Grouchy Golf Blog

Saturday, March 25, 2006 at 10:23 AM

Gettin' Grouchy at Augusta National

Hootie and the Blowhards have a knack for controversy. Whether it's banning one of the best golf commenters of all-time or supporting sexism into the 21st century, the "" just don't seem to get it. If you thought that our country couldn't be run any worse than it is now, just give Hootie the keys to the White House and let him work his magic. Hmmm, I always wondered what it would sound like if Foghorn Leghorn were president.

This year, the Masters will play on a newly lengthened Augusta National. Most observers see this as a desperate attempt to defend the historic course from the modern-day long hitters. So-called "", the only thing that it really accomplishes is to eliminate short-hitters from ever being competitive.

Master grouchy golfer Jack Nicklaus concurs:
I know what Augusta is trying to do. Whether they've gone overboard, I'm not sure. But they've eliminated a lot of guys who are able to do that. Could Tiger [Woods] do that? Or Ernie Els? Or Vijay [Singh]? Yes. Could Mike Weir or Jose Maria [Olazabal] -- one of those guys of moderate length -- could they do that? Probably not. That's the change at Augusta I have a hard time with.
But I think that Hootie et al would love to have you think that they modified Augusta solely to "Tiger Proof" it. They are a are a bit more clever and sinister than that. I believe that they lengthened Augusta to eliminate a future threat. Just imagine if you were Hootie or one of his henchmen. What would be the worst thing that could ever happen at your beloved Masters? It would be some girl donning the Green Jacket!

Unthinkable just a couple of years ago, the possibility of a woman competing in the Masters has been raised by the emergence of Michelle Wie. In fact, Wie has often stated that her dream is to play in the Masters someday. While she's a long shot at best to ever win it (let alone to ever get there in the first place), I think that Hootie wants to eliminate the possibility altogether. Hootie realizes that while he can't prevent her or any other female über-golfer from qualifying into the Masters, he can lengthen the course so that no female has a realistic chance to ever win it.

"Wie Proofing" may sound a bit absurd but it's about as absurd as most actions taken by the dictators of golf. Unfortunately, this last bout of mania could have the worst impact on my favorite golf event. That said, look for Tiger to win by 2 strokes.


Anonymous mediaguru @ hookedongolfblog.com said...

I've had the same thought about Wie proofing. But I also think that if a woman were ever to qualify, Hootie and the boys would change the rules to keep her out.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rather than Tiger proofing Augusta, I think they're tayloring the course for his game to insure that he will always be competitive in the quest for fan interest and tv ratings. Make it a Sawgrass and see how he does.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what are you a women's rights activist?? Its their tournament, they can invite and exclude who they want. like a woman would ever win it anyway.  


Blogger CB said...

"like a woman would ever win it anyway."

I want to commend ‘anonymous’ for his or her contribution. It is so refreshing to read substantive commentary from the great thinkers of our time.

More seriously, I did like your thoughts Grouch. I think you have touched on something a little more subtle than the, 'longer helps Tiger' articles that have choked the golf media for five years. I do not know that I agree, but I appreciate a different and thoughtful point of view.  


Blogger dave said...

I always enjoy reading your thoughts here and this is just one more good one.  


Blogger Eric said...

I enjoy reading your blog but I can't say that I agree with you on this one.

First of all I would like to touch on the "female issue". I do not think that Augusta National would keep a woman out who properly qualified for the event. If Wie (or any other woman) qualified to play in the Masters, I have no doubt that Augusta National would allow her to play or even welcome her with open arms.

I think the whole business of AN being a men's only club has really been taken too far or misinterpreted. Just because the club has a men's only policy does not mean that they would change the rules of qualification for their showcase tournement. Frankly, I don't see the problem with a men's only membership policy either. It is afterall a private club and they should be able to choose whomever they want to join as members, as well as exclude whomever they want.

To put this into perspective, consider your home a private club and your family the members. You accept your friends into your home because you want them there. You do not have to let anyone into your home that you do not want inside. Do you think that the government or some other institution should get involved and force you to allow people in your home that you do not want?

The truth is there are women's only clubs and nobody cares. Ever heard of the Red Hat Society? Clubs or organizations that exclude everyone except either women or minority groups are ignored. That is the true hypocrisy.

The real comedy is that all of these groups who parade and protest over such matters because they shout "freedom" are actually taking more freedom away. When rules and regulations dictate such things as club memberships, who knows how far the tentacles of regulation will reach?  


Anonymous Zontar said...

I have to agree with Eric on this one. Martha Burke and her followers were seeking a visible target for a publicity stunt. In this case the latest cause celeb to hate, good old fashioned money and power. Most times a legitimate target, but not for Marha Burke and her other special interest group fellow travelers. Augusta National, like it or not is a private club. If rich and powerful white women (or black or whatever) want to start an exclusive golf club that doesn't permit male members I wish them luck and godspeed. And if they do not wish to allow Tiger Woods to play in their exclusive tournament, that is their perogative.  


Blogger Eric said...

Sorry, but I forgot to comment on the other topic you touched on; that of lengthening courses.

I agree with you in that each time a course adds yardage, it just eliminates some competitors from ever having a chance. I just read in a recent issue of either Golf Magazine or Golf Digest that Jack Nicklaus feels he could still win the Masters if the course weren't so long.

I for one am against the practice of lengthening a golf course. If the guys in charge really want to stop the big hitters, they need to make the fairways narrow and the hazards dangerous (in the golf sense). If the power hitter can keep it straight and in the fairway, he deserves the reward.

In other words, just make picking up the driver a gamble for the big hitters rather than punishing the plinkers and giving the big hitters a huge advantage.

Then again, I'm of the opinion that golf should be a game of accuracy rather than power. Make the rough deep and thick, the bunkers treacherous, line the fairways with trees and throw in a water hazard or two. If the big hitter is also an accurate one, he deserves to win.

Then again, what do I know. I'm just a fan.

As far as Augusta lengthening the course to stop a woman... I'm not sure that's the case. I just think they are so worried about The Masters being won by the best golfers in the world (in other words, no British Open esque winners) that they are trying to ensure that it happens. Do I agree with their approach to doing it? No. But again, what do I know?  


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