Reader offers a few suggestions for columnist, along with an idea for a potential career change
John Hawkins seems to have caught two health afflictions at the same time: delusional syndrome, coupled with low testosterone (“PGA Tour’s cash grab defies reality,” Aug. 17).
In referencing athletes in other sports, he made the colossal error of failing to mention guaranteed contracts, signing bonuses, benefits, paid-for security, free transportation and many other perks. The list is too long to mention them all. Except for select PGA Tour events, nothing is guaranteed except for the opportunity and platform for a golfer to improve his life, if he performs. Otherwise, a golfer actually can show up, pay the caddie’s salary and a host of other very substantial expenses and lose money for the week. Each time Hawkins shows up to cover events, the money goes only in one direction.
Once you digest that, then consider why Tiger Woods avoids California events except for a select few. I thought he might withdraw on Saturday of the recent PGA Championship when he had no chance to win. He would have lost less money. While in California performing his “job,” he becomes subject to the state’s 13.5 percent income tax plus the “athletes tax,” which taxes 1/365th of his endorsement income for each day that he sleeps in a California bed while there doing his job. I would put the daily tax burden at $25,000 per day, easily, for Woods. So that poor performance at the PGA cost him $300,000-plus for the Hawkinses of the world to criticize his every move.
Thankfully, Woods is financially blessed and secure, but who wants to lose money? Especially when you’re the subject of endless inquiry of your every move, constantly doubted and second-guessed. Then, if you think you can deal with that, consider the security bubble in which he must live to protect himself, his family and friends. Jack Daniel’s couldn’t get Hawkins to the first tee after all of that.
So, I might suggest that Hawkins get in shape, become friendlier with the next Rory McIlroy, learn to communicate with that player without creating indigestion and get some yardage books and study up. Then, he, too, could participate in the caddie windfall. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Get on a solid testosterone-therapy program, stop whining and go earn your piece of the American Dream.
Since you aren’t going to make it in that world, educate yourself and present a complete, balanced picture. If that’s possible, you’re capable of it and up to the job.
There’s no reason for Hawkins to resent PGA Tour’s riches
I was struck by the commentary from John Hawkins and how discordant is it, particularly for someone so entrenched in the business of golf (“PGA Tour’s cash grab defies reality,” Aug. 17).
I do agree with Hawkins that elements of the FedEx Cup playoff format are unconventional and, for some, difficult to comprehend. However, it is a season-long competition, and its underpinning is to get players to play more events, including the ones that Hawkins seem to disfavor. It is not merely about three weeks.
To me, the resumption of golf has been a great respite from the dread of the COVID-19 era. The golf has been high-quality and very compelling.
Hawkins might not have read that athletes are signing unprecedented money contracts in other sports – Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, for example – with guaranteed riches whether or not they play. Golf is different. It's totally based on merit.
We already can see a number of new and younger golfers seizing the moment and rising to the upper echelons.
Perhaps the money will stop flowing in golf as the recession claims its victims. I'm sure that Wyndham would have loved to opt out as the hotel industry is getting crushed.
I don't think most people resent rich athletes. I'm not sure why Hawkins seems to, either, based on his tone.
A creative solution to the game’s bashers
I don't understand why golf’s governing bodies are so wrought up over the distances that pro golfers are achieving off the tee. Golf’s leaders have an easy solution right at hand.
From 300 to, say, 370 yards, reduce the width of the fairway by 25 percent. In the same area, lengthen the rough by 50 percent. Add a bunker or two in key spots and perhaps rake the sand in them in one-inch furrows rather than leaving it glassy smooth. This would rein in the power hitters but still allow them to blast away, if they wish. And all of it can be easily reversed after the tournament for the regular players.
Politics infiltrated golf long before Kirk Triplett’s patch
In reading Bill Boutwell’s “Triplett’s patch takes things too far" letter (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Aug. 17), I am struck by his one-dimensional thinking.
Kudos to him for applauding the Triplett family for adopting "two minority children, providing them with a great home…” He’s also correct in avowing that the “lives of Triplett’s other two [non-minority] children, as well as the lives of everyone else on this planet” matter. Absolutely, all lives do, and always should, matter.
Where he goes south is misleading the reader about the supposed “BLM manifesto.” The group’s “belief statement” is "to build local power and to intervene when violence was inflicted on Black communities by the State and Vigilantes." I suppose that Boutwell believes the likes of the late George Floyd, Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown deserve no public reaction or community advocacy whatsoever? Maybe Boutwell is reading some other media’s interpretation, but nowhere in the BLM statement exists naked or otherwise calls to violence or mayhem. Instead, I read multiple and vigorous pleas for empathy, peace and justice for people regularly treated and perceived differently by our society daily. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with all of their positions, but they have an absolute legitimacy to their advocacy.
Sports, professional and amateur alike, are very public prisms for our society. In the age of instant digital media, they are content and attention vessels for corporate advertisements, as well as regular vehicles for political promotion from all sides. I’d wager that Boutwell has no problem with a current POTUS using Major League Baseball, college or pro football or even the PGA Tour for his personal promotion. Our country and most of its institutions have enthusiastically encouraged all of the above activity.
It isn’t “naïve” to believe that “somehow, professional golf could remain a safe haven from politics of the day….” Nonsense, especially as the PGA Tour readily and publicly has embraced its political friends on-air and off for most of the past two decades. It’s more like inescapable functional intolerance and bias on Boutwell’s part.
I laud Kirk Triplett for his taking a stand on behalf of any of his children, but especially so those who shouldn’t have to face the all-too-likely bias of wrongful assumption or ignorant fear at some traffic stop in their future. They’ll probably need that help in the future. Only when they don’t will our collective nation be better off.
Far Hills, N.J.
(Lapper is a co-owner of Fox Hollow Golf Club in Branchburg, N.J.).
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