Tour Confidential: Is Martin Kaymer golf's new king? Plus, Phil Mickelson's putting problems and Pinehurst's new look

Mike Davis
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USGA executive director Mike Davis walks a stretch of Pinehurst No. 2 fairway prior to the 2014 U.S. Open.

5. The new no-rough, brown-edged Pinehurst No. 2 cut water use from 55 millions gallons a year to 15 million gallons a year, according to the USGA. However, critics like Donald Trump said Pinehurst No. 2 was the worst-looking course “in the history of televised golf.” Will golfers and golf-course owners ever embrace browner courses?

MARKSBURY: I understand where the Donald is coming from. I didn't think the course looked that great on TV either. Browned out courses are fun to play, but they aren't what the viewing public is used to -- yet. Especially at a U.S. Open. (Could there be a bigger contrast to Merion last year?) Next year, we'll get another wild card in Chambers Bay. I'm excited to see what the USGA will do with that course! The conservation statistics involved here at No. 2 are very compelling, and I think it's an important thing to consider for the future of the game, but people will need to adjust their expectations first.

LYNCH: Can we really expect courses or golfers to embrace firm, brown conditions when Augusta National is continually held up as the pinnacle of American golf courses? Or when the PGA Tour presents the same monotonous, lush, setup every week that demands only execution, not strategic decision-making? Conserving resources (natural and financial) is appealing to courses, but it's a tougher sell to golfers because they are conditioned to expect what is celebrated on TV. So let’s not pretend that their reluctance to embrace firmer conditions is simply a lack of sophistication. Trump treats TV as reality, which is why the only things running fast on his courses are waterfalls.

SHIPNUCK: They better -- water is going to usurp oil as this century's most valuable resource. Lush, green, overly fertilized courses are going to become increasingly rare, which is fine by me.

GODICH: They should, but many won't. I loved the look.

PASSOV: Admittedly, if you haven't been exposed to lots of British Isles golf, "brown" is an acquired taste. My dad, my mother-in-law and my brother-in-law's dad all agree with Donald Trump. Give it some time. Some courses and regions are better suited to brown than others. Brown sends a wonderful message for our game and for the future of our game. Let it spread quickly and widely, but where appropriate.

SENS: Are we really going to place weight on the aesthetic input of a grown man who wears his hair like that? Seriously, though, disappointing to hear Trump say that because he knows better and he now cuts such a prominent profile in the game. That said, a number of golf course operators already HAVE embraced browner courses. Have you been to Bandon Dunes? The golfing public hasn't exactly rejected that place.

MORFIT: I hope they do, because it makes sense both financially and environmentally. I liked the way the course looked; it wasn't such a manipulation of nature.

RITTER: Course owners can save serious money with the browner look, so I absolutely think it'll take off. It may not look as nice on TV, but it's more sustainable and fun to play -- no more losing balls in the rough, and who wouldn't want to try some crazy shots off those scrubby lies? No. 2 was both retro and a look-ahead rolled into one.

6. NBC Sports delivered its final U.S. Open broadcast this week before Fox Sports takes over next year in Chambers Bay. What did you think of NBC’s coverage and whom would you like to see on the Fox broadcast team next year?

GODICH: I've said this before, and I'll say it again: NBC has the best broadcast team in golf. Fox would be wise to hire 'em all away.    

SHIPNUCK: Johnny is an icon and D. Pepper is terrific, but otherwise I was never dazzled by NBC. I'd like to see Fox continue to hire nothing but new voices, a la Norman. It's definitely time to freshen up the golf telecasts.

LYNCH: NBC gave more airtime to Paula Creamer, a spectator, than it did to Brooks Koepka, who finished T4. That was just one disappointment in a broadcast that was notable for the sense of desperation any time Kaymer missed a fairway, a palpable hope among announcers that he might make a quad and infuse some drama into things. Johnny Miller remains the best play-by-play guy in the game and not having him call a major is a loss for fans. But his lieutenants were dull and stale. Fox may do better with fresh voices, even if they are relatively untested. They should start by hiring Brad Faxon, who offered considerably more insight on Golf Channel than was provided by Peter Jacobsen, who replaced Faxon on NBC three years ago.

MORFIT: Poor NBC. I felt sort of sorry for them, having to try to make this exciting. I liked the way they cut away to the LPGA players arriving at the course, and interviewed Paula Creamer and Inbee Park before the leaders started. I liked that they stayed on Zach as he high-fived the fans after his ace on nine. As for who should be on the Fox team next year, Chamblee would be a good start for any golf-announce team.

MARKSBURY: I've always enjoyed NBC's coverage but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what Fox brings to the table. Greg Norman was onsite with Joe Buck this week doing practice broadcasts and I would have loved to tune in to compare! Next year's Open will be exciting on several levels.

PASSOV: Sadly, lame-duck NBC was saddled with a completely drama-free weekend. This was the appropriate kind of event to deliver all of those filler features, and they did a nice job with them. I get exhausted every year with the never-ending Father's Day schmaltz -- we get it already -- but there wasn't much the gang could do to inject life into this one. Good hit with Jimmy Roberts' Erik Compton feature, though his colleague Tim Rosaforte beat him to the punch. Not sure who Fox will raid, but Brandel Chamblee and Tom Weiskopf would be an immediate boost to the credibility factor. 

SENS: To my mind, Miller and Hicks are the best one-two punch in American golf broadcasting, so even though I needed a few extra Alka Seltzers after ingesting all those schmaltzy Father's Day segments, I enjoyed the coverage. But if we can't have that duo, how about Andres Cantor? "Gooooooooool. . . . .goooool . . .de Martin Kaymer!"

The Tour Confidential roundtable continues Monday on our new weekly show hosted by Jessica Marksbury. Tweet her your questions @Jess_Marksbury.

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