Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oakmont and the Ladies, The Old Course and The Open

Slow play is killing golf. Fast greens breed slow play, was Oakmont the Mother of slow play?

Not necessarily, but very few of the women (as I suppose most handicap visiting players of Oakmont) had any sort of feel for what was really needed. One can even say that with the tilted flat portions of greens at Oakmont requiring pinpoint precision of shots that not only was Oakmont guilty of prolonging and perhaps even breeding modern slow play, it becomes the ultimate in target golf - hit it here or die.

William Fownes once said "A shot poorly played should be a shot irrevocably lost". That is the mantra of Oakmont to the nth degree. They have hundreds of single digit handicaps, so maybe once you are used to the uni-dimensionality of the play requirements, it might just lead to tighter score dispersion amongst members.

Here's a list of Pennsylvania Golfers winning the state Amateur.
Nathan Smith
Mike Van Sickle
Adam Hofmann
Chad Bricker
Alex Knoll
Blaine Peffley
Brandon Knaub
Nathan T. Smith 2nd) John G Jones (Oakmont)
Peter A. Toole
Michael McDermott
Chris Lange

These are the last few years and the only Oakmont golfer in the winner or runner-up spot. Have the conditions at Oakmont day-to-day produced champions?

Fast greens are an end unto themselves and often don't translate well. It becomes difficult to play fast greens for the player of slow greens much more so than the player of fast greens accommodating the other way. Familiarity thus breeds contempt, funny how truism are so. Are the super fast greens at Oakmont nothing more than a mind jerk for the members? I have yet to play there, but I think variety is the lifeblood of golf.

Poor Tiger Woods whined like a 12-year old girl about the greens at The Old course last week at The Open Championship, switched putters twice and was probably perturbed that he was denied a record third Open at st. Andrews that he felt was an entitlement for him (seems no change there). Maybe A) He's no longer the "Best Player in the World" and his time of reign is ending with a whimper not a bang or B) He's similar to most professional golfers in America in that there is a comfort zone that the majority don't like to leave. Either way The R & A have widened the gap over the USGA. The list of USGA Open winners has been comprised of mostly players backing into the title while the R & A have seemed to identify the players most wanting to win that week rather than the one least wanting to lose.

Oakmont for the Ladies put Pebble Beach for the men to shame, even though each provided a deserving winner. Yet The Old Course again welcomed a great win and winner.

Louis Oosthuizen (weist-hoyzen') played surgical golf reminiscent of Sir Nick Faldo as much as anyone else in the era post-Hogan.

Here's to playing quickly - and Louis did!

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