Fort Mill Times

Golf: it's only a game - May 27, 2009

Ed Sehl, PGA, teaches at the Tega Cay Golf Club. Call 493-6417.
Ed Sehl, PGA, teaches at the Tega Cay Golf Club. Call 493-6417.

On Friday, my wife, Linda, and I went from Tega Cay to Quail Hollow for the Quail Hollow Cham-pionship just con-cluded with Sean O'Hair winning the way Ben Hogan did, with precision shot making.

The next week, Henrik Stenson did the same thing again, proving that when the course demands shot making, the winners aren't the best chippers and putters. The best courses reward the best ball strikers not the best scramblers.

In two years, when the grooves on the irons are changed, the best ball strikers will have the advantage of playing from the fairways while the pretenders will send "fliers" from everywhere and Hogan will be applauding.

If there was justice, Chad Campbell would be wearing a green jacket, but everyone knows justice and golf don't walk hand in hand. Just ask Rocco Mediate about putting and last year's U.S. Open. Tiger wins with two doubles and a triple bogey on the first hole at Torre Pines. He is arguably the best winner, but no one would put him in the top 10 of best ball strikers.

Hogan left the tour when he realized that he could no longer compete with the putter. Sam Snead kept playing with the help of the "side-saddle" putting stroke.

When you watch the tour today, you are impressed with the ball striking of Campbell, Woody Austin, Trevor Immelman, Robert Allenby and others. They aren't usually at the top of the leader board because courses mostly reward the best chippers and putters, with no penalty for missing the fairways.

Hogan would have loved playing with today's players. He would have left the tour much earlier because he couldn't stand watching today's players beat the ball all over the lot and still win millions every year.

Modern equipment eliminates the need for accuracy, and the modern golf ball eliminated the duck hook and duck slice.

I think that Hogan would applaud attempts by the USGA, Royal and Ancient, and the PGA to bring back ball striking to the game.