From The Inbox

A split decision for Van Sickle

Reader agrees that 3-minute time limit to look for a lost ball is not long enough, but tapping down spike marks? It’s a smooth change

I agree with Gary Van Sickle on one of the two points: the time it takes to look for a ball (“These 2 revised rules could use another ruling,” Sept. 25).

Three minutes is not long enough, especially for amateur golfers, because we don't have the luxury of having marshals and thousands of people watching us play like the PGA Tour used to do before the coronavirus restrictions. Many times, it's just you and your competitor.

However, I don't agree with not tapping down spike marks or imperfections in your line. If you watch tour events on TV, you know that the leaders after Friday tee off last on Saturday. The players who made the cut and are playing Saturday but are at the bottom of the leaderboards are putting on perfect greens: No spike marks, no imperfections.

When the leaders tee off, every green has been walked on by 65 or more players and 65 or more caddies. It's not fair for the leaders to have to putt on greens that roll differently than the guy in 50th place. They should have, as close as possible, the same greens that earlier players got to putt on.

However, I do think some pros take advantage of this rule. I have seen players on TV appear to tap down the green from their ball to the hole on shorter putts. I can't believe there are that many imperfections on a 6-foot putt.

The only things my friends and I tap down on greens are ball marks after we have repaired them. I guess when you get to our age, you don't remember you can tap down other things, too.

Layne Yawn
Jonesboro, Ark.

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