The International, the PGA Tour's dumbest event, gets 6-year reprieve
Surprised why? Because after last year’s sleep-inducing 36-hole closing day, I thought the tournament was kaput – finally and at long last.
The International was an ambitious attempt by its founder, Jack Vickers, to create a new major golf tournament, one that was so different that it would capture the imaginations of golf fans worldwide. But it has never succeeded on that level because it employs a scoring system that most people don’t understand, and don’t want to understand.
The Modified Stableford scoring system was to blame for last year’s deadly dull neck-and-neck finish. Yes, I do mean dull even though the outcome was in doubt. If you watched the broadcast to the end, you know what I’m talking about. CBS announcer Jim Nantz nearly gave himself a double-hernia trying to inject interest in the closing hour.
Which begs the question: How many minus-points is a double-hernia?
For those who don’t know or care, let me brief you on the Modified Stableford scoring system, which has been so popular that no other tournament I know has adopted it since The International went into business 18 years ago.
The system fosters aggressive – make that bold, better yet reckless – play on a golf course. It compels players to throw out the concept of judicious course management in a mad attempt to make near-impossible double-eagles and eagles. In plain English, the golfer is encouraged to play stupidly because the reward for birdies and eagles far outweighs the punishment inflicted for bogeys and double-bogeys.
Are you ready? Here goes: A double-eagle counts for 8 points. An eagle is 5 points. A birdie is 2 points. A par is zero points. A bogey brings a penalty of one point, and for a double-bogey the player is assessed a minus-3.
It doesn’t even matter if someone scores a 12 – take note, John Daly – because a 12 is the same as a 7.
The rationale behind the scoring system is that the leaderboard can change as unpredictably as a trailer park in a tornado. But when was the last time you heard anyone talk about unbearable suspense at The International?
Jack Vickers is by all accounts a great guy, which is the only way I can explain how The International has endured. I know the people in Colorado love him, and the PGA Tour players respect him. But the cockamamie Modified Stableford system remains unloved because it robs golf of beauty, strategy and subtlety.
I’d thought last year’s debacle would put the matter to rest. Obviously, I was wrong. We’re in for at least six more years of this craziness. Oh, I should mention that last year Retief Goosen edged out Brandt Jobe 32 to 31. Who remembers?
|« With SK Telecom Open in sight, is Wie the Pete Rademacher of golf?||A working-class golf hero: John Daly? Nope. Try Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand »|
The International is different, like the Match Play event is different, as the pro-am events are different. How many GGO or GHO or BCO or same events do you want? That's one reason why golfers and non-golfers hate televised golf--the sameness.
There are so many high handicapper who would not enjoy the game of golf if it was not of the thrill to hit that shot over the water (that they 70% of the time cannot carry over), but still they do, because they want some excitement.
I was a pretty descent 2 hcp golfer playing left handed before. I changed to play right-handed now, and it is so fun to try to do the same things as I did before, because the rush after a shot is so much higher now :) If you want to find out more, take a look at http://www.lauri.se and read my blog about how I and turning around 180 degrees.
Comments are closed for this post.