The USGA’s Identity Crisis

BY JOHN PATRICK

I have come to the conclusion that the United States Golf Association (USGA) suffers from an identity crisis. That can be the only reason to explain what we saw in the first round of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

The USGA is in charge of putting on the U.S. Open. Their mission statement reads:

“The USGA promotes and conserves the true spirit of the game of golf as embodied in its ancient and honorable traditions. It acts in the best interests of the game for the continued enjoyment of those who love and play it.”

I doubt many of the golfers enjoyed their rounds Thursday. As a viewer, it was hard to watch. There was nothing enjoyable about watching Tiger Woods four-putt for a double bogey, or take three chips from behind the green to put the ball near the hole. For years, I have heard that the USGA’s goal at the U.S. Open is to “protect par.” However as they do, in contradicts with their mission statement.

On Thursday, five of 156 golfers shot even par or better. The field was 1,014 shots over par. I realize the weather conditions were a factor in the high scores, but that’s not protecting par. That is taking an atomic bomb to it. Last year’s winning score from Brooks Koepka was 16 under par. Make up your mind USGA! Do you want a champion near even par or well below? Over the years, I have changed my opinion about how a U.S. Open course should be set up. In the end, I think the winning score should be around eight to 10 under par.

Some other thoughts on the U.S. Open:

I am not a fan of Shinnecock Hills. Give me a course with some trees and lush fairways and greens. Save the bare courses for the British Open.

I don’t like Joe Buck as a golf announcer. There is something about his delivery that rubs me the wrong way. It’s like he tries to sound smart about golf by using stats and cliches, but it’s too obvious. He is not conversational.

I watched the featured group channel of Woods, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas. The lag time in between shots was brutal.

The shirt Woods was wearing would never cut it at many country clubs. Most require a collared shirt, but who is going to tell that to Tiger?

John “JP’’ Patrick produces Idaho Sports Talk with Caves & Prater weekdays from 3-6 p.m. on KTIK 93.1 FM The Ticket. He can be found @JPKTIK (Twitter).

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