Would Majors Be Better With More Birdies?

The PGA Championship is officially under way this weekend!  Amid all the excitement of big storylines like Tiger, the new crop of talent, international dominance of the majors; one question sticks out in this caveman’s mind, is the Highlands Course at the Atlanta Athletic Club too difficult for golfers?  And if so, does a difficult course mean its less fun to watch?

AAC’s Highlands Course is noted as being one of the most difficult courses on the tour; and the closing holes stick out in player’s minds as some of the most arduous they’ve played.  A CBS golf analyst, Peter Kostis is quoted as saying “I can see a player losing the tournament down the stretch, rather than somebody winning the tournament down the stretch.”
The Highlands Course isn’t the only difficult course to host a major, in 2009 the U.S. Open was played on the Bethpage Black Course at Bethpage State Park.  Of course, in 2009 the U.S. Open was hammered by rain; leading to frequent delays and suspensions of play, however there was no hiding how difficult a course Bethpage Black is to play.  It ranks 6th on America’s Most Difficult Courses list; and with Tiger finishing sixth in the field at even; this red bearded cave dweller can understand why.  In fact, only the top 5 golfers placed below par; with Lucas Glover at -4 to win .

So that begets the question; is a difficult course less fun to watch?

Do viewers want to see twenty-under-par rounds, or would they rather watch top golfers adapt their game to difficult courses hacking their way to top five finishes at one-under?  Is the game more beautiful with more birdies less bogeys?  Personally, I love seeing record setting rounds, there is just something about an eagle that’s more appealing to the eye.  Being no stranger to record setting, standout performances in the stone age; I love tournaments where the name of the game is who can get the most birdies on the back nine.

With that being said, I also love seeing a golfer adapt to some difficult courses; there is something eerily satisfying about watching one man overcome an incredibly challenging course.  Watching the professionals struggle, somehow makes a win seem even more rewarding; but that does not necessarily mean it was more fun to watch.

So the question is on you RockHeads: would you prefer to watch a tournament with a course that is more challenging or is it more fun to see just how low the best pros can go?


3 thoughts on “Would Majors Be Better With More Birdies?

  • August 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    The harder the course, the better the tournament is to watch. I don’t want to watch a putting contest.

  • August 14, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I once attended a Senior event and was standing close to George Archer when he chunked an approach wedge on a par 5. An elderly gentleman in front of me said (in a rather loud voice): “I’m sure glad to see these guys hit shots like me”. Archer’s head popped up and scanned the gallery, looking for the culprit.
    The point that I wish to make is that for me it is more enjoyable when I see these professionals struggle on these difficult (but perfectly manicured) courses. They must maintain perfect concentration for the entire 72 holes or else they will hit shots just like me.

  • August 15, 2011 at 1:00 am

    Noway the tougher the course the better. (Technology is so out there)
    Pros have a caddy and spotters on the course (How many time do they have a lost ball). They have everything laid out for them distances etc.
    I prefer watching a golfer meeting the challenges and over coming them, i.e. Darren Clarke at the open.


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