From The Inbox

It’s not the same game that you and I play

The industry of golf differs greatly from the leisurely sport that is the core of the game that we all love

Huge purses and millions of dollars in advertising, the boardroom negotiations of businessmen, and the threats of titans to the PGA Tour have changed the perception of golf from a leisure-time competition between ordinary folks to an arena of dog-eat-dog power fights (“Industry titans to PGA Tour: Innovate, or else,” Feb. 11).

The "game" of golf is now accepted as the "industry" of golf.

Shirley Stuart
Berkeley, Calif.

Tiger sycophants need not apply
Bang on, John Hawkins. I almost fell out of my chair after reading your piece (“If you like vanilla, you’ll love CBS’ new lineup,” Feb. 10). I mean, an American golf writer actually being critical of something.

Surely this couldn't be happening. Here in Canada, we get only the usual crap from Golf Channel: Michelle Wie gets a new puppy ... Tiger Woods’ kid has a better swing than mine ... blah, blah, blah.

Yours is the kind of journalism that those of us who are completely Tigered out would love to see more often.

As for Hawkins’ comments, I agree, for the most part. Nick Faldo is pathetic, and Ian Baker-Finch's "life is beautiful" approach has reached its expiry date. Jim Nantz is way past his best-before date, as well.

However, despite Hawkins’ support for the likes of Dottie Pepper and Paul Azinger, I find their ilk ever so tiring. I swear that Tiger is the first thing on these people's minds when they wake up in the morning, and the last thing on their minds when they turn in at night. Personally, all golf coverage would be much better served if networks had the guts to quit hiring Tiger sycophants.

Ross MacDonald
Cambridge, Ontario

Mow down touring-pro bashers with cutting-edge solutions
An experienced head professional at several Tournament Players Club courses over the years offers the simplest of solutions to the distance debate.

He suggests growing tournament fairway grass one-eighth of an inch longer, and mowing all fairways toward the tee. Once the bombers have left town, manicure as normal to allow recreational golfers the benefit of some extra rollout.

There’s little doubt that this would have some effect and might ameliorate the need for more drastic actions.

I also was struck by Nick Price’s take on “Tiger proofing” a course: Shorten the course, not lengthen it.

Gary Stauffenberg

An idea to put the swing ‘experts’ on the spot
Viewers should keep in mind an important factor when watching any "swing analysis" of touring professionals on TV. The person doing the "analysis" has the benefit of knowing where the ball went and what trajectory it was on before he or she makes any comments.

It would be interesting to see how accurate any of those doing that work would be if they didn't have that info. I work with lots of PGA teaching pros every day who chuckle about how these "experts" can find something in a swing that produced the results they already know.

Maybe an idea for Golf Channel: a competition in which swings are shown and the experts have to tell us where the ball went, how high or low, etc. Then, compare the actual results with their predictions. I wonder how many of the swing gurus would be interested in that challenge?

Bob Stewart
Lansdale, Pa.
(Stewart is the owner and president of Better Golf, which does business on eBay as bobsbettergolf.)

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