All well and good and oh-so-innovative. But the fact is The International, just like any old golf tournament should, rewarded the guy who played controlled golf. What's more, the final standings wouldn't have been significantly different if medal scores had been counted instead of those birdie bonuses. Only five players who missed the final round had cumulative medal totals as good as the 12 who advanced to Sunday, and no one who broke 70 on a given day failed to qualify for the next round. On Sunday, Green would have shot 66, three strokes ahead of the field. By way of further comparison, of the four major championships this year only the PGA—which Ben Crenshaw, who placed 11th, would have won—would have produced a different winner under International rules.
The format did, however, produce some interesting twists. On Thursday, lightning forced suspension of play when Ray Floyd had finished 17 holes. He already enjoyed a score of plus 14 for the day, so he never returned to play 18 and still moved on to Friday's round with a plus 11. And Craig Stadler, with no chance to qualify on Wednesday, let his caddie putt out on the final hole. After consulting with Stadler on the line, Jack Dolf drilled a 15-footer. The Walrus drew a cheer from the gallery and a possible fine from PGA commissioner Deane Beman. He surely couldn't have pleased Jack Vickers, the 61-year-old Denver oilman who founded The International and who has hopes of making it a major championship. "This has been my dream," said Vickers. "I think it's the most interesting thing to hit the Tour in many years." Did the pros agree? Listen to a conversation with Bruce Lietzke, when he was leading with a first-round plus 11.
Newsman: Bruce, does shooting the best score in the first-ever International fill you with a sense of history?