Chip Shots

by Jeff Skinner

I am glad to see that I am not the only golf addict that won’t let the calendar interfere with my golf.  President Obama took advantage of some warm weather and was able to hit the links on Sunday.  With the warm weather heading to the Northeast I’ll be doing the same thing on Tuesday.  Partly cloudy with a high of 60 degrees is fine with me. Heck, I was out there in 40 degrees last week.  If the leader of the free world can find the time so can I.  To all those wimps that need “perfect” weather to play…well, golfers play in any weather.

The Golf Channel is doing a nice job of recapping the PGA Tour Q-School each night and there are plenty of familiar names trying to earn their card.  This is the end of the line for Q-School as we know it.  No longer will it be an immediate pass to the PGA Tour.  In 2013 players will qualify for the Web.com Tour, not the PGA Tour and stories like Rookie of the Year, John Huh, who went through every stage of Q-School will be a thing of the past.  That’s just a shame.

The LPGA Q-School is in the books and Christina Kim could only finish in a tie for 39th which gets her some standing on the LPGA but not full privileges.  The top 20 graduate to the LPGA and its good to see a veteran like Laura Diaz (T8) earn a full card.  Rebecca Lee-Bentham from Canada and Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand we co-medalists.

The debate about the changes to the old course continues with a thorough lambasting of the R&A and Links Trust by John Huggan of the Scotsman.  “Golf’s shrine has been desecrated in an act of staggering arrogance by those meant to care for it.”  That’s about the kindest thing he has to say about the most significant changes to the Old Course in decades.  But Peter Dawson of the R&A, the main villain in this drama, defends himself and the changes.  Of the work on the 17th he says,”The work is virtually finished. These changes are so ‘major’ they’ve been done in less than a week!”   Just because they were completed in a few days doesn’t mean they weren’t significant.  All it takes is money and manpower and I am sure the powers that be are loaded with both.  And it isn’t just the changes, although any changes were too much for many, it is the clandestine and scheming way in which Dawson and his cronies handled this entire affair.

Dawson claims to love and cherish the Old Course and I am sure he does but if you’re making changes to safeguard the course from the “professionals” isn’t that contrary to the spirit of golf in St. Andrews.  After all, it was the people of St. Andrews that turned over control of the links courses to the Links Trust to maintain courses in the spirit of golf that permeates St. Andrews 365 days a year…not just the one week a year when the pros come to town.


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