From The Inbox

From the Morning Read inbox

Barnes deserves credit for career Grand Slam
As men’s professional golf looks forward to this year’s second major championship, we can reflect on the winner of the first two PGAs (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 also won a U.S. Open (1921) and a British Open (1925). Those four major-championship 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.

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

It also can be argued that Barnes – and Walter Hagen – deserve to be members of the career Grand Slam circle of major champions because both won the Western Open and the North and South Open, which were considered “majors” before the creation of the Masters in 1934. Barnes won three Westerns and two North and Souths. Hagen won five Westerns and three North and Souths.

Barnes was actually invited to play in the first Masters tournament, but he didn’t play. There’s no official reason why he chose not to travel to Augusta, Ga., 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, who spent the vast majority of his life in the U.S., Hagen and Sarazen as being the “American” Triumvirate.

Mike May
Wellington, Fla.
(May was a junior member at the same club in England where Barnes learned to play golf, at West Cornwall Golf Club in Lelant. He is a correspondent for Golf Central Magazine and Ohio Golf Journal.)

Quiet, please. Golf is in session
I know lots of people who play music, listen to football games, etc., while they play golf (“From the Morning Read inbox,” May 6). I choose not to play with them.

I like to hear the birds sing, the brooks babble and the breeze rustle the leaves. I even prefer for the yakking to be kept to a minimum volume (or better yet the 19th hole). My happiest rounds are when I throw my phone into the trunk and leave it there for four hours. However, I am usually a phone culprit, checking tour scores and texting my wife or the office. I hate it.

I wish golf could be seen as an escape from the hustle and bustle of modern living. Sadly, we are all too busy to enjoy it. Sometimes I conclude we are all so busy trying to be happy and healthy that we miss happiness and health.

Golf always will appeal to a smaller segment of the population. It is not video gaming. It is not an arena sport. I doubt that many golfers travel to Bandon Dunes or St. Andrews’ Old Course and listen to music. Their business doesn’t seem to be hurting.

Tom Fagerli
Yadkinville, N.C.

Pelley’s Saudi venture: Ignorant or ingenuous?
Keith Pelley, the commissioner of the European Tour, announces that his tour plans to hold another event in Saudi Arabia in 2020 (“In the news,” May 6). He states that it is the right decision for the European Tour and will assist in the evolution of the country. While I respect the tour’s right to make such a decision, I feel it is important to respond to Pelley’s statements.

How is holding another sporting event in the country that reportedly ordered the killing of a journalist who was critical of the regime helping in the country’s evolution?

Further, Pelley states that he is perplexed by criticism such as my statement above. Is Pelley ignorant or ingenuous? Either, or such a tone-deaf statement only enhances the public’s perception that professional golf and its leadership is a group of tone-deaf elitists concerned only with their next paychecks.

Perhaps Pelley simply is applying for a leadership role in the International Olympic Committee or FIFA?

Mike Kukelko
Oak Bluff, Manitoba

Pelley shouldn’t be 'perplexed' about Saudis
I have to wonder whether European Tour commissioner Keith Pelley has a moral hole in his brain (“In the news,” May 6).

Pelley is “perplexed” by the criticism that Saudi Arabia received when it reportedly kidnapped, killed, dismembered and dissolved in acid the body of a journalist who wrote critical articles about the Saudi rulers.

Pelley couldn’t see that maybe that was a bad thing to do? At the same point in time, dozens of large corporations and financial institutions pulled out of a Saudi-sponsored international economic-development conference in protest, and Pelley for the life of him can’t understand why?

Then he thinks a golf tournament will “help the evolution of that country.” Evolution in what direction? Certainly not toward becoming a less toxic state, and hopefully not in the direction it’s already headed.

Does the European Tour not have a board of directors who can see that this man is coloring their tour with approval of murderous authoritarianism?

My head spins.

Bob Jones
Salem, Ore.

McIlroy disappoints again
Once again, I looked forward to watching Sunday’s final round of the PGA Tour, knowing that Rory McIlroy was in the hunt at the Wells Fargo Championship. As usual, I was again disappointed.

Is it just me or has his new cavalier outlook on life, of not seeming to care about the outcome, taken away the edge? Sometimes it feels like he'd rather be somewhere else. Unfortunately, it’s starting to seem that way on most Sundays.

Robert Fish
Prescott, Ariz.

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