Keeping Score

From the Morning Read inbox

Par (like points for a field goal) is just a number
Fans like to see long drives and greens hit, rather than guys hacking the ball out sideways from knee-deep rough. But, the USGA wants scores close to par to win the U.S. Open. It seems as if the easy solution would be to change par at the “classic” courses for the week of the U.S. Open and other major championships.

Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court justice, correctly opined in the Casey Martin case (PGA Tour v. Martin, 2001) that all rules in sports are inherently arbitrary. Where in the cosmic universe does it say that you are out after three strikes, that a field goal in football counts as three points, or that par on a U.S. Open course has to be the same as par for play by mere mortals? These are all arbitrary rules set by governing bodies for their sport or event.

The USGA has recognized this before. One of the more obvious examples is the second hole at Pebble Beach, a par 4 for the professionals and elite amateurs at the U.S. Open but a par 5 for lumps like us. Until 2000, at the previous Opens and the 1977 PGA Championship at Pebble, the second hole was a par 5. Presumably, in recognition of the players’ ability to reach it so easily in two, it became a par 4 for the Opens in 2000, 2010 and this year. The same has happened at other venues, but only with select par 5s.

The USGA should do the same with the next classic course, but for more holes. Instead of stretching it to 8,000 yards to bring the scores down, just adjust par downward if you want even par to win the tournament. Make more par 5s play as par 4s for the week, and make the drivable par 4s play as par 3s. Make the short par 3s play as par 2s, just for that week.

At the end of the day, it does not matter whether half the field bogeys the par 2. The guy who has the fewest number of strokes for 72 holes that week is going to win. Whether his total is 3 over or 13 under is solely determined by what “par” is for the week. Let that number be whatever the USGA predicts (or wants) the winning score to be in relation to that arbitrary figure.

As golf fans, we will just appreciate the shots and the competition, which are the same no matter what “par” might be.

Mike McQueen
El Paso, Texas

One game, one ball
After reading the continued discussion about majors/older courses being too short/extended distance of the modern ball (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 26), I was thinking: Why is golf the only major ball sport I can think of in which the competitors don’t all have to play with the same ball?

In basketball, football, baseball, softball, hockey, soccer, volleyball, handball, water polo – I am sure that I am leaving some out – players may complain about the ball, puck, etc., but they all play with the same one, so no one gets an advantage (except Tom Brady, of course).

What would happen to the competition if everyone had to use the same type of golf ball?

I was trying to explain this phenomenon to a new golfer whom I know, and the only reason I could come up with is the financial side of things – that is, an industry has sprung up to convince golfers that if they use a particular ball, it will improve their results. This is followed by paying a professional to use said ball, thus enabling said professional to make some guaranteed money versus the uncertainty of a paid result from competition.

Does anyone else think that golf is the one major sport in which the financial futures of the equipment manufacturers are far too involved with integrity of the sport?

Peter Rosenfeld
Albany, Calif.

It's your honor, so keep it honorable
It could be that the coffee was a little off Wednesday morning, or I didn't get my full eight hours of sleep or perhaps just my imagination, but I thought I noticed a slightly contentious direction with some of the content submitted by the professional golf writers and the “inbox” contributors, as well (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 26).

If this should become a trend, it will prevent many readers from sending in comments so as not to not to cause further dissension. Contentious behavior is what you find on Internet forums where there is normally a total absence of any civil decorum.

I don't mean to imply that this is the situation on Morning Read, but hopefully everyone will continue to keep it gentle and pleasant. This sport that we all love so much provides more than enough grief as we pursue our passion.

Ron Yujuico
Euless, Texas

Hey, you nosy scribes: MYOB
Why don't the writers mind their own business and let the golfers and caddies run their own lives (“Thrown for a loop by emotional baggage,” June 25)?

The golfers and their caddies don't need a referee to control what they do. They already have that on the course. In most cases, writers such as John Hawkins are just trying to cause problems, ruin people's reputations and sell their product: “a story.”

Larry Bishop
Hermiston, Ore.

Setting a pick for Steph Curry
I really enjoy Morning Read, but let’s try to keep politics out of this publication (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 26).

Without a doubt, most readers have an opinion on this topic, and typically most are polarized and not fact-based.

More golf topics, please.

Bernie Torres
Sacramento, Calif.

It’s Hogan over Korn Ferry, 10 and 8
Reader Ken Byers hit the nail on the head (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 25).

The PGA Tour’s developmental tour could use some consistency in its branding. As a golfer, I think the Ben Hogan Tour, presented by (insert name here) certainly trumps (not a political meaning, folks) the Korn Ferry Tour.

Bill Boutwell
Jacksonville, Fla.

Morning Read invites reader comment. Write to editor Steve Harmon at Please provide your name and city of residence. If your comment is selected for publication, Morning Read will contact you to verify the authenticity of the email and confirm your identity. We will not publish your email address. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity.

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