From The Inbox

Crowd-free PGA Tour would quiet cheers, hecklers

Players who typically feed off the spectators – think Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler – might not be the same if fans are banned from tournaments. Then again, Patrick Reed might enjoy the silence

If the PGA Tour starts up without spectators for safety reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic, I wonder whether any players’ performances would be positively or negatively affected without crowds. It often has been said that Tiger Woods feeds off of the crowd. Would it negatively affect him if there’s no crowd to feed him? What would the Masters be like for him?

Are there other players who might be better-served playing in solitude? Rickie Fowler is one of the most fan-conscious players out there. Could he reach the potential many of us think he has? Would Patrick Reed become the fifth-best player in the world again if he didn’t have to worry about hecklers?

I don’t think the lack of spectators or patrons will affect TV viewers at all, especially if the golf is exciting. If you don’t believe me, watch a rerun of a regularly scheduled LPGA tour event.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

Golf could take it on the chin from coronavirus
The golf world, as evidenced by various Morning Read readers and columnists, is deeply divided about whether courses should be open during the coronavirus pandemic and, if they are, whether people should even be playing. Now, there seems to be a divide about whether the PGA Tour should be up and running on its proposed tentative schedule. That might be the least of our worries.

Reader Paul Sunderland even opined that lockdowns are likely to run for the next 4-5 months (“From the Morning Read inbox,” April 8). Let's certainly hope not, for obvious reasons. But setting that aside, the economic damage to our country could last for years, certain to affect golf at all levels. The St. Louis district of the Federal Reserve Bank estimated recently that 47 million Americans could be out of work, with a 32-percent unemployment rate. If that happens, many courses are sure to close. Will corporations continue to have the dollars necessary to sponsor professional golf?

Hopefully, the American economy will prove to be resilient and rebound more quickly than seems possible at the moment. But we also must face the reality that golf, at the local and national levels, could well be negatively affected for a long time.

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

C’mon, Miceli ... stop the crazy talk
As usual, Alex Miceli is wrong (“PGA Tour restarts schedule too soon,” April 7). There are so many things wrong with his thinking. It astounds me that he still is a high-profile writer. Here is just one of your statements: “… if there were a chance that anyone’s health would be at abnormal risk …”

Wow, how crazy is that? That the PGA Tour would dare to put on a tournament when someone could have a health impact. Such as tripping and hurting a leg. Or meeting up with someone who might have the basic flu and then coming down with it. There are so many possibilities that someone could get hurt or have an abnormal health issue due to a PGA Tour event that you can’t count them all.

I suppose the PGA Tour should just shut down completely and forever. Maybe Miceli should just stop writing forever and see how he likes it when the checks stop coming in.

“Do as I say, not as I do” must by Miceli’s favorite mantra. What a hypocrite.

Jeff Nettesheim
Sun City, Ariz.

Golf offers a safe outlet
For all of the so-called journalists, everything always comes back to President Donald Trump. Whatever he does is wrong. It’s pathetic, and if Alex Miceli thinks the country hasn’t been paying attention for the past three years, he’s wrong (“Donald Trump’s push for sports will put golf to the test,” April 6).

I guarantee you that most Americans have more faith in the president than in the media.

I’m glad that Trump is optimistic. Americans generally are optimistic, but if you had to point one way or the other on the political spectrum regarding who is more “doom-and-gloom,” there is no question that they lean left. The political correctness, the constant grievances, the victim mentality, the identity politics, the sense of entitlement – and the media right there fanning the flames. No wonder that a large portion of the country has overreacted.

Yes, we have a serious issue here with coronavirus, but I do believe that the extreme measures taken (see: California Gov. Gavin Newsom) have been the irresponsible ones, not the president’s attempt at a more measured approach. It is true that sometimes the cure can be worse than the disease. There is going to become a point at which many Americans are going to say, I will roll the dice getting the flu rather than subject myself to financial ruin. I am going back to work. An autocrat such as Newsom probably will call in the National Guard when that happens.

The country needs some positive vibes, not the death watch on which the media invariably focus. And frankly, nothing could be safer than being on a golf course, in the fresh air, getting some exercise and visiting with three friends, while still keeping your “social distance.”

Mike Barnett
Winters, Calif.

A good walk unspoiled by coronavirus
I can speak only for my own experience playing golf during the coronavirus pandemic. If the proper precautions are taken, it is no different than going for a walk.

I have changed to walking with my own walking cart during my round. I am able to pay and play without touching a single item at my course, as there are no touch points before, during or after my round. I don’t have to speak with anyone or come within 10 yards of anyone. I walk as a single and use only what I bring from home (water bottle, snack, clubs, glove, balls). Because everyone is walking in the same direction, there are no people coming at me from the opposite direction.

People need to get out of the house and take a walk in the sunshine. This can be done safely and while adhering to all guidelines from the governor of Texas and local authorities at my home course.

I don’t know exactly what they are doing at The Villages (“At The Villages, music stops but not the golf,” April 8), but I am probably not doing this much differently than they are.

Daryl Lott
Houston

Rereading golf’s classics while enjoying a Corona
Things are toughening up in the sportswriting world, and I understand the difficulty. You can rehash coronavirus guidelines only so often before it becomes an iPod on repeat. And “10 Amazing Things You Don't Know About the Quad Cities Open” can entertain only the most dedicated reader.

The video channels don't have it much better. You've got to be dedicated or desperate to re-watch an athletic event when you know the outcome.

There have been bright spots. Articles about golf's pioneers and early stars are fun to read and frequently informative about stories and people that are not well known today. As to watching videos, I would prefer that they be as old as possible, so I don't know who's going to win. In desperate times, maybe even the 1971 Quad Cities (sorry, John Deere). Got film from the ’30s or ’40s? Bring it on.

Me? I'm rereading my Darwin (not that one; the golf one), Longhurst and Wodehouse. And I'm open to suggestions.

Read ’em if you’ve got ’em. And pop open a Corona. I hear there's still plenty on the shelves.

Stay safe out there.

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

Morning Read invites reader comment. Write to editor Steve Harmon at steve@morningread.com. Please provide your name and city of residence. If your comment is selected for publication, Morning Read will contact you to verify the authenticity of the email and confirm your identity. We will not publish your email address. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity.

Sign up to receive the Morning Read newsletter, along with Where To Golf Next and The Equipment Insider.