From The Inbox

Misplaced link of Augusta National and political ideology

Reader questions a letter writer’s attempt to connect Augusta National Golf Club and the Senate runoff elections in Georgia

Wow, what an interesting letter from Charlie Jurgonis in Saturday’s edition of Morning Read ("From the Morning Read inbox," Nov. 14).

While I must concede that I’m not up on all of the politically correct terminology that seems to be in vogue these days, I have heard of the term woke, and I think Jurgonis just made an attempt to woke us all. The problem is that I'm not buying Jurgonis’ attempt to relate the Senate runoff elections in Georgia and his obvious political ideology to Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters.

First, ANGC and the Masters have zero to do with the Senate races. The Masters is being played as we speak, and the Senate runoff elections are not until Jan. 5. I'm not sure why Jurgonis thinks the two events would collide.

Second, I see words such as diversity, inclusion and exclusion thrown out, with the obvious meaning that Jurgonis thinks ANGC should be run differently than it is. As a private club, ANGC has the right to run its club as it sees fit for its dues-paying membership. However, as demonstrated with news just this week, ANGC continues not only to support the game of golf, but also golf in the African-American community (see Paine College, an African-American college that ANGC has supported for some 20 years). Also, Lee Elder has been chosen as an honorary starter along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player at the 2021 Masters.

The good news, Charlie, is that if Augusta National Golf Club sends you an invitation to join the club, you have the right to turn it down.

Finally, Charlie, I can assure you that the membership at ANGC never once considered canceling this November's Masters due to the Senate runoff elections and that the officials at the club never considered burying their heads in the sand, as you opined. However, should Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock win the Senate runoffs, they just might consider doing that. 

Bill Boutwell
Jacksonville, Fla.

Maybe Charlie Jurgonis needs to play more golf
Reader Charlie Jurgonis needs another hobby to go along with his musings in his frequent letters to the editor ("From the Morning Read inbox," Nov. 14).

I suggest that the Augusta National Golf Club leaders had their focus on presenting a golf course and Masters Tournament under the unusual circumstances of the pandemic and time of the year. Planning for the Masters in November probably was initiated shortly after the postponement in April.

Anticipating a U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia may not have been part of the Tournament Committee's planning in April. And then to imply that ANGC and the Masters Tournament might suffer the same fate as other Southern traditions, as well as falling under the national radar, seems presumptuous. 

Jurgonis must be reminded that ANGC's Masters Tournament Committee runs the show. The PGA Tour has limited input about the tournament. Any pressure from our national progressive leaders will have to go through the Masters leadership.

I suspect that the Masters' traditions will continue. 

Dave Richner 
St. Johns, Fla.

Augusta National as it was meant to be played
The scores are a bit lower at the Masters. The Augusta National Golf Club course is soft in every way. The greens are receptive, and so are the fairways, with very little roll. Thus, while many players bomb drives, the softness of the fairway and rough seems to be leveling the play. The rough is sticky, with long grass that is not trampled down by spectators. So, when a ball ends up in the deep stuff, the golfer has grass wrapping around the club.

Some players are hitting specialty clubs into the greens and scoring. Bryson DeChambeau came a cropper in the second round with a lost ball at the third hole, with no crowd or marshals placing flags as forecaddies. The players are seeing this event as a regular golfer does, with no extra eyes. Does that level the playing field? To some extent, it does. Bernhard Langer, at 63, made the cut, but lots of folks who hit the ball far past him were packing their bags after 36 holes.  

Augusta in April often is dry and rolling, and rough non-existent or trampled in the pine straw. It's good to see the course as designed, with a bit of fringe and fluffy pine straw.

Maybe the Masters Tournament Committee should learn that if the club narrows the fairways in the bombers’ landing area and not allow spectators in these soft grassy areas, the slight misses hit by the long drivers will be met with difficult lies. Don't change the ball, or the length of the course, but define the course with changes in landing zones. Cut the corner and miss by 1 degree and, oops, you're in the deep, sticky grass. Make the course as it was meant to be played. 

Patrick Scott
Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

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