Not A Fan
Some days, even before I write them, I know that what I am about to write will not be a big hit with many of you. This might be one of them. I'm sorry if I offend you but I just need to get this out there.
I am not a fan of The Open, or of St, Andrews, or of links golf.
Let me start with St. Andrews, the home of golf, as they are happy to point out in their logo and also mention it every other sentence during the broadcast of The Open. More than any of the other courses played during this tournament, St. Andrews literally looks like what it was when the game was invented, a sheep pasture.
If ever a course needed a face lift it is this one. It is the ultimate definition of hit it and chase it. The rough looks like the fairway but taller. Bunkers are just scattered randomly around the grounds, and there is no definition to the holes. Watching it on TV, and having watched it for forty plus years, I still can't figure out where some of the holes are.
Even US Open champ Matt Fitzpatrick agrees with me. According to Dan Rapaport on Twitter, when asked if the old course holds up to the modern game, Fitzpatrick paused and answered, "Not really." In order to protect it from today's players they have to put the pins in stupid locations that make it impossible to get to and that creates crazy shots.
Nothing like tuning into a major golf tournament and seeing balls bouncing around like a superball in a corn field and running down the fairway like somebody hit a two iron down the middle of I-80 in Kansas. This isn't golf.
Which brings me to links golf in general. I have never been a fan of watching golf played on a links course nor have I ever enjoyed playing on a links course. The links courses around the US are a bit different in that most of them actually water them so you are playing on green grass and not brown dirt. Additionally they have some definition to them so you can kind of see where you are supposed to go.
St. Andrews is above left and Harborside International in Chicago is pictured in the middle and on the right. At least at Harborside you can tell you are on a golf course, St. Andrews looks like a dog park in the Hamptons.
My problem with links courses is that they are boring. Even here in the desert our courses have some definition to them and you can tell when you are headed into trouble. One of the golfers hit a ball off 15 or 16 yesterday that was so far left it landed in the 6th fairway. The announcer said that technically it was still considered part of the hole they were playing. What?!?! As long as you keep it inside the outer boundaries of the course you are credited with a fairway hit.
All of this makes The Open unwatchable. Not Chicago Cubs unwatchable, but golf unwatchable. I found myself this weekend spending more time watching the LPGA play a team game in Detroit on a course that was too short and too easy for pros to be playing on but it still was fun to watch. At least I could tell where the hell the holes were.
I grew up playing on tree lined fairways with some defined rough and bunkers put in locations where you are most likely going to land if you hit an errant shot. You know, golf. What ever this nonsense is they are playing at "The Open" is not golf for me. And could they be more full of themselves over there? Now even the American announcers insists on calling it "The Open" instead of what it was called by us for years here, The British Open.
Here is the definitive question all golfers need to ask themselves. If you could only play one more round of golf in your life would you choose to play St. Andrews, or this course?