A touring golf professional requires only three areas of expertise to earn their livelihood, those being world class golfer, expert in custom club fitting and golf rules expert.
It goes without saying that a touring golf professional must possess the unique skill level to shoot scores low enough on specifically designated courses at the required time. That is what spectators pay to see and it is where sponsors invest their marketing dollars.
It is a very simple concept. Shoot the lowest score on Father’s Day around the most difficult course in the country and someone will hand you the U.S. Open trophy accompanied by a big cheque.
Simple, yes. Easy, no.
That is why only one person per year does it and that’s why it’s worth so much money, recognition and hero worship.
Custom club fitting is another important required skill/education.
To become the best at anything one must think they have certain advantages over the other competitors.
Since equipment plays such a big role in today’s tournament environment, a player must understand how, why and what components, measurements, ingredients and technologies best suit them.
A player must understand ball flight laws, shaft weights/flex, grip size and texture¸ frequency matching, flight scope readings, coefficient of restitution and many other contributing factors.
Each of these has a bearing on two vital outcomes, those being the appearance of the ball in flight and the feel of the club. A significant contributor to feel is sound.
Sure, companies spent millions on research developing all of these technologies and the some the finest R&D personnel in the world are available to tour professionals. However, the final decision is always made by the end user.
Therefore, with the burden of result- oriented consequences, a touring golf professional must have an in-depth understanding of equipment fitting.
Finally, a touring professional should be an absolute expert in the rules of golf, particularly in the procedures.
The rules are made to help you not to hurt you. The correct ruling protects every player, ensuring that every player is governed equally and fairly. As a result, the best player that day wins.
Proper interpretation and consistent application of the rules is one of the most common, basic elements that adheres all golfers world-wide together. The rules have been changed, updated and unified over the past 400 years, but they still retain most of the original intent.
They are a uniform structure to guide every player to act in a manner that is fair to every player. At times, the rules are quite complex and even complicated, but eventually, the ruling must amount to doing the right thing.
I don’t see anything wrong with non-players calling in when they think a player has not proceeded correctly under the rules of golf.
First, the players should be rules experts. Would you hire any other contractor (doctor, lawyer, auto mechanic, accountant, home renovator, etc.) who was not a complete expert in his/her field?
Top touring professionals are earning annual incomes of several million dollars. Shouldn’t they be the best in the world at knowing the rules?
Secondly, when any spectator can be actively involved in the actual outcome, it makes golf different from every other sport. Who cares if a penguin phones in from Antarctica and exposes an incident?
Aren’t we all just trying to make sure the winner is the real, honest winner? Besides, imagine the heart rate for some middle handicapper who hits the lottery when his/her suspicions are right and he/she exposes a certain infraction on national TV.
How is it even possible that a fan sitting in his/her living room 10,000 miles away knows the situation better than a player standing one foot away? Why isn’t the player versed well enough with the rules to know the exact procedure?
Not only that, but any time a player has the slightest doubt about the procedure they can call one of the premier rules officials in the world, who is never too far away for support.
A player should be adept at shooting a low score in any circumstance. A player should be able to trust his/her equipment team, but they should also be adept enough to become the final judge on rules.
A player should regard a rules official with complete respect, but be adept enough to thoroughly converse in a discussion concerning every facet of correct procedure within the rules.
Surely, one PGA Tour player, his/her caddie, the playing partner, the playing partner’s caddie and a world class rules official with a support team on the radio should be better at interpreting a rule than any fan.
I say, “Let the phone ring,”.if it’s necessary.