78 players averaged 300 yards or more driving in the new season’s 1st event at the Safeway Open on the weekend.
That would be 78. That is a higher number than the usual weekend cut number (top 70, including ties), so you might one day see every single player who makes the cut in an event averaging over 300 yards per drive.
Fred Couples, in fact, who came into the event at age 59, averaged 312 yards in his 3rd round and nearly 300 in the final round:
Granted, he only hit 69% of the fairways for the entire week, but then again, the leaders in fairways hit got crushed – here’s another stat – every player who averaged over 70% fairways missed the cut:
- 82% – Scott Piercy – Missed Cut
- 75% – Kramer Hickcock – Missed Cut
- 75% – Seamus Power – Missed Cut
- 71.43% – Scott Langley – Missed Cut
In fact, highest fairway average of any player to make the cut barely hit 2/3’s fairways hit – Ryan Moore, who averaged 67.86%.
The next highest average of any player to make the cut was below 2/3’s, Kevin Streelman at 66.07%.
I don’t know about any of you, but I imagine the old-time greats are spinning in their graves or, if still alive, would have been reaching for the Tums watching this kind of golf.
The most accurate players off the tee failed to even make the cut, and the players who were rewarded were those hitting everywhere except the fairways, and still making pars and birdies enough that the cut line was well below par.
This is upside-down golf, my friends. Accuracy off the tee is no longer even a bare requirement to score well, and missing fairways is a mere stat.
If you want to know why the American team got wiped out in this year’s Ryder Cup, you only have to know one thing – the venue rough was high, thick and punished missed fairways.
In short, nothing like the PGA Tour venues, with the possible exception of the U.S. Open – when it’s not being played on defenseless courses that rely on burnt-out greens to keep scores low.
Phil Mickelson went so far was to say that it was a waste of his time to play in the Ryder Cup on a course like this (one with actual rough, that is):
I’m not going to play tournaments with rough like that any more. It’s a waste of my time. I’m going to play courses that are playable and that I can play aggressive, attacking, make a lot of birdies, style of golf I like to play.”
I’m sorry, but that is a terrible statement.
With all due respect, I’d have two things to say to P.M. – 1st, that perhaps he’d have known how the course was set up if he’d taken the time to actually visit and play it before the Cup event, so he could have declined the wild card pick and let someone else play who wouldn’t have gone 0-4 and not considered the honor a waste of time.
2nd, perhaps he’d be better served hitting more fairways if he wants to make birdies, instead of spraying it everywhere but in play and still expecting to make birdies.
Where has golf gotten to where players are complaining about the rough punishing missed fairways?
It’s bad enough that they all expect pristine bunkers so that they can actually play into them on purpose and still expect to hole-out or have an easy up-and-down out of them… if you’ve ever seen the players’ reactions to less-than-perfect bunker lies, you’d swear they just got home to find their entire house cleaned out and vandalized by burglars.
In the days of persimmon and balata, it was difficult to reach par 5’s in two from the fairway, and certainly even long par 4’s were no automatic given when you were forced to hit long irons or woods into the greens.
Today, everyone expects to hit wedge into every green, even the par 5’s, wherever they hit the ball – they feel entitled to spray it everywhere and still be able to wedge their next shot to the green.
So, this may explain why I don’t watch much televised golf anymore outside of the majors. It’s all bomb-gouge-and-putt-for-birdie-eagle.
Well, that in addition to all the “using the ground” and “vertical lift” balderdash.
Not worth watching.
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