From The Inbox

Americans often are their own worst enemy

Egos, in-fighting and other problems make U.S. teams beatable

Gary Van Sickle writes, “The best way to beat the Americans in any cup, Ryder or Presidents, is to tire them out” (Presidents Cup flips weight of world ranking,” Dec. 15).

Maybe, but the easy way is just to turn up.

Egos, team in-fighting, unwillingness to learn, inability to adapt the way they play, complete lack of understanding of match-play golf and utterly baffling wild-card picks mean that the U.S. team starts every Ryder Cup match at least 3 down.

That the International team failed to win the Presidents Cup says more about them than it does about the U.S. team.

George Fletcher
Edinburgh, Scotland

Van Sickle still bats 1.000
It must be hard for Gary Van Sickle to write for a periodical such as Morning Read and hit a home run every time.

Van Sickle’s article about the Presidents Cup on Monday was as insightful, cogent and entertaining of an article as I’ve read recently (Presidents Cup flips weight of world ranking,” Dec. 15).

His stuff always is good, but I was especially well-educated and entertained by this one.

Watching the golf, I kept wondering why the International side seemed to be a match for the U.S. side, even though they’d been dismissed as heavy underdogs. Van Sickle’s explanation worked for me.

I loved the idea of reimagining the Presidents and Ryder cups. His witty writing kept me entertained throughout. Well done.

Rich Jepsen
Alameda, Calif.

It’s a new era of ugliness for golf fans
The incident involving Patrick Reed’s caddie and an obnoxious fan at the Presidents Cup is something that everyone should have seen coming (“Patrick Reed loses 3 matches, 1 caddie in Presidents Cup,” Dec. 14).

Fans have gotten too abrasive and vocal. Until tournament officials crack down on these obnoxious louts that think it is their obligation to yell before, during and after every shot, it wouldn’t surprise me if more confrontations occur.

I guess the days of “ooh,” “ah” and simple applause are over. That’s too bad.

Bruce Allen
Forest Ranch, Calif.

‘Lager louts’ reflect changing times at golf events
Having been inside the ropes for many PGA Tour events, I found it awful to hear the fans in Australia cheer when the visiting Americans made a poor shot or missed a putt during the recent Presidents Cup.

It certainly is part of the gamesmanship to cheer for your side, but the "lager louts" of football – whether Australian rules, European or American – are a poor reflection on how the crowd is changing at golf events. While the vast majority of fans were respectful, there were too many ill-mannered ones.

I watched from inside the ropes at Medinah's 2012 Ryder Cup as the U.S. team collapsed on Sunday. The U.S. destroyed the European side on Friday and Saturday, but the American fans did not cheer when the visitors missed; they gave them a polite clap.

While that was several years ago, the fans in Chicago were mostly respectful to both sides. When Rory McIlroy was running late for his tee time, the local police gave him an escort to the course. Would that happen today? After all, a point was at stake. I'd like to think we would all help to see a good and respectful match.

The Medinah fans cheered for good shots and putts. I don't remember any fans demeaning players for either side. I'm sure there were a few poor-mannered individuals but not the number of fans openly booing, catcalling and cursing the visiting players as were heard on Golf Channel's coverage from Royal Melbourne. One can understand that the International fans wanted a victory, and this event was really just a putt or two away from a different result, but to me the general tone in Australia was a new low in golf fans’ behavior.

I have a tip to improve behavior at all tournaments: stop serving alcohol. It'll cost the tours a few million each year, but here’s a remedy: raise my price a few dollars.

Patrick Scott
Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Hey, Miceli, did you notice who won?
Am I missing something here? Alex Miceli writes an entire article about how close Ernie Els came to leading his team to victory, with only one mention of Tiger Woods, who actually led his team to victory, and a sort of oh-well-just-wait-until-2021 tone to the whole story (“U.S. comeback sends Internationals to another defeat,” Dec. 15).

Not to go all chauvinistic about this, but, hey, we had a great team and a great team leader. Thanks, Tiger Woods, and go USA!

Shirley Stuart
Berkeley, Calif.

We’re wise to your ad shenanigans, Tour and Golf Channel
Golf Channel’s “Playing Through” concept is a good one; but as with everything else in TV that seems like a good idea, it gets overused. And it probably was overused during the recent Presidents Cup because it seemed as though there were many more commercials than normal.

The networks and the prime cable channels obviously didn't think too much of the Presidents Cup’s significance because none of them covered any part of it live. (You can't blame football, Tour commissioner Jay Monahan; there were no games scheduled in prime time Friday or Saturday night.)

Because the coverage was only on cable, and Golf Channel is not available to all cable subscribers, there is a reduced viewer population. Therefore, ads must cost less than they would for network and prime cable coverage. And logic would seem to indicate that a split-screen ad that is shared with “Playing Through” would cost less than a full-screen, standalone ad. TV ad economics would seem to mandate that a lower cost has to mean more volume to meet revenue expectations.

When you peel the onion, the PGA Tour likes us to think that it is giving something to us, when in reality, the Tour is doing it to better line its pockets.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

A new way to watch for this viewer
It was a great Presidents Cup, but the TV coverage was a travesty. Too many commercials. Greedy NBC destroyed what should have been a watching pleasure.

Next time, I’ll just tape and skip through the commercials.

Michael D’Ambra
Miramar Beach, Fla.

It’s time for split screen to go dark
The split screen during commercials is brutally bad for the game of golf. It is extremely annoying, and who can watch a commercial and a golf shot at the same time? I can’t; can anyone?

What about the visual effect of a split screen? My eyes might not be the best, but, with my glasses, I’m able to see fairly well. Yet with the split screen, the ball really is not visible.

Stop split screens.

Manny Ramalho
Colonia, N.J.

Morning Read invites reader comment. Write to editor Steve Harmon at steve@morningread.com. Please provide your name and city of residence. If your comment is selected for publication, Morning Read will contact you to verify the authenticity of the email and confirm your identity. We will not publish your email address. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity.