Reader Mail

The Nature of the Game

Tips from Bobby Jones. Also: No escaping technology. Stuck in overdrive in a Camaro. Developing notions of property. Saving Seoul. Plus much more.

6.21.06

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THE PATIENT CHAMP
Re: Quin Hillyer's Stubbed Toes at Winged Foot:

I read with great interest and enjoyment Mr. Hillyer's article regarding the recently completed U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Although it can seem that there is a distressing lack of intestinal fortitude among today's elite competitors, a glance at history will show that the experiences of Mickelson and Montgomery have long precedent in the history of the game.

Witness Arnold Palmer's incredible collapse at the 72nd hole of the 1961 Masters, where a double-bogey 6 cost him the championship and made Gary Player the first foreign champion in that tournament's history.

Witness also the collapse of Doug Sanders in 1970 who needed only a four-foot putt on the 72nd hole of the 1970 Open Championship at St. Andrews. His putt was so off the mark that Sanders almost instinctively reached out to rake it back, much as a 15 handicapper would do in his Saturday morning foursome.

Finally, let's not forget Sam Snead, who skill at losing Opens over three decades would make Greg Norman look like a piker. The list goes on.

The fact is that golf is replete with comebacks and collapses. It's the nature of the game. My grandfather, Bobby Jones, said that that drama is part of the charm of the game, it is what makes the golfer, "the dogged victim of inexorable fate."

On another golf website, I wrote yesterday that Geoff Ogilvy showed tremendous patience during his Open victory. Whether he becomes a great of the game remains to be seen, but for now he is the Open Champion. He showed, more than any other competitor last week something my grandfather wrote about in the 1930s, the virtue of "courageous timidity." In Bobby Jones on Golf, he wrote that "...[courageous timidity is] a most happy phrase, for it expresses exactly the quality which a golfer, expert or not, must have to get the most from whatever mechanical ability he may have. 'Courageous' to keep trying in the face of ill-luck or disappointment, and 'timidity' to appreciate and appraise the dangers of each stroke and curb the desire to take chances beyond a reasonable hope of success. There can be no doubt that such a combination in itself embraces and makes possible all the other qualities which we acclaim as part of the ideal golfing temperament for the championship contender as well as the average golfer. When we have pronounced [that] phrase we have said it all." And so we have.

Thanks, Mr. Hillyer, for an interesting article. And thanks, too, to Geoff Ogilvy who showed the world the patience that it takes to become a major champion and to stand, at least for this one week, at the top of the golfing world.
-- Bob Jones IV
Conyers, Georgia

It's amazing to me how everyone is second guessing what happened at the Open. I've loved and hated the game of golf for over 45 years. It is without question the hardest sport in the world to master. As a matter of fact, no one has or ever will. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and tell the players what they did wrong. It is another to stand in his shoes and "hit the shot." I can guarantee you that each player in his own mind was confident in choosing the shot they wanted to pull off. But golf, being the ultimate humbler, would have none of it. As Bobby Jones once said, "Golf is a game of inches, the five inches between the ears." How right he was and is.
-- D. Mullis
Goose Creek, South Carolina

Great article by Quin Hillyer. However, I have to disagree with the notion that Jim Furyk callously disregarded his routine on the 18th hole at the U.S. Open. What happened to Jim Furyk happens to all competitive golfers at one time or another, whether the stakes are a $2 nassau or the U.S. Open. What happened is that he felt extreme pressure and self-doubt; when he got over the putt to stroke it, something must have told him something ain't right. Pressure can make anybody "choke" and it was enough to make Furyk doubt himself. Hardly a callous disregard for his routine.
-- Michael Palmer

It was indeed painful to watch the 72nd hole meltdowns. I'm printing a copy of the article and mailing it to Phil; maybe he'll read it and, even better, learn something from it.
-- Donald Ward
Walnut, California

SIMPLIFY, MAN
Re: Brandon Crocker's Techno-Civilization and Its Discontents:

Modern technology is fine. Accept what you choose of it into your life. And discard all the rest.
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

Kudos to Brandon Crocker for noting the ultimate lack of necessity for the techno-gadgets we elect to enjoy.

