From The Inbox

Magic of Ballesteros endures

Nearly 3 decades ago, an impossible shot made routine

Thank you, John Hawkins, for articulating what the late Seve Ballesteros meant to this great game (“Spain builds golf legacy worthy of Seve,” Oct. 8).

Having had the privilege of knowing Ballesteros very well, I find that it’s time to share a special story about his mind-boggling talent and ability.

At a photo shoot back in 1991 in California, he took charge (he usually did) by getting the camera man to kneel 20 yards away as Ballesteros was going to chip balls out of heavy rough, over the photographer’s head, and I would catch each of the six balls in midair. The most I had to move was about a foot. And now for the rest of the story: he did it left-handed, with a right-handed 3-iron!

If I hadn’t seen it, I would have said it was impossible.

No wonder he was able to intimidate opponents, particularly in match play, at which he excelled.

I am certain that the current crop of Spanish players is keenly aware of Ballesteros’ legacy. If they achieve 20 percent of Seve’s records, they will continue their position in world golf.

Paul Sunderland
Los Angeles
(Sunderland is the former president and chief executive of Sunderland of Scotland USA, an outerwear manufacturer that outfitted the R&A and British PGA, including the Ryder Cup and Walker Cup teams.)

There’s nothing special about Olympic golf
For me, file Olympic golf competition under "could not care less” (“Olympic golf needs qualifying for true all-world appeal,” Oct. 10).

Why? Because there was nothing special about it.

The event featured a good number of the best players in the world. So what? We get to see that on all four majors and the more prominent regular tour events.

And please, I'm not having this "playing for country" thing. That intensity is evident in Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup and, to a lesser extent, the Presidents Cup.

To make golf at the Olympics special and gain viewer interest, create a format that will grab attention.

I propose a team-competition format. Also, I propose mixed men's and mixed women's team formats.

In the latter, players of each gender would play from their own tees. And make it all match play. Make it some type of round-robin format or one similar to Olympic soccer or hockey, in which there would be pool play and then medal-round play.

Lastly, have a way for the world’s best amateur players to be able to qualify. Reserve slots. So what if some pro players get their egos face washed (hockey term)? They would get over it.

Ken Young
Indian Trail, N.C.

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