I’m conflicted because as much respect as I have for Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus (and believe me, I have a TON of respect for them) they need to understand that games evolve both on the course and in the realm of technology, and to hold today’s golfers to a standard that these fine gentlemen do in respect to their era is foolish and shortsighted, almost as foolish and shortsighted as toneypenna, but we’ll cross that bridge in the comments section.

But I’m just curious…these are incredibly smart, savvy, well read individuals who know the game of golf better than anyone.  These guys know that sports evolve and that things change as time goes on, I mean, hell, these three were catalysts for such expansive growth in golf that it’s really hard to understand where they’re coming from.  Why did Arnie complain about balls being stopped from the rough?  Why is Gary Player accusing pros of using performance enhancing drugs?  Why is Jack Nicklaus going through great pains to discredit today’s players through complaints about technology and strategy?

This is a different era of golf and it should be treated as such.

Where was the outcry from Bobby Jones when he saw Hogan rack up majors using steel shafts instead of hickory?  Where were the complaints when Gene Sarazen invented the modern sand wedge?  Why weren’t players complaining about Tom Kite using the early 60 degree lofted wedge for his win at the US Open at Pebble Beach in 1992?

Oh, you mean that players have adjusted technologies to fit the evolving game of golf pretty much as long as the game has been around?  Funny.

It’s hypocritical to think that players today are lesser players than in previous eras because of asinine logic like “they don’t have all the shots” and “technology makes the game easier.”  Is the playing field level for everyone in terms of gear?  YUP.  Do the modern course setups, even with respect to the newer movement towards shorter rough thanks to the rolled back grooves, demand that distance AND accuracy be tested to the utmost?  YUP.  Should today’s players NOT go to the gym and maximize their physical ability because players back in the day didn’t have fitness vans?  According to some, yes they should.

Eras across golf are relative.  Tiger’s playing longer and more difficult courses than Faldo, who played longer and more difficult courses than Jack, who played longer and more difficult courses than Hogan, who played longer and more difficult courses than Bobby Jones, and in each era the technological advances in equipment and more advanced knowledge of the game went step in step with course setup.  Would players be worse off if they had to play less forgiving clubs than their predecessors?  Who knows and who cares?

Here’s my biggest issue with the whole current-player-bashing…old guys like to scream and shout about how it was more competitive in the Big Three’s era because there was also Watson, Trevino, Casper and some others and then like to denigrate today’s players for relying too much on equipment to compete.  Well, doesn’t that also mean that there are WAY more players who can compete, regardless of how they got there (be it skill or equipment), on a weekly basis?  Yes…it totally does.

As for the complaints about players not having “all the shots”…that’s just nonsense because guess what?  Jack didn’t have all the shots.  Jack didn’t have the repertoire that’s required from today’s players around the greens, Player didn’t have the distance and Palmer played one of the earliest versions of bomb and gouge golf we saw but none of that matters because, when put in context, they were still the best of their era that featured a different style of game.  And to think that those three, all notorious club ho’s, wouldn’t have eeked EVERY LAST LITTLE BIT of technology had they had today’s tour vans is just foolish and hypocritical.

So bitch about today’s players for being spoiled, pampered little babies.  Criticize them for not having killer instinct.  Hate on them for being cookie cutter douchebags, but don’t criticize their ability.  Yes, some of the shotmaking isn’t as prevalent, but it’s not completely gone from golf, it’s just different.

Plus, if technology REALLY made the game easier, why has Tiger gotten progressively worse as technology has advanced?

Oh, Hank Haney…right.  Nevermind.

Where was I going with this again?  I forget…anyways, in conclusions, Hank Haney sucks.

But seriously…to say youngsters have no game is just not true.  Are we supposed to believe that Rory McIlroy and Anthony Kim and Ryo Ishikawa are finished products?  So what if they’re not hitting everything, each of these guys has been near the top of leaderboards at precocious ages in majors, yes even the British, so why knock them?  Did Jack and Arnie have a complete arsenal of shots when they were in their early 20′s?  So why bash them for being young, even when, considering their ages, their games are incredibly advanced.  Golf today isn’t the golf of the 60′s and 70′s so don’t treat it as if it were.

And PS…can I get some of these “golf clubs that you simply cannot hit poorly?”  That’d be great, thanks.