Woods warrants outsized attention
I would suggest that Tiger Woods to professional golf is much the same as Babe Ruth is to professional baseball. Babe Ruth died 70 years ago, and his name still comes up on a regular basis among Major League Baseball fans. Why? Because he delivered. Tiger Woods also delivered.
For those who find it annoying that Tiger Woods gets so much attention (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 29, http://bit.ly/2DKQqhg), I would suggest that they read an accounting of what he has accomplished in his career to date. Consider the records he has set, what he has contributed to golf and how he is responsible for the large number of talented young players working their way up the professional ranks.
I couldn't help but marvel at the size of the gallery following him on the hole farthest from the clubhouse on a weekday in the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, even when he was struggling to make the cut. Why do you think all those people were following him?
The bottom line for the other players on the PGA Tour is quite simple: start winning the way Tiger Woods did and you will get all of the attention and press that you desire.
Tiger Woods gets all of the attention primarily because of golf ability. Nothing more.
When Woods plays, awareness rises
There certainly are readers who don't care for Tiger Woods, for whatever their reason. That said, there were many people interested in the Farmers Insurance Open because Woods was playing.
I was in a restaurant as he was finishing on Friday, and the number of people rooting for him to make the cut was noticeable. Woods has inspired many of today's young American players. And I would bet that more people were interested in his performance than in who won.
Perry Hall, Md.
Just get on with it
As I readied for bed here in the United Kingdom, I happened on the radio broadcast of the last few holes of the Farmers Insurance Open: Europe (Alex Noren) vs. Jason Day (Australia) vs. Ryan Palmer (USA), with an outside chance for J.B. Holmes to catch them. Noren is waiting to play to 18 and grab a chance of the birdie that would win his first PGA event, and he, and I, waited, and waited, and waited, while Holmes took four minutes to decide on his stroke and play the shot.
Hasn't he read the news lately? This time next year, if he does the same, he'll be penalized and possibly disqualified, and rightly so. I was so glad that he failed to make the playoff, but what effect did that have on Alex Noren? Good for him to battle through the five-hole playoff and come back again with Jason Day to settle the issue, but perhaps he would have won if Holmes hadn't been quite so discourteous and had played within a minute. Holmes should be reminded that the limit next year will be 40 seconds.
As in many walks of life, if the choice between options is so close that you can't make up your mind, then it really doesn't matter which option you take. Just choose one and get on with it.
Inspiring TV to get people to play golf? I think not.
In search of ‘a great golf experience’
I have played many so-called public golf courses that have been used for PGA Tour and USGA events; Torrey Pines, Pebble Beach, Whistling Straits and Erin Hills come to mind (“Golf’s growth key: Retention over outreach,” Jan. 22, http://bit.ly/2Dtd2yF). The price tag is high – at least $400 a round at some, and $500 at Pebble. You must take a caddie at Whistling Straits and Erin Hills.
Only Erin Hills gave me the true golf experience. The course was in perfect shape. (We played it in early August 2017.) The fairways and greens were perfect, the caddies were excellent and the green fee, which included the caddie fee, was $320. We tipped the caddie an additional $60 each.
On the other hand, Torrey Pines is a pure muni. The South Course was ruined by the changes made for the 2008 U.S. Open. In reality, there really wasn’t the room to expand as much as they did. They took a great Billy Bell design and turned it into a so-so course for the U.S. Open. The North course is much more fun, and a better value.
The only way to get your money’s worth is to have access to private golf courses that host PGA Tour and/or USGA events. You usually will get great conditions, great people that treat you well and a great golf experience. It is somewhat difficult to do but not impossible.
Anthony S. Polakov
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