Wednesday, January 5, 2011
5 Unfair Advantages of PGA Tour vs. Amateur Golf
On the forum (http://richie3jack.proboards.com) there was some discussion about the unfair advantage the PGA Tour players get vs. Joe Amateur get in tournaments. I decided to run thru my main gripes.
1. Lift, Clean and Drop
It’s funny how the PGA Tour will go to lift, clean and drop at the drop of a hat, yet your typical amateur tournament will need an act of Congress to institute this rule. Years ago at the old PGA Tour stop BC Open, I saw Chris Dimarco ask for and get relief from casual water. I thought this was strange since it had been almost a week since the last time it rained and after the shot I walked over the spot (he was near the ropes) and I think at the very worst it was lightly moist. Contrast that with years of playing in tournaments where I’ve seen literally every level of precipitation possible, even to the point where the crew is using squeegees on the green during tournament play and the officials decide to only allow the golf to lift clean and drop if they are plugged and if it’s in the fairway.
2. Course Planning
Sometimes I laugh off the notion of course planning because the PGA Tour players are at a massive inherent advantage. For instance, they are told beforehand exactly where the pin placements will be for each day (in fact, they usually mark them with a small piece of spray paint during the practice rounds). Then the caddies can go out and map each green in its entirety and determine exactly how a putt will break from different positions on the green. In fact, it’s done so often that the veteran tour caddies no longer have to map many of the greens because they already mapped them years ago.
Then there’s the yardage books which can just about give the precise distance to any spot on the course and are extensively detailed.
These things are not prevalent in most amateur tournaments and since laser rangefinders with slope are disallowed in tournament play, the disadvantage is quite noticeable here.
3. Ultra Firm and Manicured Fairways
I play the ball down in regular rounds, but will find a divot whereas the pro tour seems to rarely find a divot in the fairway. And while PGA Tour golfers do generate great clubhead speed, it’s easier to hit the ball further when you get 50+ yards of roll on very firm and fast fairways versus getting 20 yards roll on thick and slow fairways.
Anybody who has ever worked on a course knows that the one thing that the superintendent and crew loathe working on it’s the bunkers. Plus, if you’re playing in a tournament there’s a good chance that somebody may not rake the bunker.
5. Lost Ball
This is a tricky situation because the rule is an important rule. But when somebody hits a shot that should be findable and playable and they cannot find it, that’s a tough break. Particularly when on the PGA Tour they can hit a far worse shot into the middle of nowhere and have a spotter and fans find the ball for them.