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19th Hole

Gary Player, sad for the Old Course, calls for bifurcation



Ross Fisher fired a final-round 11-under 61 at the Old Course at St. Andrews to capture the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Fisher’s new course record didn’t sit well with legend of the game Gary Player.

He tweeted this Sunday night.

The Old Course was lengthened substantially ahead of the 2010 British Open. Rory McIlroy fired a 63 that year. At least one player has carded a 62 in the previous five Dunhill Links.

The most telling and significant tweet from Player, however, came in reply to a reply, as it were, to his original tweet.

That reply reads, in part, “we have been questioning the ball, equipment & conditioning for 50 years. #bifurcation”

Gary Player bifurcationThus, the Black Knight is casting his lot with the notion of separate equipment regulations for amateurs and professionals.

The drum has been steadily beaten since the USGA’s 2004 limits on head size and COR by those anxious about the constant need to lengthen courses and the obsolescence of certain classic tracks.

Geoff Shackelford told Golf Channel’s Morning Drive on Monday he thinks the game’s governing bodies are seriously considering further regulations.

“I think that those kinds of rounds get the attention of a lot of people and make them wonder if something’s out of balance and if the skill factor has changed… And they’ve been very quiet lately, so my suspicions are up that I think the discussions are going on.”

Will something happen? Should something happen? Why is this something we care about it golf? The lowest score wins…why do we care if it’s 59 or 79? What do you think, WRXers?

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  1. Matt Aitken

    Oct 11, 2017 at 3:31 am

    In many videos at Gary’s clinics, he’s saying, “Just you wait, the size and strength of the athlete’s the game of golf is going to see moving forward is going to be remarkable, they’re going to be driving par 5’s”…. the next, like in a thread like this, his ego pops up and he doesn’t like it.

    Just make your mind up Gary. You’re a total legend though, respect. But make your mind up fella.

  2. TC

    Oct 10, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    The course rely’s on difficult weather conditions to be a big factor of how difficult it will play. Also, new equipment is only part of the “issue”. New equipment doesn’t account for people swinging significantly faster, does it? (NO.).

    A links course that doesn’t have wind, and isn’t overly dry, usually ends up being a wide open space that can be taken advantage of. It’s still over 7000 yards, and lower scores have been shot on courses that are longer, and higher scores hold records on courses just as “short”.

    Maybe there’s also a little something to the knowledge that modern day golfers have, after learning how people have played some courses for a couple hundred years? If you think that change needs to happen because records from 50 years ago have been broken, then I’d say you’re a little bit too nostalgic. Today’s players are better, period, and there’s more great players than ever before, but for those of us with perspective, the greats of the game from many years ago won’t lose their merit.

  3. Jacked_Loft

    Oct 10, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Heck, they make 325 yard par fours now just to bring a little excitement back into the game. If the tour switched to 80% flighted balls, 50% of the players wouldn’t be able to break par on a 7500 yard track. JN/GP and anyone else who preaches rolling back the ball are 100% right in my eyes.

  4. James Stewart

    Oct 10, 2017 at 6:02 am

    If they continue to allow the ball and clubs to go unchecked, courses will soon be 8000yards. Agreed that evolution makes a stronger, fitter player, BUT is he/she BETTER? Messrs Player, Miller and Nicklaus have a lot to say and they have earned the right to say it. To say they are irrelevant is an insult to them. The Old Course is pretty benign when the wind isn’t blowing but when bunkers that trapped players 20 years ago are not even in play it makes the course a bit of a joke. So are you suggesting that you leave things as they are and every record be blown away because technology allows it to be blown away rather than by skill?

    • People....

      Oct 10, 2017 at 11:07 am

      I bet you still drive a model T… Technology is a part of life and the progression of the world. Air bags, cruise control all make daily life more fun and better. Cars are faster why is it so hard to just let the technology change the game as every other part of your world is changing.

  5. dapadre

    Oct 10, 2017 at 5:52 am

    It is what it is, development wont be held back. There was a time that it was seen as impossible to run a 4 minute mile or break the 100 under 10 seconds. we didnt elongate. Why do we only look at making the holes longer, why not make them more difficult. The greens smaller, hole placement, tighter fairways, more punishing bunkers. Instead of making course advantageous to long hitters as most of the courses now are, make them more for shot shapers, make pros be able to work around a course since the distance they got covered.

