No More Rough Stuff
GOING LOW AT THE OPEN
This is an article from the May 8, 2000 issue
After 50 years of torturing U.S. Open competitors with ankle-deep
rough, the USGA has had a change of heart and next month at
Pebble Beach will cut the primary rough down to about three
inches. The last time the Open was at Pebble, in 1992, the rough
was six inches.
The USGA had relied on the deep stuff as a way to defend par
ever since heavy rough turned Oakland Hills into a monster for
the landmark '51 Open. But the bluecoats finally tried something
different a year ago at Pinehurst, where the rough was cut at
four inches and chipping was reintroduced to the championship.
Players could reach the green with approaches from the rough but
couldn't spin the ball enough to hold the sloped putting
surfaces. Pinehurst turned out to be a win-win: The players
praised the setup, while statistically the USGA still extracted
a half-stroke penalty for an errant drive.
That success led the USGA to adopt a similar strategy this year.
"I don't like a setup where both Tiger Woods and Fred Funk
automatically reach for a sand wedge after hitting it in the
rough," says USGA executive director David Fay. "It came home to
me in 1998 at the Olympic Club, where we didn't grow the rough
quite as thickly as we could have. I watched Tom Lehman, a very
strong player, slash at a medium-iron approach and fly it on the
green. But the ball bounced over into a place from which it was
very difficult to get up and down. I thought, Whether they have
to pitch back into the fairway or have a chance to reach the
green, it's not going to change the score that much. So why not
give them options and allow some creativity? It's certainly a lot
more fun to watch."
Because the greens at Pebble Beach are smaller than those at
Pinehurst and because they will be surrounded by some rough,
hitting approaches to the greens from the rough will be more of a
gamble this year than it was in '99. "That's fine," says Fay.
"Each Open course should be different. We don't want to take a
cookie-cutter approach. The main thing is that any changes we
make will not cause the U.S. Open to lose its imprimatur as the
world's toughest championship. We are simply trying to make it
New Swing Guru
YOU DADA MAN!
His name is Dada. He wears a flowing orange robe, and his long,
black hair and wispy Fu Manchu mustache set off the beatific
expression on his face. From his delicate 5'4", 140-pound frame
comes a soft voice serenely imploring his listener to "surrender
to the supreme." He also gives his four-iron a good belt.
No, Dada isn't a character in an upcoming sequel to Caddyshack.
He is the latest, most improbable--but perhaps most authentic--guru
in pro golf. His students include Doug Dunakey, Catrin Nilsmark
and Jesper Parnevik. "I help golfers become better players by
becoming better people," says Dada.
A 41-year-old monk from Iloilo, a city of 310,000 in the central
Philippines, Dada Atmacedanananda describes himself as an "elder
brother" in Ananda Marga, a nondenominational organization that
promotes yoga, meditation and good works. Before his current
assignment--disaster relief for hurricane victims in the
Carolinas, Georgia and Florida--Dada spent nine years establishing
orphanages and clinics for children in Romania during the regime
of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Four years ago Dada was approached by officials from the Swedish
Sports Federation, who were interested in enhancing athletic
performance through yoga and meditation. After Dada worked with
badminton players and wrestlers, Swedish golf officials sought
him out. Last year Parnevik invited Dada to spend several days at
his home in Jupiter, Fla.
Dada does not seek remuneration for his counsel but will accept
contributions to his organization. Along with his donation
Parnevik showed Dada how to hit a ball for the first time and
kicked in eight MacGregor VIP irons. ("The kind Jack Nicklaus
used," Dada says proudly.) Dada has played or practiced a
half-dozen times, and he intends to find a place to hit balls on
the farm he lives on in Marshall, N.C., with 35 other members of
Two weeks ago Dada attended his first tournament, the Greater
Greensboro Chrysler Classic. "I studied the people who were
walking, and they studied me," he says, laughing. "The pros put
too much pressure on themselves. It creates a mental imbalance.
The key is to surrender to the supreme being."
Coming into the tournament, Dunakey had missed the cut in all
five Tour events he had played and become chronically negative,
but 15 minutes with Dada did wonders. Dunakey tied for fifth and
won $109,500. "I figured, What have I got to lose?" Dunakey says.
