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Mickelson’s Kaepernick moment

Didn't anyone stop to think that maybe Phil Mickelson’s action Saturday on Shinnecock Hills’ No. 13 really was a protest against the ridiculousness of the hole location (“Mickelson, USGA disgrace U.S. Open,” June 17)? He already was out of contention at the U.S. Open, and the stars aligned for a perfect protest against the USGA.

Like he said, he wasn't trying to be disrespectful, but he was making his point. 

Sort of like kneeling during the national anthem.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

 

The buck stops with USGA’s Davis

All the talk about Phil Mickelson and the USGA, and I have yet to read or hear anyone mention that executive director Mike Davis should be gone. It all starts at the top.

What CEO could hold his job when year after year he makes choices that show how inept he is? 

Dick Greenwood
Bradenton, Fla.

 

USGA mars national championship

The leadership of the USGA epitomizes the saying, "Too smart for their own good.”

It also has become apparent that USGA officials cannot manage their tournaments without interjecting their ego and arrogance.

It's Sunday of the U.S. Open, and, I, an avid golfer, will not be watching.

Saturday was enough for me. The combination of a tricked-up golf course, the incredibly poor TV broadcast, another cowardly rules decision and the sheer boredom of the shots that the course demands has made the whole thing unwatchable to me.

While I do not enjoy tournament-winning 22-under putting festivals, I also do not enjoy tournaments in which the best players in the world look like rank amateurs.

The PGA Tour should schedule a mid-June tournament and call it the U.S. National, or something, and get the USGA out of the professional tournament-management business.

Terry Fraser
Brooksville, Fla.

 

Blame it on the USGA

I'm sorry, but the USGA is a group of pompous jerks. Now let me tell you how I really feel....

My immediate reaction to Mickelson’s gaffe Saturday on the 13th hole was disbelief, given that he must have known it was a rules violation to strike a moving ball. I suspect, as mentioned by the Fox commentators, that he simply had had enough of the conditions at Shinnecock Hills.

There is a distinct difference between penal and ridiculous, but the USGA has not yet learned this simple lesson. The natural conditions of the course are penal enough, with greens that are so complex and undulating that even the best players in the world have difficultly.

What is the point in trying to trick up the course? What possible motivation could the USGA have for making the course so difficult? Mowing them to the bone and then purposely not watering them is a recipe for disaster. When the best players in the world are unable to hold the greens, then there is something wrong.

I don't really care if the winning score is 10 under or 10 over par. What I care about is being able to watch these incredibly gifted players hit shots that most of us simply dream of playing.

It's time that someone takes over at the USGA who has some brains and stops this folly. They are a bunch of jerks who think that they can do whatever they want, with no repercussions.

Phil Mickelson is the same golfer to me that he was before blowing a gasket. At some point in time, regardless of the consequences, someone has to say: Enough is enough.

Ted A. Biskind
Cleveland

 

Ignorant Mickelson lacks character

As a Fox announcer pointed out, Phil Mickelson simply could have let the ball roll all the way down the hill Saturday at the 13th hole, then declare it unplayable, and replayed the shot from the previous spot on the green, with a one-shot penalty.

In actuality, Mickelson really doesn’t know the rules, and he showed poor character, as well. 

Robert Engels
Chicago

 

Blame Morning Read and USGA

I read your article about the U.S. Open and Phil Mickelson, and the only arrogance that I can see is from you and from the USGA.

The golf world does not want to see the 154 best golfers in the world humiliated by a course that they all know is terrible. The public wants to see great shots and low scores, not a ball rolling off the green after a very good shot from the fairway or a very easy tap on the putter.

Sure, Phil Mickelson violated a rule out of frustration, but he knew the rule and he used his knowledge of the rule to know that he would get a two-shot penalty and not risk having to hit the ball back and forth several times, resulting in a much higher score.

The USGA should be ashamed that it foisted that course on the players and the golfing public. The owners and managers of the course should be ashamed that they allow that course to become what it is. And for you to jump on your high and mighty bandwagon and condemn Mickelson also is a travesty. You should be bringing to bear the idiocy of the USGA and the owners of the course on why they would purposely humiliate the golfers and insult the intelligence of the golfing public.