In his paragraph commencing "I am one of the "bridge" group…," Mr. Crocker perfectly sketched my own aloof relations with modern toys. Only significant difference between him and me: I still haven't broken down and purchased a cellular telephone contract. My willful rebellion against the telephone zeitgeist annoys my mother in law no end -- not the least of my many reasons for holding out.

And Mr. Crocker correctly notes the ultimate sin involved, when we yield to marketing for all these expensive whiz-bangs: sloth. We just don't want to do the hard work (mental or physical) that God imposed upon us as our duty after the Fall. I confess to guilt on that score: I'd rather read a book (or The American Spectator) than pick up rocks in my back lot. While here in Asia on deployment I have tried to write letters (in cursive, on paper!) and keep a handwritten journal. Boy is that hard to do in this postmodern, electric age.

So the proper ethical response to techno-toys is: accept them, but set proper priorities and then discipline ourselves to pursue the highest and best first. God, family and country require much more devotion, more physical and mental labor, than electronic games, sports, or "chat." But then, permanent, transcendent rewards infinitely exceed temporal, fleeting ones provided by technology.
-- MAJ David James Hanson
HHC 3d COSCOM OSJA
LSA Anaconda, Iraq

A number of years ago, While serving in the United States Marine Corps and serving in the Republic of the Philippines I had decided to take some time off and visit the family and friends in Oregon. While suffering from a serious case of a tired backside from a long flight home, I stretched my legs and decided to use the facilities, while I was in the airport's men's room I kept hearing key board clatter emanating from behind a closed door in one of the stalls. I thought to myself, "No, that can't be what I think it is." Sure enough, I heard the toilet flush and out walks a gentleman wrapping up a network cable and having a small laptop tucked under his arm. Of course this was before wireless hotspots were widespread.

The last bastion of male-dominated privacy has been invaded by technology. Every stall in that airport restroom had a data port right next to the tissue dispenser. I lamented on this egregious invasion of truly the last place on earth that a spouse, children, and the woes of the world dare not to invade. The bathroom was places were a man could seek and find true paradise of peace, solitude, and relaxation as long as the bathroom fan was turned on. Gone are the days of the sacred rolled up newspaper or magazine neatly tucked under a man's arm as he engaged in the ceremonial march up the hallway, which caused the female species to seek other areas of the house and react in a rare and total silence. But this has gone by the wayside and replaced with the cell phone, Blackberry, and the LCD screen....
-- Melvin L. Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina

I too am concerned about the skills we have forgotten through technological progress. With the invention of metalworking practically no one knows how to knap flint or make utensils out of bone anymore. Don't get me started on agriculture. If there was a widespread crop failure who in this modern world still knows how to kill a mammoth with a spear?
-- Hunter Cobb

Please do not expect any of the younger generation to be able to give you change if the computerized cash register does not tell them how much to give you. It is sad to watch. Just for fun, after they have put into the 'puter how much you have paid them, say oh wait I have the change and just watch the turmoil.
-- Elaine Kyle

Mr. Crocker's comments about the speed of advancing technology, his obstinate and predictably generational response to it struck a cord for me. When I need help with computer problems my "go to" is my 14-year-old. My 19-year-old was our in-house certified computer expert until recently when he left, deflated from a computer store after upgrading his laptop to "state of the art" only to see jump drives (the kind you hang around your neck) that had three times the capacity of his newly resurrected machine.

