Real baseball fans (like your friendly neighborhood Golf Blogger) never have to see a game to know the story of how their favorite team did the previous night. All tht’s needed is a full box score, and an understanding of how the game works. (It’s also true that real baseball fans know how to keep score, which involves recording the action in shorthand on small diamonds on a piece of paper).
But golf really doesn’t have a useful box score. At the end of a round, all we see is a players’ score in relationship to par, and to other players. If we see that Tiger is five under, we assume he was hitting fairways and greens—or was he. He might have been in trouble all day, but managed to scramble and make a couple of his patented miracle chips and putts. Or maybe he played average golf, but had two Eagles. We just don’t know.
I’ve thought for years that golf needed a scoring system like baseball—one that, when shown on a screen during a tournament or printed in a newspaper, would tell the viewer or reader instantly how a particular player’s round went.
Apparently I’m not the only one with that thought. In the New York Times on Wednesday, there was an opinion piece by Mark Sweeny on how golf needs a box sore system akin to baseball’s. He sorts through available statistics, and comes up with a good suggestion. I’m not sure he hit the nail right on the head, but he’s close.