The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - 15

THE LAST WORD

Enough of Shinnecock Hills, already!

W

atching
Thursday's
opening round of the U.S. Open, I
couldn't help but wonder who in
the world would want to pony up the kind
of cash necessary to be a golf member at
Shinnecock Hills? I understand the masochistic pride that some clubs take in the
humiliations their course regularly heaps
on members and visitors alike. I don't
agree with it, but I understand it. On the
other hand, if the absolute best players
on the planet are rendered cursing, headshaking and putt-yipping shells of their
former selves after what was supposed to
be only a moderately challenging weather
day, what possible enjoyment could an
18-handicapper get out of the experience?
Obviously the Open field was not
playing the same course setup the members will see next weekend, or even for
the Member-Guest or club championship. I'm guessing that even Shinnecock
members don't value self-flagellation
enough to allow the greens committee to
lay out a 536-yard par 4 into the wind or
a 252-yard par 3 like the pros faced for
their enjoyment. On the other hand, the
infamous Donald Ross upside down saucers will still be out there masquerading as
greens, the "second cut" of rough will still
be a foot deep, and bunkers will seem to
be multiplying during the round. Members will still experience the unbridled joy
in watching their chip shots stop inches
short of the apex of the false front and
slowly reverse course back whence the
member launched them. Or, conversely,
get to startle the other members of their
group with screams of "Bite!" or "Stop!" as
their ball climbs toward the green's crown
and then disappears from sight, only to
settle 40 or 50 feet below the back of the
green.
I suspect that the players in this year's
Open field who were also present for the
2004 Open at Shinnecock must be wondering just what the hell is so special about
the place that makes it worth putting up

with conditions that are downright sadistic. Who can forget the 7th green in 2004
that was so burned out and shiny by Sunday that the decision was made to water it
periodically. During the round! Certainly
Phil Mickelson, who experienced one of
his six runner-up Open disappointments
that year, has not forgotten. Leave it to
Phil to put his own unique spin on the
thinking of the Open officials, saying that
the criterion for turning on the hoses was
whether anyone in the last group through
had made double bogey or worse. Without really harping on the point to the extent of an entire sour grape harvest, Lefty
made it clear that he didn't think it was
quite fair for some groups to have the watery brakes and receptivity while others
were essentially hitting into or putting on
a sheet of ice. As usual, Phil had a point,
like it or not.
This column is being written after the
opening round, so I haven't heard the
invariable questions for USGA CEO
Mike Davis as to whether this year's
course setup is payback for the 16-under
that Brooks Koepke recorded to win last
year's Open at Erin Hills. It's not hard
to imagine Davis and other members of
the USGA senior leadership saying, behind closed doors, "What do they think
this is, the Safeway Open? Let's see 'em
roll out a 16-under on this track." And,
after round 1, it seemed certain that the
only 16 connected with this year's event
would have a plus sign in front of it. Perhaps more telling, if they duplicated their
opening scores, names in that +16 neighborhood or worse after day 2 would include Day, McIlroy, Spieth, Watson and,
sigh, Woods.
The USGA will never cop to intentionally trying to hand out a trophy with
an over par winning total engraved next
to the winner/survivor's name, but it's a
pretty good bet that minus 16 did not
make them happy. Having heard these
questions and answers before, I'm guess-

ing the phrase "just trying to identify the
best golfer that week" will crop up on the
podium. And, frankly, there are apparently plenty of us hackers out there who,
like the Committee, do enjoy seeing the
Tour's elite having to scratch and claw for
pars and card the occasional 4-putt. I admit to a little of that, after growing weary
of watching the Tour stars overpower less
forbidding layouts during non-Majors
weeks. On the other hand, I can't say I
enjoy a constant litany of links carnage,
especially with the extra Majors coverage.
It's like watching the Normandy invasion for 6 or 8 hours. I even feel sorry for
Bubba Watson occasionally, which might
be reason enough to soften up the setup
from now on.
Nevertheless, like most of us, I will
tune it in to its conclusion, which will
undoubtedly involve much more exposure
than is good for me. Unless, of course,
Dustin Johnson has a 6-shot lead going
into the back 9 on Sunday. DJ just seems
to be on auto-pilot at the moment, with
all his incredible blend of power and finesse on display, combined with the impervious attitude that everything is right
in Dustin's world and no windswept piece
of Hamptons beach property is going to
ruin his day, much less his life.
Not that it's ever been an option available to me, but the other thing I am sure
of is that I would never be found on the
Shinnecock Hills member rolls. Nothing
against the folks, I'm sure they're swell,
but even Goat Hill (which we actually
have here in my Oceanside, CA neighborhood thanks to John Ashworth) provides enough angst for my golf game. I
don't need to shoot 110 on a regular basis
just for the right to puff out my chest with
pride every time a guest writes down a
throwaway score at my course. And come
to think of it, I believe we've paid enough
homage to Shinnecock and its place in
the annals of golf. It's time to retire that
venue from the rotation. -Jim Dunlap

The USGA will never cop to intentionally trying to hand out a trophy with
an over par winning total engraved next to the winner/survivor's name,
but it's a pretty good bet that minus 16 did not make them happy.
www.PellucidCorp.com

The Pellucid PersPecTive

15


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018

TOC
Course closures – some perspective from Pellucid
CapEx: The looming monster under the bed for munis
Courses turning unused land into cash cow
May golf weather impact: We Finally Catch a Break
Cleveland market challenged, but not like Cavs
It is, after all, all about the money
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - TOC
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - Course closures – some perspective from Pellucid
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - 3
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - 4
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - CapEx: The looming monster under the bed for munis
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - 6
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - Courses turning unused land into cash cow
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - 8
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - May golf weather impact: We Finally Catch a Break
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - 10
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - 11
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - Cleveland market challenged, but not like Cavs
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - 13
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - 14
The Pellucid Perspective - June 2018 - It is, after all, all about the money
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