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Opinion: Why all of golf’s majors should pass on 2020

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As a lover of language, the word selections of golf’s major-championship bodies intrigue me. They plan to delay, postpone, and suspend their events until a later date. It won’t be long before Thesaurus.com’s suggestions are invoked, and we prorogue, adjourn, and defer these tournaments until an undetermined, future date. I have a problem, a serious beef, with the notion that these events might be played. I’ll summarize in two arguments.

Other tournaments own those weeks

Look over the planned tour schedules of 2020. There is little to no room (i.e. open weeks) for events to slot in. The Masters, reportedly, is looking at an October date. Will they contact Shriners, Houston, Nine Bridges or ZOZO and ask them to step aside, or will they not even pay that courtesy? The PGA announced the postponement of its flagship event. The USGA is on the verge of announcing … something about the U.S. Open. No doubt the R&A will follow with an update on The Open Championship. Yes, these are major championships, ones that golfers dream of winning, and around which legends build their schedules. This designation does not give them any right to effectively reduce the efforts of organizers, volunteers, staff and fan base of any other event, to an afterthought. Take what fate has tossed your way, 2020 Majors, and leave a hole in the history books.

Humanity

Does a golf tournament hold any higher worth than other human endeavors? It will take something miraculous to conduct a professional golf tournament in the next 12 months. Doing so would require the assurance for all involved (players, rules officials, staff, and volunteers) that conditions are 100 percent safe. Without a vaccine, without a cure, this guarantee cannot be offered. Let’s not forget, that survival does not mean immunity. There is no suggestion that, once cured; safe. Given our social nature, we humans might reinfect each other, again and again. Why run that risk? Golf doesn’t need the bad publicity that “we matter more than your safety does” will bring. The families of tournament participants, workers, and supporters, also don’t need the worry that exposure will bring.

There are many more arguments to make, in support of this recommendation. There is no need to take up any more of your time, to make them. Join me and ask the Augusta National, the LPGA, the PGA of America, the USGA, and the R & A, to take the humane path and adjourn their premier events for a year. Their sacrifice will ensure solidarity with the rest of us.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Pelling

    Mar 30, 2020 at 10:34 am

    The absolute dumbest thing I’ve seen is golfers who think (selfishly) that’s it’s ok and safe to golf because they don’t touch a rake, a flagstick, or take a ball out of the cup. No, it’s not! Why are you different? You aren’t special, you’re just a moron! Go social isolate and quit infecting the rest of us…

  2. travis

    Mar 28, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    If the majors can’t find a date that works, so be it – would be the same issue if a freak storm completely rained it out. But to simply punt on the entire year of golf right now is ridiculous, it’s not “helping humanity.” Drive the economy another way? How? You do realize that every business that is majorly affected by this virus is having this same conversation, right? It’s not just the PGA Tour or professional sports that is talking about maybe not returning this year – its everyone. And if everyone just said “we are going to shut down for the year,” the economy would collapse. Unemployment would reach unfathomable levels, government programs would crumble, and the world market would bottom out.

    The PGA Tour and golf itself is a billion dollar industry that employs tens of thousands (maybe hundreds) of people at all levels (including this website). To shut it down would be irresponsible. I personally think the PGA postponement is premature, but I don’t know the timetable they have to work under to make an event like that happen, so it could make sense.

    But at some point the economy is going to have to come back online, and all businesses are going to have to be flexible and have to preserve their ability to turn the faucet back on quickly to help save the economy. And risks are going to have to be taken. There will reach a time for each business affected where the risk of possibly getting sick doesn’t outweigh the risk of the business failing and people not being able to put food on the table for their families.

    Making drastic decisions 4-6 or more months in advance could be a death sentence for thousands. No reason to make that decision until you absolutely have to.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Mar 28, 2020 at 6:01 pm

      And how do you feel about the tournaments that ARE SCHEDULED (shouting, I know) on the PGA Tour 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 wraparound? What sort of treatment do they deserve? I’ll hang up and listen. Thank you for commenting. Knowing that people care enough to read my words, is quite supportive these days … rm

  3. James Mac

    Mar 28, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    I totally agree that this article is your opinion.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Mar 28, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      You have my attention. How do you feel about what is contained within?

