Musings from The PGA Championship

by G. Rennie

Ø Kudos to TNT for the best leaderboard graphic in televised golf. Their scroll depicts the Top 10 players , not the top 7 like CBS, NBC, Golf Channel , et al. The Top 10 is a basic construct, a recognized reference point, not just in golf but in all sports. All the other broadcasts (the European Tour on Golf Channel does a top 10 spot but the graphic is too small) should take a lesson here and follow suit.

Ø The Morning Drive’s Gary Williams was effusive with praise for the condition of the course at the Atlanta Athletic Club Highland course. Much praise and some scorn have been leveled at this Rees Jones redesigned course for a variety of reasons. Williams’ point was that the turf maintenance had been superb and he called the effect “ almost artificial” in its perfection. I’m not so sure that is praise nor a condition the PGA, USGA or any other golf overlord should aspire to in setting up their championship courses.

Ø Diamond Zoysia, what’s that? Sounds like the latest jewelry fad on Shoppers Network. In reality it’s a new type of turf grass that thrives in extremely hot climates, like summer time in Dixie. The AAC re-seeded it’s fairways with diamond zoysia as part of the prep for this 93rd PGA championship. The PGA is touting their new emphasis on sustainability as this turf (and the other grasses placed on the greens and in the rough) require less water, less chemical fertilizer and generally less TLC. All to the good. The one downside is that this inherently spongy turf grass kills the bounce of the ball in effect establishing “dead zones” in front of any green inhibiting any ball landing short from bounding onto the green. This reinforced the “ target golf” aspect of the already penal layout at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Ø A mass undertaking to coin a nickname for the closing stretch of holes at AAC broke out early in the championship. This string of heart beat racing and headache inducing golf holes has proved to be one of the toughest finishes in recent major championship history. The 3,4,3 and 4 gauntlet has threatening water on all but one hole and the continual splashing would have been more appropriate at a pool party than at a major golf event. “Armpit of the Apocalypse”  was offered up by David Feherty on the early Sunday telecasts. Feherty is the Hieronymus Bosch of golf commentary- often interesting but sometimes just bizarre- and this time he was way over the top. “Southern Discomfort” made a serious play and was touted by Eric Kuselias (along with the comely Holly Sonders) on Morning Drive Sunday edition.   The winner for me, first uttered, I think, by Gary McCord (who plays Salvador Dali to Feherty’ s Bosch) is “Calamity Lane.” This conjures up images of Mr. Jones  while signposting this 4 hole stretch as trouble waiting to happen. Keep waxing that ‘stache, Gary.



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