Ed Culligan
Port St. Lucie, Fla.

 

A taxing game

The USGA and R&A should loosen their grip on some of golf’s rules. The game is too strict for amateurs.

We are playing the game to have fun with fellow golfers and get away from the stress of life. However, what went down at the U.S. Open by Phil Mickelson is being blown out of whack by the USGA and the media.

Mickelson did not disrespect anyone, including the USGA.

The USGA has made playing golf a turn-off for a lot of my friends because of the stupid rules. There are more stupid rules in golf than there are in filing a tax return. There aren’t enough new players introduced to the game. A lot of munis are closing down because of a lack of players, and then this third-round thing came up. It turns people away from a game they might have been interested in playing.

Robert H. March
Hickory, N.C.

 

Expect more of the same

I concur with your article. The sad part is that it will happen again.

Next time, we won't have Phil Mickelson to point it out first.

It’s sad to watch excellent golf shots not get rewarded.

James Aurelio
Gainesville, Fla.

 

Don’t be so quick to judge

Oh, get ahold of yourself and stop acting as if you know everything.

You can’t sit there and say you’ve never been frustrated and used poor judgment. These pro golfers are human, just like you and me, and get frustrated. To be honest, that golf course was set up very unfairly, and it did nothing but embarrass and humiliate these golfers.

Stop being so judgmental.

Hilda Darwin
Pilot Point, Texas

 

USGA erred in not DQ’ing Mickelson

The USGA is a big, bloated bureaucracy, full of well-intended people trying to do what is best for the game, but they have a hard time getting it right.

Their mission is to make and interpret the rules. The more they try to dumb down the rules, the more problems they create.

Phil Mickelson did not hit a "moving ball"; he hit a "rolling ball.” I love Mickelson, but he was frustrated, and hitting a rolling ball was a serious breach of the rules. He should have been disqualified. I don't think Mickelson would have had a problem with that ruling. Mickelson didn't disrespect the game; he violated a rule.

The USGA disrespected the game by not enforcing the rules that it makes.

Come on, USGA. Get it right.

Jerry Adams
The Woodlands, Texas   

 

Mickelson introduces ball control in golf

What a terrific idea, to run after the ball and stop it before it did something that you didn’t want it to do. This really opens up the possibilities for ball control (as they call it in other sports).

For long shots, before you hit it, you could send your caddie to the area you're aiming at, and if it went into the rough or landed behind a tree, he or she could adjust the lie (using one of your clubs, of course) to something better. If the ball went into the water, no problem. The caddie could carry a net to the spot and fish it out, dry it off and possibly even deposit it in the hole. And by all means, do away with those embarrassing disqualification rules. 

This could be the start of a new era. Maybe call it the Mickelson Protocol.

Shirley Stuart
Berkeley, Calif.

 

Too much spin from Mickelson

I’m a big Phil Mickelson fan. What he has brought to professional golf is fourth only to Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, but Saturday was a low point. What he did was total disrespect for the game that has given him everything.

To say that he knows the rules is absurd. He should have declared the next shot to be unplayable, used the stroke-and-distance option and placed the ball on the green. It would have been a mulligan with only a one-shot penalty.

Mickelson was understandably frustrated and screwed up big-time. He should not try to spin it.

Richard Robinson
La Quinta, Calif.

 

Mickelson’s act forces the issue

It seems as if the USGA is intent on making fools of themselves yet again. I don’t blame Phil Mickelson one bit for hitting a moving ball, because it forced the conversation about the rapidly deteriorating condition on the 13th green Saturday in the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

I understand why USGA officials want a difficult setup for their tournament. But it seems pretty obvious that they are incapable of conducting a major event. The previous event at Shinnecock, during the 2004 U.S. Open, is a prime example.

Try as they might, they can’t control the weather. Because they’ve been down this road before, they should have known that there was a high probability that they would lose control of the speed on certain greens by the afternoon. For the integrity of the field, the USGA should have set up double tee times in the morning to avoid what happened to the leaders Saturday. But the made-for-TV event’s ratings would have suffered. And for the USGA, it’s all about the money.