      I’ll hang up and listen. Thank you for commenting. Knowing that people care enough to read my words, is quite supportive these days … rm

  4. DoTheRightThing

    Mar 28, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    I’m with you Ron. The greater good absolutely needs to come first, not me me me. There are thousands of workers on the medical front lines who are putting their health, and even their lives on the line, to help others live and to work tirelessly to even slow down this pandemic. And thousands of others who are working to support the front-liners. And yes we need to do what we can, safely, to maintain economic activity without worsening the virus spread before we develop vaccines. But while I love golf and other sports, they matter very little in the big picture currently … history is filled with holes and gaps caused by crisis events, when we had to pause to do the right thing.

  5. Ronald Montesano

    Mar 28, 2020 at 8:31 am

    You all click shank, but you know that I’m correct. Lives and living matter more than these associations and making money. Drive the economy another way, like by giving back instead of taking in.

    • Brandon

      Mar 28, 2020 at 9:14 am

      This is a weak take. There is no economy to drive when everyone is stuck at home not working. I know this is a golf website and most of the readers probably have large amounts of cash in their savings that they can fall back on in a time like this, but for the vast majority of the country this isn’t the case. The 1200 dollar check the government is sending will cover half of my rent on a shitty 1 bedroom apartment here in the Bay area. People need to work. You can’t just shut down the country indefinitely and rob people of the ability to support themselves because of a boogie man that will only manifest as a cold for 95% of the people who catch it. It’s a harsh reality, but the best thing to do just to get back to normal as soon as possible. The fit people who can handle a viral infection will be fine, and the weak people with compromised immune systems will be culled from the herd. This has been happening in one form or another to every carbon based life form since the beginning of time.

      • Ronald Montesano

        Mar 28, 2020 at 6:04 pm

        What does what you typed, have to do with what I wrote? You act as if the Bay Area is the only one impacted by the crisis. Think about other communities for a moment. They have been prepping, just as SFBA has done for PGA.

        I’ll hang up and listen. Thank you for commenting. Knowing that people care enough to read my words, is quite supportive these days … rm

    • A. Commoner

      Mar 28, 2020 at 3:43 pm

      RM: your article is flawless as to logic, values, ethics, and thought maturity. It is incomprehensible how one could trash it.

      • Ronald Montesano

        Mar 28, 2020 at 6:04 pm

        You had me at “flawless.”

        I’ll hang up and listen. Thank you for commenting. Knowing that people care enough to read my words, is quite supportive these days … rm

  6. Che Guevara

    Mar 27, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    Setting up an event that has already been planned in advance takes 1.5 weeks. You seem to not understand that the PGA Tour is not in charge of any of the majors. The USGA does not care about the Shriner’s or Houston Open and owes them no courtesy
    96% of fans watch from their couches, so it’s really only the players and event workers that need to be assured safe. It’s about golf and history, not about revenue
    Using your logic, there would be no majors played ever again, since the virus will be around in perpetuity just as the flu is
    I typically like your writing but this one is leaving me scratching my head Mr. M

    • Ronald Montesano

      Mar 28, 2020 at 6:09 pm

      Listen to me, Fuser. We go way back, back to when you were playing rugby in Buenos Aires. We traveled the south american continent together, on a shitty Norton motorcycle that we called “La Poderosa.” Yes, I remained in Venezuela; do you still hold that against me?

      Oh, man, wow, that was stream of consciousness. OK, back to your madness. No, you are extrapolating, friend. Yes, the virus will be around in perpetuity, but within 48-64 weeks, we should have found a vaccine and other treatments. Those will help us deal with other coronavirus that undoubtedly will rear their ugly heads. Your logic is not my logic.

      The USGA, the PGA, the R&A, the ANGCWPC should CARE about the PGA Tour; without it, they don’t have great golfers for their “majors.” Heck, you and I would be playing, without the world’s professional touring professionals. Time for them to say, for once, it’s not about me.

