From The Inbox

A player whom Mrs. Armstrong would have loved like a son

Jeff Babineau eloquently portrays Rory McIlroy, who no doubt makes his parents proud, reader says

Thank you for another great piece by Jeff Babineau (“Rory McIlroy guides PGA Tour with moral compass,” March 12).

I happened to catch Rory McIlroy during the Players Championship pre-tournament news conference from TPC Sawgrass. He is often recognized as being “comfortable in his skin.” It seems to be more than that. Unlike some athletes, he appears to be genuinely interested in the questions being asked, who is posing the question, and as any good Irishman knows, crafting a thoughtful, direct and proper response.

My mother (nee McElaney), if still with us, would have said, upon witnessing his delivery during the presser, “Oh, his parents must be so proud!”

Yes, Mum, whether McIlroy finishes T-5 or T-75, his parents, his countrymen, his fans, and the PGA Tour itself are all proud of young Rory.

Tim Armstrong
Dennis, Mass.

Miceli’s rubbernecking leads to reckless conclusion
Alex Miceli’s comparison of the Arnold Palmer Invitational to NASCAR was on point, but his conclusion was misplaced (“One Take: Sorry, Arnie, but that was bad,” March 10).

Human nature seems to love looking at car wrecks. Just try to get by an accident scene quickly with all the rubberneckers. Maybe Miceli needs to check out the ratings and popularity of NASCAR in terms of attendance and TV, particularly with the NASCAR races at the superspeedways such as Daytona and Talladega, where everyone waits in eager anticipation for “the big one.”

Though I appreciate birdies, eagles and spectacular shots just as much as the average PGA Tour fan, those are made even more special by water balls, three-putts and other calamities. I can’t relate to a guy hitting a 6- or 7-iron into a 550-yard par 5, which I saw several times on Sunday at Bay Hill. I sure can relate to a guy under pressure hooking a ball out of bounds, dumping a wedge into the water in front of a green, or missing a 3-foot putt.

Marveling at the brilliant and empathizing with the “chokes” are both things which attract me to a telecast.

Mike McQueen
El Paso, Texas

Life’s hard, so lighten up regarding par
Winning scores in the 20-under range seem to be a real bugaboo for some fans who think such scores indicate "too easy" course setups that fail to challenge the best players in the world (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 10).

Some of these protesters might be USGA officials in disguise, as they always have had their underwear in bunches about this and have tried mightily to make sure that it doesn't happen at the U.S. Open.

Of course, only the winner and a few chasers shoot these scores, and you'll find over-par scores further down the leaderboard. Actually, a 4- or 5-under daily score by the hottest player that week is a reasonable expectation for “the best players in the world.” If everyone were 20 under, that might be a problem.

However, I'd like to suggest in the immortal words of Bill Murray: “It just doesn't matter!” Par as a concept is way overrated. If your par-72 course were changed to a par 18 (ace every hole for a par round) and you shoot 75 and I shoot 74, I still win even though we are both 50-something over par. It works for match play, too.

But how would I measure myself against the expected score? Who cares, unless you're very obsessive compulsive.

So, lighten up, and measure your performance against your current opponent or your previous best. Life's hard, and dreaming up ways to feel bad (snowman, anyone?) isn't in your best interest.

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

Sorry, Charlie, but you’re out of bounds on this one
Reader Charlie Jurgonis unloads on Jim Furyk and the Champions Tour (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 12).

Jurgonis takes issue with the fact that Furyk’s foundation is going to commit $2 million to a Champions Tour event. Jurgonis suggests that the money should go to support the LPGA. His reasoning is that the Champions Tour is a bunch of has-beens incapable of playing quality golf, suggesting that the tour is nothing more than a “retirement intramural” series. Jurgonis goes on to question the putting strokes of several of the Champions players, calling them “nonconforming.”

First, while I thoroughly enjoy watching the quality play on the LPGA and am a big fan, I don’t understand what responsibility that Furyk or the PGA Tour has, financially, to the LPGA.

Secondly, Jurgonis’ criticism of the quality of play on the Champions Tour is without merit. The tour is loaded with past winners of regular PGA Tour events and major championships. It would be interesting to see Jurgonis tee it up for just one week on the Champions Tour and see how his scores stack up. It is my bet that his view of the quality of play would change, and very quickly.

Bill Boutwell
Jacksonville, Fla.

‘Too flippant’ during challenging times
Yes, Gary Van Sickle, the world may be “going to hell,” as your commentary states (“Don’t panic amid this pandemic, golf fans,” March 12). But the issue isn't the lack of games, scribes in the locker room or spectators in the stands or gallery.

As validated by science, our foe is a virus that is a real threat to the vulnerable in our society.

The writer's attempt at cleverness comes off as far too flippant at a time when many of our neighbors face serious health and economic woes.

Steve Kinderman
Eau Claire, Wis.

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