From The Inbox

Wodehouse could see it coming, albeit slowly

From the Morning Read Inbox readers respond to recent articles surrounding the end of the PGA Tour season

Wodehouse could see it coming, albeit slowly
What with the ongoing debate about slow play crowding out other topics concerning golf, I could not help my thoughts turning to that quintessential foursome of slowness, “The Wrecking Crew.”

Haven't heard of these four gentlemen, The First Grave Digger, The Man with the Hoe, Old Father Time and Consul the Almost Human? They are the creation of the late English humorist P.G. Wodehouse and appear occasionally in his golf stories. You might be familiar with two of his other characters, Jeeves and Wooster. Written over the first six decades of the 20th century, these charming and hilarious stories remind me of all that is good about our game. They also should remind us that slow play is as old as the game and did not begin with J.B. Holmes or Bryson DeChambeau.

The next time you're behind your course's version of The Wrecking Crew and finally stumble from the 18th green to collapse onto the patio, pour yourself a short or long snifter and relax with a copy of Wodehouse’s golf stories. You'll thank me for it.

Watch out for the Oldest Member, though. He has a story to tell. Once in his clutches, you can't escape.

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

End of PGA Tour season leaves fan wanting
The end of golf as the avid golf fans such as myself knew it is here. The new condensed schedule is for the PGA Tour members and not the fans.

The opportunities for the fans to see their favorite players has become very limited, indeed. In fact, if you want to see your favorite golfers play, you probably will have to travel, especially if you live in Texas, where the tournament-participation rate was dismal, at best. Some tournaments just weren’t worth watching.

The top 30 FedEx Cup finishers on the PGA Tour played a lot less, for a lot more money. Fortunately, this gave many opportunities to the younger and lesser-known players to participate in tournaments for which they previously would not have qualified. That was great for the players, but not for the fans. Did Dale Earnhardt pick and choose the racetracks that he preferred? Do football and baseball stars pick and choose the stadiums they prefer? There seems to be no corporate governance in the PGA Tour world.

Tour players have forgotten which side their bread is buttered on. The PGA Tour and its big sponsors need to put more pressure on players to increase their tournament-participation levels.

The PGA Tour should:

  • Provide bonus points to the PGA Tour players with the highest participation levels;
  • For tournaments at which the participation rates are unacceptably low among the top players, reduce sponsorship levels by 20 percent and reduce the purse by 20 percent; or reclassify them as Korn Ferry tournaments;
  • Require a higher participation level to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs;
  • Modify the exemptions, because it has gotten out of control.

Bobby Phillips
Rock Hill, S.C.

Golfer meets his match with plodding prep players
“Kids move a lot faster than many Tour pros,” John Hawkins wrote (“Golf’s big riddle, wrapped in a mystery,” Sept. 2) … unless you're following four kids (who have learned from the likes of J.B. Holmes, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day, et al.) in a high-school golf match.

I have never seen such slow play, and it's all because the high-schoolers think that slow equals quality effort.

Steve Schmidt
Anderson, Ind.

Do something, anything, and do it now
As a PGA golf professional, I say that we need to see some kind of action to address slow play (“Golf’s big riddle, wrapped in a mystery,” Sept. 2).

Something has to be done sooner rather than later. Whatever is decided can be used as a benchmark and improved upon. Doing nothing is no longer an option, in my opinion.

Golf has too many challenges hampering its growth. Slow play is a big contributor. Whether it is a shot clock; whether it is a set time to play a round; whether it is every referee holding a stop watch, something has to be done and it has to be now.

The PGA Tour sets the example for current and future generations. It must make an effort on this issue. We are out of time.

Mark Anderson
Alexandria, Va.
(Anderson is a PGA of America member.)

In search of a miracle
Bravo, John Hawkins, for correctly analyzing the PGA Tour's reluctance to do anything about slow play (“Golf’s big riddle, wrapped in a mystery,” Sept. 2).

It has been fascinating over the last few weeks reading the various ideas about slow play from different readers and writers. The PGA Tour powers are scared to change anything that might affect the amount of money being made by the Tour, the pros (plus their support team), the industry and sponsors. Faster players such as Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy need to continue putting pressure on the PGA Tour. The Tour tends to listen and react to the players who most attract the golf audiences.

Thank you, Morning Read, for continuing the discussion. Maybe miracles still can happen and something positive finally will emerge from the discussions.

Paul Sunderland
Los Angeles

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