Reader Mail

Eagle Eyed

What's missing at the Masters. The Pope cleans up. Pro wrestling. Translating Hitler. Plus more.

4.21.08

Send to Kindle

FROM COODY TO IMMELMAN
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Dullest Masters:

Alright Mr. Henry, I'm asking: What really happened when Nicklaus and Watson walked up the eighteenth hole?
-- Dan Dickey
Batesville, Indiana

Two things always distinguished The Masters in the past:

1) Augusta National was the ultimate risk/reward course. Birdie and eagle opportunities were abundant, but so were possibilities of a 7 or 8. On Sunday, on the back nine in particular, the tournament became a test of nerves as much as shot-making. You couldn't win without playing aggressively, but that meant an embarrassing double- or triple-bogey was always only a hiccup away.

2) As a direct result of Point 1, the cream always seemed to rise to the top at The Masters. There's a reason Jack Nicklaus won this tournament more than any other major, and why Arnold Palmer (4 titles) and Tiger Woods (4 titles) have also won it more than any other of the big four (Gary Player won it three times, equal to his British open titles).

With no disrespect meant to Zach Johnson or Trevor Immelman (fine gentlemen and deserving champions both), it ain't the same no more! It's not right when the winner is determined by who on the leaderboard backs up the least on Sunday. I say, bring back the eagles, bring back the "Sunday charge," and bring the "roars" back to August National! Make the course fun again.
-- Mike Zimmerman
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mr. Henry has written a wonderful piece here. His pithy descriptions of the cast are particularly delightful. However, I think he comes down a jot hard on what he feels is the new atmosphere at Augusta. Since the course was updated several years back, the Greencoats have not had sufficient data to properly judge the revamped arena. The course has played pretty soft most of the years since the changes. This was, by my observations, only the second tournament where they were able to find out just how much golf course they have. Even so, the rain Saturday prevented its full treachery from being revealed. Nonetheless, Mr. Paine and his cohorts now must realize that Augusta is safe from plunder for at least a few decades.

With new technology reined-in pretty well by the U.S.G.A. and R&A equipment rules, Mr. Henry and I can probably be assured the Grand Old Gal will never become Breckinridge Park in our lifetimes. Thirty miles per hour is not merely "some wind." Conditions on Sunday were supremely difficult, particularly on the two drama centers, 13 and 15. With a little tinkering here and there, and the ability to throttle up and down depending on conditions, I think The Masters will be better prepared to supply the Sunday roars regularly in the future.

We have, after all, been pretty spoiled over the last twenty years with tournaments that are ageless in their drama and wonder. I remember being disappointed when guys like Charles Coody won back in the '70s. However, when Coody made a hole in one at the par three event this year, with his two grandsons caddying, I realized the God of Golf has a different concept of time and place than I. Good things always come to those who wait...patiently.

Nice job, Mr. Henry,
-- Guy Green
Saint Paul, Minnesota
P.S. Ben Wright's "oafish comments to a female reporter" were simply a quote from Big Mama Carner. The disgrace belongs to the priggishly P.C. reporterette and CBS, not to Ben. Solution? Ask Hootie.

I believe Mr. Henry is saying just as much about today's coverage of golf when he compares the charm of the Nicklaus-Watson era to the Tiger-or-nothing disease that permeates today's TV golf.

In 1991, CBS had The Master, Frank Chirkinian, at the controls, and you would see more golf shots in a one-hour CBS Saturday show that you see in the 3-hour CBS marathons of today (NBC is a little better in my eyes, but their depth of talkers is shallow).

Also in 1991, you had many great announcers properly assigned to a single hole (or two at most), adding to Lawrence's list: Jim Nantz (who started on 16 in the Nicklaus year of 1986), Verne Lundquist at 17, Pat Summerall and Ken Venturi at 18, plus in my childhood, the late and great Frank Glieber and Henry Longhurst. The 1978 Masters, which CBS showed on Sunday, also included Jim Thacker, the first partner for Billy Packer, which is still, to me, the best basketball pairing ever.

Now it's five-hour rounds with twosomes, and there's no question that the lead-footed Immelman drove the see-it-and-hit-it Snedeker crazy. And we get to see the golfers walk to the 12th green instead of somebody four holes ahead trying to get that birdie that will qualify them for the 2009 Masters.

I can see Mr. Henry turning off the TV when Immelman got to 16, no matter whether it was before or after Trevor dunked his tee shot in the pond. That pairing was the only one left on the course!

Rudy Martzke of USA Today didn't like Chirkinian and his crew, but we golf fans did, and we miss them with a passion today.
-- Al Pote
Lovington, Illinois

I have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Henry's assessment of this year's Masters Tournament. This year's Masters held plenty of great shots and excitement with Brandt Snedeker playing great golf through about 60 holes.