My most poignant memory of technophobia is of my grandmother, who in her 90s was unable to master the intricacies of a reel-to-reel battery operated tape recorder, this from a woman who traveled in Conestoga wagons and spent the last years of her life jetting to Hawaii. (In her youth she was cutting edge on the South Dakota prairie taking and developing black and white photographs from a Brownie box camera in her sod house!) Seems to me technophobia is a reasonable and all too human response to the sense of obsolescence experienced by all of us. You used to be able to coast for years using the tech you were comfortable with; now that tech will be gone in six months, if you are lucky. This can have its upside, watching the MSM's confusion as its relevance drains away like sandcastles on the shore is endlessly amusing….However the old "waiting for the older generation to pass away" is no more, in any sense, now 19-year-olds are bulldozed to the curb and the "younger" crowd rushes past.

Personally I plan to be cryogenically suspended and awoken as an android capable of replacing chips (black box tech) implanted in my head or whatever as needed to catch up....Oh wait, I read about implanting chips in people last week...now what?

Pitch forks and torches at midnight on the castle draw bridge appears the only answer.
-- Craig C. Sarver
Behind Enemy Lines, Seattle, Washington

Complexity creates jobs for specialists. Specialists lobby for greater complexity. Everybody wins.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

For someone who sure blew it on illegal immigration, Crocker has this one nailed. Boy, you sure spoke for bunch of 40-somethings like me.
-- Robert Barninger

A CAR FOR BOYS OR MEN?
Re: Eric Peters's Why the Camaro Will Fail:

Another point you missed about the Ford Mustang is: It comes with the hyped-up V-8 motor, a reasonable suspension package and some Mach-1 style points for right around $25,000 out the door. Ford skimped on a lot of interior refinement, and making the Mustang a real muscle car requires some expensive add-ons. But that was the way any typical '60s muscle-car was sold anyway. It is still a good deal for most car buyers who can get style and V-8 growl for well under 30 grand.

American car companies and GM in particular tend to lard-up even their most economical offerings to boost the price to the point where the company can "make money on it". The big 3's carrying costs make selling stripped down econo-boxes a "loser" unless they sport a lot of options.

Congrats to Ford, they have a winner. GM should follow suit, but rather than invest in the public, and perhaps some after-market money-making add-on Camaro options, they want to recoup their entire investment up-front, without first asking the public if they want the damn car.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

I am the owner of Classic Automotive Restoration Specialists, Inc. In addition to building national show winning restorations and Barrett Jackson world record price cars we build the all new steel 1969 Camaro body for Dynacorn. This is a GM-licensed body. I am very close to this industry/market and I agree with Eric Peter's analysis. I believe, however, there is one GM obstacle he over looked; the Corvette.

GM will never allow another vehicle, especially a Chevrolet, to out power/perform their flagship Corvette! GM has a difficult hurdle in that as Mr. Peters stated the price point must be low enough to attract young buyers, yet they also must have a performance version. The performance version by GM's terms will be lower than the Corvette. Recently on the Hot Rod Power Tour, several GM managers stated the new Camaro will NEVER have the new LS7 Corvette engine. (On the tour the new Camaro was on display each night at the GM booth.)

Just like the SSR I believe unless GM pulls some marketing miracle the car will be priced too high and lack performance. In my opinion GM needs to adapt Chrysler's philosophy of the SRT program, spreading performance across their entire product line. Examples are the SRT 8 Charger and the SRT 10 truck which used the V10 Viper engine and transmission.
-- Jim Barber

Mr. Peters has only one thing correct in his article. The Camaro is a man's car; the Mustang is a girl's car. Perhaps the feminization of our society has supposedly kept the Mustang alive and kicking? How is a muscle car too macho Mr. Peters?
-- Jason Hybner
Victoria, Texas

Complexity creates jobs for specialists. Specialists lobby for greater complexity. Everybody wins.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

The members of 5thGen.org (the first and largest online forums dedicated to the new Camaro) read Eric Peters's article on the Camaro with great interest. As we read on, however, we became dismayed at some of Mr. Peters's conclusions. It is our contention, and I'm sure the contention of GM as well if they were likewise responding, that Mr. Peters has made several erroneous assumptions about the car and the automotive market in general that lead him to his final conclusion that the Camaro is destined to fail.

