From The Inbox

Money talks, so tours play for despots

Human-rights issues fail to keep Saudis, Chinese and other bad actors from attracting pro golf

“Money, get back
I'm all right, Jack, keep your hands off of my stack
Money, it's a hit
Don't give me that do-goody-good bullshit
I'm in the high-fidelity first-class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet.”

Apologies to Pink Floyd for ripping off one of their big hits, but if you don't think this sums up today's sports scene, you are in denial.

The NBA just made it clear that money trumps even the mildest expression of support for human rights. With professional golf off to China and points east, I'm sure that the major professional tours will be sufficiently circumspect to avoid any interruption of cash flow. Saudi Arabia, China and others are confident that as long as money talks, major sports will always look the other way, eyes averted and hand extended.

If major sports organizations ignore repressive behavior in government regimes, does it benefit the regimes? In 1936, Hitler certainly thought so. Of course, nothing like that is going on now.

Oh, wait; it is. Just ask the Uighurs.

“Money, it's a gas
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
A new car, caviar, four-star daydream
Think I'll buy me a football team.”

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

Dream endures for golfers
The PGA Tour is still one of sports’ greatest meritocracies. (“Underdogs have their day on PGA Tour,” Oct. 14).

I think of Ken Duke not winning until age 43; Carlos Franco, growing up in deep poverty and on a dirt floor in Paraguay, and not even reaching the tour until age 33 and then winning four times; and Vijay Singh coming from Fiji, a place where golf is hardly even played, to become the No. 1 player in the world.

Yes, Mike Purkey, the dream is alive and well through the PGA Tour. Easy? Never. It’s a chance, as slim as it might be. Lanto Griffin is proof that it is possible.

Bob Geismar
Boca Raton, Fla.

Modern ball helps big hitters more than rest of us
They talk about avoiding “bifurcation” in golf, which I take to mean that they want the same rules and equipment for the major professional tours and for you and me. However, the golf balls used on the tours already favor the longer hitters far more than the rest of us.

Modern balls have been designed to allow those with higher swing speeds to gain disproportionately greater distance as the balls react to the extra compression delivered.

The authorities eliminated the spring-like effect in drivers for the same reason, so why can't they do that with the balls?

Two major advantages: the precision player would be able to compete again with the thrashers on level terms at the club and pro levels; and the traditional courses again would be an all-round test of golf on the major professional tours, with long irons into par 4s rather than wedges for second shots on par 5s.

Terry Wall
Winchester, England

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