Appleby Shoots 59, Wins Greenbrier
It appears that anyone can shoot sub-60 nowadays, and the Greenbrier Classic was the best example to date of how golf courses are in big trouble of becoming obsolete. Three men were on "59 Watch" this week in White Sulphur Springs, one of which pulling through and eventually winning the tournament: Stuart Appleby.
His first win on the PGA Tour in four years, Appleby was oddly calm standing over his final putt to shoot the fifth-ever 59, sinking the birdie... well, like a pro.
''I was quite comfortable,'' Appleby said. ''It's not a nerve-racking thing to be involved in. I had a lot of opportunities and I made them. It was great to do that to win the tournament.''
In the same tournament, D.A. Points flirted with not only a 59 on Saturday, but could have conceivably shot 57 had he finished eagle - birdie. Alas, he recorded a 61. Sometimes I guess you just have to try harder, right?
On Sunday, J.B. Holmes also flirted with the "immortal" number of 59, but instead recorded a 60, which tied the course record shot by Sam Snead in 1950 until Appleby's round finished.
So why are so many players shooting so low? Perhaps there is not one specific answer to this confusing trend, but many fingers will surely be pointed at golf equipment technology. While grooves have been the talk of the town as of late on the professional Tours, the golf ball is often overlooked as a potential culprit. As WaggleRoom's Ryan Ballengee suggests in a recent article, many golf professionals believe golf ball technology is making scoring even easier now despite changes in wedge grooves:
Boo Weekley said this week that the PGA Tour is taking is easier on the guys this season because of grooves. Perhaps that has led to some greater scoring (though the 59, 60s, et al, are a condition of sitting-duck courses in wet conditions). In other words, with better and more strongly boxed in equipment standards, the tours can be more creative in how it approaches setups. That's great news for everyone. And it's clear that the scoring has not suffered. These guys and gals are pros. Beating the course is inevitable for them.
Whether the ball, driver heads, iron shafts, or hybrid technology is accountable for the recent trend of low scoring, one thing is for certain:
Golf courses are in trouble. BIG trouble.