  6. George

    Oct 9, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    why cant pros play different balls than amateurs. Baseball pros play with wood bats.

  7. Bif

    Oct 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Mr Player:
    There already is bifurcation! The Tours let the Pros wear METAL spikes. But we, the public, are not allowed. And the Tour players are not allowed to wear shorts.

    • Bif

      Oct 9, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      I really want to wear metal spikes but I cannot. And I am a very good player with the utmost respect for the game.

  8. Jgolf

    Oct 9, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Ross Fisher did indeed fire a course record 61, but he did win the event. Tyrrell Hatton won the event and Fischer finished solo second, three strokes behind. None the less, it was an awesome round of golf. Let’s not give the equipment all the credit. There is a considerable amount of data
    out there showing that the today’s ball and drivers aren’t going much farther than ten years ago.
    Straighter maybe, but not much farther. Today’s young tour pros employ a much different swing
    the driver than golfers of ten years ago, let alone GP’s days. And yes, it’s the equipment that has allowed them to do it. But that’s evolution as JDean points out.

  9. Marnix

    Oct 9, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    For various reasons, a reduced flight ball for the pros is really the only alternative to the current situation. Most courses don’t have the space (or money) to keep putting the championship tees further and further back, and tricking up courses with more bunkers or rough will only make the game harder for recreational players, who as a group really haven’t improved much despite the modern equipment. So if you want to stick to the concept of par (2 good strokes needed to hit a par 4 green, and 3 for a par 5 green) then we need to add additional regulations to the ball. I, for one, would like to see that.

    • Jacked_Loft

      Oct 10, 2017 at 9:53 am

      +1 I don’t need “excitement” generated from a 325 yard par 4. If you would count how many times a pro played a 3 on such a par 4 by trying to drive to green, you could imagine how seldom they could make par on a 220 yard par 3 when playing a 80% flighted ball. For a 240 yard par 3 they would need to hit a 3 wood then.

  10. Paul

    Oct 9, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I, for one, enjoy watching tournament golf when par actually has some value. It looks like it’s time
    for tournament organizers to really toughen up courses and worry less about the egos of the tour pros. My wife, who isn’t a golfer, commented Sunday that “it looks like the pros are playing on another easy course”, unknowingly referring to St. Andrews. There are only about three courses played yearly on the US tour where par has any meaning anymore and this year it meant nothing at the US Open. Sort of sad!

  11. D Louis

    Oct 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Just another old timer that can’t accept that things can change and maybe that they are better golfers nowadays….let it go Gary

  12. ibogeyalot

    Oct 9, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    does he expect the game to be stuck in his generation ie: clubs , balls , and stuff , the times change old man get over it. he is not relevant anymore and has to chirp , just like johnny miller.

    • DrRob1963

      Oct 9, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Mr Player and Mr Miller have earned the right to chirp all they want!

    • Webbstar

      Oct 9, 2017 at 10:29 pm

      The difference from hickory shafted persimmon to steel shafted persimmon were not gains in distance but gains in accuracy. Course architecture remained virtually the same as far as the length of courses went. It was not until the advent of the Big Bertha driver that gains in driver distance from a design aspect began to move the ball forward in terms of distance gained. This new technology has moved rapidly forward and ended with the USGA/R$A placing a limit on the COR of golf clubs. They had to do this because what looked like a huge driver (Big Bertha) back in the day now looks like a 3 wood compared to todays modern drivers. As someone who plays both modern and classic clubs I can tell you my Bridgestone J40 goes 20 yards farther than my Cleveland Jumbo Persimmon with my 105 mph swing speed. I am a 3 handicap and have been playing golf through this whole transformation
      and I have to admit when pros on the senior tour hit the ball further now than when playing in their prime something is not quite right. I like to choose the set I play based on when the course was made. Pre 1990 I play persimmon, post 1990 I play modern. If I play an old course with modern clubs it’s usually driver and wedge/short iron all day. If you put pros on a course meant to be played with persimmon we should not be surprised that they go super low. People like to think that golfers today are much better athletes but I don’t think that is the case or one of our modern pros would have driven the green at cheery hills. Golf is a skill sport, being in great shape certainly helps but it is not the most important thing or John Daley would have never made it as a pro let alone won two majors. Anyone who thinks that modern technology has not accounted for the massive driver distance gains should go pick up an old persimmon driver and put it into play and see what that fitness guru Gary Player is talking about.

