From The Inbox

Best players in world deserve shot at breaking par

Don’t resort to a clown’s mouth just so that the U.S. Open can prohibit the elite golfers from posting under-par scores

It's the U.S. Open and the annual discussion about course setup and whether the USGA knows what it's doing (“Are over-par scores a black mark on U.S. Open?” Sept. 10).

I suggest there's a simple measurement. If you assemble the best players in the world for a tournament, barring severe weather conditions, the winner should be under par. One or 2 under per day, a reasonable expectation, produces a winner of 4-8 under. Over par in good conditions? All that's missing is the clown with the mouth that opens and closes.

It's possible to set up a course where no one breaks 80, but what would be the point? And there's no point in a setup so severe that the best in the world can't break par when playing well.

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

The tougher, the better for U.S. Open
The U.S. Open should be a brutal setup (“Are over-par scores a black mark on U.S. Open?” Sept. 10).

Other PGA Tour courses turn into a birdie/eagle feast, with weekly drivable par 4s and reachable-in-two par 5s. Players love it, as do most fans.

However, major championships should not emulate regular Tour events. They always should be tough tests, with very tight fairways, heavy rough, no graduated or first cut and very fast greens.

Olympia Fields, the site of the recent BMW Championship, proved that it can be done. That was enjoyable to watch. The best player in the world, Dustin Johnson, and one of the best, Jon Rahm, finished tied at 4 under before Rahm won.

The Masters setup is outdated and is a birdie/eagle feast. So is the PGA and, when it is played at St. Andrews, the British Open. So, it was refreshing to see a real test of skill at Olympia Fields.

I hope that USGA chief Mike Davis got the message and makes Winged Foot tough this week for the U.S. Open, though I have my doubts. He seems to favor under-par scoring, especially in the last rounds.

So, let the guys complain about finally having to play a brutal test for one tournament. Jack Nicklaus loved tough Open setups, and Lee Trevino had success because of his ability to put his tee shots in fairways that were 25 yards wide.

Gregory Tatoian
Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Follow the science and stay away from the galleries
I was shocked and disappointed to see masses of fans at the Champions Tour event in South Dakota last weekend without social distancing or masks.

The recent biker rally in South Dakota produced reports of more than 300 new COVID-19 cases, so perhaps I should not be so surprised. With most sporting events taking place without fans in order to help contain this deadly virus, where was the responsibility of the PGA Tour at this dangerous time? Perhaps making money from having all of these people at the event became more important than protecting the public. Why would the PGA and LPGA tours have tournaments without fans, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, compared with the seniors, who are far more susceptible to the virus?

I understand the desire to get out and about after being restricted by the virus, but it is not yet the time to do that. When a vaccine finally is distributed and the public is protected from this terribly infectious and vicious disease, then we can get together again safely.

The country may be divided politically, but we should be coming together to defeat this global menace. I beg people of every political persuasion to follow the science, and that includes the PGA Tour.

Paul Sunderland
Los Angeles

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