In case you haven't heard by now, Rory McIlroy drove the 436-yard, par-4 13th hole today at Royal Aberdeen during the Scottish Open. Drove. The. Green. Here's the video:
That sound you heard in the background toward the end of the video? That was me puking all over my keyboard, because that was disgusting.
While golf shots like Rory's -- and Bubba Watson's massive drive on Augusta National's 13th hole on Masters Sunday -- are flashy and awesome, they also prove exactly what is wrong with modern-day golf equipment. Professional players are destroying the best golf courses in the globe, and it is becoming a huge problem.
Before you stop reading this article and dismiss my opinion as being that of an "old fuddy-duddy" (even though I'm in my early 30's), consider what could happen to another major sport if technology was introduced in a similar fashion as golf.
Suppose a new football is invented and introduced into the National Football League. The technology in this ball -- while still made of leather and laces -- allows it to travel further through the air when thrown. This technology also increases the "tackiness" of the outside leather, making it easier to catch and carry. The ball's measurements and ratios still adhere to the NFL's Rule Book. It is just a "better" ball all around.
Now suppose what someone like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Drew Brees get their hands on this football. Suddenly, their average game stats balloon from 250+ yards per game to 350+ yards. Wide receivers like Andre Johnson or running backs like Arian Foster begin averaging 300 yards receiving or rushing, respectively. Records are not only broken, they are demolished. The efforts of past NFL legends are left in the dust, routinely lapped by the yardages and scoring achievements in the modern "Super Ball" era.
In a response to traditionalists and in an effort to protect the integrity of the game, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decides to increase the length of the football field to 125 yards, then 150, and finally 200. The playing surface has doubled in length, all because of one little technological change in an otherwise innocent-looking football.
Demand for the new ball skyrockets. Sporting goods stores begin selling the new Super Ball to football fans. Pee-Wee football leagues introduce the Super Ball into their game. High Schools follow suit. The NCAA welcomes the ball with open arms.
Before too long, ESPN reports the first ever high school student Quarterback to sign with an NFL team. When compared to the yardages of professionals, the difference is almost negligible. Hell, if the kid can do it, why not let him play?
Over time, the game we once knew is no longer the same as what it has become.
All of that sounds ridiculous, right?