International Putting Tournament

International Putting Tournament Vegas Event Offers $62,000 Prize

Either I just don’t know as much as I thought I did about the golf world, or this falls into the category of “Who Knew?” That’s a category with a lot of room to grow, but I’ll accept either verdict as likely. Next year, Las Vegas is going to put new meaning into “Drive for show, putt for dough.” The planned event the International Putting Tournament is for 210 of the world’s best putters to gather and compete in glitter city might mean you have to drive in order to show up, but the dough all goes to putting.

DORAL, FL - MARCH 05:  Camilo Villegas of Colombia lines up a putt on the tenth green during the final round of the Ford Championship at Doral March 5, 2006 at Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Doral, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Apparently, there is an organization that calls itself the “Major Series of Putting,” or at least that is what they call their event. So who knew that ? Be honest, now. Apparently, one of the hotels or other facilities with wide open paces has put together a 20,000 square foot course, just for putting. I didn’t know that, even though it’s on Harmon Avenue, where I lived for a while. And here’s the real kicker. The course was designed by none other than Jack Nicklaus. Is there anything this guy doesn’t design? From that news, i automatically assume that the “course” is probably a difficult one. So, is it just an isolated green with all the necessary undulations and hidden breaks, going on the assumption that by the time you start, you have already reached the green? Or, is it like a miniature course, with little patches of rough along the way, and little bunkers dotting the green end? I’m going to guess that Jack Nicklaus is too much of a purist for that. I can’t see him entangling his art with that of miniature golf. No little windmills or laughing pirates with swinging cutlasses that may or may not knock a ball off the fake fairway. Still, I am surprised that Nicklaus designed such a thing, good as it might be. I get the impression that from where the spectators sit, one should be able to see the whole course, which means that you can see what everyone is doing all at once – no waiting for cheers or groans from three greens away, or searching for a leaderboard.
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In all seriousness, it does sound like a lot of fun, and there isn’t anything amiss about taking one of the very difficult components of the game of golf out of context and making a competition on it. Putting is, after all, a microscopic part of the full golf swing, a few inches either way from impact. It’s a little slower for most of us, demands nerves, concentration, and a command of tempo. When you pull out your driver, you see the lake, so it’s your fault if you didn’t switch to a 3 wood or long iron, but in putting, there’s so much we can’t see, unless we’re particularly gifted at it. Even if you can read a green, it doesn’t follow that you can’t push or pull a putt, just like you can a long distance club.
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Assuming that this putting tournament is conducted inside, a bit of the nature love is lost. No evergreen forests or waving palm trees to either side – more like the atmosphere of a poker tournament, perhaps. Vegas should be good at that. I assume that a lot of the PGA pros can’t make it, and that some of the competitors will be club pros or high level amateurs. And by the way, are women invited? LPGA and fellow club pros?The prize is 62,000, and that’s great, but is there a breakdown of prize money for leading contenders, or just winner-take-all?

I’m trying to picture 20,000 square feet divided among 18 holes, and am not having much luck, other than figuring that there will be some pretty long distances attempted. Maybe there will be a miniature clubhouse and resort – all right, probably not. However, miniaturized as it may be, putting is a maddening part of the game, and of sufficient difficulty to make an event like this very real. In Vegas I’d bet on it.

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