From The Inbox

Not so fast, Miceli, with that ‘hot hand’ label

A couple of victories does not make Brendon Todd a world-beater

Alex Miceli says that Tiger Woods should have picked Brendon Todd instead of Rickie Fowler to replace Brooks Koepka, because Todd has the hot hand right now (“Woods misses a gimme with Fowler pick,” Nov. 20). He cites the case of Thomas Pieters, who was picked for the European Ryder Cup team in 2016, because Pieters won three tournaments over a 13-month span.

Thirteen months of sustained excellent play is not analogous to two or three great tournaments in a row. This bit about the "hot hand" is completely overrated. Golf form is fickle, as all of us who have played the game – regardless of level – know. It can be here today and gone tomorrow, or vice versa. Troy Merritt won a tournament in 2015 after missing five cuts in a row. You just never know.

Miceli does make a good case for not picking Fowler, though. His 7-10-1 record in international match play speaks for itself. Better would be Kevin Na or Kevin Kisner, two veterans who have shown steady, good play over a long period of time and have qualities that would translate well in team match play. But Brendon Todd? Let's see more out of him over a longer period before we can make that call.

Mark Harman
Ridgeland, S.C.
(Harman is the national course director for the U.S. Golf Teachers Federation.)

Applause for Miceli’s scrutiny of Fowler I couldn’t agree more with Alex Miceli (“Woods misses a gimme with Fowler pick,” Nov. 20).

Perhaps Tiger Woods should have a rethink and a heart-to-heart with his buddy Rickie Fowler and shift gears. It could be that Fowler could come up with a headache.

Katharine Dyson
Skaneateles, NY.
(Dyson is a co-publisher/editor of CNY Golfer.)

Captains have earned right to make their picks
Alex Miceli (and anyone else) can nitpick Ryder, Presidents or Solheim captains' selections, but you have professional golfers (and by many measures, Tiger Woods is probably the greatest of all-time) making these selections (“Woods misses a gimme with Fowler pick,” Nov. 20).

These captains are not armchair captains but have played the game. They understand not only the physical and emotional aspects of these competitions but also the players and how they would fit with current predetermined players. Please remember that captains pick a small group of players, not the entire team.

I look at these selections like strategic moves very similar to the selections of who partners with whom, who plays and when, etc., during these matches.

In the end, the results will indicate a good or bad selection, but the captains have earned their right to choose who they think is the better “piece” for their success.

Bill Martin
Quitman, Texas

Bravo, Van Sickle
Another masterpiece by Gary Van Sickle (“20 years later, Howell faces a different game,” Nov. 20). Bravo.

I am 68 and started the game at age 3. I can relate and remember everything in your article except Bob Jones live. Mike Souchak, George Bayer – I saw them both in action.

Yes, the game has changed and the technology advanced. Unfortunately, so have my birthdays. It’s like the law of diminishing returns. I now step on an 8-iron, sometimes literally to hit it 130. I go back to my early game which featured a 2½-wood off the tee. That was the only wood in my bag and had more marks on the head than my old Chevy Biscayne.

I bought my first long-shafted putter in 1989 and gave it away to a 95-year-old who couldn’t play any longer. He used it as a crutch at one of the old private courses in Jacksonville until he died. I think his trophy wife tossed it into the garbage on the way to the bank to clean out his savings account shortly after the will was read.

But I digress. I miss those days, that equipment and the times I spent running down the fairways with my dad. He’s gone now, but the memories remain. At least for now.

Thanks for the article and the walk down memory lane.

Paul Vicary
The Villages, Fla.

Better than a couple of closing birdies? Well, almost
Morning Read's stable of writers continues to put forth informative, interesting and timely articles. Proof can be seen in the recent excellent back-to-back articles by Gary Van Sickle (“20 years later, Howell faces a different game,” Nov. 20; “Tiger Woods lays siege to another decade in golf,” Nov. 21).

His two articles are better than two birdies in a row and a validating par to win some skins money.

Well, almost.

Dave Richner
St. Johns, Fla.

Akshay Bhatia is no Ty Tryon … not yet, anyway
Akshay Bhatia has played in four PGA Tour events since turning professional, plus the second stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School. After missing the cut last week at the RSM Classic, he has missed the cut in his four PGA Tour events and missed moving on to the final stage of Korn Ferry Q-School by six shots.

Do those of you who agreed with his decision to forgo college to turn professional still think it was a smart career move? At this point in his development, a comparison to Ty Tryon is unfair to Tryon (“Teen phenoms find no guarantees as pros,” Sept. 23).

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

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