The real March Madness: Golf world's hysteria over protecting par
While most sports fans in the U.S. are in the grips of college basketball’s March Madness (and weren’t we all wondering how Duke-hater Chris Baldwin will rework a golf blog to get his gloating in over the Krzyzewski Kids falling to Virginia Commonwealth), there is another madness going on in the world of sports - golfers, pundits and others fretting about scores in relation to par.
“Arnie can’t like this, players are shredding this course,” said Rocco Mediate, as a record 42 players broke 70.
And while I admire the PGA Punter (a distant cousin of Winston Churchill, by the way), I just can’t wrap my mind around the concept that many are fearful of a course being too easy, thus handing the tournament to Tiger Woods.
“These guys are just hitting it so far that some holes have become just too short for their par,” said Palmer.
While it’s understandable that tournament organizers don’t want to see multiple players knocking out 59s on their course, and while the PGA Tour should strive to present the World’s best golfers with diverse challenges, does Woods share any less of the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational after shooting a 6-under 64, that would have been an 8-under 64 had Palmer not made Bay Hill a par-70? Make par 18 if you like, and Woods would still share the lead, regardless of whether or not you think being 46-over is sexy.
In the end, winning counts. Can anyone tell me what Jack Nicklaus’s scores were in relation to par in his 19 major victories? Probably not. But you know his greatness is measured in victories.
Geoff Shackleford points to Todd Hamilton’s theory on par as a solid mindset:
“Get rid of the par. Get rid of the yardage,” said Hamilton. “Go play the course.”
While the Associated Press’s Doug Ferguson relays this quote from Ben Crenshaw, which sums it up perfectly.
“We can get caught up too much in numbers,” said Crenshaw. “You still add up your score at the end of the round. And they’re still going to give the trophy away to the guy with the lowest score.”
And that’s about it - add up the strokes and may the best man win. Currently, the best man out there shares the lead. But there are some great players out there who are still in contention, and playing the exact same course. But weather will come into play and favor some, and hinder others. Regardless, shots still need to be made, putts still need to roll true.
And whether the victor comes in at 25-under or at 25-over, the winner’s check will still be for the same, as will the trophy. So may the man with the least amount of shots win, and accept that worries about scores in relation to par are just madness.
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and counted up your strokes at the end, attempting to card a 4 on each hole,
regardless of length. And even this spartan version of stroke play was rare
compared to match play, where par is irrelevant.
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