In Atlanta’s defense, Georgian rebuts Hawkins
Thanks to Morning Read for a great daily email. Rarely do I feel the need to respond with more than a head shake or an approving nod, but John Hawkins’ article prompted a response (“Tour can do better than Atlanta for finale,” Sept. 18).
First, Hawkins’ comment about a lack of “sizzle” provided by Atlanta for the Tour Championship. I think everyone, including the PGA Tour, agrees that the tournament is suffering from lack of sizzle, primarily due to the competition nationwide with football. This conflict is being addressed with next year’s schedule change.
The assumption that other sponsors would step up in place of Coca-Cola and Southern Co. is thoughtless. In this day and age, when tournaments are dying because of lack of sponsors, corporations are not exactly lining up to throw $9 million into the coffers. Hawkins, you certainly must know this is true.
Finally, the comment “Atlantans want to continue strengthening their reputation as one of America’s worst sports towns” is a pretty ridiculous statement. Sure, the Braves won only one World Series amid 14 straight division titles; the Falcons blew a Super Bowl lead; the Hawks have been mediocre; and we have rented two hockey franchises. None of these teams (other than hockey, maybe) failed because of a lack of support. Just take a look at soccer’s Atlanta United, who averaged more than 48,000 per home game last year, ranking them higher than any professional team this side of the NFL.
If Atlanta is one of the worst, it’s not because of fan support. If it’s one of the worst because of performance, look no further than the PGA Tour players. You can’t have it both ways.
Make Tour Championship great again
I couldn't agree more with removing the Tour Championship from Atlanta (“Tour can do better than Atlanta for finale,” Sept. 18). I liked some of John Hawkins’ suggestions for new and fresh locations.
I'd also like to throw in the idea of moving to one of the Trump courses, as they are all classy and great destination courses. I'm sure Tiger Woods would love to go back to Doral instead of breaking up the Florida Swing for a weekend in Mexico.
Bye-bye to Atlanta.
Atlantan offers options for PGA Tour
I'm not sure your assessment of the Atlanta sports market is a fair one (“Tour can do better than Atlanta for finale,” Sept. 18).
When the Tour Championship moves to August beginning next season, it likely will be too hot for Atlanta. So perhaps that makes sense to move it to a more northern climate. It’s bad enough in late September.
I agree, however, that East Lake is a mediocre course compared with the significance that the FedEx Cup conveys. And the neighborhood, like many within the city's inner core, is not the spectacle that you get when you play Country Club of the South, Atlanta Athletic Club, Peachtree Golf Club, Atlanta National Golf Club or Barnsley Gardens.
There are better choices in areas where the parking is not such a struggle nor the neighborhood a bit dicey (despite the good intentions of the charities that have tried to rebuild it). The bus tour from the lot to the course itself is not appealing, but maybe it never was intended to be. Maybe it was intended to expose the elite golf patrons (let's face it, golf is an expensive sport) to how life on the less-fortunate side of the tracks is lived.
Whether the PGA Tour's mission around charity giving is good enough for Atlanta's East Lake is the question. In and around Atlanta, I would argue that the Tour has spent little of its resources promoting the event. At least last year you could buy tickets at Kroger. This year, nothing. Not a sign of it. That's not a help, either.
Atlanta’s sprawling suburbs and traffic patterns make the location equally challenging. So, it might behoove the Tour’s promoters to spend a little more thought around bussing groups all the way from those suburbs directly to the course, instead of making that long stop at Georgia State (formerly Turner Field) lots and then onto buses. It would require some logistical expertise that I don't believe the Tour folks have.
The Braves took their game to the suburbs, but football stayed downtown and soccer fills that beautiful Mercedes-Benz Stadium. To say that we Atlantans don't have it in us, I disagree.
I would hate to see it go, but you are correct: there are golf venues that offer an all-around better experience, and that is what it is all about. Magnolia Lane, East Lake is not.
A siren sound for East Lake
I have been to East Lake four times, and the one thing I noticed every time was the constant sirens running through the streets (“Tour can do better than Atlanta for finale,” Sept. 18). Yes, it’s a tough neighborhood, and Atlanta has not consistently been a great sports town. It has a huge transplant population, and it is first and foremost Bulldog country.
OK, that sets the scene. It is a great golf course and a fan-friendly layout, with the nines criss-crossing for increased gallery viewing. The fact, as you mentioned, that Coca-Cola and Southern Co. are huge there is important, and the PGA Tour needs to reward its sponsors.
It will be better next year as football will be one week away and the galleries will be bigger.
Selfishly for me, smaller galleries meant easier viewing.
Boca Raton, Fla.
Glorious place to be a spectator
You have a one-dimensional view of East Lake and the Tour Championship (“Tour can do better than Atlanta for finale,” Sept. 18).
I go to Atlanta frequently. Your view of the neighborhood is out of date. I went to a day of the tournament last September and enjoyed the day more than any other major golf event I have attended.
Counter example: I went to the PGA Championship that Davis Love III won in 1997 at Winged Foot. The only instant of the day I enjoyed myself was when I had lunch and a glass of wine in the hospitality tent.
Cure for U.S. mystery overseas: Just play better
You don’t need a task force to know why the U.S. struggles on foreign soil in the Ryder Cup (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Sept. 18). What you need is for the players to play better, or try to pick players who are playing well and not just the marquee names.
Great Neck, N.Y.
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