      I’ll hang up and listen. Thank you for commenting. Knowing that people care enough to read my words, is quite supportive these days … rm

  7. todd

    Mar 27, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Big time shank, the smaller tournaments need to yield, Majors are what people remember and what the players want to win most, as far as humanity, it’s too early to tell, it’s not even April, it’s possible we get passed this thing by May-June, that leaves 4 months of play, which should be centered around the majors.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Mar 28, 2020 at 6:11 pm

      Past, not passed. We’ve already been “passed” by it. It has us in a choke hold. Are the strings attached to your hands, controlled by a puppeteer? Guess who matters in the world? The smaller tournaments, the common people, not the celebrities. Is this Kanye? One of the other Kardashians? I think that it is.

      I’ll hang up and listen. Thank you for commenting. Knowing that people care enough to read my words, is quite supportive these days … rm

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The Gear Dive: Discussing the drivers of 2020 with Bryan LaRoche

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In this episode of The Gear Dive, Johnny chats with his good buddy Bryan LaRoche. They chat on life and do a deep dive into the drivers of 2020.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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The Wedge Guy: The 5 indisputable rules of bunker play

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I received a particularly interesting question this week from Art S., who said he has read all the tips about how to hit different sand shots, from different sand conditions, but it would be helpful to know why. Specifically, here’s what Art had to say:

“I recently found myself in a few sand traps in multiple lies and multiple degrees of wetness. I tried remembering all of the “rules” of how to stand, how much to open my club, how much weight to shift forward or back, etc. based on the Golf Channel but was hoping that you might be able to do a blog on the ‘why’ of sand play so that we can understand it rather than memorizing what to do. Is there any way you can discuss what the club is doing and why you open the club, open your stance, what you’re aiming for when you open up, and any other tips?”

Well, Art, you asked a very good question, so let’s try to cover the basics of sand play–the “geometry and physics” at work in the bunkers–and see if we can make all of this more clear for you.

First of all, I think bunkers are among the toughest of places to find your ball. We see the tour players hit these spectacular bunker shots every week, but realize that they are playing courses where the bunkers are maintained to PGA Tour standards, so they are pretty much the same every hole and every week. This helps the players to produce the “product” the tour is trying to deliver–excitement. Of course, those guys also practice bunker play every day.

All of us, on the other hand, play courses where the bunkers are different from one another. This one is a little firmer, that one a little softer. So, let me see if I can shed a little light on the “whys and wherefores” of bunker play.

The sand wedge has a sole with a downward/backward angle built into it – we call that bounce. It’s sole (no pun intended) function is to provide a measure of “rejection” force or lift when the club makes contact with the sand. The more bounce that is built into the sole of the wedge, the more this rejection force is applied. And when we open the face of the wedge, we increase the effective bounce so that this force is increased as well.

The most basic thing you have to assess when you step into a bunker is the firmness of the sand. It stands to reason that the firmer the texture, the more it will reject the digging effect of the wedge. That “rejection quotient” also determines the most desirable swing path for the shot at hand. Firmer sand will reject the club more, so you can hit the shot with a slightly more descending clubhead path. Conversely, softer or fluffier sand will provide less rejection force, so you need to hit the shot with a shallower clubhead path so that you don’t dig a trench.

So, with these basic principles at work, it makes sense to remember these “Five Indisputable Rules of Bunker Play”

  1. Firmer sand will provide more rejection force – open the club less and play the ball back a little to steepen the bottom of the clubhead path.
  2. Softer sand will provide less rejection force – open the club more and play the ball slighter further forward in your stance to create a flatter clubhead path through the impact zone.
  3. The ball will come out on a path roughly halfway between the alignment of your body and the direction the face is pointing – the more you open the face, the further left your body should be aligned.
  4. On downslope or upslope lies, try to set your body at right angles to the lie, so that your swing path can be as close to parallel with the ground as possible, so this geometry can still work. Remember that downhill slopes reduce the loft of the club and uphill slopes increase the loft.
  5. Most recreational golfers are going to hit better shots from the rough than the bunkers, so play away from them when possible (unless bunker play is your strength).

So, there you go, Art. I hope this gives you the basics you were seeking.

As always, I invite all of you to send in your questions to be considered for a future article. It can be about anything related to golf equipment or playing the game–just send it in. You can’t win if you don’t ask!

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Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Task to target

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In this week’s episode: How having a target will improve your direction and contact you have with the ball.

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