Thursday, June 18, 2015

A good stretch of the legs

And now we come to the U.S. Open, where the goal is always to make the best golfers in the world look like pathetic muni hackers, and the phrase "a true test of golf" gets dusted off every year to justify it.

Which is to say: Chambers Bay, perched on Puget Sound in the state of Washington, is either 18 holes of challenging golf or the logo-shirt equivalent of a beating on the soles of the feet with a rubber hose.

The sight of the 2015 Open, which begins this morning, is 7,700 yards of hilly links golf that has golfers actually talking about their cardio fitness, although I can't imagine why. Nearly 8,000 yards, hills and valleys and all, just seems a good stretch of the legs to this muni hacker, who's always lugged his own sticks and thinks the professionals are soft because all they have to do is walk unencumbered between shots.

At any rate ... the debate is on as to where the line lies between a true test of golf and the sort of torture the United States, with an extravagant wink, periodically disavows. I've always found it curious that the USGA thinks it's a good idea to discourage scoring on its Open courses, because it seems so counterproductive. Do they really think what viewers want to see is some money-list drone shoot 72-71-72-71?

That's what seems to happen more times than not. And it's boring as hell.

I guess there's a certain intrigue involved in watching Bubba Watson disappear into the Open rough, never to be heard from again. But give me an occasional big number -- a 64, say, or even a 65 -- any day. Brooks Koepka (or Charl Schwartzel, or Webb Simpson, or whoever) raising the trophy after shooting 1-under for tournament doesn't cut it for me.

I might tune in once in awhile to see if anyone's fallen into Puget Sound. But if I want to watch people play bogey golf, I'll go out to one our many fine local tracks.

Or just play myself.        

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