From The Inbox

PGA Tour’s popularity push proves to be unpopular with reader

$40 million bonus plan needlessly enriches and enables players and would be better spent on charity, reader contends

Really, the PGA Tour needs to pay its players for being popular? (“PGA Tour launches $40 million popularity contest, report says,” April 21). What a waste of money that should go directly to charities.

I believe that all players earn enough these days that they don’t need to be further enriched, and well above their fans, by paying them because someone looks them up on Google. Has it come down to this to placate and keep the players happy?

The players have become completely enabled by the PGA Tour, and this just shows that any player can’t be liked, or not, on his own merits. I doubt if most will participate, other than the easy money at the end of the trail.

Shame on you, PGA Tour. This idea never should have crossed the table to be put into action. It disgusts me and probably will drive me further from watching them play.

Steven Eichberg
Plymouth, Mass.

PGA Tour should be paying taxes on all that loot
After watching Golf Channel’s Jaime Diaz state that it’s time for the players and everyone to accept the fact that the PGA Tour is a business, I fully agree with that statement. But it’s also time for all sporting leagues to lose their nonprofit status and pay taxes on the huge amounts of cash generated (“PGA Tour launches $40 million popularity contest, report says,” April 21).

I’m not a supporter of increases in taxes, but if the PGA Tour has $40 million to designate to the most popular players, then it’s time to pay its share.

The PGA Tour might have stepped on its own feet with this move.

Garen Eggleston
The Villages, Fla.

Keeping up with the Kardashians, PGA Tour-style
Well, it's full Kardashian on the PGA Tour now (“PGA Tour launches $40 million popularity contest, report says,” April 21).

$40 million to divvy up for the top 10 “brands” on Tour. It’s time to add a PR flack to your team. Or, maybe it's a posse now, as that might be a more needle-moving term in the social-media circus.

Tiger Woods’ kids can relax; their dad’s estate will be collecting the top spot in the Player Impact Program long after Woods is pushing up daisies.

One thing’s for sure: This bonus pool is a pip!

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

Something doesn’t smell quite right
The PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program (or PIP, soon to be known as PIMP) awkwardly attempts to keep top players competing here in Tour events, rather than running off for monster appearance fees in Dubai, China or elsewhere. PIP stymies the already-nixed Premier Golf League while helping to quiet U.S. tournament sponsors who are paying big bucks for sometimes inglorious fields.  

So, the Tour throws money at “big draws,” thus creating two classes, the haves and have-nots, based on popularity. The cool clique versus the nerds. Was it Charles Barkley who noted that nothing is free to those who really need it, while everything is free for those who don’t? 

The big draws earned their popularity because of their excellent play … here, not elsewhere for guaranteed money. Doing so on our Tour enhances their celebrity Q factor which gauges likability, and translates into celebrity endorsement “bonuses,” which accomplishes much the same as PIP. In Phoenix, we felt dissed when Phil Mickelson skipped our Waste Management Phoenix Open for overseas dollars. His Q factor surely dropped.  

The PIMP plan may or may not be worth the potential disharmony. The good feelings I’ve had for the Tour because of its meritocracy just took a hit. It’s juxtaposed with the players’ status as independent businessman and their freedom to earn where and what they can.

It’s a very puzzling situation, with too many questionable motives from all sides for my taste. It might achieve desired goals, but I’m not sure I’d want to be on this list. In my day, teacher’s pets caught lots of side-eye from the rest of the class.

Gary Stauffenberg
Phoenix

Augusta National and cancel culture
I find reader Richard Jepson's claim that Dan O'Neill “insinuated that Augusta National bravely stood up to the women’s movement" a bit strange (“From the Morning Read inbox,” April 20).  

I don't think O'Neill insinuated ("dog whistled") any such thing, and that's not what Augusta did to begin with. The club didn't stand against the women's movement. It stood for its sponsors when Martha Burk attempted to hijack the limelight from the Masters tournament to advance a sociopolitical agenda. 

Cancel culture – censoring and/or punishing ideological non-conformance – is rooted in cowardice (it's also a fundamental component of totalitarian regimes), and the only thing the club “stood up to” in that instance was Martha Burk's attempt to use cancel-culture tactics against tournament sponsors. 

The issue wasn't the movement; it was the methodology. 

Jim Westerman
Hanover Park, Ill.

Standing up for New Jersey
In the inimitable words of Walter Sobchak in “The Big Lebowski,”  John Hawkins is “over the line” (“On PGA Tour, only little guys get slapped for slow play,” April 21).

“ … like a dumpster in Jersey City"? Come on, John! Hudson County is New Jersey's crown jewel. This includes golf. Surely you are aware that Liberty National is in Jersey City. Bayonne Golf Club (Hudson County) is an exceptional club. Throw in a tremendous municipal nine-hole course, Skyway Golf Course in Jersey City, and we are approaching golf mecca.

Though I don't have the hookup at Liberty National, Hawkins should make his way down I-95 to Jersey City to play Skyway for some common-man golf. I'd be happy to host.

I enjoy John Hawkins’ commentary. Just take it easy on Jersey City.

Raul Perez
Hoboken, N.J.

Hip-stretch video doesn’t go far enough
In Wednesday’s Morning Read, the MR.TV “Projct Golf” instructional video talked about stretching the hips for a better golf swing (“A hip stretch for better movement on and off the golf course,” April 21).

Though the video nicely demonstrated a standard hip stretch, which is generally referred to as an external hip stretch, it never mentioned, let alone demonstrated, its important, evil, nasty brother, the internal hip stretch, the money-shot stretch for a really good transition in the golf swing.

For my money, and maybe because the external hip stretch is one that I am able to do fairly comfortably, my performing an internal hip stretch to the desired end is as likely as my teeing it up with my buddies at Augusta National tomorrow. (For those of you unfamiliar with these stretches, watch Projct Golf’s demonstration of the external right hip stretch in which the instructor’s right, lower leg points to the left. Now imagine a similar stretch in which the lower leg points to the right. I’m not suggesting or recommending that you try doing it; if you do, you’re on your own. To get a sense of my point, sit on the floor with both legs extended straight out. Now, keeping your heel on the floor and no bend in your knee, turn your foot as far as it comfortably goes to the right, and similarly then to the left. Notice how far the foot rotates. See what I’m getting at?)

In any case, thanks for the wonderful offerings.

Ken Olshansky
Wellington, Fla.

Morning Read invites reader comment. Write to editor Steve Harmon at steve@morningread.com. Please provide your name and city of residence. If your comment is selected for publication, Morning Read will contact you to verify the authenticity of the email and confirm your identity. We will not publish your email address. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity.

Sign up to receive the Morning Read newsletter, along with Where To Golf Next and The Equipment Insider.