From The Inbox

Ryder Cup has lost its way

Gamesmanship and ugliness associated with Ryder Cup leaves match with less appeal than Presidents Cup, reader contends

I would echo Mike Purkey’s piece recapping the 1991 “War by the Shore” (“Kiawah’s Ocean Course: Site of golf’s rude awakening,” May 14).

I lost interest in the Ryder Cup a long time ago. It has lost its bearings and no longer resembles what it was intended to be.

Jack Nicklaus is admired for his golf accomplishments, but he has a lot of common sense, too. He once said, “The Presidents Cup is what the Ryder Cup used to be: a friendly competition for International bragging rights.”

Think about it. Watch the Presidents Cup. There is intensity, competition, emotion, a want-to-win, and there are fans making noise. But when it’s over, the competitors shake hands. The loser says, essentially, You got me this time, and that’s the end of it. No gamesmanship, ugliness, talking or writing about it forever. It’s over. The winner is happy, the loser laments, but everyone is a good sport. They smile and go home.

That’s what the Ryder Cup was created to be, not a cutthroat competition. If it can’t find its way again, then just scrap the whole thing. I wouldn’t lose a second of sleep over it.

I’m sure that Nicklaus had this attitude as far back as 1969, when he famously conceded Tony Jacklin’s 3-foot putt on the final hole to ensure a tie in their match and the team standings. Nicklaus understands the purpose of these matches. Of course, he was castigated by the win-at-all-costs crowd, but he sees and knows the big picture. Others don’t get it, at least not anymore. 

The Ryder Cup long has been over the line and too intense. It’s time to scale it back or scrap it altogether.

Jon Lucas
Little Rock, Ark. 

Mickelson should not accept Saudis’ ‘blood-stained money’
One reason why Phil Mickelson should not take the Saudis’ money is to not have his career stained by associating with a reckless authoritarian (“Phil Mickelson should take Saudis’ money,” May 10).

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman practices torture and oppression at home, state-sponsored interference in the affairs of other countries, including the horrific assassination of an innocent journalist, and pursues a ruinous war in Yemen that has created the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet today. None of that is “politics.”

This offer is not about “growing the game.” Mickelson has the chance to show us that he knows there is a line of human decency that cannot be crossed, no matter how much money is being held out as an incentive to do so. 

This is blood-stained money. If Mickelson is as smart as he wants us to think he is, he will say no.

Bob Jones
Salem, Ore.

First, a pandemic; now, ‘a bureaucratic brain fart’
I see that the NCAA canceled the women’s regional at Baton Rouge for some odd, very subjective reason: the course was not in “championship condition.” Ridiculous! These players lost their chance to play last year due to a legitimate problem: a worldwide pandemic. This year, the reason is a bureaucratic brain fart.

The Rules of Golf provide a local rule to help keep play going when conditions are less than perfect. It is referred to as “preferred lies” or, more commonly, “lift, clean and place.” Apparently, the local NCAA officials lacked common sense or basic problem-solving skills.

When the USGA played the U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek in 2018, it rained for days before the tournament. There effectively was no practice on the course. Players were seen practicing at the local TopGolf. Come Thursday morning, the show went on as scheduled. Casual water (now called temporary water) was in evidence throughout the course. Golf has a rule to deal with that condition. The same rule would apply in Baton Rouge.

The USGA stubbornly refused to invoke the local rule permitting preferred lies. (The blue coats must still believe that golf should be played with shepherds’ crooks and rocks.) Mudballs reigned for the first two rounds. The course clearly was not in championship condition, but the first two rounds were completed successfully.

For many of these players, this was to be their final competitive rounds in college. The NCAA made a heartless, baseless decision to cancel.

Jim Kavanagh
St. Augustine, Fla.

Keeping score on the NCAA
I’d like to join reader Garen Eggleston, who comments that the NCAA “has lost its way” (“From the Morning Read inbox,” May 14).

I’d add that it also has outlived its usefulness, or at least needs to be reorganized. However, I’d guess that the pushback would come most strongly from its employees.

The NCAA’s IRS 990 form for 2019 (the most recent year I was able to readily find) shows the president, Mark Emmert, was paid $2,651,466, the next officer made $1.265 million, and the next 10 employees were paid from $450,000 to nearly $650,000.

Not only is the NCAA mismanaged, but I would contend that the directors who authorize salary payment are not doing their jobs.

Gordon Williams
Ellsworth, Ohio

‘The Big Lebowski’ and the NCAA
Remember the scene in the bowling alley in “The Big Lebowski,” when Walter (Sobchak, played by John Goodman) turns to Donny (Kerabatsos, played by Steve Buscemi) and calls him a "miserable piece of ----"? That scene always reminds me of the NCAA.

What a ridiculous ruling at the NCAA Division I women’s golf regional in Baton Rouge, La. In other words, just another day from the NCAA.

Kenny Drake
Albany, Ore.

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