Blame Garcia and nobody else
The only person at fault in the Matt Kuchar-vs.-Sergio Garcia fiasco was Garcia (“Match Play reveals a few warts on Tour,” April 1).
Kuchar didn't show the compassion of Jack Nicklaus when Nicklaus conceded to Tony Jacklin in the 1969 Ryder Cup, but Kuchar had no reason to do so. Garcia has proved time and time again that he will allow his temper to get him into trouble, and that's exactly what happened in the quarterfinals of the WGC Match Play. Garcia was angry on the seventh hole after missing the par putt that would have tied the match, and his anger made him swipe the ball without waiting for Kuchar to concede it.
This is their livelihood. It's not a Wednesday night shootout for $25. It's their job to finish as high as possible, to make as much money as possible, and Kuchar did exactly that.
Why should Kuchar suffer (if he would have conceded the putt and ended up losing) when it's Garcia’s temper causing the problem? Garcia is a grown man who has seen time and time again what his temper can do to hurt his career, yet nothing changes.
I can't help but laugh at the announcers who, during every broadcast now, complain about how friendly the players are to one another during competition. They go on and on about how the former players were harder on one another and were more focused on beating the other guys. Then when someone plays by the rules but isn't "nice" about it and wins, they complain about that. Make up your minds.
Many observers still are angry with Kuchar about not wanting to pay his caddie in Mexico, and rightly so (“Kuchar feels heat, pledges caddie bonus,” Feb. 18). I am as well. However, that anger is clouding their judgment in this situation.
Rule 1.2 pins fault on Garcia
This is a Sergio Garcia problem, not a Matt Kuchar problem (“Match Play reveals a few warts on Tour,” April 1).
Rule 1.2 Standards of Player Conduct states, in part, that “All players are expected to play in the spirit of the game by: Acting with integrity – for example by following the Rules, applying all penalties and being honest in all aspects of play. . . .”
Did Garcia make a stroke before the hole was conceded? If so, then he should act with integrity and count it and accept the outcome.
Garcia acted in anger. Had he calmly holed the next shot, there is no discussion. Alternatively, he could have waited for the concession. Either way, no harm.
Kuchar was honest in all aspects of play when he truthfully answered that he had not conceded the hole.
Garcia created his own problem and needs to live with it. Any other interpretation is a feel-good fantasy.
Honesty is the best policy, Miceli
So, Morning Read’s Alex Miceli takes Matt Kuchar to task because Kuchar took a minute for a snack, then wouldn't lie to himself and everyone else (“Match Play reveals a few warts on Tour,” April 1).
I suspect that had he done that, Miceli would have been writing about how dishonest that was.
Park Ridge, Ill.
A riddle for Miceli
Alex Miceli, what do you call a focused, fierce competitor on the PGA Tour who plays by the rules and wins a big match at the WGC Match Play en route to the final, all the while having to deal with a tempestuous, spoiled hothead who is his own worst enemy? (“Match Play reveals a few warts on Tour,” April 1).
Time is up, Alex. We call him Matt Kuchar.
Miceli draws red card from reader
Alex, Alex, Alex. Your soccer analogy is so off-base (“Match Play reveals a few warts on Tour,” April 1).
In the case to which you are referring, the referee has erred. You don’t ever see a forward deliberately kick the ball out of bounds because a defender has made an embarrassingly poor play. He tries to score.
Sergio Garcia is the one who misplayed, and he must live with the consequences. I think the bad sportsmanship is not on the player who won the hole but rather the one who whines about losing it due to his inability to control his emotions.
La Quinta, Calif.
Garcia should take the heat, not Kuchar
After reading many articles about the rules and how golf is a game of honor and integrity, I am wondering what Morning Read’s Alex Miceli would have had Matt Kuchar do in the situation with Sergio Garcia (“Match Play reveals a few warts on Tour,” April 1).
It is undisputed that a concession had not been made before Garcia clearly missed the tap-in. Should Kuchar have lied and said, “Oh, yeah, I gave it to him,” or should he have conceded (tantamount to making no effort to win) the next hole and shortened it to a 17-hole match because Garcia messed up? How does either scenario reflect integrity?
The comparison to the soccer players is misplaced. If the referee makes a bad call, the player kicks it to the side. No referee made a mistake in the Match Play incident. If the soccer opponent does something intentional and stupid, such as tripping an advancing player in the box while hoping that no one is looking, the opponent would not kick the penalty to the side. That was what happened in the Garcia-Kuchar match. Garcia did something ill-advised and got “caught” when the tap-in lipped out.
