Power Game Does Not Guarantee Success at U.S. Open
To anybody who witnessed or watched the 103rd U.S. Open at Olympia Fields, the arrival of the Power Game and the distances achieved by some players are not bringing professional golf to the edge of ruin as expressed recently by a vocal minority.
If professional golf is experiencing some irreparable harm, it was certainly not identified at the U.S. Open.
Are players hitting the golf ball longer? No doubt. The average driving distance at the U.S. Open for all rounds was 288 yards. Was it reflected in the overall scoring? Not by a long shot. The scoring average of all 155 players in the field was 72.38, more than 2-over par.
Some additional facts:
The average driving distance for the final round was 295.8 yards, yet the average score was 73 or 3-over par.
A total of 20 players averaged more than 300 yards in driving distance for the week, only four of whom finished among the top 10 in scoring.
Sixty-eight players made the cut, which came at 3-over-par 143, and is the lowest cut ever at the U.S. Open in terms of score and the second lowest in relation to par. However, only 27 players finished the tournament at 3-over par or better.
11 of the 20 players who averaged more than 300 yards in driving distance finished between 33rd and 66th in scoring. The top two players in driving distance finished 57th (+10) and 42nd (+6), respectively, in scoring.
The U.S. Open champion placed 25th in driving distance with an average of 295 yards. He also was 2nd in driving accuracy (70%), and was 1st in greens in regulation (74%).
The winning score of 272 tied a record for the lowest 72-hole score in U. S. Open history, also achieved in 2000 (Pebble Beach), 1993 (Baltusrol) and 1980 (Baltusrol).
While confronted by changes with players' physical fitness and strength, course conditions, and equipment technology, the professional game continues to grow and prosper because the rules in place more than adequately control technological influence. As evidenced by the performances at the U.S. Open and at PGA Tour events throughout the year, players' abilities should enjoy upper case recognition. After all, as the tagline says . . . "these guys are good!"
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