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Masters name shaming fires up reader

Alex Miceli’s commentary finds fault with ‘white privilege’ when it should emphasize making right choices in life

Alex Miceli's column in Monday’s Morning Read, regarding whether the Masters should change its name, drags golf – specifically, the Masters – right into the politically correct and charged environment in which we now live (“Should Masters change its name?” June 29). That is a shame. Though there are a number of Miceli’s comments in the article that I would love to debate or maybe even challenge, I will comment on just three of the thoughts covered in the column.

First, I did read Rob Parker’s Deadspin.com article and found it to be very distasteful. As with most liberal positions, it leaves you with an “it's my way or the highway" taste in your mouth. Things he says, such as Augusta National being a "dark reminder of America’s ugly past" and "when you hear anyone say the Masters, you think of slave masters in the South. There is nothing else, nothing special. You don't think of someone mastering the game of golf."

I have followed the Masters since the late 1950s, and not once have any of those thoughts come to mind. It’s hard to believe this guy is a sports journalist. Parker didn't want to “hear from the choir” in opposition to his commentary. Well, he just has, and I trust I won't be the only reader to challenge his politically correct rant.

This leads me to my next comment, regarding the term “white privilege.” These days, the term seems to be thrown at us on a daily basis, with no regard as to what it even means. Does it mean because my parents “chose” to raise me and my sister in a traditional two-parent family and impart the virtues of right and wrong, the value of a basic education, hard work, etc., that it’s an example of “white privilege”? Because I followed the examples my parents set and stayed out of trouble, got an education, a job and, yes, raised a family, is that another example of “white privilege”?

Everybody in this country has the same ability today to choose to do the right things and make the right choices. Unfortunately, many members of our society choose not to make the right choices, and they suffer the consequences. Is that due to “white privilege”? In my opinion, “white privilege” is an offensive and divisive term as well as an insult to all people in this country who have made the right choices. It is simply another excuse for those who fail.

Now to my final comment, regarding any change to the Masters name. Absolutely not. Not today, not tomorrow and not as long as the tournament is played. Unfortunately, the current environment of political correctness has clouded some people's thinking. Just look at what is happening every day.

People with this distorted thinking are destroying our history: tearing down statues, monuments and changing the names of century-old buildings. In many cases, they have no idea what they are destroying. So, you eliminate the name Masters. What's next? No more master sergeants in the Army or master chiefs in the Navy? No more master’s degrees in any discipline in education? No more master chefs at restaurants?

The entire discussion is ludicrous. Leave the name alone. Understand that it represents the world’s best golfers: the Masters.

I sincerely hope that the powers-that-be in Augusta don't give in to the pressure and will retain the tournament name.

Bill Boutwell
Jacksonville, Fla.

Now starring in ‘theater of the absurd’: Alex Miceli
Alex Miceli has written some columns with an unusual slant in his career, but his latest, on his support of changing the name of the Masters, takes the cake as being completely whacked out (“Should Masters change its name?” June 29).

I don't even know where to begin with such inanity, other than I asked two good black friends about changing the name, and they both laughed heartily. Rob Parker, the author of the Deadspin.com article to which Miceli refers, actually wrote, "And be honest. When you hear anyone say the Masters, you think of slave masters in the South. There’s nothing else, nothing special. You don’t think of someone mastering the game of golf." When I read this, I thought he must be joking. I'm convinced Parker wrote the article as a lark to see whether he could get any bites, and Miceli took it all in, hook, line and sinker.

What's next? Chess masters issuing apologies? People with the last name of "Lynch" forced to come up with a new moniker? How far do we take this?

At some point, we have to realize that we have entered into the theater of the absurd, and Miceli appears to have bought an entire front row's worth of tickets.

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

An unnecessary name change
Wow! What a topic. I appreciate Alex Miceli declining his opinion due to social status (“Should Masters change its name?” June 29) and Rob Parker’s insightful comments in his Deadspin article. And though I am now more enlightened as to Augusta National’s past and am aware of the current discourse in America on racism, the matter of changing the Masters name to the Augusta National Invitation Tournament is a matter of context rather than racism.

