Are golfers athletes? That's a debate that has raged for far too long in our sport, but with the evolution of the game and performance science, more people are seeing golfers for the athletes they are.
However, there is apparently some debate about how tough pro golfers are compared to their high-amateur compatriots -- at least for the chairman of the 2017 US Amateur at Riviera Country Club.
The Riv and Bel Air Country Club host the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying portion of the event on Monday and Tuesday, followed by a match-play tournament of the top 64 players who qualify out of the 312-player starting field. For the champion, they'll have to win six matches in four days, including two matches on Thursday and a final that is schedule for 36 holes. All in all, a player could be compelled to play in 162 holes (or more with sudden death in every match!) to win the title. It's a lot of golf.
With that in mind, maybe Michael Yamaki, the corporate officer for Riviera and general chairman of the U.S. Amateur Championship, has a point when he told the Orange County Register that “the professionals are wusses … they’re only playing four days. We have to play seven straight days, plus 36 on the last day. … when you look at the Amateur, it’s really old school.”
Yeah, the pros only play 72 holes, but that also seems like an awful lot of golf, too.