Keeping Score

From the Morning Read inbox

Tsk tsk to U.S. Ryder Cup task force
Like many others, Mike Purkey (“Americans regain their edge in Ryder Cup,” Sept. 17) lauds the "success" of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force because of the winning effort in 2016 at Hazeltine. But as Lee Corso likes to say, "Not so fast, my friend!"

A deeper look at the Ryder Cup results shows that Europe and the U.S. have alternated victories on American soil since 1983: five for the U.S. and four for Europe. So, 2016 simply continued a pattern established 35 years ago, of the teams alternating victories here.

The real problem is that the U.S. squad has lost five times in a row in Europe. If the Europeans win this year, that means nothing will have changed since 1993, the last time the Americans won over there. Now that doesn't render the task force a complete failure, for it does seem that the U.S. players have a renewed energy and a belief that they can win, whereas before it was obvious that they were only hoping to win.

However, we need to keep in mind that the task force was formed specifically to help the U.S. win the Ryder Cup. If our squad fails to win in Paris, we might need to accept that the Euros just have our number over there, task force or not.

Mark Harman
Ridgeland, S.C.
(Harman is the national course director for the U.S. Golf Teachers Federation.)

In search of the hole truth
I am a little confused about how reducing the size of the hole is a response to the issue of distance (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Sept. 17). Among other items, some of the major concerns about dramatic increases in distance are the potential irrelevance of classic golf courses, the reduced emphasis on mid-to-long-iron play and reduced watchability of the modern game.

As a lifelong hockey fan, I see a somewhat similar issue with the size of goalies and their equipment reducing scoring in that game. The response has been to reduce the size of the goalie’s equipment without sacrificing safety. This response directly reduces net coverage and therefore increases scoring opportunity. My point is, how does reducing hole size impact length? More importantly, does reducing hole size at Augusta or St. Andrews enhance the watchability of our great game? Is there anything more exciting in our game than a back-nine charge on Sunday at the Masters?

Michael Kukelko
Oak Bluff, Manitoba

One way to identify Tour’s true thoroughbreds
I recently heard a discussion on the golf course about the value of winning on the PGA Tour (“Winning ought to mean more than it does,” Sept. 14). One suggestion: For players who don't make the cut, zero dollars, just as it is now; make the cut and finish fourth or lower, and receive a predetermined per diem check for the player and caddie. Pay prize money only to the top three, similar to the win, place and show money in a horse race. However, the way the amounts are determined would have to be different because there is no betting pool, and the winner of the tournament receives three-fourths of the amount to be distributed.

I wonder how many of the winless millionaires would be hanging around the Tour if something like this were implemented? Our discussion got a bit heated, but it made me realize that many golf fans are not too keen with the ticket-puncher attitude on Tour.

Ron Yujuico
Euless, Texas

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