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Jack & Tiger Are In The News

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Greetings Golfers,

Golf is in the news with Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

You all know that Tiger is playing his first tournament in 15 months. And Jack made the news by declaring that the longer golf ball is responsible for all of the golf course closings in America.

Are these two news items related? I think so … but you’ll have to bear with me.

First off, Woods had a bizarre opening round. He was 4 under par after 8 holes … but finished the day at 1 over par (73). The leaders tore it up. J.B. Holmes shot an 8 under 64, Hideki Matsuyama shot 65, and Dustin Johnson shot 66. Those are very good scores. So I looked at their scorecards and those leaders demolished the par 5s … that’s really how they got so far under par.

Jack Nicklaus was the first player to really over-power golf courses. Nicklaus knew because of his length, that the par 5s were par 4s for him … so he was all ready 4 under par before they teed-off. Thus, there was no reason for him to take any risks on the other holes. If he could play par the rest of the holes, he would be 16 under par after 4 rounds and probably win the tournament.

Woods took Nicklaus’ model and ran with it. Drive it far and putt great.

So now, there’s a bunch of young guys playing power golf. The PGA Tour loves it … and they’ve built their courses to reward the bombers and punish the shorter, precision players.

But, building recreational courses at PGA Tour length doesn’t work very well – they’re just too long. Jack seems to think that because of the length of the Tour bombers, older classic courses aren’t long enough … so that new balls have to be invented to play at different length courses. I’m not making this up … If it sounds pretty convoluted – it is.

I know you’re probably getting tired of me beating this drum … but I have to say it again. PGA Tour golf and recreational golf are two different games.

The PGA Tour has become a bombers’ game. Jack and Tiger led that charge. Can Tiger keep up with the young bombers? If he can’t, he won’t catch Jack’s record.


Tom Abts
GM and Head Golf Professional