For boredom, no Masters in my lifetime can top the '72 Masters. Jack Nicklaus led every round, won by a blistering 286 (-2) and the nearest opposition, Bruce Crampton, was four shots back.

The greens that year were studded with poa annua, a substance that is OK to putt on if it is consistent on the green. However, with the Bermuda grass greens of the time, the players' putts bounced around more than a
basketball on a court.

Had I known that year's tournament would be that boring, I would have brought a book, pillow, or both!

Great article, though!
-- Bob Jones IV
Conyers, Georgia

BENEDICT'S BUSINESS
Re: Amy Welborn's Handling the Situation:

I am not a Roman Catholic, so anything affecting that church is really none of my business, but that has rarely stopped me from commenting in the past. I just happen to think that Pope John Paul was a truly Christ centered, good man, and the best Pope in my lifetime. He did marvelous things for, not just his church, but for the entire Christian community. There is not a Catholic worldwide that grieved more for his loss than did I. He and Mother Teresa were in the top four or five most God-centered, most faithful, most loving servants of God in my lifetime.

That said, John Paul seemed to just not quite be up to the mark in dealing with the homosexual pedophilia scandal that took hold of the church worldwide. When Pope Benedict was elected to succeed John Paul, I was sure that the vote was specifically directed by God for a specific reason. I have been sure that God has had a specific issue that Cardinal Ratzinger has been picked to take care of. That was the only reason that I could believe would cause the College of Cardinals to vote to elect a new Pope of such advanced age. I just don't believe that God wants a "place holder" to fill the time until the next Pope emerges.

Now I will gladly concede that God MAY have charged Pope Benedict with the solving of more than one serious problem within Christianity. Benedict may, indeed, have been also charged to solve the problem of certain church orders and entities, and "cafeteria Catholics" that seem determined to consign the traditional church tenets to the dust bin of history, or to teach the Christian world how they should be dealing with Islam, and the Islamic Jihadist movement in particular.

As a non-Catholic Christian, I am standing on the sideline cheering as hard as I can for Benedict, who I perceive as a truly devote, holy, Christ centered servant of the one true God.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

What has to be faced, is the whole picture of the involvement of the Democrat party with many leaders (not all) of the Catholic Church in America.

For many in the Catholic and so-called "Mainline Protestant" churches, their zeal to embrace socialism and its redistribution of wealth to the "poor," the now common promise of the Democrat party, meant that you would have to turn a blind eye to some other serious moral flaws in groups courted by the Democrats. Thus in the church parking lot, you have the cars of professing Christian Catholics and Protestants sporting Democrat bumper stickers, while that party's platform includes the perpetuation and protection of "abortion rights" etc. And this is acceptable because "the Democrat Party works for Social Justice." Oddly enough it's always everybody else's money that's supposed to fulfill this burning social consciousness. Strange how "covetousness" never gets much concern with "liberal" Christians. But this was not the worst.

As it developed, abusive priests plied their trade with the assistance of...government. It appears that the trade-off was, Democrat administrations helped keep the lid on the abuse in exchange for a Church hierarchy that allowed moral ambiguity for the congregation at election time. After all, "the Democrat party helps the poor." Thus much of the "Catholic vote" was delivered and maintained for the Democrat party, while the abuse victims and the unborn were the unwilling pawns in this evil chess game.

Isn't it odd how no one ever seriously investigates the strange incongruity of Gov. Mario Cuomo (D-NY) giving so many speeches with a dutiful Bishop of the Albany Catholic Diocese standing in the background. Perhaps they could question retired NY State Police officials, to see if any were threatened with "consequences," if they divulged activities of church officials uncovered by state investigators, and thus remained silent. Investigative reporting? When H... freezes over.

In all of this, it should be remembered that it was men who failed. The laws of the various states, and the standards of the Church are clear. The actions of honest men can go a long way to repair the damage. It should also not be assumed that this was only in the Catholic Church. I think it likely that the Democrat Party has decided that "the Catholic Vote" has evaporated to the point that it is disposable, meaning that the faithful are no longer being taken for fools.
-- Anonymous by Request

HERO OR FOOL
Re: Shawn Macomber's A Time to Deny:

One of the reasons that there is so little resistance to the premature correction of a situation that is not a proven problem is the belief that it matters not a whit on what the government spends its money. Further, it is believed that even if Global Warming turns out to be a hoax, there will still be a lot of people who will make a lot of money from it and be able to do great things with it.

The government should have a pretty good idea before even collecting the money that the purpose of the money has some kind of productive component. Spending money on diverting a comet that never would have hit the Earth anyway would be considered wasteful or consumptive. If consumptive spending was just as good as productive spending, then there would be no moral justification for arresting and prosecuting con artists. Productive spending lets the whole of society step up from a lower level while consumptive spending builds no or a much smaller step.