  13. JDean'

    Oct 9, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Golf has and will be changing until the end of time, no need to change equipment or balls. Evolution, better conditioning, better agronomy etc.. Get over yourself, and quit trying to be relevant in the modern golf world.

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19th Hole

ATV-riding vandals wrecked a golf course; county offers reward for information leading to arrest



Vandals on a pair of ATVs began tearing up Putnam County Golf Course December 30, damaging both fairways and greens. Per a report, the clowns have returned to the New York course at least three times this month.

As you may have guessed from its name, Putnam County Golf Course is a municipal track, so taxpayers are stuck with the bill for course repairs.

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell told, “The Putnam County Golf Course has been a premier destination in the Hudson Valley with its lush greens at public prices. We cannot allow individuals to misuse the golf course at the expense of the taxpayers.”

As such, the county is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of these idiots.

Anyone with information can call the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at 845-225-4300 and the Carmel police at 845-628-1300.

Hudson Valley GolfWRX members, let’s bring these ATV-riding a-holes to justice.

(h/t Kevin Cunningham,

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19th Hole

Curtis Strange didn’t like Jon Rahm’s behavior during CareerBuilder playoff. Is he right?



Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry filled their plates at the birdie buffet CareerBuilder Challenge to each finish at 22 under par. The pair battled in a four-hole playoff, with Rahm emerging victorious.

Good stuff if you like watching pros pencil circles on their scorecards, right? Not for Curtis Strange. The two-time U.S. Open winner didn’t like the pair’s chumminess between shots during the playoff, and he did what angry people do in the year 2018: He tweeted about it.

Hat tip to Alex Myers at Golf Digest for spotting this (as one Twitter user commented) “get off my lawn take” from Mr. Strange.

Here’s Strange’s dad tweets, curious punctuation and all, as well as a sampling of some of the replies.

So, what say you, GolfWRX members of all generations?

Plenty have maligned the friendliness of the current crop of young talent. Rahm, for his part, has been characterized as more of a volcano than a gentle breeze on the course in general, but this specific bit of chatter is doubtless bothersome to the old-school hardline set.

Clearly, Rahm wasn’t adversely affected by the dialogue. Was Landry? Was your enjoyment of the telecast affected? Let us know.

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19th Hole

Is this the worst “my clubs were stolen” story ever?



Tom Owen. Remember the name, because this unfortunate gentleman may have the worst tale of club theft in recent memory.

Now, the experience of having one’s bag pilfered, never to be seen again, is awful. Your clubs are simply gone, and you have no idea who took them and where they went. Tom Owen had the first part of that experience, however, he knows exactly where his clubs are…and he can’t (legally) do anything about it.

Therese Henkin New Zealand’s Howick & Pakuranga Times originally reported the story.

Mr. Owen’s bag, with its thousands of dollars of equipment and his cell phone, was lifted December 15th from Howick Golf Course at Musick Point, New Zealand.

“They took everything, all my clubs, my bag, trundle, golf balls and my mobile phone which was tucked away inside the bag,” he told the paper.

However, as this is the 21st century, Owen was able to track his phone (which was in his golf bag) to a nearby residential address on Pigeon Mountain Road.

Presumably overjoyed, he called the police to report the theft and the location of his stolen property. One can only imagine his despair when he was told the authorities would be unable to lawfully search the premises and thus could not recover his clubs.

After reporting the incident, Owen was surprised to learn that police were not able to search the premises for the goods.

A police spokesperson explained.

“While we understand people may think police can use the tracking system people use on their phones and then send a patrol car to retrieve the property, under the Search and Surveillance Act 2012, police officers do not have the authority to enter a premise based off a locater app on a missing phone. If police resources are available and the technology can pin-point a specific address such as a household, Police are able to knock on the door and make enquiries, but not enter.”

Obviously, Owen isn’t a fan of the law, and he thinks it puts victims in a bad position. He’s right: Knowing the authorities can’t do anything, but knowing where your stolen phone, etc, is, do you risk your life taking the law into your own hands?

“It’s very frustrating to know where your stolen items are and not have anyone do anything about it. If police really can’t act on the information you give them, then something needs to change.”

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Does this make any sense? Do you join Owen in calling for a rewriting of the law?

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19th Hole