Keeping Score

From the Morning Read inbox

Augusta National misses link to women’s history
I have been watching the Masters for so many years and have always felt that the member/owners of Augusta National Golf Club get so much right. What a great venue.

But I think they had a big miss with the recent Augusta National Women’s Amateur (“Women make big impression at Augusta,” April 8). I watched a replay of the opening ceremonies that included four great female champions, each with many wonderful accomplishments in the eras in which they played. There was a very obvious player missing: Kathy Whitworth. With 88 LPGA victories, she has won more professional golf events than any male or female and has been a tireless supporter of women’s golf at all levels in her retirement.

I have gotten to know Whitworth in the past several years, and she is such a fine and caring woman. If you look at the record book, you will see that she absolutely dominated women’s golf for several years running.

Not having Whitworth there was a miss based upon her record, plus the great link she would have been back to the earlier years of the women’s tour.

I hope the leaders of Augusta seek to fix this miss next year.

Mario Vitale
Southlake, Texas

Augusta National should fix conflict with LPGA
It is nice that Augusta National threw a party for women's amateur golf, but the club almost assuredly did it for publicity rather than as a practical way to advance the sport (“Women make big impression at Augusta,” April 8).

I do not expect the LPGA to change the dates of the ANA Inspiration, nor should it. Augusta National, whether deliberately or by mistake, should not have scheduled its premier event for female amateurs against a premier event for female professionals. If it was not done on purpose, I wonder what the chances are that club officials would admit their error by choosing another date for next year? Not even slim. And why not play all three rounds at the cathedral of golf?

Professional and amateur golf are two very different games. On the one hand, very few, if any, of the amateurs who competed last week will have much success at the professional level. On the other, I would suggest that any of the top 50 or so in last week's ANA Inspiration would have defeated the field of amateurs at Augusta National.

Only a small number of players actually were affected by the conflict in dates, as only a few amateurs receive invitations to the ANA Inspiration anyway. Pitting the two different worlds of women's golf against each other, however, was an affront to the fans (patrons) who would like to watch both. We attended the ANA, so the best we could see of the Augusta event were highlights on television. I don't know whether the Augusta National members were clueless or arrogant in their date selection, but I hope it changes for next year.

Jim Kavanagh
St. Augustine, Fla.

Barnes, Hagen deserve inclusion for career Grand Slam
As men’s professional golf looks forward to this year’s first two major championships, we can reflect on the winner of the first two PGA Championships (in 1916 and 1919), yet he never played in the Masters: England’s Jim Barnes.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of Barnes’ 1919 triumph. Barnes won a U.S. Open (1921) and a British Open (1925). Those four major titles put Barnes on the list of 17 golfers who have won at least three of golf’s four professional majors. Only Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tiger Woods have won all four professional majors (“Keeping score,” April 10).

Barnes is easily the least well known of the 17 players on that list.

It can also be argued that Barnes and Walter Hagen deserve to be members of the career Grand Slam circle of major-championship winners because Barnes and Hagen won the Western Open and the North and South Open, both of which were considered “majors” before the creation of the Masters. Barnes won three Western Opens and two North and South Opens. Hagen won five Western Opens and three North and South Opens.

Barnes actually was invited to play in the first Masters tournament, but didn’t play. There’s no official reason why he chose not to travel to Augusta for that inaugural event. Barnes may not have accepted the invitation because of his age – 47. Hagen did play in six Masters. His best finish was a tie for 11th, in 1936.

Golf writer Herbert Warren Wind once referred to Barnes, Hagen and Sarazen as being the “American” Triumvirate.

Mike May
Wellington, Fla.

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