Monday, August 16, 2010

PGA of America blows the call

What a shame! The final major the year which had excitement equal to a seventh game of the World Series went down in flames with one bad call.

Now golf is an objective sport. There is very little subjectively to the rules of the game – at least that's what the rule makers would like to have us think. And they almost pull it off except for that little, 1200+ page volume they publish every time – The Decisions on the Rules of Golf. That volume puts every rule into subjectivity.

But when the PGA of America rules officials decided to assess Dustin Johnson with a two stroke penalty at the end of play yesterday and eliminate him from a playoff, they stuck by the objectivity of the rule. This particular rule being “the player is not allowed to ground his club in a hazard.” At this point they blew it – plain and simple.

No, they didn't blow the rule, they blew the call. Even Johnson said he knows the rule. But in their own defense the PGA will tell us they published a local rules sheet for the tournament stating that some of the 1,000,000+ bunkers at Whistling Straits may be outside the spectator ropes but they are still to be considered bunkers. Not a problem – if you can identify the area as a bunker. And herein lies the problem. It exists on two levels.

First, why in the world would the PGA allow spectator to tramp and tromp through bunkers that could be potentially in play. And I'm sorry, the argument about getting the spectators closer to the action is a cop out. Yes, and we heard that some of these bunkers were “cosmetic.” Please! If it's a “cosmetic” bunker, then don't treat it like a normal bunker. And as a corollary to this, if you can't identify a sandy patch as a bunker because it has been trampled by the hordes, then how on earth would you expect a player to identify it especially if he is on the last hole of a major championship needing a par to win?

Second, with a major championship on the line, why in the name of Old Tom Morris was there no PGA Rules Official right there with Johnson? And the argument here that the rules officials are not supposed to get involved falls flat. If a rules official had gotten involved, this whole major embarrassment would never have occurred. Having a rules official right on the spot to clarify any confusion would have a most satisfying gesture.

Even the experienced CBS sports crew had no idea.

The sad part of the whole incident is that the PGA could have taken charge of the situation and ruled no penalty simply because Johnson hardly knew he was in a bunker with all of the people standing around him and the fact that the bunker had been virtaully destroyed during the past seven days. The PGA could have done what was right. They chose not to.

Honestly this situation is akin to the building of a mosque near the sight of Ground Zero. Someone may have the right to build such a structure, but it is not the proper thing to do. The PGA had the right to assess the penalty on Johnson, but it was not the proper thing to do.

It's a sad day for the PGA of America.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

aboutGolf PGA Tour Simulator

Okay, now this is fun and I've always wanted one of these. It sort of falls under the category of big boys and their toys. And while this item tends to be on the periphery of the world of golf, we feel it is our duty to pass the information along. And I'm sure someone else wants one of these also.

So, let's examine (with a few pertinent observations) the newest aboutGolf PGA TOUR Compact SimSurround – the 15-foot version.

aboutGolf is the world leader in indoor golf simulator technology and has pioneered the three-screen simulator which allows the player a greater potential for a real world experience. Meaning that very little additional atmosphere is required to give you the total realization. For instance, if you choose to play St. Andrews, all you need is an oversized, high speed fan blowing right into your face (add an artificial downpour if you so desire). Or, if you play a course in the desert, add a couple of high intensity heat lamps for special effects.

The newest model is the 15-foot wide version that is tagged as ideal for residences and indoor golf centers. The total dimensions of this newest golf toy are 15 feet wide by 20 feet long by 10 feet, 6 inches high. Now I don't care if the local indoor golf center has one of these, but if I lived in northern Minnesota in the winter I would surely want one in my basement. I would emerge from the depths of frozen hell in the late springtime with my game ready for the dollar nassau.

It comes complete with PGA TOUR Software for range and course play, 29 standard courses, 3Trak ball-tracking technology and club data, as well as screen, enclosure, computer and turf. That's right, 29 courses at your finger tips and all real (or at least fictitiously conventional) – except one. Remember the Fantasy Holes by artist Loyal H. (Bud) Chapman? Well, with the aboutGolf simulator you can actually play this course. Imagine playing the 291-yard par-4 at St Ludiwg's Golf Club in the shadow of Neuschwanstein Castle? Now that would be fun.

Holy golf ball, Batman, there's a real and a fantasy golf resort right is your basement.

If there is one ultimate golf toy to possess, this is it!