From The Inbox

Start spreadin’ the news: Music has a place in golf

Reader recalls 'Ol' Blue Eyes' as soundtrack for a playing partner's best round, so don't label on-course tunes as something stupid

Regarding reader Deal W. Hudson’s comments (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 22): I wanted to share a story that happened last summer. I was playing in a club match with a partner, and as we were headed to the first tee, I was connecting my speaker. My playing partner looked at me, and I said, “You don't mind if I play something low, do you?” He said, “You got any Sinatra?"

I said, “You’ve got it,” and off we went.

He had never had music playing while golfing and fired seven birdies and ended up 3 under for the round. I've never seen a man smile so much. His first round in the 60s in his life.

Maybe “Ol’ Blue Eyes” was the key!

Dean Kampman
Oakton, Va.

Nicklaus-vs.-Woods debate isn’t apples to apples
The two most discussed GOAT debates are Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan or LeBron James. But there’s a significant difference in the two sports: equipment (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 22).

Jordan and James both played with the same ball, on the same size court and with the same basket height. So other than the quality of the competition and abilities of teammates, it’s pretty close to an apples-to-apples comparison.

But it’s not apples to apples in golf. Nicklaus played with persimmon woods, non-perimeter-weighted forged irons, TruTemper steel shafts and a balata ball. He had few selection options. The closest thing he had to high-tech was the oversized putter that he used to win the 1986 Masters.

Woods has had the benefit of a technology explosion in golf equipment: high-COR metal-alloy “woods,” perimeter-weighted forged irons, hundreds of shafts, both graphite and steel, launch monitors, and a ball that flies farther and spins as much as a balata ball.

There is no logical way to say that one of them is greater than the other. It’s similar to asking who’s the better pilot: Charles Lindbergh or Sully Sullenberger?

If Woods, with his ability and desire, had come on the scene in 1961 and played with the equipment of that era, and if Nicklaus had come on the scene in 1997 and played with the modern equipment, would we still be having this GOAT discussion? Or would one of them clearly separate himself from the pack? Or would it be someone else?

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

Nicklaus deserves credit for his conduct on and off course
John Hawkins’ points are well taken regarding the debate of Jack Nicklaus versus Tiger Woods (“Happy 80th, Jack … you’re still better than Tiger,” Jan. 21).

One factor that needs to be addressed is the type of respect and positive values promoted by each person.

Some might say that has nothing to do with what went on inside the ropes, but I disagree. Because of the tremendous adulation that comes with massive fame, the influence that can be used to support or undermine the values of our common humanity becomes part of evaluating greatness.

Notwithstanding the effort that Woods has made to re-fashion his image and also the help that he has given to kids struggling to better themselves, the fact remains that Nicklaus’ entire career stands as a monument to sheer class.

Ray Edger
Surrey, British Columbia

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