Keeping Score

Golf leaders’ failure leaves stain on game

From the Morning Read Inbox readers respond to recent articles surrounding Tour pros breaking ranks to call out slow play

Golf leaders’ failure leaves stain on game
The game of golf surely is meant to test our skills, whether it be through the green or on the green (“Tour pros break ranks to call out slowpoke,” Aug. 12).

To be carrying an epistle in one’s rear pocket relating to the undulations and variances of the putting surfaces is akin to cheating. We the player are supposed to have that skill set. Ultimately, the reading of a green, not the reading of a book, should decide who wins.

The surprise is that the governing bodies have done nothing about it. Similarly, they closed their eyes to the anchored putter. What on earth are they doing to our game? It’s supposed to be a test of nerve.

It’s too slow, and those officials in their ivory towers have led us there by taking their eye off the ball.

Give us back the three-hour four-ball, make legislation that the putter is the shortest club in the bag and penalize slow play until it hurts.

Michael Lovett
Wadebridge, England

Course architects can solve pace of play
Here are several solutions for pro golf’s pace of play (“Tour pros break ranks to call out slowpoke,” Aug. 12): Time each player and add or subtract a set number of strokes after the round, like ice skating does for artistic and technical scores. Give them start times based on speed, not score.

I’d like to see a tournament in which individuals start at 10-minute intervals. When the following player catches the preceding player by hitting a ball past him, two strokes would be subtracted from his score relative to par and the player would be eliminated. Or, put J.B. Holmes and Bryson DeChambeau ahead of Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson with hand guns and immunity from prosecution.

When I win the lottery, I’m going to build a golf course with eight par 3s. Only four of them need to be played. I’ll put them side-by-side so that when you catch a group, you can play the other par 3 and keep going, so holes 4, 8, 12, and 16 would be doubles.

Luckily at my course, holes 10, 11 and 12 would come back to the clubhouse so that you can bypass slow groups by jumping from 9 to 13 and then playing 10-12 when you’re done.

I’m toying with the idea of double-fairway par 5s, to achieve the same goal. Maybe I’ll do both. Maybe make holes that can be a par 3 or 4 and the next the reverse, so the first group plays the hole as a par 3 and the next as a 4, and the passing group does the reverse.

Golf-course architects can solve this problem.

Boyd Welsch
Gainesville, Fla.

Even fast-forward button can’t solve everything
Slow play occurs all of the time, with a lot of players (“Tour pros break ranks to call out slowpoke,” Aug. 12).

I have not watched a live golf event in years. I record them all and fast forward through showing the leaders on the driving range, replaying a player’s round from the previous day, replaying Tiger Woods’ last round from whenever, and especially the slow players. Some of the biggest offenders with slow play are Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson and Jordan Spieth. Whenever the networks show one of these players, I fast forward until the player hits his shot.

The problem with all of this is that nothing is done about it, and until something is done, it won’t get any better.

Mel Howsmon
Vancouver, Wash.

After all of that, DeChambeau still missed
What did Bryson DeChambeau learn? (“Tour pros break ranks to call out slowpoke,” Aug. 12).

After the interminable time he took in determining the line on that 8-foot birdie putt at the eighth hole during the second round of the Northern Trust, he missed. Not even close.

What did he learn? Was the greens book correct? Were his eyes correct? Did he make a bad stroke, probably caused by confusing himself?

There must be a lesson learned there.

Bob Ractliffe
Naples, Fla.

Maybe he’s trying to pull a fast one on us
If Bryson DeChambeau thinks that he is not slow (“In the news,” Aug. 13), why does he have to sprint between shots?

Layne Yawn
Jonesboro, Ark.

Why can’t U.S. telecasts be more like Europe’s?
Regarding the recent letters about how viewers are abused now by the number of commercials and the current style of announcing, I wholeheartedly agree (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Aug. 13).

By far, the most enjoyable televised golf is on the European Tour. They show far more golf, and the announcers make timely and insightful comments, and do not feel the need to fill every moment with some personal anecdote. The exception is when Golf Channel sends over its crew to do a European event, such as the Irish Open. Their “color” announcers such as Rich Lerner suck the air (and joy) right out of the broadcast.

Only Judy Rankin and Terry Gannon get it right on the women’s side. They know when to let the golf tell the story.

I am not sure when we got to the point at which the announcers needed to be the stars of the show. Maybe it is the Johnny Miller effect. In any event, like the ever-expanding number of commercials, it seems to show no signs of letup.

Craig Merkle

Without TV ads, golf telecasts could go dark
It takes an immense amount of advertising dollars to meet the bill for televised golf (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Aug. 13).

There would be very limited Golf Channel coverage – maybe none – and the coverage would be as it was years ago, with not every tournament covered, limited to 4-6 p.m. on weekends, no Toptracer, etc.

I hope those readers understand what they're wishing for. None of us likes commercials, but bills must be paid.

Garen Eggleston
The Villages, Fla.

A quest for golf’s perfect marriage
Player/caddie relationships can be very tenuous. The Jason Day/Steve Williams experiment did not work (“Keeping score,” Aug. 13).


So few of those arrangements last for many years, but those that do are amazingly successful: Paul Tesori and Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk and Fluff Cowan, Tiger Woods and Steve Williams, Phil Mickelson and Bones Mackay, Ernie Els and Ricky Roberts, among others.

I’ll bet that the common threads are that neither party believes he is right all of the time, and both accept mistakes made by each other and move on fast, kind of how the game was meant to be played. You make a poor shot, forget about it fast and move on to the next shot.

Hmm. Kind of like a marriage.

Bob Geismar
Boca Raton, Fla.

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