Big weekend for Korn Ferry (at least the Tour), as the first in a decade’s worth of Tour Championships took place at Victoria National. Some projected that scorecards could border on the U.S. Open-at-Shinnecock…because that’s what happens to every other human being who plays at National—it’s basically Tom Fazio’s take on Whistling Straits…if ponds replace the bunkers. The European Tour’s Tom Lewis thought otherwise, shaving 23 strokes off par to take home a win.
Bethpage Black. Our namesake. Probably the most touted municipal course in the land. You arrive at the first tee and the classic sign subtly informs you that you are about to be destroyed.
Truth is they need that sign, because the holes you can see from the clubhouse are…less than incredible? You might even believe, based on the first and final holes at Black, that you could survive the round. And that’s why we need to be replaced for professional tournaments. As in real life, it’s the parts you can’t see that are truly horrifying. Maybe that was all part of Tillinghastly’s plan…to lure you into a false sense of ease before you cross Round Swamp Road on the way to No. 2, where it gets real. But the two holes you can see from the clubhouse don’t quite match the monstrosity that is Black, and both have willing, aggressive substitutes from the course’s underrated, uncomfortable brother.
The Masters stars tomorrow, and we feel inclined to wade into the vast content swamp that is Augusta National. Our pitch for your slavish attention: Eisenhower Tree, and did it make any difference at all?
Eisenhower (a loblolly pine) stood above among the many landmarks at Augusta National. And, as we’ve established before, we love a good, iconic golf tree. Everyone knows the story of how then-President Ike wanted it gone, and how Augusta’s board stood its ground. Everyone loves the story so much that we still hear it at least once on every Masters broadcast, even after the tree met its end at the wintry hands of an ice storm during 2014. It’s kinda the only thing they can talk about, outside of Jack Nicklaus’s iconic birdie putt in 1986.
We, being stats-based folks, wanted to take a look at the limited numbers we had access to and judge just how much the tree actually impacted play during The Masters by looking at 2014 through the present (it came down in February of ’14) compared to its glorious past.
Here’s what we found:
So Golf Digest released its list of the Top 100 golf courses in the United States and, as can be expected, nobody liked it. Or at least those who did like it didn’t talk about it on social media. That’s how lists work. Long before we took any interest in golf, we worked for a music publication. We saw firsthand how the year-end lists were only good for generating hatred and loathing, even among the staffs compiling them (especially among the staffs compiling them). Our advice to you: Don’t take lists too seriously.