I read with interest two sports related stories last week. One made me sad. The other made me glad.
Harris County officials are considering tearing down the Astrodome. The Houston, Texas facility opened in 1965 and became the world’s first fully-air conditioned domed stadium.
It awed people almost without exception. Many derided it as a flash in the pan that wouldn’t work because most thought that baseball and football were not designed to be played indoors.Seemingly no one was used to its almost antiseptic atmosphere.
It was home to baseball, football,a variety of other sporting events, entertainment and even a Republican National Convention over the years. The facility has been closed for public use since 2009 when it was deemed too dangerous to occupy. Unless private investors step forward the structure is likely to be torn down and turned into a parking lot for nearby Reliant Stadium.
That’s a shame. The Astrodome was the talk of the country and the world when it opened. Without a doubt, the structure and its many amenities paved the way for artificial turf, both indoors and outdoors, and dozens of other domed facilities across the country. I hope the first of its kind can be saved and used for many years to come. If it can’t, I understand. Time marches on.
Meanwhile, The Royal & Ancient Golf Club and the U.S. Golf Association approved Rule 14-1b. Beginning in 2016, the rule bans the use of belly putters.
“Hooray,” was my immediate thought.
The rule doesn’t do away with long putters. It does prohibit using the body to create a hinge effect. Using a belly putter that players rest their chest or belly on provides an anchor and takes out the free swinging motion. It makes repetition of the pendulum swing easier to come by.
The PGA must determine if it will adopt the rule. It should. It’s an aid to those who suffer from the so-called “yips” and provides an advantage. I always wonder if those guys with the long putters could even be in contention with the traditional version.
While they’re at it, officials (the PGA in particular) should go one step further. Wouldn’t it be good to see at least one tournament a year where everything equipment-wise is equal?
Think about it. Basketball plays with one ball. So does baseball and football. Why not golf?
For at least one tournament a year, let’s make the game really interesting and require all players to use the same type ball and the exact same make of clubs. That one move would certainly show who the best truly is based on shot making ability and preparation. It would take technology out of the equation.
It won’t happen. But, it would be fun to see golf’s best playing on equal footing (because in today’s game the club and the ball can make a big difference). Let’s find out who can move the ball from right to left, who can hit it a mile and who can stop a ball on a dime on a green without all the advantages provided in today’s equipment.
The cream would rise to the top and the pretenders would be found out.
And, that’s my take.