From The Inbox

Celebrate golf and kiss your caddie

Reader lauds Lee Westwood for ‘his own decision-making’ amid an ‘enjoyable change of pace’ with fiancée on the bag

How refreshing it was to see a professional golfer plying his trade using an amateur non-professional caddie (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 18).

Lee Westwood measured his own distances, chose his own club, shaped his own shots, read his putts, and finished second in two events.  Helen Storey did clean his clubhead and ball, repair divots, and rake the sand trap when she was responsible for these course duties. 

I saw Westwood smiling throughout his rounds with Storey on his bag. He was enjoying the game he plays to make a living.  At the end of the round, I watched him kiss his girlfriend/fiancée.

It was a joy to see and watch him play his own round of golf. He relied on his own decision-making, and didn’t do a bad job at all. We amateurs do this each and every round when we play.

I am not against professional loopers at all, but it was an enjoyable change of pace.

Tom Nenos
River Ridge, La.

A world view of fiancée as caddie
An English golfer whom I know takes extended vacations with his fiancée: to the Middle East in the autumn and the U.S. in the spring. Apparently, he goes ’round finding the best golfers on the planet, and they are bankrolled to play matches for about $25,000 a round.

Recently, he has beaten dozens and lost only to three, and even those he also has won against. He seems as though he is having a great time.

Even so, I've seen some comments suggesting he could have done better if he always hit perfect shots, or didn't spend so much time with the love of his life (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 18).

He might not agree.

Terry Wall
Winchester, England

Westwood would have benefitted from experienced looper
I have to disagree with reader Charlie Jurgonis (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 19).

A more experienced caddie would have helped Lee Westwood hit the right shot with the right club on the 16th hole in the final round of the Players Championship. He had 247 yards to the hole, into the wind. He pulled out what looked like a long iron or hybrid club. A few groups before him, Justin Thomas, who is a longer hitter than Westwood, had a little more than 220 yards for his second shot into 16 and went for an all-out 5-wood held into the wind. His shot was more gutsy, but it was the only way to get a second shot from that distance onto that green in those conditions. The interplay between Thomas and his caddie expressly described it.

From 20 yards farther away, Westwood probably needed to hit a 3-wood held into the wind to find the green. If he didn't have that shot or was not comfortable with hitting it at that critical juncture, then he should have laid up and relied on his very good wedge game. I questioned what he was doing as it happened, and he paid the consequences.

It was not necessarily an errant shot but not a well-thought-out one, which factored in the conditions. A more knowledgeable caddie could have and would have walked him through that club selection process as did Thomas' caddie.

Ken Cohen
Jeffersonville, N.Y.

Dressing down a lack of decorum
Week-old flowers to reader Craig Libhart, who suggested that Lee Westwood's fiancée Helen Storey is cause for Westwood’s inability to win recent tournaments (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 18). Hardly.

Unfortunately, Westwood has been blowing tournaments on his own for his whole career. And that's OK. There are many players who had wonderful careers who were somewhat allergic to winning. Westwood seems to be doing just fine.

Bonne chance to him and Storey.

Is there a dress code on the PGA Tour? Players removing their clothes down to their skivvies to play a shot, such as what occurred at the recent Honda Classic, is embarrassing to the sport.

These guys are professionals. Keep your clothes on, please.  If you don’t want to get your clothes dirty then don't hit it there, or take a drop.

What's next? Guys teeing off wearing nothing but gym shorts and a smile?

In a sport that has lost some of its integrity in recent years, is it too much to ask for people to at least keep their clothes on while playing? 

Ken Drake
Albany, Ore.

An island vibe
I greatly enjoyed reading Peter Kaufman’s question-and-answer piece with Chi Chi Rodriguez (“Catching up with Chi Chi,” March 19).

It was nice to learn about how much Kaufman’s grandfather enjoyed playing at TPC Dorado Beach, one of the great golf venues in existence. I just returned from playing with three friends, and it was thrilling.

In addition to sharing my appreciation for Kaufman’s article, I wanted to point out that Puerto Rico Golf is ascendant. Not only is Rafa Campos a PGA Tour member who finished third in the Puerto Rico Open last month, but Maria Torres is a rising star on the LPGA. Further, the USGA just announced that it will host a women’s amateur championship there next year (the first ever held outside the U.S. mainland), and it added the Puerto Rico Golf Association as an alliance member, an enormous move that will impact the game and participation on the island.

Speaking of the PRGA, it is growing junior golf significantly, and combined with Puerto Rico’s PGA Section proactivity doing altruistic things for youth and others through the game. Everyone who loves golf should be encouraged by the island’s ever-growing contribution to it.

There are 18 courses on the island, with two more scheduled to open soon. And while the resort courses get most of the attention, there are some very good muni/community courses that host tens of thousands of rounds annually.

Thank you, Peter Kaufman, for sharing your obvious passion for the island, its people and the golf destination.

Dan Shepherd
Purcellville, Va.
(Shepherd owns Dan Shepherd Public Relations, which promotes Puerto Rico as a golf destination for its client Discover Puerto Rico, which is the island’s destination marketing organization.)

Accenting an emphasis on American English
I couldn’t agree more with reader Bob Cushing about the accents involved in golf broadcasts (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 4).

I would even like to add the fact that Golf Channel has hosts who speak with strong British or Australian accents on their daily programming schedule. I have to turn on closed captioning to understand them.

My wife and I have spoken about this many times. We simply wish there were more American accents involved in the broadcasts that have anything to do with golf.

Dave Dister
Washington, Mo.

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