Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Kill the Dinosaur
The '08 US Open was easily the most compelling golf tournament I have ever watched (until you pull out the VHS tape and go back to Tiger's showdown with Bob May, Payne Steward and Phil battling down the stretch at Pinehurst, or a myriad of other magical moments in the great game).
Tiger vs. Rocco was stunningly dramatic, oddly moving, and flat out terrific for the game.
But it doesn't negate the reality that for all parties involved, the USGA needs to give up the ridiculous 18-hole playoff format and adopt a resolution more sensible. I'm not the first to make this suggestion, and certainly won't be the last. But just imagine if the playoff had been between Lee Westwood and Robert Karlsson - the 3rd and 4th place finishers last year. Would you have paid even the least bit of attention to a 2-man Monday playoff? NBC would rather air a highlight reel of Keith Olbermann foaming at the mouth in an inane tirade (as seen each evening on MSNBC, but I digress).
As a huge proponent of golf's great traditions, I love the bizarreness of Augusta's rules, the esteem held by all for the Claret Jug, ABC's horrible camera work at the British each year (are they having an earthquake?), and other indelible iconic elements in golf.
But the 18-hole playoff needs to go. Rocco and Tiger simply gave the concept a 1-year reprieve. Wait till the gripping showdown this year between DJ Trahan and Stewart Cink. You'll be begging for a 4-hole Sunday playoff.