From The Inbox

From the Morning Read inbox

Golf can do better than a tour event in Saudi Arabia
I enjoy reading Morning Read’s Alex Miceli, and I typically find Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee to be insufferable. But I have to join the chorus of readers who come down against Miceli’s commentary in which he extols the virtues of the European Tour stop in Saudi Arabia (“Chamblee, Saudi critics miss big picture,” Jan. 31); (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 1).

The idea that this event is important for growing the future of golf is laughable. Where and how exactly does this event grow the future of the game? It is a political photo op for the Saudi royals and easy money for the top players picking up appearance fees.

Golf should aspire to be better than that.

Craig Merkle

Ideology comes up short against big payday
Whether you agree, disagree or are ambivalent about Alex Miceli and Brandel Chamblee's comments, I doubt that the leadership in the Middle East will have an epiphany of conscience and change their cultural practices because of the thoughts and outrage in the U.S. (“Chamblee, Saudi critics miss big picture,” Jan. 31).

For Chamblee and others to think that a sporting-event boycott would affect the Saudis’ way of thinking is hopeful but naive. We can't grow the game in the U.S., so Miceli’s argument is weak. And how about growing a difficult game to play out of one big sand trap known as the desert?

The capitalistic motive drives the European Tour and professional golfers, and it outduels idealism. Hence, most athletes will follow the money – appearance fees, for golfers – regardless of the host country’s human-rights stance.

Anyone with enough talent to be offered a six- or seven-figure appearance fee probably will swallow his idealistic principles for a week.

Dave Richner
St. Johns, Fla.

Spectators stay away by the thousands
For all those players who said they were trying to grow the game in Saudi Arabia, why weren’t there more spectators watching? (“Chamblee, Saudi critics miss big picture,” Jan. 31).

If growing the game is that important, shouldn’t the Saudi Golf Federation be giving away tickets to anyone and everyone to watch?

Don Hurter
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Saudi event proves to be worth a chance
There is no defense for the terrible things that happen around the world, but they will continue long into the future as they have been going on for thousands of years. In context, the European Tour’s playing a golf tournament in Saudi Arabia may or may not mean anything positive, but on the chance that it might help, it’s worth a try (“Chamblee, Saudi critics miss big picture,” Jan. 31).

It’s certainly more than we are doing by sitting in our cozy homes, being outraged and arguing about it or trying to force people into our way of thinking.

Michael Merrill
McKinney, Texas

Touring pros face choices
Love him or hate him, but Brandel Chamblee made points that are well taken. It's his delivery style (arrogance) that turns people off (“Chamblee, Saudi critics miss big picture,” Jan. 31).

Each touring professional must decide for himself (along with his agent) where he chooses to play. Each also has to answer to his own conscience. There always have been choices to make: South Africa, China, Saudi Arabia. Next up: Russia, Cuba, North Korea. In most cases it comes down to “show me the money.”

I've been disappointed before, and I will be again.

Dick Greenwood
Bradenton, Fla.

Thanks for confronting Chamblee
No one who pays attention to what Brandel Chamblee says or writes is surprised by the content and tone of his opinion (“Chamblee, Saudi critics miss big picture,” Jan. 31).

Thanks for taking him on.

Greg Lederer
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

PGA Tour should sponsor world-history classes
Golf players and fans are a hypocritical lot. We talk about human rights in Saudi Arabia and how, even though some progress is made toward women’s rights, that it's still not enough. But every year we mark our calendars and can't wait for Masters Week. Nothing exudes sexism, racism and white privilege like August National. Granted, the club has made some accommodations toward women in the past few years, but so has Saudi Arabia. The "progress" made at Augusta National is OK, but the progress in Saudi Arabia is not? (“Chamblee, Saudi critics miss big picture,” Jan. 31).

The European Tour has a responsibility to its members. Where they play doesn't bother me ... as long as it's televised. But American touring pros have a different responsibility.

One other point that was missing from Friday’s mailbag (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 1): While some readers have accurately pointed out that evidence shows Saudi royalty was involved in Jamal Khashoggi's slaying, we have to remember that evidence also shows the Saudis’ role in the Sept. 11 attacks on our soil in 2001.

