2020 US Open Reflections From Barney Adams

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2020 US Open Reflections From Barney Adams

Open Rough


 2020 US Open Reflections From Barney Adams


 The announcing crew at the 2020 US Open seemed obsessed with "The Bombers" - players who drove the ball extreme distances with little regard for the occasional tee shot into the rough. TV has selected Bryson DeChambeau as their

Barney Adams

representative given his length and victory  


I thought I'd wait a bit to see what the industry sources had to say. I can't say it's unanimous because I haven't seen everything, but the theme is: Get Ready for The Golfer of Tomorrow:


  • 350 Yard Carry
  • Clubhead speed which tears through the rough allowing the ball to launch high and carry to the green.
  • The 'new' instructor who teaches distance be it ground up or whatever new method is used.
  • Gym sessions producing athletes who look more like football players.
  • And last, a whole new shelf of steroids for golf.


At the same time the USGA and its organizational allies are planning meetings focusing not if the ball will be rolled back, but when. Clearly, influenced by visual evidence from a great Winged Foot course in our national championship. 


Let's look deeper! 


A hypothetical, go back a few months. You are on the planning committee for the US Open to be held at Winged Foot, one of America's great venues. This year because of Covid there will be no galleries, something never experienced at a USGA major golf event. I repeat, your committee is planning for The US Open. That implies "Open Rough" a term that is significant on its own. You don't play from Open Rough, you escape... maybe.


The nature of Open Rough is a thick chunky base with long tendrils reaching skyward. These make it very difficult to find your ball in the best of circumstances and when attempting to advance these tendrils wrap themselves around your hosel closing the face, sending your ball deeper into hostile territory. That's if you can even find it, Open rough has "disappeared" many balls over the years and done so within full view of gallery spectators aiding course marshals. The rule of thumb for competitors has always been to find the most reasonable patch of fairway and get out.


But this is the year of Covid . No galleries. Marshals, but relatively few because of no galleries. Now, considering that normal US Open rough will produce many searches where marshals are important, the shortage of them will cause endless searches which don't make for great TV viewing. So, a decision is made, cut the rough down so shots can be found. Still in the rough but sitting on the chunky base and very often can be played. A tough call for the purist but an objective economic evaluation leaves no choice.


The announcers regale us with astonishing distances and swing speeds that allow escape from Open Rough that used to be impossible. The golf publications jump on this theme and predict that the golfer of tomorrow will be "DeChambeau like" not sweet swingers but physical hulks rewriting the book on distance strongly influenced by no fear of the rough.   


My point here is those publications and instructors, jumping on the "longer and slightly crooked is better" bandwagon, have added 2+2 and gotten 5 when using the 2020 US Open as a premise. 


DeChambeau is a great and powerful player, however, I don't think he's known for his putting.  He should have been, it was terrific, probably influenced his score! He is our National Champion, an unsurpassable honor. But his style has me betting that the USGA is working on dates to discuss changing the golf ball, as in making it shorter.


I'm 100% against such a move. Golf is a game where amateurs can go to the same course play the same clubs and given a huge difference in skill achieve some measure of affiliation with the pros. A birdie is a birdie, not a long or short ball birdie. From a business perspective, the overwhelming majority of those golfers financially supporting golf are 50+. And we want them to hit it shorter?

Well Mr. Adams what Would you do? I know zero about golf ball manufacturing but keeping the distance the same I'd change the dimples to increase curvature Just enough so it doesn't affect slower swings that much but very high swing speeds so it's in the player's head  


More thoughts. As an admitted TV viewer, get rid of those yardage books. Fine for practice rounds but when the bell rings it should be player and caddie, not an "on green" conference. What's next, a staff meeting? 


I'll conclude with a Note to the PGA Tour and, importantly, an admonition. To the PGA Tour: The minute a tee goes into the ground on #1 every player is on the clock. Stroke penalties, not fines, will get their attention. To the rest of the golfing world: Let's not blindly pursue the "new golfer" concept without considerably deeper study. 



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For more information and photos contact Mary Beth Lacy at:

Email:[email protected]

Phone: (760) 346-6942

Breakthrough Golf Technology website: breakthroughgolftech.com 




I read this article and do

I read this article and do NOT agree with much of it. I also watched Ian Poulter's video on his idea to dail back some of the distances off the tee. His idea makes some sense. His idea is to limit the minumum loft of a driver to 8.5 -9.0 degrees. That would reduce the ball speed compared to what Byrson is getting with his 4.5* driver. Also reduce the MAX length of a driver to 45", down from the now limit of 48". Again, this will reduce ball speed and that means LESS distance for the pros on tour. And it would have ZERO effect on the amatuer golfer who does NOT want to see golf balls dialed back. 

I also do not see any reason for the tour cutting down the height of the rough. I do NOT care if the Tour Pros LOSE golf balls when they hit into the rough. I for one do NOT play golf with throusands of fans and marshalls to help ME fiind my ball. so why should the Pros have them to not only FIND their ball but to MARK the location of the ball with a small flag on the end of a thin wire that the marshalls stick in the ground by the ball?  

A LOT of golfers CLAIM that the rules of golf apply to ALL golfers, Pros and amatuers alike. But that idea is nonsense, and complete GARBAGE. I remember when Tiger's ball came to rest behind a 4 foot boulder, blocking him from advancing the ball to the green. Rather than playing his next shot sideways, Tiger got to ask a dozen of his fans to come MOVE the 600 pound rock out of the way, so he could play his shot TOWARD the green, like the bounder was NEVER THERE. Lose impediment got moved by 12 stround fans, something WE ALL can only wish for. 

II also do NOT agree with Mr. Adams idea of doing away with the yardage books being used on tour. ME, I'd like to see ALL tour events to start allowing the use of GPS and Laser range finders. This would SPEED up the play of ALL golfers on tour and EVEN the playing field between golfer that can afford to hire a LOCAL caddy that knows the course better than the average tour caddy could ever hope to know. Golf should be about SKILL playing a shot, NOT about who has the best most knowledgable caddy. As an amatuer golfer, I can NOT afford to hire a caddy, but I CAN alford to buy a good Laser range finder, that will negate anything a top caddy could tell me about the distance I need to hit my next shot. 

You WANT to cut down the distance off the tee for the Tour Pros? Why not WATER the hard and dried out Fairways before every round so the ball does NOT roll 50 to 75 yards after is lands? That would do MORE than dailing back the golf ball, and it would NOT effect the amatuer golfer in the least. The Game of GOLF would be DEAD, if not for the local Amatuer golfers that support all of the local golf courses accroaa the country. Teh PROs do NOT support the game, the AMATUERS DO. Do not punish the amatuers for what the Pros gat away with on tour. 


Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.