Question for the day: what impact would it have on pace of play if Brandt Snedeker became the dominant player in the game? You’re right, probably none. But it would be cool if he were the role model in that regard.
But back to my intended topic: the results of the pro-am at the AT&T. Snedeker and his partner tied for first at 31 strokes under par. That makes a certain amount of sense. When Bill Murray and D.A. Points won two years ago, Points was also the professional winner as well. If your professional partner is beating the field, all you have to do, as the amateur, is make a reasonable contribution– most likely on your stroke holes–and you’re going to be in contention. In this case Brandt’s partner, a guy by the name of Wilt, contributed a respectable 12 strokes, or three a day, to the team performance.
Ah yes, but go back to the second sentence of the above paragraph. They tied for first. So, who pray tell is sharing that coveted title with them? The team of Letzig and Erickson, which is all well and good, except for one strange thing: Letzig didn’t make the cut (which happens after the third day at the AT&T because of the three course rotation). After three rounds Michael Letzig was 6 over par and yet he and his amateur partner, John Erickson, came in at 31 under for the tournament. (Side note: Monday morning I couldn’t find Letzig anywhere on the leaderboard and that kind of freaked me out. I assumed at first that my eyesight was going since that tiny little agate print is a bit of a strain, as I read the professional results up one side and down the other, looking and looking for his name. But then I remembered about this thing called the internet…)
Let’s assume for the sake of argument, that Mr. Letzig, no longer facing the pressure of playing for a check, shot an even round of par on Sunday. After all he is a pro, and that’s what pros do, right? That means that his amateur partner contributed a stunning 37 strokes over the four days of competition. This is where the math gets brutally overwhelming. In other words, on average, Mr. Erickson shot a net score under par on half the holes for four days in a row.
Well, gosh, you say, maybe he just played really well. How well, you ask? The odds of shooting 9 strokes under your index in two consecutive rounds is 1 in 83,000. That is pretty good. This is obviously even better. In fact, suspiciously better. In fact the odds of it being a legitimate achievement bring to mind that old joke that ends with the words, “and Slim just left town.”
For the record, Mr. Erickson was playing as an 18. And, really, why shouldn’t he? If you’re going to pick a handicap, I say go for 18. First, it makes it easy to stay in character. You don’t have to ask if you’re getting a stroke on a hole because YOU’RE GETTING STROKES EVERYWHERE! Every par is a net birdie, every birdie is a net eagle. It’s like frigging Christmas out there. Second, you’re only passing yourself off as an average hacker who’s just gosh darn tickled to break 90. You’re not setting yourself up as special, just average.
It brings to mind those cell phone ads where the interviewer poses questions such as “What’s better, faster or slower?” to a table of overly caffeinated six year olds. In this instance the transcript looks like this:
Interviewer: What’s better, a bigger handicap or a smaller handicap?
Fat kid in the argyle sweater: Bigger, because then it’s easier to beat your friends and take all their money so you can buy yourself a little pet monkey that you can take out to the course with you and it scoops up its poop and throws it at your friends when they’re putting!
Interviewer: But won’t that make your friends mad?
Girl in gingham dress and pigtails: You just tell them to take a lesson or find another game or stop whining about it.
Voice over: It’s not complicated.
No, it’s not.