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Readers Letters - July 2013

HANG ON, I’LL JUST READ THAT AGAIN...

Let me say straight away that your magazine is normally in a class of its own. Or it was until I started to read the June edition in which I began to feel a sense of deja vu. Let me explain.

Firstly, I read the readers’ letters to see if there might be any contentious issue under discussion. On page 18 the very first letter, ‘A Law Unto Themselves’, rang a bell, not so much the headline but the content. Immediately, I looked again at Bunkered magazine issue 123 and there was the very same letter – winning the star prize (you are obviously much harder taskmasters!) Secondly, starting on page 104 of Gi there is a very detailed feature on the Turnberry Performance Academy, an excellent feature, very much more detailed than Bunkered carried in its issue 123, but essentially the same in its glowing praise of this facility which is just down the road from where I live.

Should both articles not have come under ‘advertising’ or is it purely coincidental that two magazines are running the same feature in the same month? Day out for the lads, perhaps?

To be fair, this is the first time that I have noticed such an overlap and I am aware that some people just love writing letters to see themselves in print but you must admit that the coincidence is high!

Haven’t even finished Gi yet – takes much more reading time than most others which rely on pictorial features. Keep up the good work and allow myself and others to tie ourselves in knots trying out the latest swing concepts, as another letter commented; at 63 I may just stick with all the swing impurities that I have honed to imperfection over the years!

Les Newlands (with no hope of having this published!), South Ayrshire

Editor’s note: There’s no escaping the fact that media trips will occasionally produce similar articles right across golf’s publishing spectrum – but, as you rightly say, the detail in Dominic’s feature on Turnberry’s Performance Academy leaves all others in the shade. And we make no apology for the glowing review – it really is that good.

IT AIN’T ROCKET SCIENCE, TIGER

For a professional golf to fall foul of the rules of golf once in a season is careless; for that player to compound his error with an even more flagrant breech of the game’s code within a month is unforgivable. Yes, I’m talking about the current world No.1, Tiger Woods, and the drop that he took at the 14th hole during The Players Championship at Sawgrass – a drop so blatently illegal that you really do have to wonder about the mind-set of the man regarded as the best player the game has seen.

To rewind for a moment, had Woods considered his position carefully at Augusta, when it appeard that he had – albeit unwittingly – dropped incorrectly at the 15th hole on Saturday, he could have turned the situation to his distinct advantage had he, on reviewing the video evidence, taken himself out of the tournament. As your columnist Richard Gillis noted in the last issue, Tiger missed his ‘concession moment’, referring to the act of sportsmanship that has underlined Jack Nicklaus’ character since that fateful last round in the Ryder Cup at Birkdale in 1969. But Tiger didn’t. Instead he opted to take advantage of the ‘Get Out of Jail’ free card handed to him by the Augusta Committee and he played on. Miserably, it has to be said.

At Sawgrass, his tee shot at the parfour 14th hole, a high pulled 3-wood, crossed the hazard barely 100 yards in front of the tee box. As usual, Tiger turned away in disgust, so he wouldn’t have actually seen where the ball crossed – but you can be damn sure he knew. How on earth he came to drop where he did – suposedly after consultation with playing partner Casey Wittenberg (that’s right, like the young tour player is really going to argue with Tiger), beggers belief.

I have just returned from the South West Counties Championship week at Dudsbury, where during stroke play 36 hole qualifying rounds for the England Finals, one of Wiltshire’s most experienced players – England International Josh Loughrey – took an illegal drop at the short 2nd hole, mixing up the rule between a water hazard and a lateral hazard. No TV cameras to scrutinise the incident, and no Get Out of Jail Free card; Loughrey – and his team – we’re DQ’d.

The rules of golf are there to protect the integrity of the game – amateur golf lives and dies by that doctrine. Sadly, the man who has made such a phenomenal living from it seems to think he plays by an altogether different code.

Steve Rickard, Bude, Cornwall

A LAW UNTO THEMSELVES

Having played as a club member for 65 years, mostly as a single figure handicapper, I am appalled with the PGA’s and the PGA Tours opposition to the proposed rule change. Originally devised to help the ‘oldies’ conquer their failing nerves, it has now become the way to putt for the pro’s, despite the 2012 Open Champion Ernie Els admitting it is ‘legal cheating’.

With Adam Scott’s victory in the Masters, the Grand Slam for the major’s is now complete. How I wished that Angel Cabrera had won! Scott looks odd, and this monstrosity has no place in golf – ask Tiger Woods, who keeps winning with the short stick.

As Tony Johnston says in Gi issue 117, “No amateurs = no game”. The issue should have been nipped in the bud years ago. These “winners” are going to be cast in the same light as Lance Armstrong! They will be, to a great extent, ostracised. Golf, despite its arcane rules, is so beautiful in terms of self governance, and the control of NERVES. In cricket, does the inability to face fast bowling permit the widening of the bat, or Wimbledon’s hopefuls using larger rackets to receive fast serves? Of course not!. A way forward should be to specify the grip length to accommodate both hands, which must be placed on the grip (except for tap ins), then try and use a long putter thus! A free swing of the club, the same as the other thirteen permitted, requires a shorter ‘unbraced shaft’.

It will also be a sad day if manufacturers dominate the rule makers, especially, another issue, as many great courses such as Sunningdale are becoming obsolete due to the advances of equipment. The ‘rule makers’ must have nerves of steel, and stick to their guns.

Terrie E. Gibbons, Cotton, Suffolk

Editor’s note: As we all discovered in May, the rule-makers do share your views (and ours) on the putting debate. Look out for the interview with the R&A’s Peter Dawson.

TOO MUCH ADO ABOUT SOMETHING

I think the criticism that Sergio Garcia received for talking about serving Tiger Woods “fried chicken” for dinner was completely justified. Given that his comment could only be taken in the context of a similar, although worse, remark by Fuzzy Zoeller in 1997, the year Tiger first won the Masters, it was unquestionably racist in connotation, albeit I’m sure Garcia immediately saw the error of his ways and that his apology was genuine. That should be enough. However, regarding George O’Grady, the chief executive of the European Tour, I think the situation was quite different.

O’Grady referred to “coloured athletes” when he ought, to be correct, have said “black athletes”. So far as I am aware, no one has ever suggested that O’Grady is a racist or that his remark was intended in a demeaning way. I’m sure what happened was that, in the heat of the moment giving an interview to Sky, he found himself desperate to use the right phrase and in so doing picked the wrong one – trying to be politically correct, he achieved the opposite aim. But, goodness me, have we all not made mistakes with our grammar at one time or another?

Sure, O’Grady was wrong also, but in his case he didn’t deserve all the flak that he got.

Jeremy Smyth, Lincoln

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

 


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