Watching Pro Golf
I occasionally watch pro golfers. While I love playing the game, watching it isn’t always as
interesting. I have been to the US Open at Shinnecock, and I was bored to death, granted my
dad and uncle decided I should go just to drive them. This was just what I wanted to do on a
Friday afternoon in the dead of summer, with the beach 10 minutes away. I really couldn’t
follow what was going on, just standing by a random green for a few hours.
I can watch on a Sunday if there is a race to the finish, every stroke matters. If someone is
running away and can 3 putt their way to victory on the back 9, I can’t get invested. That is
more due to the lack of drama.
While these turn me off from watching the pros, it isn’t my biggest gripe. I played hockey
growing up, and I could relate to the pro game, because the game scores tended to be similar. I
could understand the tense OT back and forth battles.
So why can’t I always relate to golf? A lot of the tournaments I catch, it is perfect shot after
perfect shot. The average score is around -10. I haven’t even played par 3 courses where
people can pull that off. There might be a fight over who will win, but they are making it look
like they are playing pitch and putt. I get it, they are paid millions to do this, and should be top
tier. Still, the game looks completely different to what the rest of us play. This is ignoring a few
tournaments I have watched where they are 50 yards away from the green and putting.
I come across tournaments where the leaders are -2 or so, and the average of the field is
around +3. They will hit bad shots, struggle a bit, and look like they are actually making an
effort to recover. These tournaments are so much more enjoyable to watch. I can atch,
appreciate what they are going through. I can’t hit recovery shots like the pros do consistently,
but I have shot from awful lies and had it work out. When they have to hit from the trees, then
a branch gets in the way, I know what they are feeling. I’ve had days where I’ve hit so many
trees, I may have been playing pinball instead of golf.
I know that there is a debate around this. I even remember reading Mike Russo’s point on
this in his sports arguments book. I am taking his side on the issue. I’m not sure where the
majority falls on the issue. It is hard to compare ratings as major tournaments draw more
The other thing is the USGA tries to make us duffers follow the pro rules. I have no idea if
my driver complies with the current rules. Rory used to use the same one, the Nike Vapor
driver, so I know it at least used to be. With the recent shaft length reduction they put in, I’m
sure plenty of players out there are now using non-compliant drivers. If they want me to play
the same rules as the pros, they need to do something to tone the pros down a bit, so I can
consistently relate to the game they play. The pros are pulling out a wedge or 9 iron, I’m
wondering if I should hit my 5 iron or my hybrid…
By Sebastian Wyczawski