The calendar 2017 golf season has started off with a bang, with two rounds of 59 posted and a few other close calls. That has lead to some questions among the golf press, and let’s address one of them: is carding a 59 losing some of its luster?
The short answer here is no. The longer answer is no, but context is will matter.
For example, a final round sub-60 score that results in a tournament win will, almost certainly, be appropriately revered as an amazing achievement in the golf history books. But as more of these birdie bonanzas occur, there will be some nit picking about the greatness of the round. Some of the fair contextualizing items include:
- Scoring conditions that day. Paul Goydos shooting a 59 does lose a bit of significance when a 60 was posted that same day in afternoon conditions.
- Impact on the tournament. Jim Furyk’s 58 is the lowest score in PGA Tour history and a remarkable round, but he went off in one of the earliest groups on Sunday morning. There was no tournament pressure on his round. Obviously there was the pressure of shooting a 58. but it’s unlikely that pressure mounted until his final handful of holes.
- Par of the course. It is true that par is just a number, but there is a difference between playing a single round of golf in 11 under versus 13 under.
In all, don’t expect the fuss over a 59 to end anytime soon. A round that good has earned the attention, much like a perfect game in baseball or a 60 point binge in basketball. But, as these scores accumulate, so will the scrutiny around each particular round.