The new trend in course design started with Pete Dye over here, target golf, stadium golf and so forth.
The game has changed so much since I retired, but one thing I can say is, I don’t think the US Open typically crowns the world’s best players. The Masters always would, but now it is playing like a US Open. It makes me sad really. I blame the equipment. Augusta used to have no rough… Andy North, Scott Simpson were never the worlds best, but still excellent players. I think you see that happening now at Augusta.
I always believed that the worlds majors should offer four unique and distinct challenges. Three of of them used to, and if you considered the Australian Open to be the forth major, then you would have four unique challenges… but all that has changed. I understand the weekend golfer loves the easy to hit stuff, but the pros certainly don’t need it… and it has really changed everything, and forced the modernization of the courses, even the old classic ones. I think it’s a shame.
I agree that the Australian courses are some of the worlds best, if not the best. One of the reasons I spend the bulk of my pro career down under is for that very reason. The US tour school would take up 3 months, right during the heart of the Australian Tour. I had to make a choice each year and I kept going down under… not for the money but for the game, the nicely run tournaments, and all those wonderful courses. Golf was a lot more gamey and interesting there, and the target golf thing in the States I found to be not to my liking as much.