From The Inbox

Adding fuel to Golf Channel’s ‘dumpster fire’

How bad is ‘Golf Today’? Reader would rather watch Stephen A. Smith but questions potential bias in Golf Channel reporting

I agree with reader Tom Wise, who wrote that Golf Channel has turned into a “dumpster fire” (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 15). The other day, I tuned into the network’s “Golf Today” show to see some preliminary reporting on the Sony Open. After 15 minutes, I switched over to ESPN’s “First Take.” When Stephen A. Smith is the better option, there’s a problem.

But there’s an image issue with Golf Channel. The Federal Election Commission’s contributor-lookup website shows that, although the amounts were small, Damon Hack, a co-host on “Golf Today,” contributed in May 2020 to ActBlue, a Democratic political-action committee. One of the contributions was “earmarked for Biden for President.” The fact that the amounts were small is not the issue. The issue is, what kind of unbiased reporting can we expect from Golf Channel?

After Wednesday’s inauguration, outgoing President Donald Trump and his golf properties will continue to be a big story in the golf world. We know from the reactions to Alex Miceli’s recent commentaries in Morning Read that the golf world is divided in its opinions. We form our opinions from news. How can we be sure we’re getting unbiased news from Golf Channel when one of its co-hosts is publicly announcing his partisanship?  If I want political partisanship, I’ll watch MSNBC or Fox News. Now I probably can’t even trust Golf Channel.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

Off with all of their heads
The golf organizations are now controlled by the very corporate elitists from Wall Street and Silicon Valley who make up a new Gilded Age. The PGA of America is headed by the woke corporatist virtue signaler Seth Waugh, always desperate to exhibit his high moral standing.

The USGA president is the Silicon Valley profiteer Stu Francis, a member of San Francisco Golf Club. The USGA is not a golf organization any longer. It is a corporate bureaucracy of cowards increasingly irrelevant to the game. Contrast Francis with the last great USGA president, the late Grant Spaeth, another San Francisco Golf Club member who was dedicated tirelessly to the highest standards of the game. 

The USGA kowtows to the PGA Tour and the American Junior Golf Association, where Stephen Hamblin shakes down foolish parents with deceptive talk about college golf scholarships and increasingly professionalizes junior golf. 

The USGA calls the players in its open events “customers.” Since when are “customers” recipients of a $12.5 million U.S. Open purse? The greats – Joe Dey, P.J. Boatwright, Frank Hannigan and David Fay – are followed by the disappointing Mike Davis, who has turned out to be just as much of a corporate bureaucrat as former PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua, now with NBC Sports.

The PGA Tour, whose commissioner replaced the ultimate corporate-speak drudge Tim Finchem, will stoop to any level to make another dime. Jay Monahan wouldn’t know the best interests of the game if they simultaneously bit his rear end.

Golf increasingly moves toward being just as corrupt and sanctimonious as the miserable frauds of the NBA, NFL and MLB – more and more detested and ignored by countless mere “deplorable” Americans opposed to the anti-Americanism and blatant irrationality of the Totalitarian Left.

No golf organization takes seriously an obligation to look out for these best interests of the game. A secular preacher such as Morning Read’s Alex Miceli is symbolic of the empty swamp of woke barbarism that threatens to afflict golf.

Randy Reed
Fayetteville, Ark.

A stance that needed to be taken
Morning Read’s Alex Miceli will be crucified by President Donald Trump’s ardent followers for his commentary, but Miceli was correct to ask the PGA of America to be responsible and not support this man who seems to forget that he is not a king.

In reading Miceli’s articles, one can only conclude that any association with Trump by professional golf would have cost the PGA money (“Golf needs to take a stand against Donald Trump,” Jan. 8; “It’s beginning of end for Donald Trump’s golf empire,” Jan. 12).

Thank you for taking the needed position.

Leo Coyle
Dover, N.H.

Another option for Morning Read
I find it interesting that golf has become “woke.”

Many of the 74 million-plus who voted for President Donald Trump are of the working class and look forward to their Saturday rounds with friends and/or family. Golf might lose some of their support through less equipment, etc., purchased at retail rather than at a golf course.