I generally like Garcia (when he is not going off like a petulant child), but this was just an unfortunate situation that he created. Miceli also points out that Tiger Woods “almost never” misses a critical putt such as the 6-footer that he missed on No. 18 to lose his quarterfinal match to Lucas Bjerregaard, so should the opponent have told Woods that it was good?
Garcia is not the first to have fanned a tap-in putt out of anger. If he had asked Kuchar whether it was good or given him the raised-eyebrow glance, the putt likely would have been conceded.
When Garcia attempted to tap it in without asking or waiting, he should have paid more attention to the putt. Could Kuchar have been quicker to say, “Pick it up”? Maybe, but this one is not on Kuchar. It’s on Garcia.
El Paso, Texas
It’s a gimme: Garcia goofed, not Kuchar
In golf, you cannot agree with your opponent to violate the rules or you’re both disqualified (“Match Play reveals a few warts on Tour,” April 1).
Sergio Garcia is the guy who messed up by hitting his putt out of order, not Matt Kuchar.
John M. Hales
Laguna Beach, Calif.
Miceli merely wants to enable Garcia
So, according to Alex Miceli, being a gentleman now means engaging in bald-faced lying to PGA Tour rules officials, circumventing the rules and rebelling against the ruling establishment? (“Match Play reveals a few warts on Tour,” April 1). I suppose that if Matt Kuchar had fibbed, Miceli would be writing that Kuchar is a manipulator and not to be believed again.
So, let's play this out Miceli’s way. Kuchar tells the bald-faced lie to the PGA Tour rules official to protect – I don't know what – Sergio Garcia from feeling the consequences of his petulant behavior, and preserve the gentlemanliness of the game? Then the PGA Tour investigates the situation further. It finds through the magic of high-definition, 4K broadcasts that Kuchar did not give Garcia the putt before Garcia played hockey with his golf ball. So, the Tour fines Kuchar for lying – say, $10,000. Do you think Garcia would have written Kuchar a check for 10 grand to make him whole? Maybe. Probably not, depending on the outcome for Garcia.
I've played my share of USGA match-play events. For the past couple of years, USGA officials have made it a point to instruct the players in match play that they must concede putts as "good; pick it up" verbally so as to make the intention clear to the competitor. Officials warn that without such a concession, any player who picks up his ball before a concession will lose the hole.
Oh, and there is one other thing that Garcia could have done before losing his cool: ask Kuchar if the putt was “good.” Is that asking too much?
Garcia gets stuck in his emotional brain and does stupid stuff sometimes, and that puts others in uncomfortable situations. Miceli seems to want to brush that off. I'd call that enabling.
Give Kuchar a pass and change Garcia’s diaper
As much as Matt Kuchar has fallen out of favor with me with his Judge Smails treatment of the Mexican caddie (“Kuchar feels heat, pledges caddie bonus,” Feb. 18), I have to take exception with Alex Miceli throwing Kuchar under the bus for the incident with Sergio Garcia (“Match Play reveals a few warts on Tour,” April 1).
The problem with “giving” Garcia a hole to “make up” for Garcia’s screw-up is that no one hole is the same relative to difficulty. Kuchar tried to right Garcia’s wrong on the seventh hole, where his temper tantrum occurred, but wasn’t allowed. The caddie “stiff” in Mexico was of Kuchar’s own making, and I think he deserves all the hazing that he got.
This time around, Kuchar was caught in the line of fire. I watched Garcia over the years, and the only thing he’s missing is a diaper.
Kuchar gets a pass, and Garcia needs to learn that intensity is a good thing when properly applied.
Champions playoff shouldn’t have trumped LPGA
Can anyone at Golf Channel explain why the uncompelling Champions Tour’s multi-hole playoff, which had the look of two 17-handicappers competing for dime skins, took precedence over the scheduled telecast of an LPGA event?
I understand the need for conclusion, but after the first couple of holes, that payoff should have been relegated to the streaming service versus an event with its conclusion still in play. Is Kia a less important sponsor than Rapiscan and deserving lesser value for its investment?
Given all the hype about how much women’s golf is benefitting from the amateur event at Augusta National, you would think that the LPGA would at least get its tournaments covered thoroughly and the sponsors receive their contracted airtime.
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