THE USGA AND THE GAME
Shipnuck: The USGA just had its annual meeting in San Diego. Usually, no one cares, but these are turbulent times. The big takeaway was a new pace-of-play initiative and that Glen Nager was re-elected as president. Along with executive director Mike Davis this has become an activist administration. What do you think of the USGA's current stewardship of the game?
Godich: I know they are walking a tightrope, but the stewards of the game could've taken a stronger stand on the anchoring issue -- one way or the other. Throwing out a 2016 date (and a date in the middle of the PGA Tour season, no less) reeks of indecisiveness.
Reiterman: All I know is the U.S. Open got a whole lot more interesting when Davis took over. And I love that they're not shying away from the big issues facing the game. Loved to hear that they're trying to do something about slow play!
Godich: Remind me how long have we been hearing about the slow-pace issue?
Shipnuck: I like that Davis has said it's better for the USGA to make mistakes -- I'm thinking of the grooves rule here -- than to do nothing at all.
Godich: Maybe so, but when you keep making mistakes, it becomes more difficult to take you seriously.
Bamberger: I think they're doing the right thing but going about it the wrong way. They are in a war of public opinion but acting like they are sitting on a throne. They need Wieden-Kennedy.
Garrity: Nager's positions on the issues are well-reasoned, and he is articulate in expressing them. But I don't think he sees the contradictions in trying to speed up play while insisting that the game must not be made "easier."
Walker: The USGA has been doing a great job. Bringing the Open back to Merion is a perfect example of how they are both daring and respectful of the game's history. Hosting the Men's and Women's Opens back to back next year at Pinehurst is another one.
Shipnuck: I'm just glad the USGA isn't sitting on the sidelines anymore. Every other constituency has a selfish stake -- these guys truly care about the game and protecting it. I believe in Davis and Nager and hope they keep going forward.
Van Sickle: I'll repeat what I wrote in my anti-ban diatribe last year: The USGA banning anchoring is like Nero handing out jaywalking tickets while Rome burns. They aren't addressing the issues that matter. Anchored putting isn't a traditional stroke? It's been used for 30 years. I'd call that a tradition.
Bamberger: In the first two rounds of the '50 Open, people were complaining about the horrid pace (five hours) and nobody did anything about it. But they talked about it. You have to learn to play at a proper pace. Our whole country needs to learn how to do it.
Van Sickle:I at least respect that with the slow-play issue, the USGA is sort of addressing one of golf's Big Three ailments: the game is too difficult, it takes too long to play and it costs too much. But they're gonna have to do better than this.Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What's your take on the USGA's recent work?