PGA at Oak Hill–You can put Nicklaus on a gimmick, but it’s still a gimmick
So the PGA Championship has become the most social-media savvy of all major championships. Great for them. I’m sure the past champions looking down from above are smiling. Except maybe not. Because since when does a major have to do anything but put on a competition for arguably the most coveted of all trophies?
Anything that the Augusta National Golf Club, the USGA, the R&A, or the PGA of America does that brings attention to anything other than the competition itself, takes away from that competition. And to allow a public vote, “Pin Placement Idol” if you will, to determine the SUNDAY PIN PLACEMENT on one of the back nine’s most pivotal holes, does nothing but cheapen the PGA Championship. It may result in more viewers, higher ratings, more tweets, more favorites, more likes, more @ mentions but it is not elevating the PGA Championship up to the level of the other majors.
Yes it’s a nice touch to bring Jack Nicklaus in to discuss the various pin placement possibilities on 15, lending some gravitas to the gimmick, but I have a hard time believing that he’s as fascinated by this aspect of the tournament as he says he is. The only ones who should have input in the setup of a course are the tournament officials and the players. Period.
A social-media vote would put the pin in the middle of the lake if that were one of the choices. Comparing it to the ability to call a play in the Super Bowl is not even close and even if that were a possibility, why should fans be able to choose a play in the biggest game of them all?
This move by the PGA is more along the lines of something you might see in the Pro Bowl (Jeff Saturday switching teams so that he can snap to Peyton Manning one more time for example). Or in a 3rd-tier college bowl game. Or a silly season made-for-tv golf event (“Tweet now and decide if Rickie Fowler should hit driver, 3-wood, hybrid, or 3-iron here!”). Regrettably I do fear that this is the start of another race to the bottom.
The only things golf needs are less expensive green fees and a much faster pace of play. Augusta/USGA/R&A–stop the madness before it gets too late. And obviously the winning pin placement on 15 will be C, the one closest to the water. Not rocket science.