From The Inbox

Golf needs to adapt to today’s technology or perish

As an example, a modern walking bag features pockets designed for music speakers, a hand-held rangefinder, alignment sticks and a cellphone, all of which suits the 21st-century golfer

I recently purchased a new Callaway walking bag that has a specially designed pocket for a particular speaker. I didn’t need that feature, but I was curious about a big company such as Callaway adopting a music-on-the-course position (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 23).

I read the customer reviews on the bag, and many people purchased the bag because of the speaker feature. The bag also has special pockets for a hand-held rangefinder, alignment sticks and cellphone. The bag with those pockets is the result of adopting new practices on the golf course and, I believe, a microcosm of the golf world today.

Technology is a foundational cornerstone of young people. TV sports reports show athletic teams with the headphone-wearing athletes looking down at their smartphones as they arrive at a venue. Those are across all team sports and across all ethnic and racial groups.

I recently played with two young men who were visiting my club, and they were listening to music via a speaker. The music wasn’t very loud, and you couldn’t hear it on the greens. I was very welcoming of their visit because I know that if all you see at your club are 55-plus people, your club is flirting with extinction.

“Manners” are really just personal preferences. If a company such as Callaway Golf is adapting to new tastes and preferences on the golf course in order to stay relevant, maybe I should, too.

Daryl Lott
Houston

One man’s manners is another man’s menace
I was impressed by reader Deal W. Hudson's letter decrying music on the course (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 22).

Indeed, someone in plus-fours, or even knickers, waving hickory-shafted clubs about while "confronting" other groups must be an impressive sight. Evidently a close friend of Bushwood’s Judge Smails in “Caddyshack,” Hudson crusades to enforce manners at the Country Club of Fairfax and the requirement that everyone behave as he instructs them. I am sure he is the most popular member at his club, although it seems his call for manners does not extend to his own behavior.

There is definitely a shift in how the younger generation approaches and plays golf. The young usually win, as they have time on their side.

I will say that Hudson is fortunate to belong to a private club. Similar confrontations at a public course could have unfortunate consequences for his nose.

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

‘An exercise of passionate futility’
As the debate on the GOAT continues, fueled by John Hawkins’ musings (“Happy 80th, Jack … you’re still better than Tiger,” Jan. 21), it reminds one of other comparisons. Randomly, Ali vs. Dempsey, Unitas vs. Montana, Ruth vs. Mantle, et al.

One should consider these comparisons as conundrums and an exercise of passionate futility.

A serious flaw in these statistical matchups is the different eras in which these athletes performed. Much like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, the accomplishments of the athletes must be tempered by the arenas in which they played and the competition against whom they competed. Different equipment technology, different quality of the opposition, playing conditions and supporting cast of teammates on their teams make for unequal comparisons.

So, pick your GOAT and defend your choice. For the Morning Read contributors’ GOAT, I am torn between John Hawkins, Mike Purkey or Gary Van Sickle vs. Dan Jenkins.

Dave Richner
St. Johns, Fla.

A mind-altering experience
I read the headline of John Hawkins’ commentary and right away I got defensive (“Happy 80th, Jack … you’re still better than Tiger,” Jan. 21).

What I like about Tiger Woods is that during my era of playing the game – while Jack Nicklaus was at the end – is that Woods let me see records being broken in my lifetime. It is thrilling and exciting. Nicklaus (and the game of golf) was mostly before my time in the game, and I didn't care for the game until I started playing it.

I read Hawkins’ article with an open mind, and I was ready to start rebutting it with stats. However, the way in which Hawkins presented the facts swayed my opinion. Mind you that I've always liked Nicklaus.

Ultimately, my takeaway question is, “If Tiger Woods would ever break Jack Nicklaus' majors record, is Nicklaus still the all-time best golfer?"

I genuinely liked your article. It opened my opinion to a new way to look at this. Well done.

Dean Glatt
Bismarck, N.D.

John Hawkins makes strong case for Jack Nicklaus
Excellent column by John Hawkins on Jack Nicklaus vs. Tiger Woods (“Happy 80th, Jack … you’re still better than Tiger,” Jan. 21). It's a great debate, and Hawkins makes a compelling case for the Golden Bear.

Bill Higgins
Centerville, Mass.

Nicklaus gets nod for Ryder Cup record, sportsmanship
I am so happy that John Hawkins pointed out the Ryder Cup records of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, as well as the fact that Nicklaus always was congratulatory toward his fellow competitors, even when he lost (“Happy 80th, Jack … you’re still better than Tiger,” Jan. 21).

Ted Stefura
Toronto

Special delivery
Thursday’s Morning Read articles were terrific, especially reader Charlie Jurgonis’ comparison of Jack Nicklaus with Tiger Woods (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 23). Good job.

Chris Seyer
Scottsdale, Ariz.

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