First, regarding the GTO's "failure": the GTO was a rebadged Holden Monaro imported from Down Under. Mr. Peters chooses to gloss over the importance of this fact in his article. Because the GTO was rushed to the U.S. market and based on an existing platform already on its last legs, it was hampered (whether you like the car or not) by those limitations. The GTO's production run has ended, however, not because of lackluster sales (GM only planned to sell about 18,000 units/year all along), but because the Holden chassis the car rides on is being phased out. All information we have today indicates the GTO will return end-of-decade sharing the Camaro's new platform, albeit in a larger, more differentiated packaged than the clone relationship the Pontiac Firebird once shared with Camaro.

Second, Mr. Peters argues the Camaro will have limited appeal. How is that possible given the Camaro will come in several flavors designed the match up with Mustang's offerings? In addition to the fire breathing models, there will most certainly be one V-6 model and possibly two. There will also be a couple of V-8 models. GM has also stated their goal is to sell the basic Camaro for around $20,000. If Ford can do it with the Mustang, my question to Mr. Peters is why doesn't he think GM can do the same? Is there a built-in $5,000 per car handicap at GM we've never heard of?

The Camaro's chassis will be a new, global platform shared by the GTO, the next Impala, Monte Carlo, several Holden models, and perhaps even a Buick or two and a Cadillac. With that kind of economy of scale, there's no reason GM can't build price-competitive Camaros.

As to insurance, see the above mentioned V-6 Camaro. For what it is worth, however, why would insurance on a V-8 Mustang be any less cost prohibitive than a V-8 Camaro?

Let's address Mr. Peter's comments about the 15mpg muscle car too while we are at it. The previous V-8 model Camaro managed 25mpg highway with the auto transmission and an impressive 28mpg with the 6 speed manual. There are several V-6 import branded sedans that can't get that kind of mileage. GM has suggested the new Camaro, replete with overdrive gears and cylinder deactivation technology, will achieve 30mpg efficiency. This is most certainly NOT your father's muscle car. In fact, 5thGen.org predicts that model for model the Camaro will be more efficient than a similarly equipped Mustang.

In the end, 5thGen.org smells a Ford fan boy in an automotive writer's clothing when we read Mr. Peters's article. He would be well served to leave the over-generalizations, stereotypes and speculation at the door next time.

Personally, as a conservative and a car nut, I am rooting for the Camaro because it represents all things uniquely American. This is exactly the kind of car at which the French would turn up their noses while driving their tiny, underpowered cars--a thought that gives me great pleasure! Now pardon me while I don my mullet wig and Smokey and the Bandit jacket and turn the key on my Trans Am.
-- Chris Renner
Owner/Administrator, on behalf of the members of 5thGen.org.

Who is this idiot? Does he still work there? Are you people so hard up for a story that you will print anything any idiot writes? If so, let me set you straight.

1. New Camaro styling outdated "the polarizing, hyper-macho cod piece styling": ... Let's see: The new Camaro has one almost every first place award for best concept vehicle this year. That's a lot of people (correct that, in-the-know idiots of the car world, men and women) who like the styling inside and out.

2. 15 MPG: Where does this idiot get his information from? Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? Since the inception of the Camaro concept, GM has told us that cylinder shut-down (same tech as the new caddies) would be utilized on the production version of the Camaro, giving said Camaro at least 30 MPG. Every car magazine subject on the concept has confirmed that number. That's twice what this write-by-numbers men-loving writer is trying to tell us!!!! Does he even know how to read? Does he know that if he needs information on the new Camaro he can find it in any popular car magazine since January?

3. Women won't like it: Every woman who has seen the wall paper on my monitor has said, "that is a nice looking car," "so much better than the new Mustang," "it's retro but modern" (this includes my girlfriend by the way who says she can't wait 'till it comes out so she can drive my Camaro around town). Most women I know ... would rather wear, look, decorate in modern styles than retro (what your mama did) styles.

