Jim Suttie: Seeing pros struggle not a bad thing

Many of you sitting at home watching the U.S. Open this past weekend were treated to golf in its best form.

I enjoyed seeing the pros challenged by the tough conditions at Winged Foot. I would be happy to see all the PGA events have tough conditions — the best players would then rise to the top. It would bring shot-making back into the game.

The PGA Tour has become a bombers tour. The longer you hit it, no matter where, the better. Power has become the standard. We're not seeing so much of the shot-makers. Tiger, Phil, Vijay and others are all swinging for the fences. They really don't care if they hit in the first, second or third cut of rough — a shot from 160 yards in the rough is better than a 210-yard shot from the fairway.

I guess Winged Foot took its toll on the new "Power Golf" idea. The rough was so penal that the bombers were out of their element. This and high-tech clubs make it really hard to work the ball anymore. The clubs that the pros are using are so forgiving that they are really designed to hit it straight with little or no curvature.

This is to say nothing about how "hot" and "lively" the ball has become. Also, the new design ideas on golf courses are to make longer with wider fairways. This, of course, rewards the bomber who is simply trying to hit the ball over all the hazards.

I love the way the USGA has strategically put high roughs around the greens. If you miss a green, you need skill to get up and down. Bunkers were soft and difficult, so if you miss a green, you need skill to get up and down.

Some of you like to see the pros shoot 15-under and win. I like seeing them think their way around the course.

Dr. Jim Suttie, the 2000 PGA Teacher of the Year, is director of instruction at The Club at TwinEagles in North Naples and at Cog Hill Golf Club in Lemont, Ill. He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher and is rated No. 15 by Golf Digest. Suttie coaches the FGCU men's golf team. E-mail him at jmsuttie@aol.com.

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