From The Inbox

Televised golf during pandemic puts focus on course

With no spectators and fewer visual distractions, East Lake looks much as the late Bobby Jones would have seen it, reader contends

I’ve become used to watching golf on television in this time of contagion. Most of the star players are back, but no galleries, which bothered me for a while. The canvas was missing all the people watching play, surrounding the tees and the greens, and lining the fairways, and it just looked and felt different.

But after a while I realized the lack of galleries let me see the golf course as I would see it if I were playing: open, with no one else around other than a few players and maybe some of the grounds crew.

It was especially nice to see East Lake during the Tour Championship the way the late Bobby Jones would have seen and played his home course, albeit with the nines reversed, with no galleries.

And as a prolific writer, Jones had something pertinent to say about all the aspects of the game he loved. Regarding galleries, Jones wrote, “I once told a friend that the easiest way to determine the distance to the hole was by considering the size of people around the green. His reply was that there never were any people around the green when he was playing.”

That’s my problem, too.

John Fischer
(Fischer, a retired attorney, is a golf historian who is a past president of the Golf Collectors Society, a longtime member of the USGA’s Museum and Library Committee and an occasional contributor to Morning Read.You can read his work here.)

Welcome to the FedEx Money Grab
As I write, the final round of the FedEx Farce, er,Cup, is underway. There are, by my calculation, several players ahead of Dustin Johnson, except for the fact that he was spotted anywhere from two to 10 shots before the start of the tournament.

I find it hard to believe that golf fans find this the proper way to hold a “playoff” for the best players in the world. If the PGA Tour does not have enough faith in its product to hold a real playoff – some form of match play – then just call it the FedEx Money Grab and ditch the idea that this represents a real playoff in any shape or fashion.

If any combination of the supposed top 30 players in the world can't make an attractive final pairing for TV and the fans, then you have to question the depth of the product being offered.

Please, commissioner Jay Monahan: Surely you can do better.

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

Golf stands as a vehicle for change
To those readers ofMorning Readwho are offended by the subtle actions of some professional golfers to make others aware of racism and classism (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Sept. 2, Sept. 3, Sept. 4, Sept. 7), I ask you this: Are you offended by the endless reminders of endorsements on the clothing of golfers? The only articles of clothing that do not have a logo might be ones not visible to TV viewers. Do you find offensive the constant in-your-face capitalism of tournament sponsorship, in which every tee box is adorned with sponsor signage? The placement of cars “floating” on the nearest water feature really sets me off.

The history of golf is peppered with examples of racism, classism and sexism. If not now, when will the time be right to take on some of the ills of society? Golf can be a small part of our nation’s new self-awareness, no matter where on the political spectrum we reside.

On Sunday, many golfers took to the links to honor and support those who have defended our country. Charities all over the world have gained support through the generosity of golfers. I believe golf is an excellent way to accomplish good deeds and have fun doing so.

Ken Chojnacki
Delran, N.J.

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