From The Inbox

If it was good enough for Mary, Queen of Scots …

Another Scottish reader gives match play the advantage over stroke play, and he dusts off the history books to reason why

Reader Robin Lawson is right about John Hawkins' article: match play is certainly not a second-rate form of golf (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 24).

Match play is the format that most club golfers play, week in and week out. At club level, it's far more exciting than any stroke-play event, because you always know how you stand versus your opponent. In the monthly medal, you may have the round of your life but still lose to someone who plays four hours after you finish. And 72-hole stroke play? I have played golf to a good amateur standard for most of my life, and I never have played 72-hole stroke play. Not once.

In fact, stroke play over 72 holes is a very modern form of golf. The Open Championship wasn't decided over 72 holes until the end of the 19th century. There already had been more than 30 Open Championships before it was first played over 72 holes. For those of you thinking that 1892 is a long time ago, it really isn't, not in golfing terms. Mary, Queen of Scots played golf in Edinburgh in the 1560s, and it wasn't a new game then. The golf that was played in those days was exclusively match play, head-to-head stuff. 

72-hole stroke play is just a version of golf which is easy for spectating, either live or on TV. It always goes to at least the 72nd hole, and it's easy to see who is winning because of the par yardstick (another modern invention). But it's not the original form of golf, and neither is it the best form. To suggest otherwise is just to ignore what has gone on at every golf course for hundreds of years.

George Fletcher
Edinburgh, Scotland

History supports PGA as major championship
The thought of demoting the PGA Championship has me, well, choking on my third cup of coffee (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 24).

Reader Peter Kaufman writes that he cares about the history of the game. Does Kaufman understand the history of the PGA Championship? It was the third major before Augusta was even dreamed of, and it has a rich history of playing on the most difficult of golf's venues. The PGA also has a tradition of defining greatness. (Tell that to Tom Watson or, if he were alive, Arnold Palmer about how much it would have meant to them to capture that elusive Grand Slam event.)

Kaufman makes a weak point to note that guys such as Y.E. Yang, Bob Tway, Steve Elkington and David Toms won the PGA. What does that mean? They simply were the best that week, defeating the complete field fair and square.

We could make a similar argument against every other major championship: U.S. Open (Orville Moody and Jack Fleck), Masters (Danny Willett, Charles Coody and Tommy Aaron and British Open (Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton). I could keep going on and on.

Please realize that the PGA Championship is a major of greatness, period, and that the Players Championship is, well, the Players. It stands alone in its own category and should be very pleased to be one of a kind.

It actually is better that way, if you think about it.

Bob Geismar
Boca Raton, Fla.

Apprentice program could groom LPGA’s next female leader
Reader Larry Ashe has hit the nail on the head regarding LPGA leadership, with one caveat (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 24).

If the “right person” chosen to run the LPGA happens to be a man, and the goal is to have a woman eventually run a golf tour for women and avoid another Carolyn Bivens-type debacle, then the LPGA should make the following investment: Give the new commissioner a five-year contract and the job to tutor a few women to take his place.

Create a position called “assistant commissioner” and hire three or four qualified candidates, with the idea that these women would be trained so that one eventually would become the commissioner. This should be a very well-paid apprenticeship so that even if a person does not get chosen in five years’ time, she would have made a nice living and leave with an incredible skill set transferable to many different tasks.

The training would have them be “in the room” all of the time. They would hear everything the commissioner hears, be privy to all of the knowledge the commissioner has about running the tour, and he would explain his rationale for every decision, good, bad or indifferent. The “assistant commissioners” should come from the women who make the shortlist this time around. To do so would show that the LPGA has an eye toward its members but also to the future.

Stephen Cooney
Pottstown, Pa.

LPGA should hire most qualified candidate, male or female
I agree with reader Larry Ashe about the type of candidate that the LPGA should be seeking as its new leader: the best and most qualified candidate, period (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 24).

My advice would be a person who revitalized two professional organizations to the highest level, John McDonough. I think the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Blackhawks would give high praise for their past president of operations.

James Wenzel
Barrington, Ill.

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