From The Inbox

It’s time to cheer the ‘man in the arena’

As golf finds its way after a rough ride in 2020, perhaps everyone associated with the game should heed the words of the famous Rough Rider himself

I sure do love opening Morning Read these days and am most grateful for the team that makes the effort and takes the business risk to put a quality product in my mailbox every day, just for the asking. Is this a great country, or what?

I’ve been in and around the commercial side of the golf business for years. I consider John Hawkins to be one of the more interesting cats on the golf beat.

A couple of quotes quickly came to mind as I finished reading Hawkins’ piece about the evolving way sponsors present their messages on golf broadcasts (“PGA Tour’s brand madness reaches ad nauseam,” Aug. 24).

The first was the classic “man in the arena” quote from Teddy Roosevelt that gives credit to the man who is actually in the arena and not to the critics who would point out any shortcomings.

A second, particularly timely quote often used in times of turmoil: “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most willing to adapt.”

We are obviously in unprecedented times, and for our sport to thrive and, indeed, survive globally, the entire spectrum of golf stakeholders – fans, players, corporate partners, governing bodies, media and others – would be wise to be open-minded to adaptations across golf’s landscape. It’s a tough world for sports leagues and fans alike.

Let’s align and indeed encourage those “in the arena” to navigate and weather a course that continues to let us enjoy live, world-class golf from the comfort of our COVID-free (hopefully!) living rooms and on our devices. Just for the asking.

I did note with a touch of irony that I read Hawkins’ piece in an email that contained commercial support from advertisers/sponsors including golf balls, shoes, gloves, coffee, travel destinations, CBD products, fitness products and other categories. Not a problem for this reader, as the value of the content far outweighs the “intrusion.”

So many exciting moments coming up in golf in the next couple of months. So, thanks, FedEx and others. It’s a great time to be a golf fan, and kudos to those who bring the action right to our proverbial doorstep.

Is this a great country, or what?

Charley Moore
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
(Moore is a longtime golf-industry and private-equity executive whose background includes work as an agent for PGA Tour players and various startup roles with golf-related businesses.)

PGA Tour players, caddies know the risk
I enjoyed the article by John Hawkins and his writing style (“PGA Tour’s cash grab defies reality,” Aug. 17).

However, the last time I checked, the PGA Tour is in the free-enterprise world. No one is forcing us to watch, and no one is forcing advertisers to advertise. So, although I understand his perspective from a more liberal view, I would enjoy reading something from a free-enterprise view that also shows the charitable (not forced by government) contributions of the PGA Tour. The players are independent contractors, and so are the caddies. They understand their risk-reward choice.

Mike McNamara

The changing face of American golf
I was just looking at the Sand Valley piece in “Where To Golf Next” (“Sand Valley follows in Keiser’s footsteps,” Aug. 18). It hit all of the right notes.

I was on a Midwest trip July 31, returning the Saturday evening of the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park. On Aug. 4, we arrived at Sand Valley met by Mike Keiser Jr., who played Mammoth with us and gave the cook's tour. What an ambitious project and a very talented young man. We played Sand Valley the next day with a founder/investor. It's a very interesting business model.

Despite the COVID-19 protocols, the place was super busy. He did put an additional Tom Doak-designed course on hold, and Doak has agreed to re-create the Lido (N.Y.) Golf Club, sans the ocean, on the property. I was fascinated to hear the history of the lumber operations, tax abatements, environmental issues and the fact that the "forests" really were created for commercial purposes in sand perfect for golf. Like his dad, Michael has done a masterful job dealing with all the constituencies one encounters in a project of this scale.

I have said for years that Mike Keiser changed the face of American golf. It's not just the fact that he has introduced public golfers to the joys of playing on links-style sandy soil, but Sand Valley and similar projects can serve to make the game a bit more egalitarian, as it is in Scotland.

Al Jamieson
Burlingame, Calif.

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