Sunday, August 7, 2011

Last Round Half-Point Bye-Bye

This from the USCF website: With just one round to go at the 112th US Open in Orlando (July 30-August 7), three GMs share the lead with 7/8: US #1 and World Top ten player Hikaru Nakamura, current Samford Scholar Aleksandr Lenderman and Alonso Zapata. The final round begins at 3 PM EST with Lenderman facing Nakamura on board one. Zapata took a final round half point bye, so he finished with 7.5/9. (

The tied for first GM was not the only one, as clearly 10% of the field opted to NOT play in the final round!

I am hoping, no doubt along with the GM, for both players playing on first board in the last round to be disqualified. Maybe if a player actually wins what used to be a 'major' tournament by being given something for nothing, then the F.I.P.s in USCF will finally see the lunacy in allowing a half-point bye in the last round.

I am reminded of the time over a century ago now, when Joe Golf took a bye in the last round of the PGA championship. When asked why he had decided to not play and take a par score for the last round, Joe said, "My knee is acting up, which means it's gonna rain."

"But Joe, there's not a cloud in the sky and the forecast is for sunny skies all weekend," was what they said to ol' Joe, as they began to snicker. When Joe said, "My knee says it's gonna rain, and rain hard," they began to guffaw.

Ol' Joe shot a ten under 62 on the opening day to set a course record. He could only shoot par golf of 72 over the next two days, attributing it to his balky knee, which caused much laughter. Heading into the last round, Joe was tied for the lead with the two best golfers in America. There was not a cloud in the sky when Joe was asked, "Don't you wish you could go out and try to shoot a lower score?" He just smiled, saying, "I'm satisfied with what I got."

As the first golfer stepped up to the tee on the first hole, the skies grew dark. By the time the two leaders came to the first tee, it was raining hard, coming down in buckets. When they reached the turn, it was what could only be described as a monsoon! No one who teed it up that day shot par, so Ol' Joe Golf won the Championship with his 'half-point' bye. It was then the pooh-bahs of the PGA realized, in their wisdom, the folly of allowing a player to be rewarded by not playing on the final day.

Could there be a lesson here for the pooh-bahs of the USCF?

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