It’s the long shuttle rides for the venues that pose safety concerns.
“What we do know, and I think this is pretty much final, is that both in San Francisco and San Diego, we’re just not going to be able to shuttle people from distances,” Davis told Golf Digest. “It’s hard for us, because how do we even plan?”
Both venues are 36-hole facilities but with little parking space within walking distance and need to preserve the “other” 18’s for possible tournament infrastructure.
This year at Torrey, Davis said that optimistically the number for the total people on the grounds, including players, USGA officials and guests, media, corporate sponsors and a small handful of general admission fans would be no more than 10,000. He mentioned possible figures of 4,000 and 8,000, too. With those numbers in mind, the USGA has sent letters to various volunteer groups, such as hole marshals, that their services will not be needed. The idea is to reduce the number to the fewest possible critical jobs.
From an email obtained by Golf Digest and sent from PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan to players:
“As the COVID-19 vaccine is becoming more readily available, more individuals are being vaccinated,” the email reads. “PGA Tour Health and Safety protocol requires individuals to continue testing onsite until 14 full days have passed since their second dose (Moderna & Pfizer) or 14 full days since their single dose (Johnson & Johnson). Once 14 days have passed, individuals are no longer required to take a COVID-19 test when considered ‘inside the bubble’ at PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions or Korn Ferry Tour events.”
Monahan had previously said the vaccine was a choice. But the policy certainly provides a nice perk to those players and their “team members” who do get it.
There is no data on how many players have received a dose or two, or how many might be refusing to be vaccinated.
Let me tell you, these are heroes and I’m glad Augusta National had them as guests. Particularly because they are part of the community and had not been on the grounds for the Masters. Sad it takes a pandemic for things like this to happen or to appreciate these people, but I’m just glad the club followed through this way:
A college physics major whose early nickname on the PGA Tour was “the mad scientist,” DeChambeau was ranked 145th in putting on the PGA Tour until he converted to the arm-lock method and improved his putting ranking to 28th. It’s all about keeping the proper angles: DeChambeau turns his elbows outward in opposite directions and his wrists inward. Simple.
WSJ: The USGA has co-produced a Distance Insights Report—the product of the Distance Insights project to study the impact of hitting distance in golf. Among other things, it asserts that distance gains put golf on an unsustainable path. Is the golf ball going too far? If so, why is that a negative?
MR. DAVIS: You won’t hear me say that the golf ball is going too far. The problem is that golf courses around the world have been getting longer and will continue to do so, with this trend that every generation hits the ball farther than the last generation.
Everyone bears the brunt of when courses need to change, whether it’s architecturally—more land, new tees, pushing bunkers further down—or, if it’s a new course, more land that’s required. Because at the end of the day, it’s about resources. It’s land, it’s water, it’s nutrients, it’s fungicides. It’s how long it takes to mow and prep a golf course, the fuel it uses, how long it takes to play a golf course. Longer golf courses equal longer rounds of golf. I think in this world where everybody is worried about time, it’s an issue.
The issue is not that the golf ball is going too far.
It is but we know it’s not necessarily the ball’s fault. Go on…
The issue is we need to fit the game on golf courses, and we’d like to see the game balanced, too, on distance, accuracy and shot-making. We want to make sure that it doesn’t become a game all about how far you hit the ball.
WSJ: Are you suggesting what many have termed a “rollback”—taking distances achieved and equipment specifications to numbers where they were a generation or two ago.?
MR. DAVIS: I hate the word “rollback” because what we are trying to do is not roll back. We are trying to look forward and say, based on the data, what’s in the best interest for all who play the game. It’s not looking backward.
No but it would be rolling back.
This expanding footprint [lengthening golf courses] is doing the game no favors as we look forward. Is any other sport on the planet Earth doing that to themselves other than golf? You just don’t see baseball handing out titanium bats and hot baseballs and expanding their stadiums.
The issue is we need to fit the game on golf courses. No more of constantly having to change golf courses. It’s time to do the right thing.
Yes it has been for at least a decade.
Davis is not going quietly and that’s a fantastic way to deflect some heat so that Whan can get established for what will be quite a battle.
A gem from Tuesday’s pre-2021 Masters press conference:
Q. Fast-forwarding to tonight's Champions Dinner, how are we feeling about the pigs in a blanket? Are you a fan, or what's up?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm always open. I've tried a lot of different cuisine over the years. I think it's pretty cool. I remember -- I'll share with you a little funny story from Adam Scott's victory.
He had this wonderful meal, Australian-themed, and out comes dessert, and it's pavlova. It's meringue with some fruit and so forth. And I said, no -- now, you can't Google this stuff because there's no cell phones allowed, right. I said, oh, pavlova, that's inspired by the great Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who was touring through New Zealand, Australia, and an Australian chef so inspired by her beautiful movement and tutu, she ended up -- he made a dessert after her.
Chairman Payne looked at me like what kind of stuff are you spewing here, you know.
And, no, no, this is true. Zach Johnson looks at me, says, "I've got a hundred dollars that says that's not right."
So everybody is calling me out on my BS. And a lot of times, I am BSing. However, however, my daughter was a dancer, and she wrote a biography on Anna Pavlova, and I made 32 pavlovas for her class when she was a little girl, and I knew this. And I ended up, you know, being right, which is not often, but I was right on that particular moment.
Some of these moments that go down in Champions Dinner are special, and that was cuisine inspired.
Robert Macintyre makes his Masters debut this week and provided this fantastic spin on the Magnolia Lane approach, all set to the internationally renowned recording artists, The Gunna Sound Ceilidh Band.
Personally, I’d go Mildred Bailey “Shoutin In That Amen Corner” or maybe throw a curveball with ABC’s use of the Love Unlimited Orchestra’s Love Theme, but I’m not Scottish nor am I driving up Magnolia Lane this week.
A multi-layered answer from Bryson DeChambeau’s pre-Masters press conference:
Q. Last year there was a lot of talk that, culturally, you were leading a revolution in golf, especially among young fans who are really energized by the way you swing the golf club and all those things. If so, what's the stage of that revolution now?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I don't know the scope of that answer, either. You guys are giving me tough questions today.
I will say the Drive, Chip & Putt, what we saw with one of the kids imitating Kyle Berkshire, you're already starting to see it with kids. I've had numerous college kids DM me on Instagram and ask me, "How do I get stronger? How do I get faster?" So you're already starting to see it through -- from collegiate level all the way to junior golf level.
I think as time goes on, there's not much more to gain from technology side of golf club manufacturing, building. There are little things we can do, but where the massive gains will be is in athletes. Once you get somebody out here that's a 7-foot-tall human being and they are able to swing a golf club at 145 miles an hour effortlessly, that's when things get a little interesting. That's when I'm going to become obsolete potentially even.
Look, there's still a chipping aspect and there's still a putting aspect to it, but from a driving aspect, that's where the gains will be had, is with these athletes coming out in the future. And it won't stop. There's just no way it will stop.
I think it's good for the game, too. I don't think it's a bad thing you're bringing in and making it more inclusive to everybody when you're doing that. The athletes are the ones that are going to in the end move the needle in any sport you play, and I think that's pretty amazing.
One way it’ll stop? Injuries to the athletes trying to do things the body won’t enjoy over thousands of shots.