The Masters always has resonated with me as a golfer (yes, I am white, but by no means of privilege) because it features the best golfers, the masters of their craft. To change the name and somewhat erode the history of the game is not necessary, although understandable and worthy of discussion.

Here’s one vote for keeping the Masters.

Bob Newport
Tarzana, Calif.

We interrupt this programming …
Breaking news: Golf writer Alex Miceli proposes to ban the play and movie “Les Misérables,” as it contains the song “Master of the House.” He also intends to petition the Marine Corps in renaming the rank of master sergeant.

Is this what's next, Miceli, or was it just a slow news week in your world?

Mark Kazich
Darien, Ill.

Let self-determination show the way
Is Rob Parker's opinion on Deadspin.com regarding the Masters' name change definitive? I think not. Parker, I might suggest, is a jack-of-all-trades who has achieved success in none.

The English language has thousands of words with multiple meanings. Is the next step to organize a commission to work through the Oxford English Dictionary, word by word, to eliminate any potential offense?

If we really want to minimize systemic racism, I'd suggest that white people stop telling black people what they should like, follow as a fan, and/or participate in. The black middle class has expanded significantly in the past 50 years, and the barriers that existed in 1965 no longer exist on any kind of scale.

If black people don't want to play golf or follow hockey, it is up to them. Let's stop telling people what to do based on the misconception that they can't figure it out for themselves; they can.

Where there is self-determination, there is no racism.

Tom May
Lewisville, Texas

Your Masters gear won’t be collectible until 2040 or so
I agree with the idea of change for the reasons that Alex Miceli suggests (“Should Masters change its name?” June 29). It was a compelling argument in Deadspin; thanks for sharing.

Our experience with Augusta National Golf Club’s obstinate stance on blacks and women seemed like an eternity before the club folded on Lee Elder, black membership and female membership under intense pressure.

A name change, if it doesn’t happen this year, will not occur in my lifetime. I’d put the over/under at 2040.

Rich Jepsen
Alameda, Calif.

Nothing to see here
There’s nothing wrong with the Masters Tournament name (“Should Masters change its name?” June 29).

Donnie Blanks
Jupiter, Fla.

Masters name has ‘no nefarious meaning’
I am an average person who loves the game of golf. I have no problem understanding what the Masters Tournament is all about (“Should Masters change its name?” June 29). It is a brand name given to a prestigious golf tournament in which the best players in the world are invited to participate. The participants are masters of the game. Golf is the sport on display. How difficult is that to grasp?

I don’t think Augusta National Golf Club wants to change a brand name that it has worked so hard to establish for the past 80-plus years. It has no nefarious meaning unless you have an unsavory agenda.

Jerry Adams
The Woodlands, Texas

Shame on ‘a bad, bad white man’
Trendy. Alex Miceli is a bad, bad white man (“Should Masters change its name?” June 29). Shame on him and his racism, that he’s not even aware that it exists inside of him.

So insensitive.

Harry Rasmussen
Santa Cruz, Calif.

There he goes again
Alex Miceli is at it again (“Should Masters change its name?” June 29). He chastised the PGA Tour for the restart of tournaments amid the pandemic ("PGA Tour's 'bubble' bursts with Nick Watney fiasco," June 22). Now, the Masters Tournament name is inappropriate in this overly politically correct age.

It is difficult to process that Miceli accepts that he is a racist through guilt by association because of his schools, education and clubs, and because he is white. And his daughter told him so.

Perhaps he should consider starting a crusade. How about the designations of master plumber and master electrician? He could go international and get the Qatar Masters and other masters-named tournaments on the European Tour changed. And what about people who have the name Master, or a derivation of it?

It is a unique time we are experiencing. It might be a societal ideal, but it’s probably impossible never to hurt someone's feelings.

It will be interesting to see Augusta National’s reaction.

Dave Richner
St. Johns, Fla.

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