I also believe that most players on the PGA Tour voted for the president. Morning Read would be better served sticking with golf and forgetting politics (“Golf needs to take a stand against Donald Trump,” Jan. 8; “It’s beginning of end for Donald Trump’s golf empire,” Jan. 12).

Gil Dudrow
Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Keep it in perspective
Comments in support of the golf industry distancing itself from President Donald Trump have been thoughtful and compelling (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 11, Jan. 12, Jan. 13, Jan. 14, Jan. 15). However, one of the recurring themes strikes me as something less than that.  

Most modern-era U.S. presidents have played the game, and the best of the lot skill-wise probably was John Kennedy. Since then, off the top of my head, the presidential golf ranks include Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Trump. 

Knowing what we know about the rules, if we had to guess, how many of them didn't, at some point, cheat?

How many never improved their lie? How many always went back to the tee after finding a ball to be out of bounds? How many never took an illegal drop? How many never gave themselves a 2-footer or took a mulligan?

If we apply the age-old adage, Once a cheater always a cheater, well ....

The point is, if strict adherence to the rules is a requirement for being associated with golf, how many U.S. presidents past and present even would qualify? 

My guess: Only the ones who never played.  

If we apply that same standard to corporate sponsorship, how many corporate executives have a pristine record with the rules? If a CEO wants to sponsor a PGA Tour event, should there be a pre-contract investigation to make sure that the CEO doesn’t pad his or her handicap at the club?   

Should golf writers-turned-activists/moral authorities impose their wrath of righteousness on that, too? 

This isn't a point in favor of the industry continuing its association with Trump – arguments against that are far too strong – but with emotions running as high as they are, it’s important to keep everything in reasonable perspective. 

Jim Westerman 
Hanover Park, Ill.

The true effect of PGA’s decision
Yes, the PGA of America pulled its 2022 PGA Championship out of Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., but here’s a news flash for reader Garen Eggleston: The PGA is going to place it somewhere else (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 15).

So, there will be no net loss to the working class that Eggleston mentions. Those workers in and around Trump National will lose, but those in and around the new location will gain. So, the decision will not have the effect that Eggleston described.

One thing he is right about: The decision will not significantly affect Donald Trump’s bottom line, but the place where it will hurt him the most is in his enormous ego. Trump loses the opportunity to rub elbows with the PGA Tour pros and get in front of every camera, acting like he’s best pals with those guys. It also removes any chance of Trump forcing himself onto the TV broadcast during the event.

Those are the best ramifications of the PGA’s wise decision.

Gregg Cook
Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Different opinion? Reader can handle it
I have to chuckle when I read righteously indignant letters to the editor such as the ones in Morning Read last week (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 11, Jan. 12, Jan. 13, Jan. 14, Jan. 15).

I want to ask the writers, “Do you immediately unsubscribe from every media platform (newspaper, magazine, website, podcast, etc.) that prints or broadcasts an opinion that's not exactly like yours?" If so, your list of “news” sources must be extremely short. Hmm. You might even be part of the current problems we as a society are enduring.

The pieces written by Alex Miceli clearly are attributed only to him as the author; they are not necessarily meant to convey the stand of the entire Morning Read organization (“Golf needs to take a stand against Donald Trump,” Jan. 8; “It’s beginning of end for Donald Trump’s golf empire,” Jan. 12). So, to say, I'm not going to read anything from any of you, ever again seems pretty short-sighted. If you know that you don't like Miceli’s (or whomever’s) opinions, just don't click on that article. Your blood pressure will thank you.

Lastly, I long have noticed that whenever someone says, “I'm no [fill in the blank], it usually turns out that he or she is exactly the thing professed not to be. Try this: If you know that the accented (i.e., foreign) broadcasters on whatever network are going to make your ears hurt, mute the sound and turn on the closed captions. You might even get a few laughs. Sometimes the captions are hilarious.

Keep up the good work, Morning Read. Some of us really don't mind seeing different perspectives.

Beverly O'Fee
Salt Lake City

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