SI has learned that the USGA will abandon the low-tech Stimpmeter and enter the digital age with the Meeksmeter (named for soon-to-retire senior director of rules and competitions Tom Meeks). Here's a blueprint of the device, with handwritten suggestions (in red) by Meeks
On speed dial: David Fay in NBC booth, USGA lawyer Lee Abrams and Powell-Tate media-relations advisers.
Links to host-site irrigation system and prevents watering until soil firmness reads CONCRETE.
LIVE SCORING CHIP
Tracks red numbers and relays to motherboard, which suggests fastest way to reach "concrete."
For checking width of fairways (not to exceed 30 yards).
Sensors measure how much fairways will roll; prints suggestions on how to convince media that agronomy is helping players carry the ball 330 yards.
Prevents players from trampling collection areas during practice rounds when their balls roll off greens.
Tracks all green rollers to prevent accidental rollings.
PAR SAVER LIGHT
Goes on when scores reach six under par. Suggested course modifications: green rolling, double cutting and freakish hole locations.
Determines which way winds of public opinion are blowing. (Note: USGA typically proceeds in opposite direction.)
USGA FEDEX NUMBER
Engraved on machine to save time when sending apology letter to host club.
by JAMES P. HERRE
Pinehurst will be fine. All the armchair agronomy is penance for the sins of Shinnecock.
ILLUSTRATION BY JASON LEE