If American players feel a responsibility to grow the game globally, maybe PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan should pass on rules seminars and conduct world-history classes.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

‘Pointless hit piece’ lands below Mickelson’s belt
Unless Mike Purkey steps up and starts writing frequently about prime-number theorems, he is shirking his responsibility of being one of the top writers in the world.

The above premise is just as nonsensical as the column that Purkey dumped on Morning Read stating a similar idea that Phil Mickelson has a responsibility to play in tournaments he doesn't think he can win (“Mickelson shows softer side, eludes rough,” Feb. 1).

Add in Purkey's personal digs at Mickelson that have nothing to do with golf, and his story is a pointless hit piece.

C'mon, Morning Read.

Allen Freeman
Brecksville, Ohio

Mickelson makes shots but shouldn’t take them
Regarding Mike Purkey’s take on Phil Mickelson’s missing the Farmers Insurance Open (“Mickelson shows softer side, eludes rough,” Feb. 1): It should not be considered a total surprise as aging PGA Tour players scale back schedules and play certain events where the playing conditions better suit their games.

I’m not a huge Mickelson fan, but the guy is a shot-maker and has done more on the big stage than 90 percent of PGA Tour players. He certainly is more deserving of a better characterization than what was presented in Morning Read by Mike Purkey.

John A. Spires
Saint Marys, Ga.

Mickelson deserves right to choose
I’m not Phil Mickelson’s biggest fan, and I agree with Mike Purkey’s take that “Teflon Phil” has gotten away with a lot of things that he shouldn’t have (“Mickelson shows softer side, eludes rough,” Feb. 1).

Having said that, I don’t have any problem at all with Mickelson skipping Torrey Pines if he thinks the course setup is not conducive to his success.

Let him play where he wants. He’s earned it.

Eric Law
Charlotte, N.C.

As Mickelson’s world turns
It is extremely tiring to constantly read articles picking apart Phil Mickelson’s golf career and personage (“Mickelson shows softer side, eludes rough,” Feb. 1).

When the sports media have nothing really to write about, they decide to comment on the decision of a Hall of Fame golfer getting later in his career deciding where and when he wants to play. He is entitled to that choice. He has earned it.

Mickelson has overcome severe arthritis, cancer in the family, and great disappointment in golf to bring the world audience entertainment in sports second to none.

Unfortunately, golf writing has become a running soap opera.

Wes Pike
Rye, N.H.

That’s just ‘pure Phil,’ you Tiger lover
You seriously viewed Phil Mickelson's decision not to play at Torrey Pines as sulking? Seriously? (“Mickelson shows softer side, eludes rough,” Feb. 1).

I read his reasoning as candid and “pure Phil.”

As an extremely wealthy, successful and, yes, older competitor, Mickelson displays a frankness that is disarming. He doesn't need to prove anything to anyone.

You obviously are a Tiger lover. Woods can complain and whine about his back, his neck, his eyes, and he gets a pass from golf writers and commentators.

Ilene MacDonald
Bradenton, Fla.

A special way to start the morning
I read Gary Van Sickle’s story about TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole and the Special Olympian with tears streaming down my face (“Legend of Phoenix’s ‘Colosseum’ grows,” Jan. 31).

As a store manager for a major grocery chain, I had a goal to hire young people who perhaps faced a similar handicap. Every time, they showed the rest of the associates how blessed they were, always smiling and always eager to please.

Thanks for a wonderful piece, as I wipe away the tears and smile.

Garen Eggleston
The Villages, Fla.

Tears for Amy
Thank you, Gary Van Sickle, for writing about those 16th-hole memories at TPC Scottsdale, especially about Amy Bockerstette (“Legend of Phoenix’s ‘Colosseum’ grows,” Jan. 31).

I cried reading about her fabulous par, then cried even more watching the video.

Reading about the human side of PGA Tour players is always interesting. Gary Woodland was always one of my favorites, and even more so now.

Ken Chojnacki
Delran, N.J.

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