From The Inbox

Dave Seanor sheds light on Saudis’ image-scrubbing

Americans claim they are in Saudi Arabia to "grow the game," but they intend only to milk the tournament cash cow for all it’s worth

My thanks and congratulations to Dave Seanor for his story on Saudi Arabia and its attempt to cleanse its image through an association with the top golfers (mostly Americans) in the world (“Saudi ‘sportswashing’ feels like a dirty trick,” Jan. 27).

It’s dispiriting that so few other veterans of the golf media like Seanor have had the nerve to stand up and call this ridiculous courting of our most famous players for something other than it is.

“Growing” golf in Saudi Arabia through a partnership with American professionals? That would be akin to saying Phil Mickelson was trying to “grow” the American dairy industry when he bought stock in Dean Foods after hearing what a great company it was from his friend Billy Walters.

Tom Cleary
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Putting Saudi event into ‘a proper light’
Dave Seanor’s commentary about the Saudi golf tournament and “sportswashing” was a great read (“Saudi ‘sportswashing’ feels like a dirty trick,” Jan. 27).

It puts how one views this type of event into a proper light.

Paul Heanue
Plymouth, Mass.

Attaboy, Seanor
The column on "sportswashing" undoubtedly is one of Dave Seanor’s finest journalist efforts (“Saudi ‘sportswashing’ feels like a dirty trick,” Jan. 27).

I applaud the effort and thorough research.

Tony Leodora
Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
(Leodora is the host of the syndicated GolfTalk Live radio show.)

‘Mental midgets’ and their greed
This was an enlightening piece of journalism on several fronts (“Saudi ‘sportswashing’ feels like a dirty trick,” Jan. 27).

Dave Seanor did not mince words about the American players in the field and why they elected to participate in this week’s Saudi International. Basically, it was greed and a decision to support a country that plotted to attack America and ultimately kill 2,977.

Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and phony Phil Mickelson are all mental midgets, so their signing up for this tournament is not surprising.

Congrats on a great piece. Please keep applying the pressure on these players.

Spencer Sappington
Milton, Ga.

Get your heads out of the sand, touring pros
Thank you, Dave Seanor, for writing such a great article Monday morning about the golf tournament in Saudi Arabia (“Saudi ‘sportswashing’ feels like a dirty trick,” Jan. 27).

The players need to hear arguments like this, because I think they have their heads in the sand about the human-rights abuses in that country.

I used to be Phil Mickelson’s No. 1 fan until he decided to play in this tournament. I lost total respect for him.

Thanks for speaking the truth.

Elaine McCardel
Okemos, Mich.

What? No Saudi women’s or junior events?
Hypocrisy rings true (“Saudi ‘sportswashing’ feels like a dirty trick,” Jan. 27).

Are the Saudis going to grow women’s and junior golf? Ha! No! Everyone knows the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, especially in Saudi Arabia.

Shame on the players who go there to support that regime.

Kathy Wentworth
Portland, Ore.

That’s par for the course
Professional golfers appear to be able to place profit ahead of morality (“Saudi ‘sportswashing’ feels like a dirty trick,” Jan. 27).

Their actions do not surprise me one bit.

George Delaney
Olympia, Wash.

Exposing hypocrisy of Saudi cash grab
Great article by Dave Seanor on the hypocrisy of the Saudis and those who ignore it for a huge paycheck (“Saudi ‘sportswashing’ feels like a dirty trick,” Jan. 27). Keep up the great work.

Mike DeVries
Traverse City, Mich.
(DeVries is the president of DeVries Designs, a course-architecture firm in Traverse City.)

Women are welcome at Augusta, but not mid-ams
This past week, Augusta National Golf Club released the invitation list for its Augusta National Women's Amateur. Just like last year, the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur winner is not among the invitees. In fact, no mid-ams – golfers 25 or older – have been invited.

"Amateur" is defined as "a person who is in pursuit, especially a sport, on an unpaid rather than a professional basis." Who more represents that definition than the working person who plays golf as a complement to his or her chosen profession? Aren't the overwhelming number of these college and globetrotting amateurs in "pursuit" of professionalism?

Augusta National was co-founded by the late Bobby Jones, who is regarded as the ultimate amateur. Didn't he win his version of the Grand Slam at age 28 while he was a practicing attorney? That would make him a mid-am. So, wouldn't it be logical to say that the real amateur is the mid-amateur?

But Augusta National does invite the U.S. Mid-Amateur champion to the Masters. Except it's the men's winner. The women's winner can't even get into the ANWA. What does that say?

Which brings me to the ANWA itself. If Augusta National were sincere in supporting women's amateur golf, it would allow more than one of three tournament rounds on its hallowed grounds (Sorry, Augusta National, but a full-field practice round doesn't count.) The club is getting maximum positive exposure for a minimal commitment.

In his article about this week's tournament in Saudi Arabia (“Saudi ‘sportswashing’ feels like a dirty trick,” Jan. 27), Dave Seanor writes: “Sportswashing” is a term used to describe efforts by a nation to disguise and divert attention from its unsavory reputation by hosting high-profile sports events. It’s a tactic commonly used by countries that violate human rights.”

What if a few words in that definition were changed?

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

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