Keeping Score

From the Morning Read inbox

Masters celebrates golf’s intrinsic good

Augusta National Golf Club is and always will be the premier American golf course. It demands attention on every shot played.

Bobby Jones commented that there isn't any hole that you can't birdie if you play to the correct positions, and there isn't any hole that you can't double bogey if you are out of position.

The challenges created by elevation changes are not appreciated until you are there and have a club in your hand. Playing to tiny greens and huge expanses with undulations, the golfer finds that the course tests every skill in the bag. That is the test of Augusta, along with not being too distracted by the beauty and history.

This is not penal golf like the U.S. Open and British Open venues. It is strategic golf. Grow 6 inches of rough and no one could play Augusta National, but that is not the Masters.

There was a time when there was no rough and only a few bunkers, and players had a hard time breaking par. Risk/reward on par 5s is part of the game. Just because they can be reached in two does not guarantee a score. Ask Sergio Garcia and the others who landed in the "Spanish Sea" on 15. Also, remember Gene Sarazen's double eagle in 1935.

The Masters is the most appreciated tournament of all as it celebrates what is good about the game.

Ed Smilow
La Quinta, Calif.


Relation to par doesn’t matter

While I respect Gregory Tatoian’s view about Augusta, golf is golf. The low score wins (“From the Morning Read inbox,” April 11).

The history and tradition of the game and Augusta itself are of far greater importance to the game itself than how low scores can or should go. And let's not forget the impact that conditions have on scores, as well.

In the end, the course plays the same for everyone, with the exception of the conditions. The evolution of the equipment is inevitable and irrelevant in the context of the fact that the low score wins and all players have access to the same equipment to perform under whatever the conditions are on any given day.

Mike Elliott
Port St. Lucie, Fla.


Masters tops Open for excitement

In response to Gregory Tatoian's opinion that Augusta National has become too easy, I think he is off target.

The winning score of 15 under is totally acceptable, with all the excitement generated. After all, the winning score at the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills was 16 under and not nearly as exciting.  

Bill Barker
Union, Ohio


Total strokes count, not par

It really doesn't matter whether Augusta National’s Nos. 13 and 15 are par 4 or 5; the record book shows only the total number of strokes. Patrick Reed shot 273 over 72 holes. That's the official score, not the number under par. 

As for the course getting easier and someone shooting 268, Jack Nicklaus won in 1965 shooting 271 with persimmon woods and a balata ball. Augusta National has done a very good job of offsetting the advances in technology with changes to the course that keep total scoring under control. 

If someone were to shoot 268, chances are that he would have to have four rounds in the 60s. And that's never been done at the Masters. 

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.


Hey, Sergio, was that a par 4 or a par 5?

The total number of strokes wins the tournament, even if they are playing in the parking lot.

I doubt that it made any difference to Sergio Garcia whether No. 15 in the first round of the Masters was a par 4 or par 5.

Mike Nixon
Nashville, Tenn.

(Nixon is the director of golf operations for the Tennessee Golf Trail.)


Hogan’s comeback dwarfs Woods’

I cannot express enough my appreciation and my gratitude for your feature regarding the comparison of Tiger Woods’ comeback and the incredible recovery of Ben Hogan (“Woods’ comeback pales next to Hogan’s,” April 8).

Yes, I would like to see Woods make a comeback and possibly add to his major-championship victories. He moves the needle more than any other player currently competing, in ticket sales and viewers. But I listen with some disdain when the announcers discuss how difficult it is to get competitively tough from an injury and the long layoff, and we should understand with empathy while he tries to figure out how to win again.

Besides the fact that Hogan won a U.S. Open trophy in 1950, as you related, after the accident in 1949 that could have crippled him, he tied for first place in the first tournament he entered, at Riviera Country Club, ultimately losing in a playoff to Sam Snead. Now that is amazing to comprehend.

Woods is an immense talent. I believe he has the ability to win again. But Hogan came right out of the gate and tied for first place in his initial effort, with bandaged legs and no recent competitions for warmup.

To suggest that Tiger Woods is the iconic figure to recognize for miracle recovery is not fair to the truly remarkable achievements of Ben Hogan after he returned to compete and win.

Jim Deaton
Greensboro, N.C.


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