From The Inbox

From the Morning Read Weekend inbox

Johnston: A gentleman golfer
What a great story on Mr. Bill Johnston ("Bill Johnston: A fading story worth revisiting," March 9)

I had the opportunity to meet him through my former career work. I worked on a tax issue he had with one of his courses in the Phoenix area. Through our conversation he learned I was a golfer. Well, after resolving this matter, he came back the next day with an envelope containing two free rounds of golf to the course we worked on and thanked me for my help.

He's a fine gentleman. I was just doing my job, but he was very grateful for my help and wanted to personally thank me. Things like this stay with you for a lifetime. Thanks Mr. Johnston I enjoyed the rounds.

— Robert Fish | Prescott, Ariz.

Johnston story harkens different era
Kudos to Gary Van Sickle on his article regarding Bill Johnston. Not only did the story provide interesting insight into Johnston’s professional life, but also into his personal life beyond the game of golf. For those of us lucky enough to have played this game for a long time, it also provided a wonderful dose of nostalgia. 

Thanks again to Gary for an interesting story ("Bill Johnston: A fading story worth revisiting," March 9)

— Bill Boutwell | Jacksonville, Fla.

Johnston helped pave way for today's players
What a great morning read. A wonderful story about a tremendous asset to the game of golf. I would hope a few of today's stars take the time to read and reflect on those who paved their way.

Having spent nearly 19 years as executive director and CEO of the Midwest Section PGA, I certainly appreciate what the club professional has done for the game.

Gary Van Sickle should be proud ("Bill Johnston: A fading story worth revisiting," March 9).

— Jon E. Jacobson | Blue Springs, Mo.

Bring back leaderboard ... or else
I love watching PGA Tour tournaments on TV, but this year I have noticed that on both Golf Channel and NBC they don’t show the full leaderboard anymore. Are they just getting lazy or what? It is bad enough that it is the Tiger [Woods] Show whenever he plays — and sometimes when he is not playing. If this is the future of televised golf, then I will have to find other programs to watch. Bring back the full leaderboard.

— Mel Howsmon | Vancouver, Wash.

A golf viewer no more
I am a 77-year-old avid golfer and former watcher of golf. Live TV golf has become unwatchable for me because of slow play and constant commercials (“Hawk & Rude,” March 2). Also, there is the constant referencing of Tiger Woods when he is not even in contention and ignoring other players. I now DVR all tournaments and skip through all of the junk. Also too much putting is shown.

— Bob Cenate | Enfield, Ct.

Money, not strokes, the answer to slow play penalties
There is a really simple solution to slow play (“Hawk & Rude,” March 2). Instead of stroke penalties, the Tour should issue percentage-based monetary fines. 

So, if a player gets tagged for slow play during a round, then he essentially gets a demerit. For example, if a player gets a warning for slow play and is on the clock, that player would get fined if he violates whatever slow play measurements thereafter. Once a player has incurred a fine, he goes back to being warned and so on. A player can keep racking up fines throughout the tournament. 

Then at the end of the tournament, each violation could be worth a percentage of the player's winnings. If the player doesn't make the cut, then each violation is worth a flat rate, which differs based on the player's official annual earnings that season. 

The intent of this way of fining is so the penalty will make an impression no matter how much money a player makes and will not crush the player who hasn't made much in earnings. It's about enforcing rules and not collecting money, and the effect of monetary fines is relative. 

Sounds complicated, but it really simple. 

Players will always know how many they racked up after each round and at the end of their tournament. It is simple to understand if you have any and how many. 

Players would play faster with this system and the Tour would be much more empowered to enforce pace of play. It is too penal to enforce pace of play now, and because of how disproportionate the punishment is to the crime, nothing gets done about it. 

Way back in the day, the punishment for any felony — felony defined as can be punishable by more than a year — was death. It was ridiculous. Judges started not punishing crimes. So they changed the system. 

Same concept here. The Tour needs a fair way to really enforce pace of play without it being so penal. 

Just my two cents. 

— Joseph Woo | Novato, Calif.

The great debate: Is golf a verb? 
Gary Van Sickle should be ashamed of himself because of the many years he has been covering golf and in is article about Bill Johnston ("Bill Johnston: A fading story worth revisiting," March 9) he wrote: "He still golfs a few times a week." Golf is not a verb!

Another major — not pet! — peeve of mine is when someone says "golfing." You don't say "footballing," baseballing," "basketballing," "tennising" or "soccering." You play golf, you play football, you play baseball, you play basketball, you play tennis and you play soccer.

Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed Van Sickle's article — and I don't usually think like that when I read his articles. I had the pleasure of playing with Bill in the pro-am of what used to be the PGA Tour Champions event at Quail Hollow back in the late 70s. Back then, you played with one senior tour member the first 18 holes, and the next day you played with another senior tour member for another 18 holes. The first 18 I played with Miller Barber, the second 18 I played with Bill.

Carl Goodwin | Charlotte, N.C.

Morning Read Weekend invites reader comment. Write to weekend editor Stuart Hall at Please provide your name and city of residence. If your comment is selected for publication, Morning Read Weekend will contact you to verify the authenticity of the email and confirm your identity. We will not publish your email address. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity.