Peter, I understand your comments; it is the same old discussion. But there is more to it from my perspective other than pettiness. For some strange reason, I care about the history of golf course design, and I am tired of seeing it misrepresented and mischaracterized by people with very obvious agendas and hometown biases. Mike's statement wasn't just about Cobbs, it was about every public course in the country before Bethpage, and without much reasonable basis at all. Wishing something was true doesn't make it true. But Mike doesn't seem to understand that, and he isn't the only one. If he or anyone else has a case to make the should make it. He hasn't.
And yes, it is just a matter of opinion, but there are informed opinions backed up by facts and reasonable analysis, and then there is what we have here. A homer newspaper article doesn't mean much and a self-proclimation as an old public course expert doesn't cut it with me. I am tired of people around here pretending to be experts and then coming up with nothing to back it up.
And when Mike does bother with facts, he picks and chooses facts here and there and twists them however he pleases. A homer puff piece in a Philadelphia paper is proof positive that Cobbs was the best; but similar statements in papers about courses elsewhere are ignored. Cobbs hosted a Public Links, therefore it must be a prerequisite that a course host a public links to even be considered the best. Never mind that the Griffith courses were hosting the well respected Los Angeles Open along with courses like Wilshire, Riviera, and LACC, and never mind the American Golfer article quoted above where some of CA's publics (including Griffith Park) were said to rival the best privates in CA. Never mind that the LA Municipal Championship didn't just attract public course players but rather the top players from every club in town.
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying Griffith was the best in the nation. As far as I know, it might not have been the best in LA County. But to dismiss it because it didn't host a Publinks? Too much.
-- While hosting is Cobbs sign of greatness, Mike dismisses many of the early Publinks host courses as primitive and rudimentary. Then he has the gall to suggest that because Griffith didn't host a publinks it can't be one of the best? Which is it? Typical Cirba hypocracy. Twist the evidence to fit whatever point you happen to be trying to make at the moment, never mind consistency.
-- Mike apparently missed the fact that of the first 10 publinks championships (through 1932) not a single one was on the West Coast.
-- And despite the shut out by the USGA when it came to host cities, there must have been some decent courses on the West Coast in the 1920s, because, if the Publinks Championships are any indication, the West Coast publinks were doing something right. Beginning in 1931 the West Coast teams thoroughly dominated the Publinks team competition, winning 8 of 10 through 1940 and 11 of 15 through 1950. The city of Los Angeles won four championships in the 1930s (1933, 1934, 1938, 1939), another in 1950, and six more since. Long Beach won once and Pasadena twice, so LA County has won 13 Publinks Team Championships. While Pittsburg has 3 Championships, Philadelphia has never won.
-- Never mind that Daniel Wexler wrote that Griffith Park was once one of the finest municipal golf facilities in the World, it didn't host a Publinks, so Mike knows it was not all that good.
Do I think Wilson at Griffth was the best in the United States? I have no idea, but I doubt it. It may not have been the best at Griffith Park. But this does give some idea, I hope, how strong the competition was, at least out west, and how thin of a case he has made for Cobbs. I think he forgets that I have played Cobbs, and the Southern California comparables I would probably have come up with aren't even on Tom's list!
By the way, Los Angeles has hosted a Publinks (Rancho Park,) as has Pasadena (Brookside.) From what I can tell, at one point Rancho Park was really something special, but because it was originally a hotel course, it does not make Tom's list.