From The Inbox

It’s no guarantee that gear makers will play ball

Reader asks, Why should the manufacturers go along retooling the way they make clubs and balls for only a few players?

Mike Purkey writes, "If new rules are implemented, they [the equipment manufacturers] will have to retool to produce clubs and/or balls that meet the new reduced distance, whatever that turns out to be." (“Local rule will be key in distance debate,” Feb. 12).

As ESPN analyst Lee Corso likes to say, "Not so fast, my friend!"

Why should the manufacturers go along retooling the way they make clubs and balls for only a few players? They will absorb a tremendous cost for equipment that they almost certainly can't sell to the general public if bifurcation takes place. Suppose each one of the companies decides not to play along with the proposed USGA local rules. Then what?

This depends on the club and ball companies to cooperate. If they don't, USGA and R&A control of the rules might effectively be ended.

Mark Harman
Ridgeland, S.C.
(Harman is the national course director for the U.S. Golf Teachers Federation.)

Yes, these guys are good, so amp up the challenge
I have to agree with the idea put forth by reader Gary Stauffenberg (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 13). Subtle tweaks to course design and maintenance could improve the opportunities to stymie the exaggerated distances that the top professionals now possess.

Because tournaments set schedules in advance, is it not theoretically possible to set up the course by identifying areas that would present strategic challenges? Those could include pinching fairways, growing different rough areas higher, bunkers with less-than-ideal sand textures and uneven lies in the landing areas. Is there an unwritten rule that suggests that pros must have perfect conditions in every situation?

It’s time to alter the usual driver/wedge into 400-yard par 4s that do not present the possibility of bogey. We all know the talent level of PGA Tour players, who should be able to stick a wedge to less than 10 feet. Give these players the challenge and amp up the rewards. In turn, it would make for a more engaged viewer and wake up the commentators in the TV booths.

Ken Chojnacki
Delran, N.J.

With his connections in golf, Love will find a way
CBS replaced Gary McCord (age 71) and Peter Kostis (72) with Davis Love (55) and Frank Nobilo (59). Replacing them probably had nothing to do with their shtick getting old and stale, but more to do with them getting old and not being as eye-appealing to the new breed of golf fan.

Love will have a decent career in broadcasting because he made the right connections during his playing days. But I expect him to underperform just as he did as a PGA Tour player. Granted, he won 21 times, but if we want to recognize greatness through major championships, his one victory, in the 1997 PGA, ranks him behind Andy North, Lee Janzen and John Daly and ties him with Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel and Y.E. Yang.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

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