If there is uncertainty but agonizing possibilities of disaster, the calculation is a little more difficult. But, as a general rule, the more uncertainty of a negative effect, the less one should spend on it. This is particularly true if the act has negative possibilities. If you do not have the resources to compensate the innocent for the mistake, your pocketbook is not big enough to play hero or fool.
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

THE REAL DEAL?
Re: Russ Ferguson's As the World Churns:

With all due respect to Russ Ferguson's assessment regarding the value of reality TV shows, he managed to omit the one "value" that stands out above all the rest: in comparison to regular TV shows, reality shows are dirt cheap to produce.

And how is it a law student has so much time to watch TV?
-- Arnold Alert
Boca Raton, Florida

Well, Mr. Ferguson, that was fascinating stuff, but you forgot all the professional wrestling shows.

They're just as much "reality" TV as the reality TV shows.
-- A. C. Santorum

LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL
Re: Jay D. Hummock's Not Doing Too Much:

Reading Jay Hummock's take on John McCain's likely opponent brought to mind a long ago bumper sticker I read while vacationing in Louisiana. It read VOTE FOR THE CROOK -- WE NEED HIM. Edwin Edwards was running against David Duke, if I recall. The bumper sticker was pro-Edwards. He was either on his way to jail or just out, a high roller whose motto was "laissez le bon temps roller".
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

ALL QUIET ON THE IRAN FRONT
Re: Roman Brackman's Iran Can't Wait:

Roman Brackman's plea to do something about Iran will not be answered. Much like the prevailing attitudes prior to WWII, nothing Iran does short of launching a nuclear warhead -- not merely acquiring
nukes -- will spur the West to take concrete action against this terrorist state.

Much like WWII, it will be too little, too late.
-- Arnold Alert
Boca Raton, Florida

THE UNMOVED HITLER
Re: Richard Weimar's Darwin and the Nazis:

Concerning that "Intelligent Design" debate, read somewhere that the " Big Bang" hypothesis states that, at some point of singularity in space, an extremely dense ball-of-matter exploded, and thus the universe was born. That prompts the question of where that matter came from -- to which there are two possible answers, right? It always existed -- or God created it.

Okay, but, are we supposed to believe that that ball of matter just simply exploded? Nope, that does not follow the Law of Physics. Isaac Newton's first law stated that "an object will remain at rest or in uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force." So, from whence did this external force come? Something known as God appears to be the most logical. In other words, in the absence of " spontaneous combustion" (in space?), God pushed the button.

Now, I have no real argument with those who push the evolution concept, just so long as they don't try to cram it down our collective throats (and those of our school children) to the exclusion of other options. Seems kind of narrow minded; we've heard 'most all the arguments and they don't require rehashing. By the same token, the "professional Christians" pushing the Creationist concept can be equally repugnant...
-- Jack Frost

Hitler had some interesting views on the Darwinian concept that man had evolved from other animals.

From Hitler's Tischgespraeche for 1942: "Woher nehmen wir das Recht zu glauben, der Mensch sei nicht von Uranfaengen das gewesen , was er heute ist? Der Blick in die Natur zeigt uns, dass im Bereich der Pflanzen und Tiere Veraenderungen und Weiterbildungen vorkommen. Aber nirgends zeigt sich innherhalb einer Gattung eine Entwicklung von der Weite des Sprungs, den der Mensch gemacht haben muesste, sollte er sich aus einem affenartigen Zustand zu dem, was er ist, fortgebildet haben."

I shall translate Hitler's words, as recorded by the stenographer.

"From where do we get the right to believe that man was not from the very beginning what he is today.

"A glance in Nature shows us that changes and developments happen in the realm of plants and animals. But nowhere do we see inside a kind, a development of the size of the leap that Man must have made, if he supposedly has advanced from an ape-like condition to what he is [now]."

And in the entry for 27 February 1942 , Hitler says "Das, was der Mensch von dem Tier voraushat, der veilleicht wunderbarste Beweis fuer die Ueberlegenheit des Menschen ist, dass er begriffen hat, dass es eine Schoepferkraft geben muss."

Hitler was influenced by the ideas of the Reverend Thomas Malthus, as was Darwin, and indeed as was everybody in the 20th century.
-- Steven Carr

GOBBLER'S NOD
As an avid wild turkey hunter (Washington's spring season began Tuesday), I miss seeing my favorite gamebird on the masthead of your online edition. Ben Franklin would undoubtedly agree with my plea to bring back the gobbler!

Thanks for your consideration of this important concern. Now, back to more trivial matters, such as the Presidential race.
-- Bob Vogler
Seattle, Washington

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article