From The Inbox

If $28.3 million isn’t enough to change a life, what is?

With his dismissal of the Premier Golf League, Charley Hoffman leaves reader to wonder how much money is real money on the PGA Tour

“I don't know if I would like to be owned by some Saudi money over there, but if something was a life-changing amount of money they offered me, you'd have to look at it as an independent contractor. Because there's no guarantees that I'll have a PGA Tour card in three or four years.”
Charley Hoffman, PGA Tour player and current chairman of the PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council

With his "life-changing amount of money" comment in reference to the proposed Premier Golf League, I wonder whether Hoffman is speaking of himself or of up-and-coming independent contractor professional golfers, whom the PGL wouldn't be targeting anyway (“Charley Hoffman dismisses lure of ‘Saudi money’,” Feb. 21).

Assuming that he is referring to himself, let's do a quick analysis of Hoffman's PGA Tour career to this point:

* joined PGA Tour in 2006
* 282 cuts made in 397 events played
* won four times
* one of nine players to qualify for all 13 FedEx Cup playoffs since the post-season’s inception in 2007
* career earnings of $28,291,630

Add endorsements, appearance fees, bonuses, the PGA Tour player retirement plan and his eligibility for the Champions Tour in seven years.

Considering that a person who were to make $80,000 per year for 40 years would earn a total of $3.2 million, it would be interesting to know how Hoffman defines and values a "life-changing amount of money."

Ed Winsper
Richmond, Va.

Disconnect on distance
It is interesting, but not surprising, that Acushnet has weighed in early on the distance controversy (“Acushnet’s boss challenges ‘Distance Insights’ report,” Feb. 21). It appears as if Acushnet, as one of the leaders in golf-equipment manufacturing, has drawn a battle line in the sand.

This early comment on distance should alert the USGA and R&A that there will be a serious discussion on whatever their findings might be to address their distaste for distance. It just appears that the ruling bodies are biased and seem to be focused only on the distances that the professional golfers are generating. The majority of golfers and their distance objectives seem to be ignored by these rules-of-the-game managers.

Since the USGA and R&A have established the technology limits on ball- and club-distance standards, did they miss an opportunity to regulate shafts, often recognized as the engine in the swing? Can they roll those back? Probably not without another lengthy study, review, and comment period, ad infinitum.

As a possible viable alternative, because they can't regulate a golfer’s fitness and athleticism, perhaps the course setup should be seriously considered. There seems to be a consensus promulgated by those in the know that tougher course setups would combat distance.

At the professional-tournament level, courses are manicured to further enhance the pro's superior abilities. Tougher course setup can bring back those much-valued and -discussed strategies of course management, positioning the ball off the tee, strategic shot value, working the ball, etc.

And why create a local rule or tournament ball? Course setup might preclude lengthening. The pros are so good that they still would shoot low scores, even with a large tree planted at the front of the green.

There are some 30 million U.S. golfers who have an interest and opinion on distance. The majority of us probably want to hit it longer, to make the game easier and more enjoyable.

Dave Richner
St. Johns, Fla.

Winter rules: Golf’s gateway drug
Our foursome plays winter rules from mid-November till mid-March here in central Pennsylvania, but only because the public courses where we play do not maintain the fairways in good shape during those months (“ ‘Winter rules’ often are in season year-round,” Feb. 19).

To us, winter rules mean improving your lie only in your own fairway. We play it as it lies in the rough, mud and all. The rest of the year, we play it down, no matter what the conditions.

I never will understand why the PGA Tour plays “lift, clean and place” in at least a half-dozen tournaments a year.

Now they are putting with the flagstick in. What is next, gimmes?

Frank Blauch
Lebanon, Pa.

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