Taking a little bloom off the azaleas
If this is April, the blogosphere must be filled with paeans to the Masters. I enjoy watching. It's fun, and up in my part of the country pretty much coincides with courses opening. I also admire that Augusta National Golf Club expects spectators – sorry, but that's what they are – to be polite, and the club keeps prices low for refreshments (“Masters stands alone as best sports event,” April 2).
But, but, but! There are many aspects of the Masters and Augusta National Golf Club that are not so wonderful. Granted, they have made minimal accommodations to drag themselves into the mid-to-late 20th century, but they probably resent it. There used to be a name for having a couple of African-Americans – and now women – as window-dressing members to show how "inclusive" you are. Don't hear it much anymore, simply because almost no one else needs such beards.
It certainly is beautiful, but the unnaturally pristine appearance has caused the unreasonable expectation that golf courses should emulate this Utopian condition, contributing to rising costs and green fees which are hurting the game.
Would you like to experience this event like no other? Well, good luck! There's the lottery for practice rounds. You’d might as well pick up a Mega Millions ticket, too, because the chances are about the same. Ending the renewable season-ticket system certainly would make attendance a greater possibility for golfers.
According to many sportswriters – especially golf writers and commentators – the Masters is the premier golf tournament. This is so, even though it has the weakest and smallest field. It also generally is agreed that only a portion of that small field has a chance to win. The Players Championship has more real claim to major-championship status than does the Masters. It's different, even quaint, but a true major should engage a larger field of potential winners.
So, why all the gooey bloviating and dripping sentimentality? Well, you’d better watch out and not say anything naughty. The Masters keeps a list. It’s just as well that Morning Read doesn't print addresses. I'm in the lottery.
St. Paul, Minn.
‘Warmed up for Augusta’
I really enjoyed John Hawkins’ article (“Masters stands alone as best sports event,” April 2).
It doesn't get any better than the Masters and the Kentucky Derby. The beauty of each is unmatched in sports – both classy and spectacular.
Thanks again for getting us warmed up for Augusta.
Golf Channel got it right with seniors
Sometimes, playoffs happen and extra holes are played to determine a winner. Golf Channel did a very good job of keeping viewers informed of the Champions Tour playoff (“From the Morning Read inbox,” April 2).
Granted, that Kevin Sutherland and Scott Parel are not the most followed players (“Keeping score,” April 2). However, if it had been Fred Couples versus Bernhard Langer in a playoff, would reader Bill Sandigo complain, just to see women playing an easy course setup? If Golf Channel were to drop a Couples-Langer playoff, you would have letters and Twitter howling. Golf Channel showed only the shots and putts, not the walking between shots, so I give the network credit.
As for the women's tour, where are the American players? No factor at all last week. Women from around the world have taken over the LPGA just about weekly.
I also believe the women are excellent players and deserve to be on TV as much as possible.
Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Beware of ‘grinning shark’
In match play, tap-in putts that are obvious concessions are picked up immediately without getting a real approval all day long. The only difference in the incident between Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia was a missed stab versus picking it up (“Match Play reveals a few warts on Tour,” April 1).
Kuchar clearly was gaming the situation by telling the official that he would have said “good” instead of simply saying he had, or giving the next push hole to Garcia. In no case would he ask Garcia to putt that out. Kuchar clearly was OK with winning the hole or the match on the back of Garcia’s stupid stab versus beating him at golf.
Kuchar is not being honest or consistent. He's gaming the situation with an aw-shucks grin, which is fine, but let’s not lose sight that this guy is a grinning shark. If I were in Garcia’s shoes, I'd be livid, too. Rightfully call out Kuchar for trying to win at all costs while pretending to be otherwise.
As a larger comment, I think the WGC Match Play is awesome, with matches full of fun gamesmanship and, let’s not forget, great golf. For those who watched, the back nine of the Kuchar-Garcia match was fantastic. Matches such as this one are great for the game. I hope to see more match play in the future, not less.
Garcia should act more like Ballesteros
Obviously, Sergio Garcia is still “El Nino” (“Match Play reveals a few warts on Tour,” April 1). He still can't control his emotions, as all adults must. Garcia lauds the late Seve Ballesteros as his hero, but Ballesteros (coin jingling aside) would not have behaved as Garcia has, and continues to do.
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