From The Inbox

Strict rules among tour pros differ from our casual play

Christina Kim did the right thing in a recent LPGA incident, but recreational players need flexibility in the rules. In fact, one reader says that's a gimme

With respect to the whistleblower "controversy," I believe that Christina Kim did exactly what she should have done (“Don’t blame Kim for playing by rules,” Nov. 4). She was considerate and professional. Everyone in Kim’s profession on the LPGA has to know the rules, limits and/or regulations regarding their performance.

Having said that, I don't think that the Rules of Golf need to be absolute, or apply equally to everyone at all times. Golf is hard. The goal of executing a good golf shot (and the intermittent reinforcement of doing so) is what keeps us all coming back for more.

"Lift, clean and place" is one example of accommodating the circumstances and making allowances to the rules to enhance play. Different tee boxes is another example.

As a weekend warrior, I find that consistency is, of course, a challenge. Not everyone has the time or money to practice or play every day, or even several times a week. My buddies and I agree that we want to have fun. We typically don’t play for money, and no one's job is on the line. "What club are you hitting?" or "Give yourself a decent lie" or "I'll give you that one; pick it up" are standard for us. We know those concessions aren't within the Rules of Golf, but we're out to have fun, keep things moving and try to improve our skills. Why make it harder than it is already? Helping one another also enhances the camaraderie of the activity.

In competitive, sponsored or sanctioned tournament play, however, in which everyone is working to make a living, or improve standing, win a trophy or make it to the "big leagues," the official rules do matter: etched in stone, the same for everyone. Calling out competitors for (knowingly or unknowingly) breaking them ensures the integrity of the competition and validates the outcome for everyone.

Of course, purists will hammer me for this perspective, but I suspect that many of the non-professional hobbyists among us have a similar view.

Kudos to Kim for her actions, and also for her public-service announcement on social media reminding her fellow competitors to know the rules of their profession.

Ron Friedland
Broomfield, Colo.

Controversy? What controversy? Kim was right
Gary Van Sickle is dead on regarding the rules, especially that one (“Don’t blame Kim for playing by rules,” Nov. 4).

Anyone who has played competitive golf, even a local handicap event, knows that you can’t club or aid a fellow competitor in any way. The overriding principle? It protects the rest of the field from being disadvantaged. That a caddie and a player didn’t know it, or thought it so minor that they could ignore it, is mind-bending.

Franky, I think a lot of people under the age of 30 rely so much on their smartphones for directions that they get lost pretty easily. If I were Christina Kim, I would have read them the riot act for not knowing their jobs.

That’s no controversy. That’s just plain dumb.

Mark McAdams
Wilmette, Ill.

1st-time writer seeks to douse ‘dumpster fire’
I’ve never responded to an article before, and I’m a 71-year-old lifelong duffer who is also a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan, so I know pain. But Gary Van Sickle’s article surely hit home (“Don’t blame Kim for playing by rules,” Nov. 4).

Apparently, taking responsibility in our society has vanished. Our politically explosive situation has added gasoline to this dumpster fire.

I’m living in a 55-plus retirement community with an overpriced executive course. There are money games on virtually every day of the week. The games also bring with them arguments about known and unknown cheating. I don’t think it will ever change, but thanks for your article.

Christina Kim has endured a lot in her short time on the LPGA tour, and she doesn’t deserve the crap she’s getting over this.

Keep telling it like it is.

Michael Dubrosky
North Fort Myers, Fla.

A bit of gamesmanship
Do you really believe that the TV announcers know what club a player is hitting and his/her playing partners don’t? (“Don’t blame Kim for playing by rules,” Nov. 4).

Don’t underestimate tour caddies. They’ve been around golf and golf clubs long enough and can tell an 8-iron from a 9-iron just by the look.

As for me, I’ll gladly tell my opponent what I’m hitting. He doesn’t know that my club selection has factored in the fat, thin or off-center hit.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

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