From the Morning Read Inbox readers respond to recent articles surrounding the skepticism from readers regarding the FedEx Cup
Tour’s playoff formula should include match play
I couldn't agree more with readers Ken Byers and Tom Abts in their skepticism regarding the FedEx Cup (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Aug. 6).
Sure, it's a good idea to have a few "playoff" events to decide the best of the best in a season – the NFL shows that – and the excitement last season in our Premier League (soccer) for the last few weeks was great as the two best teams swapped the lead until the last game.
But now the PGA Tour has changed an incomprehensible formula for deciding an overall winner to a handicap event? I play those, mostly, but even I occasionally play real golf in scratch events, and I expect the best golfers on the planet to do the same. What is more, when I do play a handicap event against a better player, I don't expect to be giving him strokes rather than receiving them.
I'll be with Byers, doing something other than watching such nonsense. They have to look at Abts’ match-play idea: my version is to have a mano-a-mano shootout for the final 32 after three weeks, whittling them down, top eight seeded, 36 holes stroke-play matches from Wednesday to Sunday.
Now that week, I would pay to watch.
Sure, Hovland excelled but just not quite enough
Regarding reader Ken Byers’ letter (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Aug. 6): The FedEx Cup playoffs is a season-long race, not just the last four weeks.
I love Viktor Hovland, but alas he did not qualify according to the rules. He was not a PGA Tour member, so he had to win or accumulate tons of points in a very short number of events. He is fortunate that sponsor exemptions allowed him to compete in the first place or he would have had to go to Q-School for the Korn Ferry Tour.
Now, the top 125 is not just for guys barely hanging on . . . in most cases, they have competed pretty well if not spectacularly throughout the entire year.
The fact that it is just another way to compensate the players and allow a sponsor time to be seen and heard every week for over 40 weeks throughout the year is another topic. The Tour's system is not set up for us to see whom we want to play. Instead, it is set up for us to see who earned their way to play.
Boca Raton, Fla.
Time is right for ‘ready golf’
Imitating the pros’ playing styles probably influences the amateurs’ slow play. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but it is not appropriate in golf.
Maybe another way to address the slow-play problem is to quit offering opinions on solutions by legislation. Let's start a grass-roots education program for golf instructors and their proteges. Rather than multiple ball-alignment adjustments on the green and numerous practice swings until the "feel" is right, begin focusing on “ready golf.”
Instinctive reaction to a situation most often is the right one. Think of stepping on the brakes when taillights flash in front of you.
With the exception of match play, the first person to arrive at his ball should hit it. Honors and "Who's away?" should be abandoned until sub-four-hour rounds again become the norm.
You do not have to play faster. Just use logic and player smarter. With three walkers and a creaky-knee cart rider, 3½, 3:40 rounds are the norm for the group I play with.
There are so many ready-golf ideas – too many to enumerate – but if golfers would have the "impatient" tendencies that they exhibit at traffic lights, with slow drivers in the fast lane, and the person with 12 items in the 10-items-or-less checkout line, golf rounds would be speedier.
Ready golf is an exercise of logic and efficiency.
St. Johns, Fla.
On-the-mark comments, with no gimmes
Here are a couple of ideas I have been harboring for years regarding speed of play and watchability for TV:
1. Professional golfers, quit marking your ball on 1- and 2-foot putt and hit the thing in the hole. If you miss a putt so close to the hole, maybe you should be choosing another career.
Don't mark your ball when it doesn't need to be marked. The idea of marking was to get one's ball out of the way of other players, not to wash and wax it and repaint the numbers before putting. If your ball isn't in someone's line, leave it alone until it's your turn to putt.
2. Broadcasters, does anyone really want to spend his time watching people putt all day? Do we really think that a professional golfer is going to miss a gimme?
I honestly don't know why they haven't figured this out, but we really don't watch to hear broadcasters talk over a player or his caddie . . . ever. It drives me crazy trying to figure out what they are saying because TV won't turn the volume up.
If the networks spent more time actually showing golfers hitting shots instead of the 20-minute deliberations before they hit, we could see more than three or four players in a day. Some of the deliberations are fun to listen to, but we don't need to watch the player and/or his caddie walking off yardages, do we?
Cha Am, Thailand
No, NBC, you can’t play through
Is it just me, or are NBC Sports’ “Playing Through” split-screen commercials the worst thing that has happened to televised golf in memory?
I would love to see the research on this: The amount of fully televised coverage this summer seems to have dropped by at least a third when you take out the “Playing Through” ads.
Unless you have a DVR (which is the only way to watch televised golf these days), the live coverage is more commercials than golf. There were times during the Women’s British Open last weekend when there were only two or three golf shots shown between commercial breaks.
Please, make it stop.
Nike, the Greek goddess of money?
The ultra-rich PGA Tour pros have many options from which to choose when it comes to picking which brand of clothes and shirts they wear, and by doing so, endorse.
When Nike left the hardgoods end of golf in 2016, the company chose to become even more dominant in the apparel market. Many PGA Tour players are wearing the swoosh, including many of the big-name guys, and it looks as if Nike is trying to corner the market. Notice that Nike, in return for its big bucks, does not allow a player to wear any other logos except the swoosh.
After Nike’s marketing disaster with Colin Kaepernick and the “Betsy Ross”-style shoes, in which the company threw America under the bus, it makes me wonder whether the PGA Tour pros would reconsider that lucrative endorsement. It seems not, at least, not so far.
Do these ultra-millionaires value their bucks more than standing up for the country that gives them more freedom than anywhere else in the world? Has any player made the decision to give up that endorsement? Has any player said that he or she disagreed with Nike's stand? Just one? Sad to say, no.
Some say they chose not to get involved in political matters, but they play in Dubai, sanctuary cities and sanctuary state, regardless. It’s a pretty easy answer, especially on their bankbook.
It must be easy to justify those hard issues when it serves to enrich them, and keep those riches coming.
There are those of us in the public who look for that courageous player, one who values his country and its values over his multimillions. Maybe it is just a matter of money, and that player has not made enough of it yet.
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