From The Inbox

‘Golf’ and ‘life’: 4-letter words that move us

Van Sickle writes with knowledge and heart

With apologies to many others, Gary Van Sickle is the best damn golf writer around. Period (“20 years later, Howell faces a different game,” Nov. 20).

He's a good player and understands the nuances of the game (Yes, he's still a single-digit handicap.) He knows his facts. He writes with humor. But what sets him apart is his heart.

Every time I read his work, I'm left with a tear in my eye, and that's a good thing. He understands that golf is a metaphor for life.

Dick Greenwood
Bradenton, Fla.

A fondness for retro golf, if only occasionally
Gary Van Sickle’s column on Charles Howell III got me thinking about what golf would be like if we ran the clock back 40 years (“20 years later, Howell faces a different game,” Nov. 20).

So, I dug out my old Tommy Armour woods, my Spalding Top Flight irons (2-9 with sand wedge), my Bulls Eye putter with the large flat grip, found some balata balls and hit the course from the middle tees. It certainly is a different game and one that I don’t know I’d still be playing as much at this stage in my life.

But it is kind of fun, and I think I’ll do it a few times to see how much closer I can get to my current talent level. The problem I have is that according to the handicap “rules,” I have to post these scores. This will obviously cause my handicap to go up, and I might be labeled a cheater by other club members.

Maybe I’ll check with Scott McCarron and ask if I can use his defense that it’s not cheating if it’s not my “intent” to break the rules.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

Van Sickle cranks up golf’s memory machine
Gary Van Sickle’s article on Charles Howell III and the past 20 years in golf was absolutely wonderful (“20 years later, Howell faces a different game,” Nov. 20).

I really enjoyed it and have to thank you for writing it and bringing back many golf memories to me.

I am 75 years old and got hooked on golf almost 50 years ago, so I can really appreciate what you wrote in the article. At 13, I started caddieing at Baltusrol Golf Club and didn't know much about golf or Johnny Farrell or what it meant when he won the 1928 U.S. Open. Or when I saw Jack Nicklaus play a practice round in 1974 at Winged Foot, or when Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player played a practice round at Baltusrol before the 1967 U.S. Open. But now I can see them very clearly and all the memories you "refreshed" in my mind.

Man, has time flown and the game changed. I will be looking up Van Sickle’s other writings, so please continue to bring back golf memories to all of us.

Ed Schnell
Phillipsburg, N.J.

Expect Fowler to be ready
Even though Rickie Fowler has been AWOL for three months, I’m sure that he’s been staying sharp (“Woods misses a gimme with Fowler pick,” Nov. 20).

I also think that he’s a perfect example of “still water runs deep,” and he rises to the occasion in big matches.

Brian McMahon
Waltham, Mass.

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