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Is Birdie the new Par for the Top Competitive Players?

Is Birdie the new Par for the Top Competitive Players?

Is Birdie the new Par for the Top Competitive Players?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Top Players Spieth, Day, McIlroy, and Fowler have raised the bar so high in competitive golf, that scores below 65 are becoming common.

As  indicates for the New York Times, it seemed to begin at the Masters this year, where Jordan Spieth won it at 18-under total. Crouse cites an interesting stat where there were 24 scores of 62 or better recorded on tour in 2013-14 and there were 38 in 2014-15, including the three rounds of the Tour Championship. WOW!  Read Brandt Snedeker and Bobby Watson’s observations about this new era in which Crouse says

… 65 becomes the new 69.”

Is Birdie the new Par for the Top Competitive Players?


From left, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day are among the stars who are in their 20s.

CreditCharles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Is Birdie the new Par for the Top Competitive Players?


Since the United States Open in mid-June, Jason Day’s cumulative score in PGA Tour events is 101 under par. With a 61 here and a couple of 63s there, Day has turned what used to be regarded as a four-day marathon into a four-round sprint.

Day, who entered the current Tour Championship with victories in four of his last six starts, has made the rest of his competitors feel like George Dole to Day’s Roger Bannister. Dole was one of five other runners in the field in 1954 when Bannister broke the four-minute barrier in the mile.

Bannister’s breakthrough prompted his competitors to look at what was possible in a new light. Similarly, Day is forcing the other players to visualize birdies on holes where they used to see only pars. At this month’s BMW Championship, Brandt Snedeker arrived at the 225-yard par-3 sixth hole in the final round, noted the back-left pin location and aimed his tee shot for the middle of the green to take out of play trouble to the left.

“I made par, I got done, and I started watching the television coverage,” Snedeker said, “and every guy is knocking it to 6 feet with his tee shot on that hole. And I’m going, I don’t know how they’re doing that because if you miss it left, it’s an automatic bogey.”

The Gym Rat Pack

A group of golfers in their 20s that includes the world No. 1, Day, as well as Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy — is playing at such a high level right now, “there’s not a pin you can hide on the tour from them,” said Snedeker, who is 34.

“They’re kind of pushing the envelope,” Snedeker said. “It pushes everybody to get better and better and better.”

Bubba Watson, 36, looked at Whistling Straits, the site of this year’s P.G.A. Championship, and imagined a winning score of 12 under. He no doubt was influenced by the fact that at the same site in 2010, he advanced to a playoff at the P.G.A., which he lost, with an 11-under total.

This time, Watson shot even par the first day and was never a factor.

Day stood at nine under after two rounds and posted a 72-hole total of 20 under to finish three strokes ahead of Spieth and five in front of Branden Grace of South Africa.

“I definitely didn’t see people getting to 20 under par and multiple people trying to do that number,” Watson said.

He added: “I thought I played pretty good, but I finished 21st. Jason Day decided that course was easy. I just put too much emphasis on how tough the golf course was, and I wasn’t looking at making birdies. And Jason was obviously looking at birdies and not how tough the golf course was.”

In April, Spieth set the bar at the Masters with his 18-under total, equaling Tiger Woods’s record and ushering in an era in which 65 has become the new 69 on the PGA Tour. In the 2013-14 season, there were 24 scores of 62 or better recorded on the tour. Including the three rounds of the Tour Championship, there have been 38 in 2014-15. In this year’s playoffs, 23 scores of 64 or better have been posted, eight more than in 2014.

Is Birdie the new Par for the Top Competitive Players?

The Gym Rat Pack, drawn to the sport while watching Woods dominate majors by 12- or 15-stroke margins, has taken Woods’s athleticism and raised the competition a notch. Spieth, 22, arrived at the Masters and the United States Open with a clearly defined plan for winning — and he did. Since the British Open, Day, 27, has played every shot in a state of certainty that he can pull it off, and with few exceptions, he has.

To read the rest of this story by 

Source:     New York Time

Pictures: Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press    Chris Breikss

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