Keeping Score

From the Morning Read inbox

Crossroads for the PGA of America

Ted Bishop exercised poor judgment by using social media to argue with Ian Poulter. Bishop didn’t get a fine or a ticket, he didn’t hit a sign (and who pays for the sign?) and he didn’t spend time in jail. He won’t have to go to court and stand in front of a judge (“PGA applies double standard in Levy case,” June 17)

But Paul Levy did these things, and he gets sympathy and gets to keep his job. If he has a drinking problem, then he needs to get help. Letting him keep his volunteer job is sending the wrong message. 

I’ve seen Bishop only on TV, and I’ve never played his course in Indiana, but it sounds like the PGA of America wanted Bishop out, and his social-media rant was the perfect reason to let him go. 

The PGA of America should politely tell Levy to resign. If he remains on the job, then a lot of people, including myself, will lose all respect for the PGA of America. 

Layne Yawn
Jonesboro, Ark. 

 

A PGA member’s distress

I am embarrassed to say that I am a PGA of America member, knowing that the PGA, vice president Suzy Whaley, secretary Jim Richerson and honorary president Derek Sprague have misrepresented how I think a lot of us feel.

I thank you for writing the article, and I hope you keep after it.  

Scott Stubbs
Visalia, Calif.

(Stubbs, a PGA of America member, is the director of golf at Visalia Country Club.)

 

Mickelson’s ‘Tin Cup’ moment

Did you ever see the movie “Tin Cup,” starring Kevin Costner? There is a scene toward the end, after Roy McAvoy, played by Costner, makes a 12 on the final hole of the U.S. Open, when his girlfriend, played by Rene Russo, tells him, “In 20 years, nobody is going to remember who won the Open, but they will remember who made a 12.”

The same goes for the 2018 U.S. Open. In 20 years, nobody will remember who won the tournament, but they will remember Phil Mickelson’s putt on the 13th hole in the third round. The record books will record Brooks Koepka’s victory, but the guys in the clubhouse will remember Mickelson.

Kenneth C. Taylor
Fort Worth, Texas

 

USGA fails at Shinnecock

I have stopped my USGA membership years ago because I have disagreed with many things that the USGA does. Setting up golf courses should not be the job of the USGA(“Mickelson, USGA disgrace U.S. Open,” June 17).

USGA officials came to my course, El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., this year for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball. This is an amateur event, yet they tried to use pin placements that bordered on ridiculous.

Who is USGA chief executive Mike Davis, anyway? He’s not a tournament golfer or a PGA Tour pro who has a pedigree in golf. He is another amateur who wants to prove to the public that he knows what to do, when it is obvious over the last few years that he doesn’t.

Shinnecock Hills was designed by William Flynn, one of the greatest golf architects. Yet the USGA decided that the course shouldn’t play the way that the architect intended.

Stop this ridiculous process and let the superintendent who knows the course, the pin placements, the weather and the idiosyncrasies of the entire area do the work. Saturdaywas supposed to be moving day, but the guys leading the tournament had no chance with the course setup except to move backwards. 

Anthony S. Polakov
Los Angeles

 

Shut up and play

Why all the fussing about the U.S. Open course?

These guys are pros, supposedly the best in the world. They get a course that gives them a little difficulty, and they whine and moan.

I would much rather see a tournament with the winning score somewhere between 5 under and 5 over than 20 under.

These guys get paid big money to do jobs that we all wish we had. They need to quit being whiny.

It’s a USGA event. If they don't like it, start a PGA Tour event opposite it. I’ll bet that most of them still would play in the Open.

Tom Lance
Waynesville, N.C.

 

Keep old courses true to original design

The rules of golf consider a bunker to be a “hazard.” Yet on the par-3 11th hole Sunday at the U.S. Open, eventual winner Brooks Koepka purposely played his shot into the hazard.

Isn't there something basically wrong with a setup that penalizes a 30-foot putt that is hit 3 feet too far but rewards a play into a bunker?

When these old courses were built, there were no tri-plex greens mowers, verticut machines, greens rollers or Stimpmeters. Greens had some severity, but they probably rolled at 6 or 7 by today's measurement. But the bunkers were penal – a hazard just like a water hazard.

If we want to take these old courses back to their original roots, let's not take the old reward and turn it into a penalty while taking the old penalty and turn it into a reward.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

 

A fumbled comparison to Kaepernick

Charlie Jurgonis and Ted Biskind have spun Phil Mickelson’s actions as calling out the USGA to be almost noble in intent (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 18).

I was particularly offended by the comparison of Mickelson to Colin Kaepernick. Any implication that the issue that Mickelson was “protesting” is comparable to the issues of institutional brutality and racism toward African-Americans that Kaepernick is protesting is both stupid and offensive. 

Is suffering professional embarrassment and frustration (Mickelson) comparable to being shot or marginalized as a group (Kaepernick and other NFL protesters)?

