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From the Morning Read inbox

Relaxed divot rule would unearth new problems
Is a seeded divot repair still a divot if the grass has grown but not to maturity? Is a divot area where the sod from a shot has been replaced a divot? Is the seam where the divot sod has been replaced a divot? What about in the rough ... divot relief there, too? When is it a divot and not an area where grass is patchy? What about an unraked bunker “divot”?

If readers accurately believe there are cheaters and/or people who manipulate the rules for their benefit (Tiger Woods doesn’t know when he double-hits a shot), imagine the arguments that will take place. Think that will increase pace of play? And how is the “field” protected in any event when groups interpret the rule differently?

Keep the divot rule as it is. It’s one of those solutions to something that’s not a big problem but, in the end, creates a number of other problems.

Another thing, on dropping the ball when taking a penalty of relief: Why not require the ball to be dropped when there is no-penalty relief but allow it to be placed when there is a stroke penalty? The rules already allow for a difference between the two – one is one club length, and the other is two club lengths.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.


Simply put, USGA missed its chance
Golf rules are written and always have been written as if everyone is a cheater. The U.S. Golf Association had a chance truly to simplify the rules but missed it. The USGA made a major improvement but still missed it.

For example, dropping a ball at knee height – not greater than knee height but at knee height. Why? A ball at rest on the green and then blown by the wind is played as it lies. Yet a ball at rest on the green and marked and replaced and then blown by the wind must be replaced. Why not be consistent and make it the same, regardless of whether it was placed there or not?

Joe Matula
Palos Park, Ill.


Finau merits respect beyond number of victories
I have to respectfully disagree with the comment “Should a top-10 player go 0 for 56?” (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Dec. 5).

Should a player who gets hot one week and then can’t crack 25th or better for the rest of the season be considered better than a player who hasn’t won in a year or so but is consistently in the top 25, frequently in the top 10 and playing in the last couple of pairings on Sunday?

The attitude of What have you done for me lately? really irritates me. For those who teed it up in the early 2000s against Tiger Woods, did they think, I don’t have a chance. Tiger is here, so I’ll just throw the clubs in the trunk and head to the next tournament in which he is not entered?

Tony Finau, I’m sure, tees it up on Thursdays with only one thought in his mind: winning. That he plays better most weeks than almost everyone else in the field earns him whatever ranking he’s at, and my respect.

Rennie Maybee
Talisay City, Philippines


A stat that would matter: Strokes gained pace of play
TV broadcasters should announce playing times for groups during PGA Tour tournaments: e.g., “John Doe and Bob Roe are teeing off on No. 7 only 23 minutes behind the ideal pace.” Or something like that.

Commentators track and report on a number of obscure stats during a tournament. (Does anyone really understand what is meant by strokes gained putting?) Add one more stat: speed of play. Announcing this statistic during a tournament would at least make the issue more visible to the viewing audience.

I greatly enjoyed the give-and-take regarding such issues as fixing divots, raking bunkers, etc. (“It’s time to erase marks of course clods,” Dec. 6). I was greatly relieved finally to see someone weigh in with the issue of letting faster groups play through (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Dec. 10). I also would like to see comments on whether it is OK to ask a slow group in front if I can play through. I have avoided doing this, since it seems impolite, opting instead just to jump ahead a hole or two.

Bruce Johnson
Ames, Iowa


OK, it’ll be our little secret
Please, please, please, do not tell anyone at my house that the game of golf will take less time (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Dec. 14).

Jim Nyssen
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


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