From The Inbox

Middle East rewards golf for an unholy alliance

Because touring pros ignore region's turmoil, golfers will compete in a 'spectacle played for the amusement of royals,' reader writes

What a refreshingly candid story by Alistair Tait about the golf industry (“European Tour’s big Mideast gamble pays off,” Jan. 13).

It’s an unvarnished paean to the big bucks available in the Middle East, and the morphing of the game into a spectacle played for the amusement of royals.

What a thrill that the players can be personally unconcerned about the turmoil of the Middle East and the gruesome crimes committed by the host countries, because they will have armed guards to shepherd them all the way through the 18 holes and everything surrounding them.

With all that money, they may be less concerned about keeping body and soul together, but considering what can happen there, they might be a little more concerned about keeping their bodies together.

Shirley Stuart
Berkeley, Calif.

A learning opportunity
During Sunday’s Sony Open in Hawaii, there was an exchange between TV announcers Dan Hicks and Paul Azinger. Collin Morikawa was about to hit a 30-yard pitch, and Azinger told Hicks how he thought Morikawa was going to hit this shot. Azinger said Morikawa's ball would take two bounces and then check up right by the hole.

Azinger emphasized on two different occasions that it's easier to do if the player uses a premium ball. That was Azinger's first and last point. Then Hicks asked Azinger how an amateur golfer would hit that shot.

If this exchange would have happened on any day but Sunday’s final round, it would have been a perfect opportunity to show the viewers at home how to execute this shot. Azinger could hit the shot with a premium ball and then a two-piece Surlyn ball. Golf Channel and Azinger could video this tip and show us how the two different-covered balls reacted on the green on the next day of the tournament.

I remember the late Ken Venturi and the tips he used to share with CBS’ viewers. They were easy to understand, so you could go out and practice them the next time you were at the golf course.

I really enjoyed Venturi’s tips. Maybe this is something that the different networks could have their PGA pro demonstrate. There's Nick Faldo on CBS and Azinger on NBC. Venturi's tips were about one minute long. The networks could sell sponsorships of the tips. Then it would be a win-win for everybody.

Layne Yawn
Jonesboro, Ark.

Hawkins gets it right on T of C date
I completely agree with John Hawkins on this issue (“Is now the right time for PGA Tour’s Hawaii Swing?” Jan. 9).

The Tournament of Champions should be moved to the mainland and become the start of the new season.

Forget about the calendar. This is irrelevant in terms of the PGA Tour season. Such a change also should not include a move to a "permanent" venue. There are too many great courses throughout the U.S. that don't host a Tour event but deserve the opportunity.

Norm Amyot
Melbourne, Fla.

Applause for O’Neill’s opinion about Reed
I had never read Dan O’Neill’s work before (“Reed, not Chamblee, needs to ‘cease and desist’,” Jan. 12), but I will absolutely look out for it.

O’Neill wrote an extremely entertaining piece about Patrick Reed while getting across an accurate message. Well done.

Dr. Rishin A. Patel

A called ‘strike 3’
I assume that none of those readers skewering Patrick Reed are Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox or New England Patriots fans (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 13).

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

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