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PGA Tour should follow rules lead of other sports
The only thing that doesn’t make sense is why the PGA Tour hasn’t developed its own set of rules (“PGA Tour players talk rules rebellion,” March 4).

The USGA has been around for more than 100 years; the PGA Tour for 50. The pros play a different game. They play for millions of dollars. The amateurs play for Nassaus on the weekend. Except for the U.S. Open, there is no reason why the PGA Tour shouldn’t develop its own set of rules. The Tour has a policy board. The Tour disciplines its own for specific violations of policy, so why not have rules for the Tour?

Jack Nicklaus said that the players didn’t want to be bigger than the game itself in 1969, when they split from the PGA of America. Well, when you play for that much money every year, you should have your own rules.

The NFL has different rules than college football. The NBA has different rules than college basketball. Major League Baseball has different rules than the college game. Golf is the only sport that doesn’t, and it’s time that it does.

Anthony S. Polakov
Los Angeles

USGA has no business writing rules for touring pros
The USGA’s writing rules for amateurs is great. That is what the USGA is: amateurs. However, having the USGA write rules for touring professionals, players whose skills are so advanced even beyond those of the top amateurs, is like having a bunch of old high school football players write the rules for the NFL. That would lead to the same disconnect with the players that we are now seeing in golf (“PGA Tour players talk rules rebellion,” March 4).

The current USGA team has taken what was the world’s best and most important tournament, the U.S. Open, and let it slip to No. 3, behind the British Open and the Masters. Little boys no longer practice 5-foot putts to win the U.S. Open. They are now fanaticizing about being “the champion golfer of the year” or slipping their arms into the green jacket.

The USGA has become such a tight group, so afraid of new ideas and so protective of one another, that they are creating an anchor that will sink their ship if they don’t change. In the corporate world, their results would cost them their leadership roles.

Tim Bateman

Maybe these guys aren’t so good after all
I am a PGA professional in Florida, and a long-time professional. I have seen touring pros come and go.

The PGA Tour players are a bunch of overpaid prima donnas. They make millions of dollars, most are arrogant, obnoxious, inconsiderate and rude – and that is their good points.

They have their entourage following them – everything from a nutritionist to wellness coaches to fitness trainers and everything else you can imagine. If the guy can't line up his shot by himself, he shouldn't be out there playing golf. That is part of the game. No caddie should get behind the player, anywhere.

Also, get rid of those green-reading books. If you can't read the green, then do something else. Now they are using compasses. What’s next? Computers on the course?

All this is not golf, especially to those who play the game for enjoyment. The golfing public watches this crap on TV, slow play and all, and then copies the behavior. That is why it takes six hours to play a round of golf on a public course. That is why we are losing golfers: these yahoos on TV.

This is not only my opinion, but the opinion of many golfers at my club. We talk about the slow play and everything else that goes with the “show." Why can't these players just get up there, hit the ball, putt the ball into the hole and move on? That is all we want to see.

Jim Wright
Land O’ Lakes, Fla.
(Wright is a PGA professional and the director of golf instruction at Countryside Country Club in Clearwater, Fla.)

Fashionable suggestion in rules debate
How tough is it for the caddie to learn not to stand behind the player? Should we make caddies spend a weekend at the Dog Whisperer's ranch to get trained?

And why make fun of the USGA when you can't remember to drop from knee height? Perhaps Puma should make pants with a big red stripe around the knee as a reminder.

Larry Dougharty
La Quinta, Calif.

Flagstick rule needs an Augusta intervention
I was glad to see Alex Miceli’s article regarding possible rules revisions (“PGA Tour players talk rules rebellion,” March 4).

It is quite sensible that there be a practical evaluation of the new golf rules.

The USGA always counters that there were comment periods leading up to the changes, but nothing was shown or tested in live golf. While there are more than several rules that never should have been changed, in my view, one of the biggest is the option to leave the flagstick in the hole while putting on the green. The intent was obviously to speed up play for everyday amateurs – not for pace of play in any kind of tournaments, pro or amateur. In the real world, people were already doing that in casual play for the strict reason of speeding up on a bad hole or convenience (tap-ins), not for a perceived competitive advantage.

Quite a few pros seem to use the flagstick as a “backstopping” tool of some sort. This is a topic that is in vogue, but those who are up in arms about it fail to notice that the flagstick essentially is being used as a backstop.

In the past decade, Augusta National has overtaken the keepers of the game more than the USGA and R&A. I hope they realize that the Masters will be tainted if the flagstick rule remains intact. Here is hoping for an intervention to remove this rule as soon as possible.

John Cierzniak

Just place the ball and drop the controversy
The new rule about dropping the ball is ridiculous. I watched Vijay Singh drop a ball at the Honda Classic on Sunday, and it appeared to me that his drop was somewhat below his knee. Maybe it was just the camera angle that made it look that way.

I'm not sure why the change was made or what it hoped to accomplish. Perhaps it was to speed up play when the ball could potentially bounce back into a hazard or end up closer to the hole. In those cases, after two tries, the ball is placed where the rules official diligently points to a spot with the antenna of a walkie talkie.

Why not just place the ball from the get-go? The player already has been penalized a stroke, and in the event of the two instances I cited, placing the ball is perfectly within the rule in those cases. Place it at the start, and everyone is on a level playing field.

James A. Smith
Virginia Beach, Va.

Well, come to think of it …
Then again, who put the USGA and R&A in charge in the first place?

Rob Craig
Mount Pleasant, Mich.

Fowler, Thomas have earned right to speak up
I read several opinions in Monday’s Morning Read blasting Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler for expressing their views regarding several of the new rules changes in golf (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 4). The last I knew, the ability to express our opinions was one of the perks we have living in America.

Not only do Fowler and Thomas have the right to express their thoughts regarding the rules changes, but their insights also might carry a bit more credibility than those of us who don’t play the game for a living. Just maybe they should be listened to.

Bill Boutwell
Jacksonville, Fla.

Villagers keep things moving in flagstick debate
I am on the other side of the flagstick shenanigans from Herb Gould (“Pull, tend or leave? It’s flagstick slapstick,” March 4).

I play with different snowbirds every day in The Villages, Fla., in different groups. I see a significant lack of delay by leaving the stick in. If there's a guy in the group who wants it out, he waits to be the last to putt, saving us the put-it-in/pull-it-out routine.

I see this option saving our groups 10-15 minutes a round each day.

Sorry, Herb, but perhaps it's the players, not the rules.

Garen Eggleston
The Villages, Fla.

Honda Classic’s top finishers sidestep ‘Bear Trap’
The top five finishers at the Honda Classic made no bogeys on the last four holes at PGA National’s Champion Course and shot 2 under, except for co-runner-up Rickie Fowler, who shot 3 under.

Are holes 15-17, the so-called Bear Trap, obsolete?

Mike Bernath
Charlotte, N.C.

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