Tour bombers apply long view to game
Drive for show and putt for dough. Throw that old saying away.
Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson have won three times each this season, and Brooks Koepka has won twice. According to this week's PGA Tour stats, all four of them are in the top 10 in driving distance. In strokes gained putting, they rank much lower: Johnson at 17, Thomas at T-36, Koepka at 94 and Watson at T-106. It's even worse in driving accuracy. None of them is in the top 130.
Lengthening the courses plays right into their hands. They hit it as far as they can, and with today's grooves, they would rather hit 9-iron or wedge from playable rough than hit 5- or 6-iron from the fairway.
Cutting back the ball is not the answer on Tour. Sure, the big hitters won't hit it as far, but neither will the short hitters. They'll still be proportionately disadvantaged.
The only way to level the playing field is to make courses tighter and roughshod, and bunkers more penal. But forcing these power players to hit irons off many tees isn't good theater. And even the Tiger Woods naysayers have to concede that Sunday at the PGA Championship was good theater (“Koepka muscles his way into golf history,” Aug. 13).
So we sit back and enjoy it. Or we can watch the WNBA or the NASL. Or if we really have three-plus hours to kill, we can watch a 2-1 baseball game.
Dominating everywhere except leaderboard
In watching the PGA Championship, I saw nine guys in double digits under par on Sunday. Sadly, about 60 percent of the coverage went to one guy, with the other eight sharing 40 percent. Even the winner got less coverage. I guess he should have been fist-pumping, yelling when a putt fell, cursing and swinging clubs violently when he missed a fairway or not acknowledging fans as he made his way to the scorer’s table.
Instead, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott played with determination, dignity, sportsmanship and professionalism from tee to green. I guess that doesn’t make for good TV viewing.
I enjoyed watching Tiger Woods several years ago, but not so much anymore. I certainly hate listening to the announcers drool over his every move. Did you care that he changed his shirt? Or who the mystery chick was at the end of his round? It almost makes me hope he plays bad, just so the other golfers get equal due.
Kenneth C. Taylor
Fort Worth, Texas
Golf’s true G.O.A.T.
Joe Hughes implies the point that I have always made about the backbone of the competition against Tiger Woods when he was in his prime (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Aug. 14). They all fell apart when Woods was ahead, but he never caught them in a major when he wasn't in the lead himself.
On the other hand, Jack Nicklaus had guys against him every time who never would fold. Did Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer or Tom Watson ever get up on Day 4 of a major thinking, Jack's ahead, so I'm playing for second? No way, and that's why Nicklaus has even more second places than firsts, and Woods’ record never will compare. G.O.A.T., anyone?
Having said that, for the first time I would quite enjoy seeing Woods winning another major, as long as one of my favorites is not second. I speak as one who bet that Woods wouldn't win another major championship after his 14th, so I'm on a 10-year winning streak. But I'm prepared to concede defeat to Woods, just like Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els and all the others.
Don’t forget European players
Because many of today’s top touring professionals play worldwide, and the viewing public has embraced these players irrespective of their country of origin, will you please include news and standings for the European side of the Ryder Cup?
Unpatriotic as it may seem, I enjoy the camaraderie of the European teams and often have been amazed at their success in the face of unlikely triumph. The drama of these competitions is incredible. Remember the great singles match between Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson, who halved in 1996 at Hazeltine?
Any story that builds on this excitement, from either perspective, will pique my interest.
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