From The Inbox

From the Morning Read inbox

Give dreamers a better shot at U.S. Open
John Hawkins and I seldom disagree, but on this one, we do (“NCAA champion gets what he deserves,” April 26). Why should any amateur be exempt into PGA Tour events?

I have my issue about the Official World Golf Ranking. The ranking is way overused for commercial purposes – TV rights, etc. That’s OK for PGA Tour events, but for the Opens, it’s nonsense.

The USGA, for example, started with exempting the OWGR’s top 40. Now, it’s 60-plus, and more than half the field now is exempt. It’s the U.S. Open, not our National Invitational.

The dreamers should have a better chance. They are required to play through two stages – local and sectional qualifying, over at least two and sometimes three courses – with odds of fewer than 1 percent advancing to the U.S. Open. Compare this to the 80-plus invitees who prepare once at the Open site.

I touch on this in my coming book. The commissioner gave thought to running an event against the U.S. Open in 1983. It didn’t go over well with then-USGA president Bill Campbell.

As for U.S. Open special invitees, I’ve always thought the NCAA champion was more deserving than, say, the U.S. Junior champ. I respect and honor their accomplishment. However, it does not rise to the level of earning an automatic exemption into our national championship

That one’s a puzzler.

Ron Read
Carmel Valley, Calif.
(Read spent 32 years as the USGA’s Western director of regional affairs and for 23 years served as the first-tee starter at the U.S. Open. His memoir, “Starting the U.S. Open: From Shinnecock to Pebble Beach,” is expected to be available soon on Amazon.com.)


Appreciate Woods for what he has done
My goodness. What does a guy have to do to silence his critics for more than a week or two? (“Simply the best because he believes it,” April 23); (“From the Morning Read inbox,” April 24; April 25; April 26).

All I can say to those who are tired of the accolades and extra media attention given to Tiger Woods before, during, and after his stunning victory at the Masters is shut it! How about a little appreciation for the man who is arguably most responsible for what golf is today?

Does he hog the limelight a bit? Does he get more attention from the media? Does this at times overshadow the talent and accomplishments of other golfers? Yes, to all of those. But who cares? He won the Masters, for crying out loud, and for the fifth time! Many people had written him off completely, said he would never play again, and certainly never would win again. Some even urged him to retire. Shame on you.

This is a man who as an athlete and a golfer showed us super-human skill and talent, never seen before, a man who re-invented golf, and gave birth to an entirely new generation of amazing and exciting players.

This same man, we discovered along the way, was as mortal and imperfect in his personal life as any of us. Woods and most of the rest of us found a way to move on from that.

And frankly, that is remarkable enough. But add to it that he, gratefully, loves playing golf to win as much as we love watching him play. And he easily could have just quit the game. Instead, he put himself through hell – a lot of pain and hard work – not merely to play golf again, and respectably so, but to play well enough to compete and even win against the younger, talented players who grew up idolizing him.

They appear to be pleased at Woods’ return and success — presumably not only because of what it does for the game but also because they get to play alongside him — even if it means a little less camera on them for now. If nothing else, it forces all of them to bring their best game every week, to put and keep the camera back on them more often.

How can anyone even try to minimize, let alone second-guess, what happened at this year’s Masters? Francesco Molinari or Tony Finau or Brooks Koepka might have done this or that? Are you kidding me? They didn’t. Woods’ win is less spectacular because he entered the fourth round two strokes back? Nonsense. If anything, to come from behind in the final round made the win even more amazing. We were all waiting to see if Woods could win even one more major. And he did it. Period. Bottom line: The idea that Jack Nicklaus’ majors record might be in play again makes golf more exciting.

The game is better and more interesting with Woods in it. Let’s be grateful that he has proved that he can play at a level that allows us to think he has a chance to win any tournament he enters.

Michael Albano
Chelsea, Mass.


In search of meaning with Champions Tour
The PGA Tour is in the entertainment business. As well, it has a secondary or tertiary objective of supporting charitable causes. I ask the question, “How does the tour for players over 50 align with the goals and objectives of its sponsoring body?” (“From the Morning Read inbox,” April 29).

Is it a popular and enthusiastically supported series of events, like the PGA Tour? I have seen the popularity of the tour through attendance at various events (although my one year at Disney was noticeable for the lack of the fans and ease of access to sightlines and players). Does the senior tour attract sufficient fans to justify this statement? Or is its continued existence a function of Golf Channel’s need for content or other commercial reasons?

The Champions Tour seems to be a mishmash of former champions (but few real “legends”) and players who are seizing on an opportunity to make a living and fund retirement in the sport they have played all their lives?

So why does the tour exist, and who cares?

Mike Kukelko
Oak Bluff, Manitoba


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