Needless to say I have a lot of friends who spend a fair amount of time online “geeking out” as they say, on anything golf related. This link showed up in my inbox today, and I have to admit it was pretty entertaining watching Rory McIlroy at the age of ten whacking balls into his mom’s washing machine and charming the crowd on a live talk show in 1999. Fast forward to 2011 and it’s now been two weeks since we watched this phenom wax the entire field at Congressional – What a difference a decade makes.
While the buzz over the Open has died down (and most likely sales of Guinness Beer in the U.S. have tapered off) I can’t seem to get a ridiculous comment made by Bryant Gumble out of my mind. Immediately after the tournament Mr. Gumble stated on is show, Real Sports, that “the USGA failed in it’s set up of Congressional”. He continued on by saying that the USGA, in it’s attempt to keep ratings up in the absence of Tiger Woods, set the course up to play easier, which would in turn allow for lower scores and result in more people tuning in to watch the players shoot those low scores. In essence he was saying that the USGA simply sold out for ratings. In my opinion these comments could not have been further from the truth, and validated for me how limited Mr. Gumble is in his knowledge about golf and the USGA.
The USGA set up of Congressional was excellent – the weather surrounding the event was not. The 100-degree temperatures the week before the event kept the rough from growing, and the intense rains during the event had an unavoidable effect on the speed of the greens. Short rough and slower greens = lower scores. It’s as simple as that. And as far as the ratings go, they were down this year. Why? Because Tiger wasn’t there and the U.S. field of players was playing poorly. Again, simple math.
The USGA should be praised and applauded for their work. Mr. Gumble on the other hand? In this author’s opinion, Real Sports got it Really Wrong.