Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here’s what’s weighing on our writers’ minds.
On Club de Golf Chapultepec proving that lengthening courses shouldn’t be the only response to increased distance:
Who says golf courses have to be long to be challenging?
While debate continues over recent increases in distance from the world’s best players, many venues have opted to move back the goal posts. But as Chapultepec showed this week, there remains one key defense that can limit even the longest hitters: tight fairways lined with plenty of trees.
With altitude making the actual course yardage closer to that of a weekend muni, players were forced to get creative off the tee and even more creative if they missed the target. Punch-outs and rescue shots became regular occurrences, and only 37 out of 76 world-class players were able to break par despite the relatively short yardage.
Lengthening holes is an easy response to technological innovation, but as this week’s unique layout demonstrated, it’s not the only option. – Will Gray
The distance PGA Tour players hit the golf ball is always an ugly asterisk when the conversation turns to the game’s old, classic golf courses.
Some layouts, the theory goes, have simply been outgrown and can’t withstand the modern power game. But that notion was put to the test this week at the WGC-Mexico Championship. On the 7,330-yard Club de Golf Chapultepec, which played closer to 6,500 yards with this week’s elevation, Dustin Johnson posted a winning score of 14 under par.
Last year at this same event, Adam Scott finished at 12 under on the 7,543-yard Blue Monster at Doral, which played to every yard. Longer golf courses are one defense to low scoring, but it’s not the only defense. – Rex Hoggard
On Inbee Park continuing to go underappreciated:
Inbee Park may be the most unappreciated star in all of golf. Her triumph Sunday at the HSBC Women’s Champions was one more remarkable feat in her Hall of Fame resume, given how little she has played the last nine months. She won in just her second start after taking six months off to recuperate from a thumb injury. It was only her third LPGA start in nine months. She took two months off last summer to heal up for the Olympics, then came back to win the gold medal playing through pain.
Her name already ranks with the legends of the women’s game. She won the first three majors of the year in 2013, becoming the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1950 to do so. Her seven major championship titles are more than any other woman besides Patty Berg (15), Mickey Wright (13), Louise Suggs (11), Babe Zaharias (10), Annika Sorenstam (10) and Betsy Rawls (8). Still, Park doesn’t get the credit she deserves for the history she has already made. – Randall Mell