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A USGA Hole Half Full

PINEHURST, NORTH CAROLINA | Having survived the slings and arrows of the anchored putting debate, waded through the unfortunate timing of a bombshell television announcement, produced a cramped and muddy but successful return of the U.S. Open to Merion and sidestepped a potential insurrection last year, the USGA could use some tranquility. Or a drink. Or both.
Instead, the USGA gets 2014. It may not begin with the cantankerous nature of 2013 but this golf year has its own challenges and opportunities for the governing body of American golf.
It also has back-to-back USGAs scheduled at Pinehurst No. 2 in June. Two weeks. Two Opens. One course – and all the wiregrass you can eat. Golf – and administering it – isn’t meant to be easy. If it were, then everyone would do it and we know that’s not one of the game’s problems. In fact, golf’s numbers are declining, which is why there was a two-hour seminar on slow playing during a Saturday session at the USGA’s annual meeting at Pinehurst.
“While We’re Young” was the password to get into – or perhaps out of – the room. Speeding up play, making the game easier, making it more accessible, making it less expensive, all of those things are far more important to the game than the expected Stimpmeter speeds for No. 2’s greens in June (111⁄2 feet for both Opens) but we all know golf isn’t a game of quick fixes.


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