Only two polls this week, and both came with decent amount of discussion.
Backstopping — Who’s protecting the field?
There sure has been a lot of trash talk about the LPGA situation where people think the world is going to end if those players don’t get penalized for aiding and abetting the commitment of a vicious crime of leaving a ball unmarked and trying to take over the field.
I voted for for the second option where it’s on the player about to hit a shot where the other ball is in play close enough to where it can affect your ball in an unfair way when the situation is important enough in that player’s judgement.
Time for an anecdote. I had this come up in the Ray Fischer last year, on the 12th hole where I hit an on purpose snap hook driver to take the out of bounds right out of play. Ben Skogen hit a pitch shot from the fairway to something like 10 feet below the hole. The pin was front, and my only shot was a little punch aimed between the front of the green and the edge of the bunker with the goal of having some sort of easy up and down. Skogen’s ball ended up literally, literally where I was planning to aim. To give him time to mark his ball, I stepped off and took some fake practice swings. He didn’t move. So I started walking towards the green to have another fake look at the shot and he still didn’t move. Finally I had to tell him to go mark his ball cause that’s exactly where I was going to aim.
Pace of play is also an issue with this, and that’s especially relevant considering how much more hate goes to those who aren’t the fastest players. First, I don’t want to force someone who’s ready to hit a shot to have to wait for me to mark something that, no matter how close to the hole the ball is, to have to stand and wait if we’re not in an absolute important situation in a tournament. That’s like a way to take them off their timing. Second, with the amount of negativity slow players are getting and the stupid USGA pace of play checkpoint garbage, I’m not going to force the group to be 30 seconds further behind than needs to be.
This is all situationally dependent of course. I think there was a case at the US Open at Erin Hills where in the final round, someone didn’t mark their ball and Azinger called him out for that. Final round in an important event, yeah, you go mark, and the other player in the group should ensure that as well. On the other hand, in the final round of the 2016 Master, Louis Oostheizen freaking made a hole in one from an unmarked ball! That didn’t protect the field from his XXX place finish, so why didn’t they let whoever hit that first shot take the time to mark his ball? Also, in like the absolute best cases of randomness, it was JB Holmes’ ball that was left and helped Louis’ go in.
Ok now this was an interesting poll, and talk about a dead heat.
My initial thought and my selection was wanting the downhill one as summed up by Zach. Smaller movement means less likely to go awry.
But then, after I replied saying that’s why I agree, KVR brought up really good point about wanting the uphill.
If you try to picture the two cases, you’ll see what he’s talking about. With a ball sitting on the opposite lip of the hole from where you hit the putt, an uphill putt will have the ball wanting to come back to the hole, where a downhill one will want to continue on away from you and the hole.
As is the case with all of these questions, it all depends on your confidence level. If you’re asked to pick, you can take a look at both of the options and go with what you’re feeling then.
I tend to tweet a bunch of polls during the week to get others’ opinions on topics, and like other cases, tweeting thoughts is difficult. So here are the mid morning polls I posted in the past week that show the results and give me a little more space to talk about what I think of them.
Only three questions this week, we’ll see if there are more or less in the future.
One Ball Rule Not in Effect
Pretty funny when people either think nobody is going to make the change, or everybody is going to make the change. Few people thinking it’d be in the middle of the people spectrum.
Switching types of balls with the wind sure could help take less of that into play based on the amount of spin the ball has. I believe downwind you’ll want more spin so the ball hangs in the air and doesn’t get knocked down, and into the wind you want less spin so the ball doesn’t balloon. These cases you’d get more distance, but the main reason for wanting that is for the wind to have less of an effect meaning more consistency which is way better to have than straight distance.
I’m not sure what my guess would have been, but probably in the 5%-15% range, meaning like 8-23 players. 25% of the field is a huge number, 39 guys. My guess is we’d see a few people try this out, like with a trackman on a windy practice day and somewhat in tournaments, where others would follow along with what the initial guys determined.
I said in another tweet that I played with a kid in the US Am qualifier who got a DQ because he played a different type of ball after losing one in a hazard and didn’t take the 2 shot penalty before signing that first round scorecard. The rules official said how they should really get rid of that rule because it affects players in our position, tournaments like a USGA qualifier, but not the pros. The pin rule, which was also changed because they thought it’d only help Am pace of play, didn’t end up like that. Tour pros are the ones who get the benefit. Removing the one ball rule would also only change the pro game, where they’d feel that if they didn’t, they weren’t trying hard enough.
One more quick thing to think about is if the USGA never had that rule in the first place, would it be common for guys on Tour to do that with balls of the current technology? Would it be expected that guys use different types depending? If they added the one ball rule right now, for pace of play reasoning, would guys get super annoyed? Dunno. I can always see reasons for all of those things to happen.
Short or Trousers?
The results say a dead heat for people saying shorts if they want them, or only pants, but I received notice that a friend accidentally clicked “pants only” instead of “shorts if they want”, so shorts is the winner.
Me, I’m an only pants kind of guy. If I see guys in shorts, it immediately takes the professionalism of what they’re doing and brings it down a level. Watching guys play in the PGA Championship with shorts would only make it seem like a fun weekend round rather than anything important.
There’s a great Scrubs clip that I haven’t been able to find, where Carla talks back to a delivery guy after he said something negative to her, about how she can’t take him seriously because he’s wearing shorts to work which is unprofessional. Being a delivery driver, mail person, or something like an airport tarmac worker should absolutely have the ability to wear clothes that they’re comfortable with. But guys playing golf? I want them to show people that they’re doing this for a job, something they care about enough, rather than just whacking it around.
Trackmans or Trackmen?
This was a hard question to post because we can only have a max of four answers, meaning I tried my best to come up with reasonable limits. Which means if I instead had $5k as an answer, would that then have been the most popular answer?
Having space and money right now is clearly the biggest issue of whether or not you have a Trackman. But the important thing to think about with this question is how much having a Trackman would influence your attitude for the game. Would its expense make you feel bad if you don’t use it enough so it puts pressure on you? Or would having it there make you take the game more seriously because you can see all that information rather than continually guessing?
For me, I’m on the side that my attitude would change for the better to take golf more seriously. I’m kind of the guy who just whacks it around and is lucky to make a bunch of putts. With the Trackman, I’d be able to work on distance numbers which is absolutely the thing I don’t have in my game. If I’m spending so much time and money on playing golf now, putting money on the thing I need to get better would be worth it.