Tag:12-hole rounds
Posted on: February 28, 2012 8:55 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 8:58 pm

Nicklaus poses heretical idea: Use 12-hole days

By Steve Elling

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The NFL has the three-hour game almost down to a science. Big-league baseball not so much, but games are usually around that general time mark.

Basketball games in college and the pros log in well under that time figure.

So, how are fans supposed to remain engaged for a round of golf, not the most stimulating sport visually for spectators, if it takes five hours to complete? Or for the actual practitioners, five hours to play?

A possible answer: Cut the number of holes. Or at minimum, redistribute them. In theory, it would certainly help retain eyeballs in an era of increasingly shorter attention spans.

The game's biggest father figure, 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus, said Tuesday at the Honda Classic that he's suggested to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem that a tournament in the future be cut down to 12-hole days, perhaps played over six days, versus 18 holes over four days.

"I'm trying to talk Tim -- and I talked to him about a year ago and he sort of poohpoohed me -- about the 12-hole golf," Nicklaus said. "He came back to me at the Masters last year and he says, 'You know, we are going to do more with this 12-hole golf. I'm going to do something with it.'

"He hasn't done anything yet, but he has it in his head. He likes it for the First Tee because they have two sixes [six-hole courses] and it makes a lot less time for First Tee. I said, 'Tim, what would be the difference -- we have to legitimize, if you are going to have people play 12-hole golf, you have to play golf in 2 1/2 hours."

Nicklaus has experimented with 12-hole rounds at his home track in Columbus, Ohio.

"Every other sport is played in less than three hours. If we can do that, why can't we play a tournament where we play six 12-hole rounds?" he said. "You just play a round and a half a day. You score it differently is all.  You wake up in the morning and you see where you've shot a 46 and a 23 and you shot 69 for the day as total number of strokes."

Actually, most people track scores relative to par, anyway, so a full 18-hole score at the end of the day has been somewhat marginalized already. In a 12-hole day, a player would be 3-under, and that number could be tracked instead over the 72-hole week.

"It's just how you score it, legitimize it, to get people to think about the game in a different way." Nicklaus said. "I hope he'll do it."

Don't hold your breath. The 18-hole round has been around for centuries, and Finchem is unwilling to do much more than turn his head on issues relating to slow play. But if Nicklaus presses the issue, it can't possibly hurt.

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