A formula for success
I enjoyed the article on the U.S. Senior Open (“Toms wins Senior Open that shows its age,” July 2). Major golf events can be exciting without tricked-up venues, overly penal playing conditions and questionable rules interpretations. What a concept: let the golf and competitors be the story.
And a good story, it was. Much-maligned Fox Sports covered it well. The commentators, specifically Joe Buck, let the golf be the focus. An additional great bonus was the uninterrupted coverage. I found myself almost feeling that I was attending the event. That never happens when commercials come relentlessly every seven minutes or so.
Maybe a new formula for successful major golf has emerged. Let a fair, but challenging, venue tell the tale.
Let’s hear it for par
What a great tournament, exciting right to the last hole (“Toms wins Senior Open that shows its age,” July 2).
The Broadmoor’s East Course was very tough, but I didn't hear one U.S. Senior Open player complaining about the golf course being tricked up or greens getting out of hand.
Seniors who played in the U.S. Open during their careers are used to difficult setups. The senior players set a perfect example that PGA Tour players should follow: don't bellyache about the course setup. Just play.
And there was no moaning by players about the course setup. Fairways were generous, and the greens made the difference. It was no birdie fest.
That’s how a major championship should be set up, where pars mean so much.
Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Parsing the nuance of golf
Lots of the tut-tut-tsk-tsk-type commentators nevertheless opined that Phil Mickelson “should have” waited for his ball to come to rest, declared it “unplayable” and then taken relief under that particular rule (“Mickelson, USGA disgrace U.S. Open,” June 17).
I have yet to hear anyone explain why stroking at a moving ball and taking the two-stroke penalty under the Rules of Golf is a golfing sacrilege, whereas declaring a clearly “playable” ball “unplayable” and then taking relief under the rules is strictly kosher and held up as a stellar example of golfing uber-etiquette.
Try explaining the difference to a non-golfer and I guarantee you’ll be met by a blank stare or patronizing shake of the head.
Eugene R. Richard
Bad lie for golf’s ‘favorite son’
The issue here is that you could argue it more than one way (“From the Morning Read inbox,” July 2). Reader Brent Rector believes that it was a stroke, but many others believe it was a slap (“Mickelson’s legacy: ‘Slappy Philmore’,” June 22). The real point is intent, and that is in the soul of the person doing the deed.
In this case, Mickelson chose to tell two different stories, saying after the round to the media that he knew the rule, but reportedly telling his playing competitor right after the incident that he had no idea what the rule was and that he was willing to take the penalty, whatever it might be.
It’s amazing how Mickelson still is held in such high regard around the world of golf.
That aside, the lie is the bigger issue here for Mickelson, not the USGA's ruling because he is everyone's favorite son and can and has done what he feels he can do, and they allow him such a move.
If he really knew the rule, replace the ball and take a one-stroke penalty. He made a mockery of himself, not the game, by lying.
Boca Raton, Fla.
It’s all a matter of intent
I read with keen interest the letter from Brent Rector regarding the rules controversy of Phil Mickelson (“From the Morning Read inbox,” July 2).
I’m quite sure that he’s correct. If that is the case, the USGA has another rules change to consider.
It seems to me that the spirit of Rule 14-5 is intended to apply to a player whose ball starts to move after he begins his stroke, causing the player to strike a moving ball unintentionally. To me, that situation is clearly different from one in which a player runs after a moving ball and intentionally swings at the moving ball to gain a competitive advantage.
Legally, it is very difficult to write a rule that differentiates the intent of a player in those two cases, but it needs to be done.
The intentional act of stopping, deflecting or stroking a moving ball should lead to disqualification.
Rule 1-2 covers Mickelson’s slap shot
I thought Brent Rector was trying to defend the USGA's travesty of a ruling, but it seems he just wanted to rough up Morning Read’s Gary Van Sickle (“From the Morning Read inbox,” July 2).
No matter what Van Sickle wrote (“Mickelson’s legacy: ‘Slappy Philmore’,” June 22), the fact remains that Phil Mickelson stated that he struck the ball intentionally to avoid having to play a difficult chip shot over a bunker to an unfriendly hole location. His stated intent, a major-league word in the Rules of Golf interpretations, puts him in violation of Rule 1-2.
Whether he stroked, kicked, stepped on or threw a towel over the ball, he acted to improve his chances of saving a stroke or two.
Read Rule 1-2.
St. Augustine, Fla.
(Kavanagh is a senior rules official with the Florida State Golf Association.)
The problem with the USGA
The Monday after Phil Mickelson’s nutty move, we were discussing it before our morning round. The starter, listening to our discussion, interjected himself into the conversation in a loud voice and with much red-faced barking that he was a USGA official and the ruling was exactly right and that we knew nothing.
That’s the problem with the USGA: the need to be inherently correct in its decisions, and the heck with public opinion.
By taking so much time (and hair pulling), the USGA hopes that people get weary and move on.
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