From The Inbox

Incognito and in the money

Charles Howell III sets PGA Tour standard for stacking cash while keeping his trophy case relatively empty, and Tony Finau might be the next player to top-10 his way to fabulous riches

I know it’s easy to get caught up in the careers of the greatest golfers of all time and their place in the game. Hogan, Snead, Nicklaus, Palmer, Casper, Player, Woods, Mickelson.… The list of immortals goes on and on, and we love to debate who is or was better.

To me, the true test of the greatness of the PGA Tour is not the obvious but the incognito ones who continue to play well without winning often.

The poster child is Charles Howell III. He is less than $4,000 from earning $40 million in career money after coming in third at the 3M Open last week. He ranks 19th on the all-time money list, and he has done this in 20 years on Tour and only three titles. He is amazingly consistent, and I’ll bet that he can go to a restaurant anywhere in America and eat without an interruption for an autograph. He truly is incognito.

Is Tony Finau following in Howell’s footsteps? Six years on Tour, just shy of $19 million in earnings and only one win. Thirty top 10s in the past four years without a victory is impressive. Not everyone wins 10-15 or even 20 or more tournaments and still can compile a Wall Street fortune.

These guys are the PGA Tour's Rodney Dangerfields, all the way to the bank.

Bob Geismar
Boca Raton, Fla.

Another recreational golfer who falls short of the ‘distance problem’
After all these years of lessons, new equipment and high-tech golf balls, I have learned to “play it forward” and now play white, white/red or red tees, depending on the course.

One of my home courses in the 55-plus community where I live is 5,200 yards from the white/red combo and rated at 66.3, with a slope of 112. At my age, in the early 70s, if I hit a 200-yard drive, I'm thrilled. I will play a nearby well-known course, Wigwam Gold in Litchfield Park, Ariz., from the red tees. It's 5,885 yards and rated at 67.5, with a slope of 116.

Jack Nicklaus’ recent comment about doing something about the “distance problem” is absurd, because it applies only to professionals and low-handicap amateurs (“From the Morning Read inbox,” July 27). Nicklaus should visit his own designs to see how a bogey golfer plays them. I remember playing one of his resort courses, La Paloma Country Club in Tucson, where the slope from the white tees was 141. This was not a good experience.

Steve Shaffer
Goodyear, Ariz.

A bunker mentality
I like the comments on bifurcation of rules and balls for pros and amateurs, but I think what Jack Nicklaus said at the Memorial would make the course much tougher, even for long hitters (“From the Morning Read inbox,” July 27).

Nicklaus said to take the rakes out of the bunkers, and players and caddies can smooth the sand with their feet but not rake it to perfection.

Bunkers are supposed to be hazard areas and make it difficult to get out of and not encourage easy or predictable shots.

Nicklaus said he does not like hearing pros encourage their shots to “get in the trap” as opposed to landing in thick rough. He thinks bunkers should best be avoided.

I agree with this thinking, and it would make play faster for professionals and amateurs.

Nick Genoese
Boca Raton, Fla.

Purkey acts like ‘cynical old fogey,’ and Hawkins might be at fault
I must take offense to Mike Purkey’s out-of-bounds shot at the PGA Tour and the White House recalibration of its quarantine procedures (“Uncle Sam grants PGA Tour a coronavirus pass,” July 27).

I don’t know why Purkey suddenly has turned into a cynical old fogey, but he has done so recently. Perhaps being on the Hawk & Purk podcast with John Hawkins has soured his views.

Considering how stringently the Tour has taken its protocols, I see no problem with the loosening. The Tour has done way better than any other segment of the populace.

And as far as what Lee Westwood has to say, what makes him an expert on anything? I don’t think he has done anything worthy of having an impact on mankind.

Once again, Purkey seems to have created an agenda where none is needed. Instead of being complimentary of a great victory for a grinding pro such as Michael Thompson at the 3M Open, Purkey tries to make it political.

At this point, I may just stop following anything that he contributes.

Garen Eggleston
The Villages, Fla.

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