From The Inbox

Major championships should define hall-of-famers

Compare Bubba Watson with the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Gary Player. Is there any comparison?

John Hawkins and Mike Purkey were on opposite sides in the discussion about Bubba Watson and the World Golf Hall of Fame, citing five current hall inductees in their arguments (“Is Bubba Watson worthy of World Golf Hall of Fame?” Feb. 14).

As I was reading the names of the golfers to whom Hawkins and Purkey were referring, it occurred to me that none of the five (Watson, Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie, David Graham and Retief Goosen, for crying out loud!) was worthy of induction.

I know that the horse already has left the barn on this issue, but the Hall of Fame should be the pinnacle accomplishment for only the greatest of the greats. Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Gary Player and Tiger Woods, come on in.

Tom Weiskopf, Tom Kite, Bruce Crampton, Jim Furyk and the like, all fine players, but just not enough there.

We know the hall-of-famers when we see them.

Among today’s young players, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka appear to be headed there, for sure, and probably also Jordan Spieth, but everyone else has a lot more work to do.

Major championships rule the day, and the Bubba Watsons and Justin Roses of the world just don’t have enough of them.

Frank Blauch
Lebanon, Pa.

Golf as it was intended to be played
For the professionals, power and distance define the game today. High-tech clubs and a hot ball never will go backward. Why don’t we just embrace that concept and forget about turning back the clock? (“Local rule will be key in distance debate,” Feb. 12).

The big mistake has been building and adding yardage to existing courses to accommodate the long ball. Golf was meant to be a game of mental and physical skill. Golf was meant to be played by men, women and children, not just world-class athletes.

Here is a novel idea: let the pros play courses at 7,000-plus yards with firm greens and penal rough, and we amateurs can play the tee box where are comfortable, and all would be happy.

Power, strength and speed have invaded all sports. The football field still is the same length and width; the basketball goal still is 10 feet high; tennis courts are the same size; a soccer field has the same dimensions; baseball’s pitching mound and bases are the same size and dimension.

Let the pros adapt to the course, not the course to the players. Let’s see what they shoot.

Everyone wants to see the long ball. A par 4 of 440 yards can feature a fairway all the way to the green. Let’s put shot-making, ball control, strategy, green reading, imagination, putting, chipping, driving, mental discipline and physical fitness back in the game, as golf was intended.

Today, all things being equal, the distance that a golfer drives the ball will determine his or her potential at the elite-amateur and professional levels. It hasn’t always been the case.

Jerry Adams
The Woodlands, Texas

A ‘tour ball’ would help pros and amateurs
Most knowledgeable people agree: the current renegade ball needs to be reined in (“Local rule will be key in distance debate,” Feb. 12).

I've been around this game for most of my life, including 51 years as a professional. Here's what I think: the average recreational golfer wants to play what the pros play.

When a tour ball is put into play, most golfers will want to play it. It would be a better challenge for the few good players, and it would mean that the higher-handicap players will not hit the ball as far off target.

I’m looking forward to the new tour ball.

Glenn Monday
Tucson, Ariz.
(Monday is the head professional at Dorado Golf Course in Tucson and author of “Know Your Swing.”)

Lighter shafts play a role in distance gains
The explosion of shaft producers with incredibly tight specifications is here to stay. The demand is broad for every shaft produced or they’re phased out. There’s no retooling necessary (“Local rule will be key in distance debate,” Feb. 12).

Many stronger players use shafts that the pros play. It’s pretty clear that the ball will be the target of this group. They’ll expect it to go smoothly, but these types of issues usually are complicated. But there’s a history of good judgment, such as, say, calling a 5-foot boulder a “loose impediment.”

What could go wrong?

Al Fiscus
Searcy, Ark.

Better than Brickhouse as a sleep aid
Nice job by John Hawkins on the CBS golf coverage review (“If you like vanilla, you’ll love CBS’ new lineup,” Feb. 10).

I am glad I am not the only one frustrated with this crew (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 11, Feb. 12, Feb. 13, Feb. 14). Losing David Feherty with his Gary McCord banter was a huge blow, but McCord could salvage the entertainment while Peter Kostis added the professionalism. Ian Baker-Finch always was fine covering holes 10-12, but he adds nothing and has been away from the game too long at this point to add anything of substance.

CBS must be praying that Phil Mickelson signs on, but with the way he’s playing, why would he? I used to say that if you had a bad night’s sleep, then hunker down with Jack Brickhouse for a day game on WGN from Wrigley Field and you will be snoring in no time.

I now have that NyQuil replacement almost 50 years later.

Keep up the great reporting.

Bryan Farbisz
Batavia, Ill.

CBS and the viewers’ roamin’ legions
Thank you, John Hawkins, for skewering Sean McManus' destruction of the once-enjoyable CBS golf team (“If you like vanilla, you’ll love CBS’ new lineup,” Feb. 10).

Gone now is the always amusing irreverence offered by Gary McCord, replaced by Davis Love III with his funereal pap. Nobody can replace Peter Kostis and his instructive analysis.

What on earth were the suits thinking except to reduce payroll and add another voice with an accent? The entertainment value of golf on CBS now will depend solely on the quality of the field. Absent Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, legions will look elsewhere.

If there is anything positive to take from the whole mess, it's that the dreadful, camera-shy, stammering Frank Nobilo no longer is on Golf Channel. How great that is, until the PGA Tour forces out Brandel Chamblee.

Keep up the great work, Hawkins, please.

Larry Hunt
Orland Park, Ill.

CBS’ new producer: John Hawkins?
What a wonderful no-B.S. piece by John Hawkins about the genius of Sean McManus at CBS (“If you like vanilla, you’ll love CBS’ new lineup,” Feb. 10).

Hawkins should be calling the shots in the CBS booth.

Spencer Sappington
Milton, Ga.

Turning a blind eye
Right on, John Hawkins (“If you like vanilla, you’ll love CBS’ new lineup,” Feb. 10).

The “Eye” has become blind to the reality of on-air boredom.

Ray Byers
Loudon, Tenn.

CBS gets a yawn from Yawn
I totally disagree with John Hawkins about CBS and the “vanilla” analogy (“If you like vanilla, you’ll love CBS’ new lineup,” Feb. 10).

After listening to CBS during the past few weeks, the network would have to improve dramatically to get to the level of vanilla.

Layne Yawn
Jonesboro, Ark.

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