From The Inbox

From the Morning Read inbox

Tour pros should stop whining and just play
I'm pleased to see other readers who dismiss the touring pros' remarks and opposition to the 2019 rules changes (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 6).

No comment that I've seen thus far mentions that the proposed changes were publicized many months before they were promulgated. The proposed rule changes were rolled out early, specifically to encourage input by all, including touring players. I can recall no comments from this contentious cadre before Jan. 1, when the rules went into effect.

I long have lamented the advantages enjoyed by the pros that us mere mortals do not experience: sand traps impeccably maintained with lab-approved composition, maps of green contours, data harvesting of green slopes using bubble levels (prior to the event start), superior overall course conditions that include tight specs for fairways and green-grass lengths, and cups with sharp edges. That being said, I'm not diminishing in any way the talent these fellows possess.

My reaction to the petulant interviews we've witnessed simply confirms my fears that golf is beginning to erode in the way that other pro sports have when players begin to behave as if they are bigger than the game. The elite touring pros are beginning to exhibit prima donna-like behaviors.

We have become a society of protest and rebellion, and some of the 20-somethings playing on the PGA Tour have taken to drinking the bathwater of self-importance. They are treated, week after week, at Tour venues in a way that fosters their belief that the sport can't do without them. They would do well to tee it up and play by the rules that exist and campaign, if they must, away from the cameras and microphones, to implement rule changes that truly are beneficial for the game.

They should desist from whining about innocuous changes they can't seem to remember to abide by. To some, like me, it damages their image and begins to make golf look like it's played by the same malcontents who argue with refs in other sports. I do credit them, though, that their demeanor when conferencing with a rules official on the course is always respectful.

Deriding the rules when the cameras are rolling is not good for the game.

Bob Baribeau
Naples, Fla.

Drawing a parallel argument about alignment
It’s not OK for a caddie to line up his player from 150 yards, but it’s OK for a manufacturer to put three parallel lines on a golf ball so that the player can align his ball and putter from 15 feet.

For what is supposed to be an “individual” sport, golf uses more in-play, outside help than team sports. You don’t see the special-teams coach on the field helping the kicker line up a field goal; you don’t see the shooting coach on the free-throw line making sure the shooter is properly set up; you don’t see the pitching coach on the mound lining up the pitcher for his delivery to the catcher’s target.

Caddies on the PGA Tour are not just bag toters; they’re game and psychology coaches. And it all starts early. In the NCAA golf championships, players carry their bags or pull carts but go over every shot with a coach. When they get to the next level, they’re just adding bag carrying to their in-round coach’s duties.

But why do we even care? Only Tour players and the 1 percent who belong to prestigious country clubs use caddies. The other 99 percent of us who carry our bag, pull a cart or ride in a cart don’t have the luxury of having a caddie align us. All we have is the golf ball with three parallel lines.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

Pros would do well to note amateurs’ support
It's getting harder and harder to have any sympathy with the constant whining about the rules from the touring pros.

They exist and thrive, and some enjoy incredibly lavish lifestyles, because of the patronage of amateurs, who buy the clubs and balls and pay the subscription TV fees which ultimately allow them to play for so much money. Amateurs in the main are content to at least try the new rule set to see if it works.

Why can't the pros accept that it's the amateur game which sustains their living? If there are rules which prove to be inequitable, then no doubt they'll be changed at some point in the not-too-distant future. At least try, not just throw the toys out of the pram straight away.

As for leaving the pin in the hole when putting, we are just reverting to the way it was for the first 450 years that people have played golf. Surely it's fairer that someone who is on the green has just as many options available to them as someone who has missed it.

George Fletcher
Edinburgh, Scotland

Make it easy and place the ball
The best and easiest way is to just place the golf ball in the drop zone.

No muss; no fuss!

Kitty Russell

Drop rule needs amendment, so don’t bash Fowler
Regarding reader Jim Kavanagh’s letter defending the changes to the drop rule (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 6): He states his case, but I tend to agree with Jack Nicklaus’ opinion, that it is a stupid rule and should be amended to allow a drop anywhere from knee to shoulder height.

Kavanagh is entitled to his opinion, but taking a shot at Rickie Fowler, one of the most popular and well-respected players on the PGA Tour, was moronic, at best, and had no bearing on the issue.

Terry Hardy
Escondido, Calif.

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