From The Inbox

Dustin Johnson sees the obvious with Olympic golf

Majors matter far more than Olympic gold, but it didn’t have to be that way for golf at the Summer Games

Dustin Johnson is getting some heat for saying he'll be skipping the Olympics. Why anyone cares is beyond me.

The U.S. likely will have four of the top 10 in the world for a team, based on the Official World Golf Ranking. Of course, Ireland and Spain are likely to have the 1-2 spots. The only interesting thing that could happen is if the U.S. gets skunked, considering its players’ world rankings.

But really, who cares? Golf needs the Olympics like a fish needs a bicycle. The players who think that the major championships are the true measures of golfing greatness are correct in their assessment.

Mike Purkey's comparison to Michael Phelps and swimming is a fallacious one. The Olympics is the majors for swimming, track and field and a bunch of sports you've never heard of, but for golf, it's sort of, Meh. Sure, Justin Rose has got his gold medal with him, but what else has he done lately? If you think Olympic glory is important for golf, I'm sure your heart swells every time you think of the last U.S. gold medalist.

Actually, golf totally booted the format. If golf had gone with amateurs and a match format, it might have been interesting and even, gasp, fun. That format might also have brought in competition from unlikely quarters. As it is, it’s just another tournament with a very small field with an even smaller number who have a chance.

The switch to allowing professionals from sports such as hockey, basketball and now golf is ridiculous. Isn't it always thrilling when the U.S. basketball team wins gold? I mean, who would have thunk it? And the last time that hockey was interesting was in 1980, when some college boys beat the Soviet Union.

By the way, that U.S. gold-medal golfer was Charles Sands at the1900 Olympics. The U.S. (Margaret Abbott, Pauline Whittier, Daria Pratt) swept the nine-hole women's tournament. All so well remembered.

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

Furyk should have back an LPGA event
It seems that when given the opportunity to do something to benefit the LPGA, the PGA Tour and the Tour players constantly whiff.

Jim Furyk recently announced a Champions Tour event, sponsored by his foundation, that has a $2 million purse. It gives us another event showcasing “champions” who never won on the PGA Tour (Brett Quigley) or whom I never heard of (David Moreland IV).

I would have preferred that his foundation sponsored an LPGA event. Their players are in their prime or trending upward, and the quality of their play is getting better.

You can’t say that about the “champions” tour, where the overwhelming majority of players are only identifiable to the most ardent golf fan. It like a retirement intramural competition.

And the most successful players on the LPGA don’t putt with nonconforming strokes.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

Golf should take a world view regarding success
John Hawkins provides interesting statistics to support his and Paul Azinger's views regarding the achievements, or otherwise, of European golfers ("2nd-class shoe fits, Euros, so wear it," March 9).

The argument would be compelling if it were not for the fact that Hawkins, and Azinger, presume that it is axiomatic that everyone agrees that results in the U.S. are pre-eminent. Others might argue that it is perfectly reasonable to measure success on results worldwide, and that winning in a wide range of different conditions, climates and cultures is a good measure of success.

How do American players compare in tournaments played worldwide? Of course, high prize money on the PGA Tour doesn't make golf away from America attractive to American players, and simultaneously that same money attracts players to the States from virtually all other nations. Consequently, it is difficult to win in the States, and, yes, it is the aim of all golfers to win there, but this is not good reason to be dismissive of achievements elsewhere, especially when one's own experience is limited by comparison.

Graham Davies
Bridgend, Wales

Miceli is out of bounds with API criticism
If Alex Miceli was attempting some sort of irony in Tuesday’s “One Take” video ("Sorry, Arnie, but that was bad," March 10), he needs to offer more clues that it was his intention. Otherwise, one might conclude that he actually was suggesting that the Arnold Palmer Invitational was boring.

It was anything but. It was a very suspenseful tournament. You never knew what would happen with the next shot – OB, water, ball skipping like a jet ski off the green. Great stuff.

I'll take that over fairway-green, fairway-green, etc., any day.

Tim Schobert
Ottawa, Ontario

Miceli got it all wrong this time
I like Alex Miceli’s style and tend to agree with him more often than not, but not this time ("Sorry, Arnie, but that was bad," March 10).

The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill was a tremendous battle against a top field and very difficult golf course. Windy, dry conditions and bone-hard greens led to high scores and almost embarrassed the pros.

The past few tournaments on the PGA Tour have been played over very hard courses and challenging conditions. I would argue that watching the top pros tackle these tough conditions is far more enjoyable than “down the middle, on the green, sink the putt, over and over.”

Bay Hill played like a U.S. Open, as did Riviera three weeks earlier, and I’ll bet that a lot of the top pros appreciated that.

So, thanks to winner Tyrrell Hatton and the other top contenders for some thoroughly enjoyable golf. I hope there’s more to come.

Paul Sunderland
Los Angeles

TiVo offers golf viewer a win-win
One of the extra features that is provided by my cable company is TiVo.

While watching a recorded show on TiVo, the viewer has three fast-forward speeds available. There's a slow-fast forward, a medium-fast forward and a fast-fast forward.

I have found that watching golf in the slow-fast forward setting allows me to watch about 75 minutes of golf in 30 minutes. You don't hear any announcers or commercials, and the players play at a speed that they should be playing at all the time.

It's a win-win for the viewer.

Layne Yawn
Jonesboro, Ark.

Prices, like the sun, certainly will rise tomorrow
My initial thoughts about the PGA Tour’s new TV deal are that virtually nothing will change.

Alex Miceli is concerned about the cost of advertising making golf companies charge more for their products ("Hold on to your wallet for PGA Tour's TV deal," March 10). Of course, they will charge more. They always charge more.

The deal is out 10 years, so look back at 2010 to today: Everything costs more. It is not a factor to worry about.

Next, other than on social media, the coverage will not be much different than today. Maybe super HD or some other mainstay tech will come about in a broad sense to enhance the coverage, but I can hear it now, in 2030: “Hello, friends …”

Bob Geismar
Boca Raton, Fla.

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