An "internal rebellion" in golf has led to alternative forms of the game with "new equipment, new rules and radical changes to courses," according to Bill Pennington of the N.Y. TIMES. The goal is to "alter the game’s reputation in order to recruit lapsed golfers and a younger demographic." Among the unconventional types of golf is an "entry-level version in which the holes are 15 inches wide, about four times the width of a standard hole." Another alternative is "foot golf, in which players kick a soccer ball from the tee to an oversize hole, counting their kicks." Meanwhile, golf courses in recent years have "encouraged people to think of golf in six-hole or nine-hole increments." TaylorMade-adidas Golf CEO Mark King created the website HackGolf.org to "generate more ideas about how to make golf more fun," and the brand in the next month will "subsidize the installation of 15-inch holes at about 100 golf courses so the results can be assessed." The bigger holes "might be especially appropriate for corporate and charity golf outings, which often attract novice golfers" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/19). TaylorMade-adidas Golf and the PGA of America last week hosted a nine-hole event featuring the 15-inch holes for media and pro golfers. The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jon Paul Newport attended the event and wrote, "I played a round in which our time on the greens was slashed in half." Newport: "I'm a golf purist, and I can't wait to play with 15-inch holes again. Would I want to play every round that way? Not at all." King projects that "hundreds more courses will buy into 15-inch golf by the end of the year." Bishop said, "Call it whatever you want, but we've got to get past this notion that unless you're playing nine or 18 holes, with 4 1/4-inch holes, it's not golf. This is a form of the sport, just like playing H-O-R-S-E on the backyard hoop is a form of basketball" (WSJ.com, 4/18).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
ESPN.com's Marc Stein cited sources as saying that the NBA has "informed teams that it is projecting a rise in the salary cap" of nearly $5M for next season. The sources said that all 30 teams "were informed this week via league memorandum that an increase in the cap" from this season's $58.6M to $63.2M in '14-15 -- "thanks to increased revenues -- is now expected." The sources said that a "corresponding rise" in the luxury-tax threshold from $71.7M to $77M also is projected. The "latest projections will undoubtedly be welcomed by numerous teams that are planning to be active in free agency this summer" (ESPN.com, 4/19).
MY GENERATION: In Louisville, Tim Sullivan writes under the header, "Higher Age Limit In NBA Isn't Fair." That NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NCAA President Mark Emmert "agree on the desirability of a higher age limit for pro basketball is not a surprise but a given." Both men have a "vested interest in presenting a more finished product to their customers, in prolonging apprenticeships, promoting stability and increasing profits." But the "problem is wealthy middle-aged executives determining what's best for young athletes of varying abilities (and often limited means) based on a criterion as arbitrary as age." To "further discriminate against people with no seat at the bargaining table is, at best, morally squishy" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 4/22). In San Diego, Nick Canepa wrote, "I am not against college basketball players leaving early for the NBA. But I do have a problem with so many of them obviously either getting bad advice or pushing their own athletic envelopes far too far." The 20-year-old age limit would "eliminate a lot of the ones-and-dones and no matter what anybody thinks, whether a player goes to class or not, college is a terrific experience that deserves to last longer than nine months" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/21).
TECHNICAL FOUL? In Portland, John Canzano writes the officiating in Trail Blazers-Rockets Game 1 on Sunday "is making me ask questions." The NBA yesterday released a statement saying officials were "incorrect in assessing a foul to the Rockets' Dwight Howard with 10.8 seconds remaining in overtime." Canzano: "No context for the announcement. No real closure. No transparency. ... I can speak for the majority of those who watch NBA games by saying we're just not buying it. ... I'm wondering if the real reason fans don't trust the NBA officials is because they shouldn't." The NFL has done a "terrific job with how it administers its officiating." NFL officials have "shown the public how they prepare for games, the criteria for grading, and when they blow calls, they own it." The NBA "feels more Oz-like" (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/22).