Brit sides with Yank but only in theory
Reader Paul Boudreau certainly speaks my language when he says that he wants guys and gals from his own country to win every time (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 20).
In my case, that was Justin Rose last weekend at the U.S. Open, but his B game isn't good enough against runner-up Brooks Koepka’s A-minus game and winner Gary Woodland's A-plus game. Like Boudreau, I used to root for anyone challenging Jack Nicklaus in his prime, but in my case, I felt the same about Tiger Woods. When age took its toll on those two, I was happy to see them win the Masters if a Brit couldn't.
Golf enables you to make fine judgments that transcend nationality, and there are many good guys playing on the PGA Tour for whom to pull. I think the crowds know this and give them the right amount of support. I don't think that's more for Europeans over there very often. Guys playing great golf and demonstrating character are what impresses everyone.
Friendly rivalry is what golf should be all about. As Boudreau says, there's nothing wrong with that.
True fan offers cross-border applause
Reader Paul Boudreau, who says “I want an American to win,” is what I would call your typical, everyday golfer whom the golfing industry has been trying to court since Tiger Woods joined the PGA Tour (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 20). Boudreau’s statement, “If Tiger Woods is not playing, I watch less golf,” offends me. When Woods retires, so will Boudreau, and his money will be spent on anything but golf.
These types of fans are not the future of golf. These are people who like the latest cellphone, want what’s hot and when it cools off will drop it like a hot rock and never look back. These are not the people who are dedicated to the game. They couldn’t care less whether it succeeds or not and consider themselves “golfers” if they hit a Topgolf facility once or twice a year. If we are hoping for a brighter golf future relying on this type of fan, then the golfing industry has no future.
A true golfer will root for any golfer, regardless of nationality, who makes a great shot, leads the tournament or wins a tournament. Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Price, Ian Woosman, Ernie Els and even Sergio Garcia got standing ovations for winning tournaments, as they should have.
These men are golfers, not foreigners.
Kenneth C. Taylor
Fort Worth, Texas
Gary Van Sickle might be complaining about the lack of pros using driver at Pebble Beach, but I would rather see players use strategy in deciding to use driver with the risk of going into deep rough, or using an iron and having a longer shot in (“Open bombers give Pebble short shrift,” June 20).
I remember when Bethpage Black had long carries to reach the fairway and deep rough for those who didn't carry it. Yes, it forced players to hit driver, but it also took all but the longest hitters out of the contention.
Calm conditions leave Pebble Beach defenseless
I've got to disagree with Gary Van Sickle (“Open bombers give Pebble short shrift,” June 20).
He neglected to consider that the playing conditions during the past weekend at the U.S. Open were not typical of Pebble Beach’s capabilities. Where was the wind? Had there been the usual wind, I don't think we would have seen the same scores.
But I most object to what seems to be Van Sickle’s basic premise, that a U.S. Open course has to be long enough to allow for the players to use a driver on every hole. I thought that the fundamental principle of Open course setups was to severely penalize players for missed fairways and greens. Where is the strategy in just hitting driver every hole? How does that make a U.S. Open setup different from what the players see every week?
One of the objectives of a rotating list of courses is that each one presents different challenges. If you want them all to be the same, why not just pick one permanent home?
Land O’ Lakes, Fla.
Bombers separate themselves in golf
As a 54-year-old who has played golf since age 10, I also worry about incredible distances and accuracy that PGA Tour players are generating (“Open bombers give Pebble short shrift,” June 20).
When I attended PGA Tour events 20-25 years ago, I felt as though I could identify with the vast majority of golfers who were playing the same game that I played, just a lot better in each phase. However, I have attended two PGA Tour events in the past few years, and the accuracy and distance are far beyond what I can even envision.
On 500-plus-yard holes, players commonly will use a long- to mid-iron to reach the green in two. Guys such as Corey Pavin, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite might have been able to reach similar holes in two, but it likely would have been with a driver and a 3-wood. Could Pavin, Crenshaw and Kite compete on the modern tour, with modern equipment? Each had the mindset and heart of a champion, and they likely could and would adjust, but they are fairly small or slight in stature.
What does all of this strength, accuracy and technology mean for golf? I am really not sure, other than the need to create courses for the highest-level players and then courses for the rest of us.
Who would have thought that Oakmont, Winged Foot and others would be potentially too short for the U.S. Open (“Open bombers give Pebble short shrift,” June 20).
Fox still lags its predecessors in golf coverage
Fox Sports strives to improve its golf coverage for fans since the network’s foray into USGA championships five years ago. But Fox still doesn't match up with its network predecessors, which were more polished and more intelligently reserved in their commentary (“Finally, Fox can focus on golf at U.S. Open,” June 17).
The particularly irritating deviation from the announcer's offering is the incessant evaluation from an instructional view of every shot. As a top sports producer once advised a new announcer joining the team, “It's a visual medium.” The Fox team consisting of past PGA Tour players seems compelled to believe we are viewing to receive a golf lesson, not to watch the drama and excitement of the competition.
As the player hits an errant shot, we hear from announcer A,
"That shot ending up short and in the bunker was caused by the ball being contacted high on the blade, causing the trajectory to be elliptical. That results in less carry. The high blade impact was a combination of the Kentucky bluegrass and fescue grass mix
6½-inch rough and the player didn't rotate through aggressively with his left hip to offset the lack of replaceable spikes in his golf shoes."
Announcer B adds, "Yes, Percy Boomer, the public should realize the overwhelming repercussions of how the bluegrass and fescue could create a ‘flyer effect,’ but with the shoes sliding during the forward swing that is negated by the high-on-the-blade impact as he loses his posture at impact due to body extension. This, of course, was connected to the lack of a full shoulder turn with minimal hip turn in the takeaway.”
If they want to have the announcers analyze every shot, then hire the instructors from Golf Channel Academy Live. Otherwise, let us enjoy the denouement of the tournament plot as we prefer.
(Deaton is a retired member of the PGA of America.)
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