Give this guy a job he can handle: bathroom attendant, mail boy, janitor. Find somebody willing to search for the facts (in this case it is not hard to do), and then write accurately about them, that is a writer.
-- Tim Benson
Fremont, California

After dealing with Camaro drivers for years, my wife has only one question: were Camaro owners issued their "A****** Cards" before or after they bought the car?
-- Michael Wm. Dooley
Indianapolis, Indiana

CONDITIONS FOR GROWTH
Re: Tom Bethell's Why Isn't the Whole World Civilized?:

This was an excellent article by Mr. Bethell, on a fascinating topic and analysis by Mr. Se Soto.

In a parallel vein, this same topic was addressed in the 1970s (as I recall) by the conservative Christian theologian R. J. Rushdoony, head of the Chalcedon Foundation. His approach held that the religious differences among cultures was the key issue in their development, rather than economics. His reasoning was more foundational: what a culture holds as basic tenets will influence what it does legally, economically and politically.

As I remember, the examples he gave illustrated several things:

- Certain cultures were diffident -- even outright hostile -- towards the most basic technology and automation (e.g., for the cultivation of crops). This was based upon religious sensitivities and limited their growth and economic output.

- In those cultures whose religious and philosophical presuppositions sought to keep God out of the picture (e.g., the Soviet Union), political and economic solutions based on purely natural law and coercion did not work.
-- Richard Green

This is a brilliant article that turned on a light inside my head!

I had been asking myself the very question posed by Mr. Bethell (Why does the U.S. generate so many new jobs every year, and Mexico only immigrants?) for months, without being able to find a satisfactory answer.

With Mexico's climate, work force, work ethic, resources, proximity of capital, and geographic location they should be an economic powerhouse.
-- unsigned

Thank you for an interesting article.

The legal infrastructure and myriad accepted conventions of the "social contract" that are foundational to the success of developed countries are undoubtedly poorly understood.

Your article highlights the failures and the threats from the left. I would argue that a close study of America's Gilded Age and the rise of fascism in Europe are also essential to our understanding of why the rest of the world is less developed.
-- Mike Roush

What a fine article. It actually makes a lot of sense and has potential to become a "talking point" for those opposed to the way foreign aid is being handed out. Further, it explains in understandable verbiage what a good part of the problem is today. I have to plead ignorance about Mr. de Soto myself, never really heard of him, but I have heard about his theory, though not put into those words. Yes, it is the instability in undeveloped countries that keep them that way but to get to the actual underlying instability, i.e. property rights and the legalism of such, does make a good argument. One also sees the danger to our own economy if the anti-property rights crowd triumphs in the courts. Looks like we need a good cleaning out of some of our institutions, starting with both houses of Congress.
-- Pete Chagnon

Tom Bethell has provided a non-controversial excuse for the undeveloped countries for being undeveloped without going near the issue of corruption. Why should the world take notice of the importance of property rights if we in the U.S. seem so determined to undermine our own property rights via the Kelo decision?

No government, capitalist or Communist, can long survive immorality and corruption. Property rights are nothing but approximations of the Eight (Thou shall not steal) and the Tenth Commandment (Though shall not Covet).
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

SEOUL SELF-HELP
Re: Doug Bandow's Korea's Triumph of Hope Over Experience:

It goes without saying that South Koreans are not living in the real world when they think about North Korea.

We in America could do them a huge favor by withdrawing all the American troops from South Korea. This would inject a necessary dose of reality back into the minds of the politicians in the South, and deprive Kim Jong-Il the tiresome talking point of imaginary, imminent U.S. invasion. The number of troops we have there is inadequate for any purpose other than to get us into the war if the North decided to invade the South.