But I have a better suggestion. The PGA Tour should, at the very least, insist on a seat at the table in charge of setting up the course. And if the USGA is not willing, then stop calling it a major championship. 

And as long as we’re at it, how about equal prize money for the U.S. Women’s Open? Tennis does it, and it has nothing to do with spectators and sponsors. Women pay dues to the USGA, just as men do. Use it. 

Betsy Larey
St. Paul, Minn.

(Larey is an LPGA teaching professional.)

 

Ban Mickelson from USGA events

Cheating is when you deliberately break the rules to gain an advantage. That’s what Phil Mickelson did, despite his fantasy explanation and the USGA’s kowtowing.

Mickelson should have been disqualified. Period. If for nothing else, making a mockery out of the rules, the field, the fans and the integrity of the game itself.

For deliberately cheating in a national event, he should be barred from competing in any future USGA tournament.

We’ll let his reputation with the other pros and the PGA Tour sort itself out. 

I had zero respect for Mickelson before this event started, what with calling out captain Tom Watson after the 2014 Ryder Cup loss, his gambling history (now that’s a story unto itself) and now the chuckling cheater.

I have even less respect for Mickelson after Saturday’s fiasco.

Who does he think he is, anyway?

It seems as if every year, the USGA, without even trying, proves how much of a joke it has become. This year’s U.S. Open is no exception.

I feel bad for the Shinnecock members. I’m sure they have a very nice course when the USGA doesn’t get involved. 

Kenny Drake 
Albany, Ore.

 

3 points from a USGA eagle eye

First, the course conditions at Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open were atrocious, from overly shaved run-offs to underwatered greens.

Second, letting “Hollywood Phil” arrogantly explain his deflecting the ball on No. 13 on Saturday when he should have been DQ’d – hey, penalize that egomaniac with two no-plays at the next two majors.

Third, these USGA actions, plus others, serve to disrespect the thousands of volunteers (I am one) who participate.

I just renewed my USGA membership, at eagle level. Hmm, will there be another renewal?

Kitty Russell
Houston

 

Not a typical birdiefest

I agree that Shinnecock Hills’ greens were fast and undulating, but the fact is that most of the players were not reaching in regulation and then were on the wrong side or far away.

These pros are not used to 20-foot breaking putts for par. This is not your weekly birdiefest but a true challenge to reach and putt out.

Peter Blowitz
Somis, Calif.

 

Sounding off about the Open audio

I totally agree with the reader who said the sound on Fox’s broadcast of the U.S. Open was terrible (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 17).

For the vast majority of Fox’s broadcast, all one could hear was the sound of the wind and shouts from afar as microphones on the tees and elsewhere were left open. Even commentator Joe Buck cannot talk over that. Just terrible.

George Shutt
Orlando, Fla.

 

PGA errs in its handling of Levy

Kudos to Mike Purkey about the Paul Levy accident (“PGA applies double standard in Levy case,” June 17).

Purkey is right. What a horrible decision to leave Levy in office. That decision brings into question the leadership of the PGA of America.

Thousands of people have lost family and friends to drunk drivers, and I'm sure they are in complete agreement with Purkey. 

Michael Merrill
McKinney, Texas

 

Don’t abandon Levy

Alcohol abuse is an insidious disease that treats its victims in many harmful and meaningful ways. The difficulty always is in getting the abuser finally to acknowledge that alcohol is ruining his or her life as well as those of family and friends.

Having spent all of 2017 trying to help a family member fight this battle, I can tell you that the last thing anyone in the situation needs is to be abandoned by his family and colleagues. To be so abandoned easily can start the spiral to depression or deepen it quickly if the abuser already is there.

I can't condone Paul Levy's actions in any way, but throwing him to the wolves is unlikely to have a positive effect on his ability to recover. Of course, to drink and drive in any circumstance is wrong, and the laws surely will deal with this appropriately, but let's not encourage everyone to walk away and shake their heads. Help this man and any others who need it, and find out how good things can become for them and you.

Baird Heide
Bradford, Ontario

 

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