I've never been a big fan of video review in sports: I didn't like it when football introduced it, I don't like it in hockey and I hope it doesn't make a big splash in baseball. I think the player challenge system in tennis is idiotic, especially since it doesn't even use the actual video evidence but a computer simulation of what the ball probably did and where it likely landed (or am I wrong on that?).
So it should be no surprise that I am totally, completely and utterly against recent developments toward the introduction of video review in pro golf.
I'm talking about this recent trend of guys sitting on their couches watching the tournament on their high-def televisions and deciding that this player or that player has breached some obscure rule of golf, then calling their complaint in to the USGA and actually having it taken seriously.
It's bad enough when instant replay is used to review calls on the playing surface -- now we don't even care if it's instant. We'll review it hours later, sometimes even after a player has signed his scorecard.
Ridiculous. And we don't even have any rules about who can call for a review and on what grounds.
The USGA and its counterparts on other tours have to step in and put an end to this. Don't bother calling, they should be saying, we're not listening. The message on their answering machine should be "Stop calling. Get a life"
Apparently, some caller tried to blow the whistle on Steve Stricker during Round One of the US Open yesterday. The allegation: that Stricker improved his drop by walking up to the green and back to the drop area a couple of times, thus flattening the grass into which he would be dropping his ball.
It's nuts. Absolutely nuts. It's some guy who doesn't like Stricker or wants to feel important coming up with a silly objection and calling it in.
But the problem isn't Mr. **** Couch-Potato, it's the USGA who took the call seriously enough to investigate it, including talking to Stricker before he signed his score card.
This has to stop. The PGA has enough people out there on the course every week to spot issues and address them without answering the phone. If the hundreds of marshals and officials don't see a problem when they are standing right there, then it's clearly not a big enough issue to worry about.
What's next: institute a seven-day review period at the end of each tournament to make sure everybody watching (and anybody who DVRed the tournament) has enough time to review every shot in all four rounds carefully and to call in their objections?
I won't even talk about how patently unfair the current approach is to those players who are, because they are popular and successful, constantly the subject of television coverage. Tiger, Phil, Rory, et al are currently being held to a much higher standard than some of the border-line players.
So get your act together, USGA. And stop answering the phone.