- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
We don't have to worry about going back to Atlanta anytime soon. That tournament is gone-zo. The Tour thinks that putting San Antonio in Atlanta's spot was a terrific swap because Valero is a great sponsor and that we might have a Texas swing: the Nelson, Colonial and San Antonio in successive weeks. The problem is that LaCantera [right], the Texas Open venue, is awful. None of the top players would tee it up there in the fall, and they won't play there in May, either. Anytime you can see a roller coaster and a Ferris wheel from a tee box—you can actually hear the people on the rides screaming in the background—that's a red flag. Has any great course ever been built next to an amusement park? Until the new TPC San Antonio is finished [in 2010], I don't see top players remembering the Alamo.
Because of the new greens TPC Southwind, outside Memphis [site of June's Stanford St. Jude Championship], has turned into a fantastic course. It's going to be a much more popular spot. That could hurt the Memorial and make the new Texas swing a pretty popular time for a three-week vacation, although a number of players are loyal to Colonial.
SEVERE SETUPS = SLOW PLAY
No doubt I'm wasting my time talking about slow play. One veteran told me that we had the same discussions 25 years ago. The Tour is trying to identify the slower players and work with them to get faster, but in the end we're probably only talking about picking up 15 minutes a round. Is that a big deal? Probably not. One thing I like is that the Tour is going to use ShotLink to tell us how long we take for each shot. Certain players who are slow and don't know the average time spent on a particular shot need to be made aware. Our rules officials have finally realized that—duh!—course setup has a lot to do with pace of play. It's not only the players who are slow. When you play a 510-yard par-4 with a semi-island green, you're going to take a while. It seems obvious, but apparently our officials didn't think of it. At some tournaments, like the Memorial, the setups are getting out of control. Guys don't want to play a U.S. Open--style course two weeks before the Open. What Jack Nicklaus [right] had this year at the Memorial was way worse than Torrey Pines. Jack and Arnold Palmer , who's growing serious rough at Bay Hill, may want to have major-championship conditions, but they're in danger of winding up with bad fields. Six-inch rough, furrowed bunkers, greens running at 14—some guys are going to think twice before coming back.
Let's get back to the British Open. The British is the greatest championship in the world. The crowds are fantastic—they appreciate the golf and have a respect for the game that you don't find at any of the U.S. majors. The British is truly a world Open and holds a sort of prestige that's different from the other majors.
What's neat about the British is that you can play four courses and even experience four seasons in the four days. Conditions seldom change as quickly or as often in the U.S. For my first British Open, I packed extra sweaters and long-sleeved shirts and it was 74� all week. I had that in mind the next year when I packed a lot less cold-weather gear, and it was freezing and rainy, and I never wore anything with short sleeves the whole week. You never know.
Because the British Open is such a great event, I don't get Kenny Perry [below]. He's ranked 20th in the world and has two wins this year, and he's not going to play the U.S. or the British Opens? I understand his argument about Torrey Pines. He wasn't a fan of the course, and he wasn't exempt. Well, he's exempt for the British, and he's going to play in Milwaukee instead? As well as he's playing, how can he not think he could win the British? It sounds as if he's been getting advice from his good buddy Scott Hoch. At 47, how many more chances is Perry going to have to win a major? If he does, I guess it won't be the British.