From The Inbox

FedEx Cup playoffs won’t be must-see TV

From the Morning Read Inbox readers respond to recent articles surrounding the FedEx Cup and slow play

FedEx Cup playoffs won’t be must-see TV

Viktor Hovland PGA TOUR
Viktor Hovland sees his PGA Tour season come to an end despite a 4th-place finish at the recent Wyndham Championship and other top results since he turned pro in late June.

Although I love to watch most golf tournaments on TV, I doubt that I will be watching very much of the FedEx Cup playoffs (“In Tour playoffs, winning isn’t everything,” Aug. 5).

First, the system to identify the top 125 players to make the playoffs is flawed. Whom would you rather see playing in the Northern Trust: someone who managed to make enough cuts during the year but never really challenged the lead in 30-plus events, or a player such as Viktor Hovland, who was the low amateur at the Masters and the U.S. Open, made every cut since he turned pro this summer in the few events left in the year, and shot lights out on every weekend?

I know that the FedEx Cup was meant to reward those players who play at a consistent level all year, but as a fan I want to see the best players going into the playoffs, not players who are just happy to get to the playoffs.

Second, giving the top-ranked players a stroke advantage is just lining their pocketbooks to the detriment of the other players who made it to the Tour Championship. Yes, a player ranked 25-30 could have a hot tournament, but it is very unlikely that player would beat all the best players in the world who also have a multiple-stroke advantage before the tournament begins.

The FedEx Cup needs a gut check to bring compelling golf back to the viewers, rather than throw more money at the superstars.

Bring on two tournaments to identify the top 50 to play match play at the Tour Championship. Make the top players earn those millions of dollars.

Ken Byers
Kennewick, Wash.


Tour should call for a reverse regarding playoffs
The PGA Tour is not good. It doesn’t make sense. Everybody loves the major championships, but the Tour? Not so much (“In Tour playoffs, winning isn’t everything,” Aug. 5).

The original Tour made sense: Northern PGA club pros traveling around, playing golf in warm climes during the winter. It was fun to watch in person and, if televised, fun to watch on the couch between naps and football.

The current FedEx Cup hype is as attractive as the Super Bowl hype. I haven’t watched a Super Bowl in 10 years, and I used to love watching football. Obviously, the NFL is going for a broader market than is the PGA Tour.

The Tour should not follow the example of the NFL. Professional golf always will be a niche market, and the Tour shouldn’t turn off its niche with idiocy such as the FedEx Cup.

Tom Abts
Excelsior, Minn.


Poor pace-of-play habits undermine AJGA efforts
Once again, I read how wonderful the AJGA does in enforcing pace of play and how poorly the pro tours do (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Aug. 5). The AJGA has these ridiculous standards because these kids are so slow.

It irritates me every time I work a junior event to see a player walk off the green after she has finished putting to go to the next tee to hit. Now, if players leave the flagstick in while putting, both players leave the green. It strikes me as rude.

And the cause of this is swing coaches and college coaches who preach visualize; don’t play until ready; gather this or that information; walk 60 yards to the green to survey whatever; look your putts over from 10 angles; line up that line on the ball; use AimPoint; etc. Nothing is more frustrating than watching a player mark and take 30 seconds to tap in a 1-foot putt.

The pro tours will speed up if the TV networks complain. They want the tournament to end as close to the end of their assigned time as possible. If it were to end earlier, viewers would switch off the coverage and leave the network with dead time.

My friends and I played yesterday in 3 hours, 50 minutes, and two of us walked. No stopwatches, no checkpoints, no red flags.

Bill Tignanelli
Perry Hall, Md
(Tignanelli works as a rules official for the Maryland State Golf Association and the Middle Atlantic Golf Association.)


Hey, slowpokes: Round ball will roll from any angle
Others observe that we’re slow because people play the wrong tees (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Aug. 5). I observe that we’re slow because we’re not ready to play when it’s our turn.

Admittedly, people spend too much time looking for lost balls, but with the option of dropping after a two-stroke penalty, the game speeds up. Don’t use the whole time looking for balls when there are players behind you. (People who lose balls, lose them from whichever tees.)

One thing people “learn” from the pros is to mark our balls and reorient them before striking, as if the ball rolls true in only one direction. That slows down play.

Howard Brazee
Lafayette, Colo.


Slow play and TV money form Tour conspiracy
Here’s why the executives at the PGA Tour headquarters aren’t going to fix the slow-play problem: They don’t think it’s broken (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Aug. 5).

On the PGA Tour, let’s say the players played quickly on Sunday and the tournament was finished with 15 minutes to go in the broadcast. How many of us would continue to watch Dan Hicks or Jim Nantz when the tournament was decided?

I record the golf and might watch 2-3 minutes after the tournament is finished and then delete the recording. If you’re watching it live, are you going to continue watching it when the tournament is over? Maybe if you’re in an airport waiting on a plane, but that’s about the only time.

The PGA Tour wants its broadcast to last the full 4-5 hours, to make you sit through another bunch of commercials. It’s all about the money. Even during the “Playing through” time, the commercials are still there, but you see golf on the left side of your screen. They certainly don’t want the tournament to end early if Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy or Brooks Koepka is in contention.

Slow play is a great topic of conversation for the Morning Read “inbox,” but it will never be fixed at the pro level.

Layne Yawn
Jonesboro, Ark.


Solheim, Ryder picks should merit their selection
Solheim and Ryder Cups captain’s picks, from a U.S. perspective, are not being based on play. They are being based on the old school that you don't deserve it, but because you have played on the team before, we'll hold a spot for you.

Maybe that's why we stink at the Ryder Cup, for carrying people on the team who haven't earned it.

Chris Ferrara
North Versailles, Pa.


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