A search for meaning behind Bevacqua’s move
There has been a lot written about Pete Bevacqua leaving the PGA of America for NBC Sports (“Bevacqua’s exit leaves questions for PGA,” July 25); (“PGA needs CEO who matters to members,” July 26); (“From the Morning Read inbox,” July 26, July 27, July 30, July 31). But if you connect some dots, there might be a bigger story here.
Before 1968, there was no PGA Tour, only the PGA of America. Tour players had to be members of the PGA of America in order to play in events. (There were some loopholes that allowed golfers such as Jack Nicklaus to play.) In 1968, what is now the PGA Tour broke away from the PGA of America to run on its own. Much has been written about the incredible fiscal success of this breakaway not-for-profit group over the last 50 years.
What does the PGA of America really have? It is a membership organization whose membership is decreasing. It has two major assets: the PGA Championship and the biennial Ryder Cup. (I don't count the Senior PGA Championship as an asset; it needs KitchenAid as a sponsor.)
What does the PGA Tour not have? It doesn't have a major championship. The best that the Tour has is the Players Championship. The Tour would love to have a major. The only one that it has a shot at is the PGA Championship.
What does the Tour have? Lots of not-for-profits and TV clout.
So, I see a Bizarro World flashback to 1968, except this time the Tour allows the PGA of America to "merge" with it, keep some semblance of the PGA of America’s identity but take control of the championships and the Ryder Cup. Everyone wins. The Tour gets what it wants, and the PGA of America members get some stability.
Maybe Bevacqua saw this coming and decided to get on the side where the big money will be.
On common ground with Tiger Woods
Surely the article in Morning Read detailing all of the major championships that Tiger Woods "should have" won must have been a spoof (“Woods ‘should have’ won more majors,” July 27). His record in majors is magnificent but very unusual.
When Woods is in the lead after three rounds, everyone else falls away; when someone else is in the lead, he falls away. It’s a strange frailty in someone whom others claim as the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all-time), but it’s nice to see as it partly reflects our own failings on the golf course. How often is our good front nine followed by a couple of back-to-back disasters?
The trouble is, whenever I get into the clubhouse and tell my Saturday group (the Ballchuters) how close I came to a splendid victory, there are always five other guys telling me why they "should have” won. It’s nice to think that we are all in the same fraternity as the great TW, but Jack Nicklaus never had the luxury of opponents who folded when he was in the lead but still won more major championships.
The most unfortunate golfer in the Nicklaus era, with three clear seconds behind Nicklaus, plus a tie? A good quiz question. It was Bruce Crampton, who never won a major title.
Best regards from the other TW.
Praise for Lietzke/Nelson approach
I am happy to hear the outpouring of support and respect for one of the most innately talented golfers of our time, Bruce Lietzke (“Lietzke, 67, loved off-season, not practice,” July 30); (“From the morning Read inbox,” July 31).
He had determined his priorities and stuck by them. No one since Byron Nelson had accomplished that feat. Maybe it is time to give Rory McIlroy and some of the other young breed some time and space to determine their priorities and not rag on them for underachieving.
Aspiring to be Byron Nelson or Bruce Lietzke is not a bad goal.
Cos Cob, Conn.
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