Enough. Mickelson cheated, and the spontaneous (and admittedly slightly amusing and absurd) actions in tracking down his wayward putt are not those of a conscientious objector or protester. Even if he had been protesting the USGA’s course setup, he should have withdrawn to demonstrate his honorable intentions and draw attention to the issue of the USGA’s golf setup. Calling the USGA’s Mike Davis and asking him to speak to the media so that his reputation is not tarnished are not the actions of a conscientious objector.  

The idea that Mickelson is a paragon of virtue in any sense is misguided. His non-cooperation with the insider-trading investigators (Mickelson was accused of passing inside information to an individual to whom he owed substantial gambling debts) and payment of a fine and interest in excess of $1 million speaks to his propensity to seek personal advantage wherever possible. He used legal loopholes to avoid accountability for his actions, just as he did in the U.S. Open.

Michael Kukelko
Oak Bluff, Manitoba

 

As form of protest, Mickelson flops

I have to disagree completely that Saturday was Phil Mickelson’s “Kaepernick moment” (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 18).

Mickelson clearly was acting out of frustration and protest over a terrible course setup. That was more forgiving than the enormous spin we were subjected to in his post-round interviews.

To use your analogy, Mickelson’s explanation would be like Colin Kaepernick saying that he took a knee to stretch his quadriceps.

Mickelson’s actions were against the spirit of the game, and his comments were against the spirit of meaningful protest. He should be embarrassed on both counts.

Craig Merkle
Baltimore

 

Don’t try to collar Mickelson

Many clubs have dress codes that are better than the PGA Tour’s.

Some Tour players wear pajama-style shirts (no collar), and the Tour is OK with it. But you will not play at many clubs if you wear a no-collar shirt. Also, they say it must be tucked in.  

Stiff shirts called out Phil Mickelson in the recent U.S. Open because he hit a rolling ball. The USGA gave him a penalty.

Stiff shirts do not grow the game. I have been around them. Mickelson is popular, and he always will be popular.

Even the stiff shirts would not get in the front door of a decent club wearing a Nike pajama no-collar shirt. Maybe they could help grow the game by suggesting that the PGA Tour upgrade its dress code.

Glenn Monday
Tucson, Ariz.

(Monday is a teaching professional at Dorado Golf Course in Tucson and author of “Know Your Swing.”)

 

Hey, Fox: Fix the audio

I read with interest the letter criticizing Fox for continually having its audio pick up spectator shouts after a U.S. Open player made a stroke (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 17).

Come on. How many times does Fox need to broadcast to the world such gems as “you da man”?

I hope that when Fox fixes this, it also fixes the sound made when a ball is holed. The decibel level is much higher than natural, and it sounds more like a pinball machine than a golf ball being holed. 

A message to Fox: You spent a lot of dough getting the USGA rights, so please figure out how to make the audio and the rest of your broadcast more like a golf tournament should be. 

Brent D. Rector
East Grand Rapids, Mich.

 

Mickelson had another way out

I’ve read numerous comments about Phil Mickelson hitting a moving ball. I did that myself once. When taping in a 2-incher, I missed the cup and reflexively raked it back. Five-putting from 12 feet is enough of a punishment, not to mention the embarrassment.

In Mickelson’s case I have not seen them mention that he had a better opportunity to show the enormity of the problem and stay further within the rules: stroke and distance. A ball can be abandoned at any time under this rule. He could have asked his caddie for a second ball, and as his first shot trundled slowly into oblivion, replaced it on the green and, God willing, made the next putt. It would have made his point and saved not only two strokes but his reputation.

Boyd Welsch
Gainesville, Fla.

 

Appreciative of life’s shades of gray

Regarding the guest essay from Bill Pelham (“Golf’s new level of arrogance,” June 19), over my 70 years, I've found that there are two types of people: those who see only black or white and those who can see gray.

I've also observed that those who recognize gray generally are happier folks and not arrogant. On the other hand, black-or-white folks seem to be a bit uptight and don't appear to enjoy life as much. Savonarola was not a happy person.

If you try walking in another person's shoes, you might not be so judgmental.

Ken Horn
San Antonio

 

Bullish on Morning Read

I read every issue of Morning Read with my morning coffee fix, without fail. Having read every word of the last two issues, and actually reading all of the comments from the “Inbox” twice, it is my observation that Morning Read has become the Wall Street Journal of golf.

The readership is a rather select group who truly love golf, whether it is playing the game or watching it, or both. If you are a golfer, you only have to read a sentence or two of a reader comment to understand that he or she is a member of that group.

Ron Yujuico
Euless, Texas

 

Morning Read invites reader comment. Write to editor Steve Harmon at steve@morningread.com. Please provide your name and city of residence. If your comment is selected for publication, Morning Read will contact you to verify the authenticity of the email and confirm your identity. We will not publish your email address. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity.


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