From The Inbox

From the Morning Read inbox

Thomas, Fowler lead in WPR: Whining per round
The spoiled-brat professional golfers have become extremely annoying with their constant whining about the Rules of Golf.

Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler apparently have become the spokesbrats. Neither displays any modicum of diplomacy or self-control. Fowler’s antics with the between-the-legs drop from behind truly are “beneath” him.

Usually the cranky old men are resistant to any changes. From my experience, this updating of the Rules of Golf has been received well by the people for whom it was intended: the average golfer.

The PGA Tour has the ability to write its own regulations. Put Thomas and Fowler on the committee.

Jim Kavanagh
St. Augustine, Fla.
(Kavanagh is a senior rules official with the Florida State Golf Association.)

Stop whining and deal with it
It was with pain that I watched Golf Channel show Justin Thomas’ complaints about the rules.

Rules are in place. Deal with it.

You play a game which you love and that a lot of non-professionals love as well. However, many of these non-professionals pay handsomely to play on weekends. Non-professionals also pay handsomely for all of our equipment.

Many are trapped in jobs/professions in which we don’t make tens of thousands of dollars on marginal days/weekends. These same non-professionals are in jobs which they don’t necessarily love but are limited in opportunities. So, suffice it to say that it bothers me that some players who come from privileged backgrounds will complain about rules such as “line assistance” of caddies when those (me included) barely scrape enough money for once-a-week play.

This generation is swiftly sending this game down the tubes with its whining.

Steve Hoffman
Hickory Hills, Ill.

Drop the whining and stop backstopping
So, there reportedly is a growing dissatisfaction by PGA Tour pros with the new rules. Specifically, they are complaining about the new drop rule.

Rickie Fowler is quoted as saying it looks ridiculous. So, Tour pros are complaining about a simple drop procedure from the knee but have asked for no clarification on the backstopping rule. I can't understand their point on the drop. You lean down to your knee and drop the ball. You don't have to balance on one leg; you just drop it.

The backstopping issue is real. Maybe these guys will take it seriously when someone loses a tournament after another player benefitted because his buddy left his ball in place. But it's clear to me that it's one thing to think these guys are prima donnas and it's another thing when they open their mouths and prove it.

Bill Tignanelli
Perry Hall, Md.
(Tignanelli works as a rules official for the Maryland State Golf Association and the Middle Atlantic Golf Association.)

Take cue from Koepka and get a move on
I read Adam Schupak's piece about Brooks Koepka and am thrilled that this talented player is finally opening up and being appreciated by the press (“Koepka, outspoken? It’s a major change,” Feb. 28).

The slow-play issue has been ignored by officials for far too long. Penalizing millionaires a couple of thousand dollars is nothing to them. Penalizing strokes costs much more, maybe even the loss of a tournament.

The time is long past when the powers-that-be should have told the pros to obey the rules, and step on their wallets when they don't.

Carl Nilsson
Jacksonville, Ore.

A few requests for recent PGA Tour winner
Congratulations to rookie Martin Trainer for his recent victory in the Puerto Rico Open. But now that he is on the big stage with a golden two-year pass to the PGA Tour, he should bring a personality that is missing with many of the new (and older) players (“Rookies win early, but will they repeat?” March 1).

Please smile at the fans as you go by them on the luxurious fairways that most of us can only dream of playing. Please tell them thank you for coming out to see you. And after shaking hands with players and caddies at the end of a round, turn and applaud the fans, a la D.A. Points and just a few others, even if you had a bad round. And please be one of the players to give on-course interviews that Golf Channel is starting.

If you make it big (and always a big if) these things will go a long way toward making you a great player in the minds of fans.

Gregg Clymer
Goodyear, Ariz.

Tuning out Haney
I have listened to Hank Haney on PGA Tour Radio for a couple of years and finally have had enough. His continued bashing of the USGA and R&A is tiring.

Golf has rules, and there has to be an impartial body to make and administer those rules. Just today, Haney intimated that PGA Tour pros are completely dissatisfied with the new rule changes and would revolt. My advice is to shut up and play golf.

Haney is using his radio-show forum to discredit the governing bodies, and that’s not right. They aren’t perfect, but the last time I looked, the USGA and R&A were trying to protect the game we all love. I can’t say the same for self-serving Hank Haney.

Doug Baker
Austin, Texas

Coaches play big role in slow play
I disagree with reader David Fulton’s example of a Chuck Knoblauch at-bat as an example for slow play (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 1).

Yes, Knoblauch was slow, but there likely isn’t one kid today in Little League who knows who Knoblauch was. However, the Little League coaches might. That’s the problem. The kids do what their coaches tell them to do. If they don’t, they probably don’t get to play much. If coaches just told kids to set up to the plate, get loose and hit the ball, those kids wouldn’t think about adjusting gloves.

It’s the same with golf at the junior level. Junior golfers are not influenced by the pace of play by PGA Tour players unless they happen to attend events and see it for themselves. Millions of golfers don’t watch Tour players take forever on the greens, fairways or tees. TV broadcasting eliminates all of the slow-play shenanigans, unless they want to highlight the problem. We don’t see all of the preparations a Tour player goes through to hit a shot, thank God.

Slow play is a problem at the junior level because the coaches allow it. They teach that a player has to have a pre-shot routine (rightly so), but that routine can be short or long. Unfortunately, most coaches don’t teach the short version.

Slow play is a problem on Tour, and everyone knows it. Unless the Tour actually starts penalizing offenders, it will get worse as the new, young players moving up from junior golf make it to the Tour. However, it’s not like the Tour can all of a sudden start penalizing players, because they have allowed slow play to become the norm for years. They will need at least a year promoting a change, making sure that all players are aware of what the expectations are for pace of play and how the change will be enforced. I applaud Brooks Koepka for speaking up and elevating the conversation at the player level.

Ken Byers
Kennewick, Wash.

Knoblauch, Hargraves would have been at home on Tour
It wasn't Chuck Knoblauch who started slow play in baseball; it was Mike Hargraves, otherwise known as “the human rain delay” (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 1).

Ken Horn
San Antonio

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