Those same troops would look a whole lot better if they were deployed along the Mexican border. At least, they'd be in a friendly country, and they'd be protecting the U.S. against an in-progress invasion.

And, such a move would drive the moonbats of the left absolutely crazy. It would also have a positive political effect this November. As far as I can tell, it would be a win-win for the U.S.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

The U.S. military needs to exit South Korea within, say, the next five years and let the Koreans do want they please. America is not appreciated there. And besides, our troops would be more useful on the Mexican border.
-- Peter Skurkiss
Stow, Ohio

Last time the South Koreans took their relationship with North Korea to the "next level," 35,000 Americans died. America no longer should back the ingrates in South Korea, so pull our kids out and let the Seoul brothers and the Norks have at each other.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

THREE EASY STEPS
Re: Paul Chesser's Wall Power and Reader Mail's Wall Eyed:

I rather like the following, which has just started floating around the web:

Answers to everything:

1. Build a wide and deep moat, not a wall, across the entire border with Mexico.

2. Take the earth removed from the moat dig and send it to New Orleans to raise the ground level to a sustainable height.

3. Move all the alligators from Florida to the moat.

A threefer.
-- Jameson Campaigne
Ottawa, Illinois

I have been following the debate about illegal immigration for years and, while I still can't comprehend the short-sightedness of our political and cultural elites, I have come to some conclusions. My most fixed conclusion is that any one who says that they are for controlling our borders, but opposed to a fence is either a fool or a mendacious scoundrel. There is no third possibility.
-- unsigned

PRAIRIE TRANSFORMATION
Re: Lawrence Henry's Garrison Keillor Regrets:

The reason the Dubuque Telegraph Herald gave for dropping Garrison Keillor's column is that it expected a humor column and eventually got a political column.

Don't forget that Keillor both quit doing the show at one time and also spent a lot of time in New York and in the homeland of his Scandinavian lover, a kind of mid-life crisis. In his case, the reasons "You can't go home again" is true are that his old home in Minnesota had become more Midwestern and conservative and he had become meaner and more desperate with frustration. I suspect that late at night he has Al Franken fantasies about running for office.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

WORD WAR III
Re: "Toss the Spell Check" letters in Reader Mail's Wall Eyed:

Responding to Mr. Gonzalez's note in yesterday's Reader Mail regarding the worth of a "Jesuit" education, the absence of which, in his view, limits one's ascension beyond 6th grade reading skills, I must say, taking him as an example, being thusly educated appears to render one quite pretentious and profoundly humorless. Still, my hat's off to Jesuits for rarely failing to recognize words. They're the tops!

Ditto, Ms. Gray, as to the profoundly humorless. But, thanks anyway for her enlightenment about the utility of a dictionary. Having now learned about dictionaries, my life shall forever be more enriched.
-- A. A. Reynolds, B.A., J.D., LL.M.
P.S. Mr. Gonzalez may find his ability to recognize words somewhat less than perfected if he looks through Black's Law Dictionary.

SHOOTING THE BREEZE
Re: Diane Smith's and Stephen Foulard's letters ("Spot on Circle Time") in Reader Mail's Wall Eyed:

Let's see, I forgot what we were discussing. Oh yeah, Robin Williams. It's a free country Mr. Foulard, at least for a while longer. If you continue to see some merit in defending Mr. Williams, be my guest, we all have our idols. Say, did you hear the one about if a husband and wife divorce in West Virginia, are they still brother and sister? Guess not. Oh well, maybe you and I both should get out more. Diane, you're a sweetheart. What do you think? Should we give Mr. Foulard credit for trying? Maybe you should send us both a fruit cake.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

INSIDE STORY
Re: Jon Lindquist's letter (under "Tragic Finish") in Reader Mail's Wall Eyed:

So, long-time Las Vegan Jon Lindquist suggests that Lefty Mickelson might have taken a dive. Was it Lindquist who also saw Sam Giancana behind the grassy knoll?
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

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