Nothing to laugh about
Mike Purkey is far too gentle on the PGA Tour and especially Golf Channel regarding celebrity pro-ams (“Golf stars gain top billing over A-listers,” Jan. 16, http://bit.ly/2mJ33io).
Purkey writes, Sure, we’d like to know that golf does evil things to the psyches of famous people in the same way it torments us. But would you rather know Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry or the schlub who can’t get the ball over the ravine on No. 8 at Pebble Beach?
No, actually I don't think we care about the psyches of B- and C-listers on any golf course. We know. We play the game.
I'll wager that a large percentage of regular watchers of PGA Tour events choose to be on the course ourselves or getting root canals rather than watching Kenny G or Ray Romano yuck it up while they double their way around the course. Even Bill Murray's schtick is old and stale, and I consider him to be a national treasure.
Two weeks of listening to whatever GC talking head tell us he has lived in Hawaii for 35 years a thousand times, and now we have to suffer through Carson Daly interviews? I'd rather put out a campfire with my face.
I'll be watching the Euro Tour stop, wherever it is.
Change the course, for a change
Dave Sanguinetti is dead on (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 16, http://bit.ly/2mK1RuW).
The problem with long balls is not the ball or the guy hitting it. It is the course that is set up to play a consistent 350-yard drive from every pro on the PGA Tour. It’s not the course that the rest of us have to play, where a well-struck ball goes 305-310, maybe.
Instead of changing the ball, change the course. Shorten the course, not lengthen it. Put in a waste area full of plants at the 275-375-yard mark; make a dogleg at the 205 mark; narrow the fairways; let the short grass grow and then cut it the next day. Don’t let the caddies walk the course and take measurements. There are so many ways that a Sunday score could be increased to 8 under or 10 under as the winner instead of 17 under or lower.
Take the driver out of Dustin Johnson’s and Rory McIlroy’s hands and make them hit irons from the tee box. It’s harder to make birdie from 180 yards than it is from 80 yards. I wouldn’t roll the greens, either. Make them a little hairy so the spin from that 9-iron moves back only 2 feet instead of 12.
Erin Hills should have been a better U.S. Open site, but when the pros complained about the course and the U.S. Golf Association cut it to appease them, it wasn’t an Open any longer. They should have told the pros to suck it up and play golf.
Kenneth C. Taylor
Fort Worth, Texas
That’s what I’ve been saying
Pass along my thanks to Dave Sanguinetti. This is the most reasonable response to all the concern about how the professional game has changed (“improved”). It’s time to change the courses, not the technology.
I have been ranting about this for some time. Unfortunately, no one wants to listen, and I certainly don’t have any influence over those who make such monumental decisions. I was refreshing to hear from someone else who is like-minded.
Another way to solve distance debate
After Dustin Johnson's power win in Hawaii, the ball got most of the credit (or blame) for his 400-plus-yard tee shots.
I agree that the ball has a role in these ridiculous distances, but I also think shaft and club technology and design play a bigger role.
Here's what I think would be an interesting test: Hit shots with his R9 driver from years ago using today's TP5 ball. Then hit shots with his M4 driver using the Penta ball that he used to play. If the M-4/Penta combination goes farther, wouldn't that mean that shaft and club technology deserve more of the credit (or blame) for the increases in distance?
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