"There's no doubt that Dada helped me. He pointed out how much I
was relating my performance to money and how, instead of feeling
sorry for myself, I should realize how lucky I am. He gave me
breathing exercises and told me to stay in touch. I intend to."
Dada is planning a trip to the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where
he expects to have more contact with the pros. "Because of my
time with Doug," says Dada, "the other caddies are telling their
players about me."
So he's got that going for him. Which is nice.
The most pitiful sight in golf is that of a fading champion
revealing that he can no longer close out a victory. Greats such
as Harry Vardon, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Greg
Norman suffered exposure in major championships. On Sunday it
happened to 1982 Masters champ Craig Stadler at the Houston Open.
What do these players have in common?
They share the NCAA Championship scoring record of 271. Inman
(North Carolina) won in 1984, Leonard (Texas) in '94, McLean
(Minnesota) in '98 and Mickelson (Arizona State) in '92.
Do you think David Duval will win a major this year?
--Based on 5,880 responses to our informal survey
Next question: Is a gifted golfer better off turning pro after
high school, as Sergio Garcia did, or attending college, like
Matt Kuchar? Vote at golfplus.cnnsi.com.
While at Texas from 1991 to '94, Justin Leonard became the only
player to win a major conference title four times. Last week
Arizona State junior Paul Casey took his third straight Pac-10
crown and broke Tiger Woods's tournament record by five shots
with a 23-under 265. Here are the other eight players who won
three conference titles.
Steve Stricker, Illinois Big Ten 1986, '88-89
Lindy Miller, Okla. State Big Eight 1976-78
B.R. McLendon, LSU Southeastern 1965-67
Sherman Finger, USC Pac-10 1964-66
John Konsek, Purdue Big Ten 1958-60
Fred Wampler, Ohio State Big Ten 1948-50
Ed White, Texas SWC 1933-35
John Fischer, Michigan Big Ten 1932-33, '35
Nancy Smith, Savannah
Smith, 53, won the Georgia Match Play, beating Ellen Dempsey,
34, of St. Simons Island, 5 and 4 in the final at Sunset Hills
Country Club in Cordele. In January, Smith won the senior
division of the Doherty Match Play in Fort Lauderdale, and last
year she took two senior championships, the North and South and
Steve Bodenheimer, Longview, Texas
Ryan Hill, Longview, Texas
Bodenheimer, 37, the co-owner of a petroleum exploration
company, and Hill, 36, a criminal defense attorney, teamed to
win the Champions Cup, a better-ball tournament featuring 56
two-man teams from across the country, at Champions Golf Club in
Houston. Bodenheimer and Hill were tied in regulation with Trey
Hallmark and Bob Hullender of San Antonio at 13-under-par 200,
and then won the first playoff hole. Friends for 25 years,
Bodenheimer and Hill won the 1996 Azalea Amateur in Tyler,
Texas. A two handicapper, Bodenheimer is the two-time defending
stroke-play champion at Pinecrest Country Club in Longview.
Hill, a scratch player, last year won Pinecrest's match-play
title and the Longview City Championship.
Submit Faces candidates to golfplus.cnnsi.com/faces.
Old Tour, New Tour
Golf hasn't changed much over the years, but the PGA Tour and
Tour players have. Here's the way things were, and how they are
Amana Deloitte & Touche
Crow's feet Wraparound shades
Delta discount Leased private jet
Pay window Automatic deposit
Visor Baseball cap
Glasses Lasik surgery
Hotel Private home
High collar Soft collar
Pitching wedge Lob wedge
Plaid Shadow check
Lew (the Butcher) Gibson Equipment van
Color-coordinated glove White glove
Whoo-ha, Arnie! You da man, Tiger!
Candid comment Canned quote
Drive the legs Rotate the torso
Bar Exercise trailer
Scotch Bottled water
Wing tips Plain toes
Tight grain pattern Springlike effect
Locker room interview Press conference
Arnold Palmer Cleaners Greg Norman Estates wine
Club pro job Snowboarding at Sun Valley
Roommate Sports psychologist
Pop stroke Pendulum stroke
Shag bag Test facility
18-hole playoff Sudden death
Follow the Sun The Dead Zone
Puka shells WWJD
Low spinner Lob shot
One-iron Iron wood
Cordline Tour Velvet
Reverse C I position
Monday rabbit TPA
Country club TPC
Double knit Khaki
Top 60 All-exempt