From the Morning Read inbox
September 14, 2018
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Other sports use uniform ball, so why not golf?
In this great debate about reducing the flight of the golf ball, we should just create a ball for the professional tours (“Want to limit distance? Try 2 sets of rules,” Sept. 13). All professional players would get that ball, made and tested at tour specs, and it could be printed with any manufacturer’s name.

It would be similar to any of the other professional sports, such as baseball, football and basketball. The ball should have the characteristics of spin control, limited distance at the highest clubhead speeds and a good feel for putting. Leave the ball alone for the amateurs; distance is their friend. They aren’t going to have to redesign golf holes and courses for the amateur game.

Players of the highest caliber would have to “graduate” to a conforming ball to make their living at it. In baseball, players graduate from aluminum bats in little league to COR-reduced bats in high school and college to wooden bats in professional leagues.

I have played amateur golf – USGA tournaments, college golf and now senior amateur events – for more than 40 years. There always were long hitters out there, but then the longest hitters were 20-30 yards longer than the rest of us. Now, those long hitters are 75-100 yards longer. Most regular golfers would try to add distance by shot shape and finding the area of the fairway that bounced better. When the guys now are playing a 540-yard par 5, they are hitting short irons for their second shot. This is just wrong. They usually hit it past the trouble that was designed at 250-275 yards from the tee to catch errant drives, and even reward off-line hits.

The great amateur players who aspire to go professional would have to make a choice at some time to switch to that tour ball. It would be interesting to see the U.S. Amateur finals with guys playing the regular ball and then going professional right after and having to make the transition.

I saw the effect of the new-era ball when the first prototype of the Titleist Pro V1 debuted in 2000. Phil Mickelson was putting on a clinic at my club, and he was testing the new ball. He said that the ball was going to change the game.

He hit nine balls – three of our range balls; three of the model that he was playing at the time, he Titleist Professional 100; and three of the new Prototype Pro V1. The range balls traveled about an average of 270 yards; the Professionals went about 280-290 yards; and the Pro V1s went 320, 325 and 335.

He carried the water on the dogleg par 4, almost to the front edge of the green. The hole was designed as a 390-yard dogleg left, with bunkers guarding both sides of the driving area and water left. With a carry of 325 yards, he could cut the heart out of the hole.

I hope that we can do something to keep the integrity of our great courses. I hope they don’t lengthen No. 13 at Augusta National. Maybe club chairman Fred Ridley could put enough pressure out there for the governing bodies to make a move that Jack Nicklaus has been saying for years: limit the ball!

Tom McKee
Carlsbad, Calif.


Don’t apply one-size-fits-all rule for golf ball
Here we go again with the ball-is-too-long debate (“Want to limit distance? Try 2 sets of rules,” Sept. 13). I am tired of reading about how we have decided the pros hit the ball too far and golf courses can’t keep up and will succumb to their power and might and shoot 58.

OK, Jim Furyk shot a 58 at the 2016 Travelers, and he wasn’t bombing 300-plus-yard drives. As a matter of fact, his driving average is 280.5 yards. And you as well as others feel that he should be penalized because Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy or John Daly (back in the day) average 310-plus. OK, so you limit the ball distance for these long-ballers, but what about Furyk and others?


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You have now penalized the entire PGA Tour (and the Web.com Tour) for the athletic ability of a few. What about the LPGA? Are you going to limit the women’s ball, too? We can’t have something solely for the men without being gender equal and make the girls hit the same ball, right? What would Martha Burk say?

Stop rolling the fairways, let the grass grow a bit, make a bunker at the 275-yard mark or let the grass grow at that mark and extend it to the 350-yard mark. You are trying to make my heroes who bang the ball into oblivion mere mortals.

Kenneth C. Taylor
Fort Worth, Texas


U.S. fans misplace their ire with captain’s picks
Finally, a group of readers who support the Ryder Cup and its U.S. captain (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Sept. 13).

I was getting a bit tired of all the naysayers and whiners about Jim Furyk’s picks and how he is bowing down to the PGA of America, TV, etc., etc.

Viewer ratings will not be affected one iota with or without Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods on the team. There will be just as many people watching if the matches are close, and most likely neither of those two will be in the last match on Sunday anyway, so relax a little and enjoy the spectacle and have the decency to pull for our team if you watch.

I am looking forward to seeing Mickelson and Woods play and hope they beat their opponents handily, if for no other reason than to keep the rhetoric down among the disgruntled, whom I wish would channel some of their energy toward the positive side of life.

Or, you could start hazing European captain Thomas Bjorn about how he picked Sergio Garcia for his team. Now that’s something worth talking about.

Mike Nixon
Nashville, Tenn.
(Nixon is the director of operations for the Tennessee Golf Trail.)


First-rate rebuttal for the second-guessers
All those who are second-guessing Jim Furyk's captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup are like Monday morning quarterbacks questioning a seasoned coach’s play calling.

I'm sure that Furyk has much more experience than all of the second-guessers combined.

Charles Penick
Bastrop, Texas


Mickelson, Woods were best of Furyk’s options
I am so disappointed in the so-called golf fans. If you look at the body of work of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, then you would understand why they were chosen for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Hands down, they were better than anyone whom captain Jim Furyk could have chosen, including Tony Finau.

Woods played less than a half-season and fared better than most of the golfers on the team. Mickelson won early and stayed in the top 10 of the FedEx Cup standings for most of the season. You can’t do that unless you are playing well. Xander Schauffele played halfway decently in a handful of tournaments, including the recent BMW Championship. Keegan Bradley finally won at the BMW, but he was not as consistent for the season as Mickelson or Woods. Anyone else whom Furyk could have chosen has not had a very good year, and their ranking is based more on their play last season than this.

We have the 12 best players representing us in the Ryder Cup. Woods and Mickelson will prove me right.

Mel Howsmon
Vancouver, Wash.


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