High-level players need to know rules
I enjoyed your piece about the rules issues that seem to drive everyone to think the rules and their application are unfair and even incorrect (“Looser rules guidelines offer convenient excuses,” April 26, http://bit.ly/2oKWREu).
There's apparently strong belief from players, media and fans that when a rule is breached, the penalty is too severe and the steps used by officials to gather information is skewed. I'd counter that players, particularly those playing in high-level competitions, should know all of the rules, not just simple ones such as out of bounds, lost ball, etc.
You're exactly on point asking what Palmer and Nicklaus would have done if faced with incidents similar to those that have everyone questioning the correctness or fairness.
(Eger is a four-time winner on the PGA Tour Champions who served as the USGA’s senior director of rules and competitions from 1992 to ’95)
Rules guidelines won’t erode game
While I agree with you that we want to maintain golf as a gentleman's game, which keeps the burden of integrity on the player, I don't think that this slight change will cause the game's downfall. We don't want to have instant replay, for sure, but the point of this rules adjustment was to level the playing field for everyone in a televised event.
Generally, only the top names on the leaderboard are in the sights of the cameramen and TV audience on a given day, and those who are struggling don't have a million eyes trained on them, so those at the bottom rarely, if ever, have a reversal or penalty because of something they "missed," whether intentionally or not, and then is called in by a viewer. That is the real point of this change, not to allow players too much or any leeway.
Besides, we cannot have instant replay in golf. Look what it has done to the other sports. It makes the time to complete a game unbearably longer, and now we even have it in baseball. Sure, we want to get the calls right, but if we are going to use the technology, then get rid of refs and umpires? I don't think so. Instant replay would not come close to working, and you cannot wait until the round is over like what happened at last year's U.S. Open. It has to happen at that instant, so the player can change his strategy.
The USGA and the R&A are doing a great job of keeping the rules fair, and hopefully some of the new proposed changes will make them simpler for all and the game more fun. Too many rules, rounds that last 5-6 hours, golf courses that are too hard . . . those are all bad for the game.
David L. Whelchel
Bella Vista, Ark.
(Whelchel is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects)
If it’s so right, why wait?
I disagree with your opinion on the new "technology" rule.
When an unintentional violation occurs that has virtually no benefit or other impact to the player, there should be no penalty. I'll call it the common-sense rule. But I disagree with the change in one respect: If it's the right thing to do, why wait until 2019 to implement it?
Boca Raton, Fla.
‘Spoiled brat’ needs a reality check
How anyone in the golf world could view Jason Dufner’s actions as condonable or having a place in golf, either professional or some round on a muni course with your buds, is absolutely missing a huge part of what golf stands for (“When it comes to sportsmanship, Dufner is a slouch,” April 17, bit.ly/2nWXI9T).
My mouth dropped as soon as I saw him drop the putter. How disrespectful to his own caddie can this guy be? They are supposed to be a team out there, and he just crapped all over him on national TV. What a spoiled brat. The guy is making millions of dollars to play a game, and he’s really this far out of reality.
Walking the talk, even when it’s 105
One of your readers trots out the old "walkers hold up play" canard again (“From the Morning Read inbox,” April 27, http://bit.ly/2oC2U31).
While really good golfers in carts – and those who know how to play using them – can be faster, it is simply not how it works the vast majority of the time.
Walkers all head directly to their ball for the next shot, have their decisions made when it's their turn to hit, and move on. I watch two people sit in their cart waiting for one to hit a shot, then drive over to the other's ball, while he pulls out his GPS/rangefinder, fiddles around with that, finally pulls a club before finally moving on. I find myself waiting more often than anyone waits for me.
By the way, I live in Arizona, and walking when it's 105 is no big deal, and I'm 65.
Team golf excites, but stroke play reigns
All tours will continue to use variations of the team format. It is by far the most entertaining way to watch and enjoy golf on TV. But in the end, four individual rounds will always define the best golfer.
Santa Ana, Calif.
Morning Read invites reader comment. Write to editor Steve Harmon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide your name and city of residence. If your comment is selected for publication, Morning Read will contact you to verify the authenticity of the email and confirm your identity. We will not publish your email address. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity.