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Too Short For A Column

7/24/2009

Three rules that need to be changed before next summer:

1. The one that states fifth sets in Wimbledon men's finals must be played out and not settled by tiebreaker. Because it didn't go to a tiebreaker, Roger Federer got a very unfair advantage. That entire fifth set, Federer got to serve first. So if he was broken by Andy Roddick, he always had the chance to break back to stay alive. All the pressure was on Roddick. He had to hold serve every single game or lose the championship. Nine straight games he did it. On the 10th, he didn't, and the match was over, with Federer winning it 16-14. The tiebreak is the only fair way to do it. It's why it was invented. Why suddenly go back to rules that don't work?

2. The one that states any past champion at the British Open can't play past age 60. That means that Tom Watson, who nearly won the damn thing, gets kicked out after next year at St. Andrews. Madness. Here's how it should be: If you're a past champion, 56 and over, and you finish in the top 10, you get five more years of eligibility. (The years do not accrue. It's a rolling five years.) This way, Watson, who clearly can still win this thing, would be eligible until he's 64. The rule used to be 65, by the way, so it's no huge change. Let's say Watson challenges again at 63 and finishes in the top 10. Now he can go until 68. Only fair. I ran it by Watson. He said, "Hmmm. Not bad."

3. The one that makes the cut at the British are the top 70 and ties, even if some of those players are within 10 shots of the lead. Tiger Woods was 10 shots off the lead when he was cut Friday night. Ten shots is a speed bump for Tiger Woods. He could've gotten hot Saturday and been within three or four shots Sunday. The people who set the rules there need to be a little more royal and a little less ancient.

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