off its intended course. Maybe then Tiger wouldn't be the most feared partner on the course (as the broadcasters talked about INCESSANTLY).
For LPGA only: Two words... Strip Golf! Bogey loses one article and Birdie gets to put one back on. The only clothing allowed to stay on are golf shoes and gloves. Of course HBO or Showtime would have to broadcast it :-)