From The Inbox

A chance for CBS and Pebble Beach to shine

Without amateur/celebrity horde, network should ‘break out of that stale formula’ for this week’s PGA Tour event, reader writes

I don’t think I ever will get to Pebble Beach Golf Links, much less play there. The majority of recreational golfers will not get to experience this gem. This is a perfect year to really highlight the land and layout more than ever before at the PGA Tour’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am (“Why this week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am could be best ever,” Feb. 9).

The absence of the amateurs and so-called celebrities offer the chance for CBS to take a different approach, break out of that stale formula that few true fans found appealing.

Bring in a course architect to analyze the holes and pin placements. Present testimonials from past champions describing why the course is so special, other than the setting. The possibilities are many. Will the network revert to the tried and tired, or give the viewers the needed break we deserve?

If I hear Ian Baker-Finch say “Paah” or “Is that right, Dottie?” one more time, I might shoot my TV.

Ken Chojnacki
Delran, N.J. 

Golf’s version of the Sistine Chapel
Somehow, going back to Pebble Beach just won’t be the same for this week’s PGA Tour event (“Why this week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am could be best ever,” Feb. 9). I haven’t been there since 1969 and honestly can say that I miss the area every time the circus comes to town.

Back in those days, Spyglass was $35, including cart, and it was as if we’d gone to heaven. Only playing St. Andrews has ever matched the feeling of being at Spyglass.  

I also just read Joe Passov’s piece “Summer solstice at Spyglass Hill” (Where To Golf Next, June 22) and would have to debate the inference that Nos. 2-5 is one of the greatest stretches of holes in all of golf. How do you not include the first hole? The feeling is nothing short of amazing upon turning left at that dogleg. The fairway slopes away, down to the green, with the blue Pacific beyond, all the way to the horizon. It’s so intense. I can’t imagine how many balls are lost there.

Don’t get me wrong. The start of Spyglass is so stimulating that it was hard to gather my thoughts to play the rest of the course. My brain was scrambled, and it’s even more surreal when nearly every hole has a handful of deer watching. They must have a hoot witnessing what happens the rest of the way home.

The final 12 or 13 holes are some of the toughest anywhere. Players must have that deer-in-the-headlights look upon stepping off 18. I know that I could barely think straight; I was whipped.

Alas, the late Robert Trent Jones had it right when said it was like being offered a chance to paint at the Vatican.

Peter Croppo
Bayfield, Ontario

Flow vs. pace: Caddies know the difference
I was somewhat confused by the PGA of America's decision to allow distance-measuring devices to be used in its championships, for several reasons.

The terminology of helping “the flow of play” and not a reference to pace of play was curious. These are different terms. I think of “flow” being more about backups on par 3s, reachable par 5s and drivable par 4s. DMDs will have zero impact on this.

As Alex Miceli pointed out for Morning Read (“PGA of America OKs rangefinders for its big events,” Feb. 10), the PGA Tour has done research on DMDs and pace of play. Their use made little or no difference. In fact, many Tour caddies, including John Wood and Kip Henley, have said it very well could slow down play. I'm big on surveys; the caddies would have been a great place to start.

Given that DMDs could have been approved in 2019, why now? It's a head-scratcher that seems really to be more about the PGA trying to make its championships look more like my Saturday men's club and Thursday women’s day.

Ted Bishop
Franklin, Ind.
(Bishop, a former PGA of America president, owns and operates The Legends Golf Club in Franklin and is an occasional contributor to Morning Read.)

It’s hardly a calculated risk to break with this tradition
Alex Miceli’s article in Morning Read (“PGA of America OKs rangefinders for its big events,” Feb. 10) sounds like my reaction 40 years ago that kids shouldn’t be permitted to have electronic calculators for math class and tests.

“Because we’ve always done it that way” isn’t a good answer to progress.

Joseph Kershaw Dreitler                      
Columbus, Ohio

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