Wednesday, August 8, 2012
The elite players can smack a ball out of 2-inch-tall rough more than 200 yards.
Eye of the Tyler
Cut professional golfers some slack.
Yes, you have to be athletic to be a top golfer. Sure, there are exceptions to this, but there are exceptions in every sport. Muggsy Bogues enjoyed a successful professional career in the NBA at 5-feet-3-inches tall.
On the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Monday, it was hot - really hot. For whatever reason, I wore long pants; that won't happen again this week. These guys have to wear pants in the near-100-degree weather.
I also couldn't last more than five holes without having to retreat to the media center to cool down and chug a Gatorade. That alone doesn't make someone an athlete, but it adds to the conditions.
I consider myself to be in good shape. I'm active and I love to play sports. I work out regularly. But, man, this was tough.
Not that I'm complaining, though. I'll be out there every day this week, because it's the Super Bowl of golf, and it's an incredible opportunity. It's just worth emphasizing to the doubters that golfers are athletes.
The top players are strong and visual beneficiaries of hours in the weight room, namely Adam Scott and Tiger Woods. The longest hitters can drive the ball 300-plus yards.
Although they're not running sprints under a helmet and shoulder pads, there's still a lot of exercise involved. The course is the longest ever at a major championship at 7,676 yards. That in itself is 4.36 miles. The mileage is enough to take you from Red's Ice House in Mount Pleasant to Patriots Point Museum in the Charleston Harbor. Twice. And have 0.5 miles to spare.
But, that distance only entails walking from tee box to the pin every time. It doesn't include meandering around the fairway, rough or to wild grass areas hunting for balls.
There are no golf karts to ride around on. There are hardly any shady areas of relief. This course is no joke.
(Have a suggestion for a future Eye of the Tyler column? Email firstname.lastname@example.org).
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