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Readers Letters - June 2013


It’s one thing the Masters having their own quirks, quite another allowing them to get away with making up the rules of the game. They really bottled out of the correct punishment for Tiger Woods. We all want to see the best and brightest contest our majors but they were looking for a way to keep him in the tournament, and in so doing failed to apply the rules. Using the Harrington example as case law is nonsense. Harrington’s ‘crime’ (he failed to notice a tiny movement of the ball that was only picked up by slowmotion high-definition cameras) was not general ignorance of the rules as was the case with Tiger. I’m not anti-Woods, I just want to see fairness and sporting integrity continue to be the hallmark of our game.

In the same vain the vitriol online aimed at John Paramor for applying the penalty to Tianlang Guan is also out of line. My sons played in the Scottish Boys Under 14s Championship earlier this year and every single competitor was given a time sheet explaining in black and white where they should be timewise after each hole. So age is no excuse – those in the position to exercise the rules must do their job for the benefit of the entire field. And when it comes to slow play, the authorities should be applying the same sanctions to the drones we see week-in, week-out on tour.

Sam Robinson, via email


My first memories of watching the Masters is being allowed to stay up past my bedtime on a school night watching the final round with my father. I recall the coverage used to start about 9pm, when the leaders were at the turn with, with Steve Ryder at the helm.

At this time I believe Augusta would only allow live coverage at certain times which meant many of the holes on the front nine were not shown or if you were lucky enough to see extra coverage it would be very limited highlights.

I think Augusta wanted to add to the mystique and exclusivity of the event by scheduling the television coverage in this way so you only viewed certain parts of the course. Perhaps it did, to this day it is the most eagerly anticipated major. They have always done things their own way. I have always been one to encourage progression and accept things will change, hopefully for the better. I am thankful Augusta seem to have moved with the times also when you consider the coverage of the event you have today, compared to the 80's and 90's.

Nowadays with Sky having full coverage of the event we are treated to insights of the course like never before, extensive previews, interviews and the Par 3 Contest, which I enjoyed last night. It was great to see the ‘Big 3’ of Nicklaus, Palmer and Player enjoying the event and stopping to be interviewed by Sky.

It needs to be acknowledged that technology had improved immensely. Last year I watched the coverage in 3D and it was amazing – you really appreciate how undulating the course is first hand rather than taking the commentators word for it. Also, the HD pictures really do the course justice when you compare them to the pictures we used to have.

So thank you to Sky and Augusta for making the Masters experience even better than ever.

David Cook, Dorset


I am a subscriber to your excellent magazine, the content of which is always a good mix of subjects. However, when I look at all the photographs showing technique – how one should move the arms, the body, the club – I have to tell you I have no real interest and no pleasure in getting myself confused and wrapped in theory!

But a short time ago, I read a book which has helped me to find pleasure in the game again, for the simple reason the thoughts contained within it were so easy to follow that I have enjoyed playing better golf than I recall for quite some time. Let me explain. I am a German living in France. Each day, I listen to the BBC on the radio. I have heard often Alistair Cooke reading his Letters from America; unfortunately, he died in 2004.

Quite by chance, I bought his book in which he presents a collection of letters from 1946 to 2004. I think it is a really interesting book. So I bought two more books: American Journey, and The Marvellous Mania. Having discovered golf at the age of 55, Alistair Cooke was somebody who loved golf and tried to play very often. Jack Nicklaus was one of his friends. And to shorten my mail: He wrote that two things are absolutely necessary – Keep the head “still” – stay absolutely in the same position, and the same must be tried concerning the right knee.

So those are the two things which I concentrate on all the time – and the result is very satisfying. All pro golfers know these two things and moreover, they DO them at each swing. But all the other “normal” golfers, are they doing it?

Not as far as I can see. I wanted to share this with your readers. Kind regards from France.

Margot Boguscheewsky, via email


And so the great debate resumes, invariably causing outrage and snoozing, depending which side of the argument you’re on.

I refer, of course, to the contentious matter of the venue of the Open Championship as selected by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. This year the Open will be held at Muirfield, home to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, one of three links that regularly host the Open which do not permit women members, the others being Royal St George’s and Royal Troon. (And that’s leaving the R&A itself out of it!)

Especially now that Augusta National has allowed women two join (two wealthy, high-profile women, mind you, and if that’s not tokenism then I’m not sure what it), it was inevitable that the R&A would come under increasing pressure either to order clubs such as Muirfield to change their policy with regard to women members or else forfeit the right to host the Open.

In an ideal world, I think there should be no discrimination along these lines, and I certainly think that clubs which stage the greatest championship in golf should not have rules that prohibit half the world’s population from having the opportunity to become a member. But we don’t live in an ideal world, as I’m sure we’ve all noticed. And the fact of the matter is that there are many more important issues to worry about than this – indeed, more important issues in golf to consider. I’m not suggesting the campaigners are wasting their time and should shut up. I’m just saying that I’m sure those golf clubs will get there eventually, in their own sweet time.

Jonathan Watson, Sheffield South Yorkshire


Following R Kevins’ excellent letter (in issue 115) on the anchoring consultation you cheekily commented, “it would be extraordinary to think that the consultation period was nothing but a publicity stunt…wouldn’t it?” Well, judging by the R&A’s Chief Executive’s recent comments I fear that it is.

Peter Dawson is reported as being displeased with the PGA Tour and the PGA of America’s opposition. “It put rule-making on the negotiating table…and [that] is not a good environment for rule-making”.

Have I missed something here? Isn’t a consultation period intended to bring forth different and sometimes opposing views so that an issue can be considered in the round. As I understand it these bodies have merely stated they hold a contra view on anchoring and believe there is no need for a change in the laws of golf.

Of course, when the final decision is then made by organisations that have already stated their intended path, whether they are open to listening to other’s views is immediately questionable. Regretfully Dawson’s outrage probably answers that. (So in terms of bringing in the new rule, does that make it a ‘feat accompli’!)

This dredged up from the backroads of my memory a history lesson from my school days. In Chairman Mao’s ‘Hundred Flowers’ the public were invited to air their displeasures with the communist regime so that the government could learn and move forward. Instead it merely helped those in power identify possible insurgents who were swiftly and harshly dealt with.

So Mr Fincham, you might want to consider beefing up your security. And Mrs Kevins, it’s probably worth checking your husband’s life insurance is up to date.

Sam Barclay, Epsom, Surrey

PS. Can I still get my lovely FootJoy gift if I withhold my name and full address from being published for fear of reprisals?

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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