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Morning Read Mailbag: A Major Debate, Player Suspensions and CBS vs. NBC

Readers have plenty of thoughts about LIV Golf players' status for majors, and which network covers golf better.

Readers are encouraged to offer their thoughts on Morning Read stories or anything else from the world of golf. Email inbox@morningread.com and include your name and hometown. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

LIV Golf and the Majors

How could you write this story without these three words?: Saudi. Arabia. Khashoggi. (The Majors Have a Major Decision to Make On LIV Golf Players' Eligibility, June 12)

Here’s a question: How about the majors requiring that any LIV player who wants to participate to meet or have a phone call/Zoom w/ Khashoggi’s fiancee?

Here’s one more: How about you ask the LIV players really tough questions about their participation in the Saudi-funded tour — like the British/European reporters did (at the first LIV event) — any time they play in a major?

Lew Blaustein
Fort Lee, New Jersey

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The LIV Tour is just a selfish money grab. The worst part is to listen to discussions about the majors and the future of the game. The LIV Tour is based on just getting well paid even if you don’t play well. The whole foundation of the game of golf is that it is a hard game to master and that it is a humbling game that is elevated through true competition. Weekend golfers experience the same nerves and stresses playing their $5 nassaus as pros do in a tournament setting. YOU MUST PERFORM TO EARN REWARDS! The LIV Tour is tossing this basic tenet out the window.

The PGA Tour and the PGA of America have made efforts to try to grow the game itself (The First Tee, support for maintenance practices, and emphasizing the noble traits of honesty and sportsmanship that run deep in this crazy game) as well as putting together a model that contributes to various charities at tour stops around the country. They keep interest in the game that leads to the public playing the game which supports the entire golf industry. LIV Golf will do NOTHING for the industry. If the PGA Tour holds the line and just says adios to the selfish ones, they will still survive. Public sentiment is going to turn on the selfish.

Doug Saunders
Truckee, California

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I will simply not watch a tournament that any LIV golfer is a part of including the majors. I’ll take it further and say I will do my best to NOT buy anything that I learn has been promoted at these venues. I believe in this day and age that showing what’s right instead of it always being about the dollar will be better in the long run for business and reputations. I’ve been a lifelong fan of the game and appreciate what it’s brought into my life, but I’ll draw the line on supporting any player directly and indirectly who chooses to look the other way with respect to who signs their paycheck.

Dave Crow
Buckley, Washington

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I think the issue is whether the LIV players can accumulate world ranking points. If they only play in the LIV matches, and there are no ranking points to be had, only the past major winners, or top major performers from that group are going to be eligible to be in the majors.

I also think an argument can be made that the LIV format as it is, with only three rounds, is more like the old Shell Wide World of Sports series, basically an exhibition, and, therefore, undeserving of being included in the ranking system. The argument could be further made that the eight-event schedule with all the same players at every event rigs the system for a handful of the better LIV players to accumulate an outsized number of points, which would not be fairly measured against the non LIV players.

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Also, the guaranteed income aspect of the LIV tour helps define the tour as more exhibition than not. It’s an interesting situation that rubs many people the wrong way. If the Saudis buy enough top players, they may force the PGA Tour to downsize and eventually fold up, but they are not there yet, and I hope they never get there.

Christopher B. Chapman
Tully, New York

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The PGA Tour is the best tour in the world but they’re the NCAA of professional golf. Nothing changes unless change comes knocking. 

I don’t condone Saudi Arabia‘s action and what they stand for, but no one has addressed why the PGA Tour, golf manufacturers, and apparel companies aren’t saying anything about China? This country has killed thousands of it’s citizens and foreign nationals just for speaking out against their system; haven’t they used sportswashing as well? Our country has turned a blind eye towards China, because of the profits we make. Let’s not become hypocrites and single out golfers for bettering their lives when we’ve been doing it for all our lives!

Jorge Calvo
Huntington, New York

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Since the PGA Tour split off from the PGA of America nearly 50 years ago, the Tour has been blathering about how the players are “independent contractors” rather than employees and make their own decisions about where and when to play. Although the Tour's current push to require certain behaviors of their “independent contractors” seems inconsistent with its past positions, I certainly don’t challenge the right of the PGA Tour to make whatever rules it wants to govern its business.

But if the PGA Tour is nudging Augusta National, the U.S. Golf Association, the PGA of America, and the Royal and Ancient to bar players from competing in the majors if they play in LIV events, it seems to me that they’re dangerously close to a conspiracy in restraint of trade or tortious interference with “contracts” between the players and the entities that sponsor the majors.

I’m confident that both the LIV associates and the PGA Tour are getting expensive legal advice, one of them is apt to be getting advice that will turn out to be mistaken. In the end, the lawyers will make out fine. But the PGA Tour doesn't just need to be adjudicated to have been “right,” they must also be perceived to have acted fairly.

The PGA Tour reminds me of a schoolyard bully. Rather than suspending players like Dustin Johnson who stated that he made a decision that was in his family’s best interest, maybe the PGA Tour should take the position that “if you want to make a lot of money playing exhibitions, LIV is the place for you — if you want to compete against the best players in the world, you need to come to the PGA Tour.”

Chad King
Bluffton, South Carolina

A Vote Against Suspensions

I caddied on the Senior Tour in the mid '90s and we had players from all over the world. I think golfers are individual businessmen and women and have a right to choose where they want to play. Their life is golf. Their income comes from their golf ability. The PGA Tour is a wonderful organization and should allow contestants to play as long as they pay their dues. They are acting like a monopoly and banning the greatest players at times will only hurt them, not the player, especially when they can make this kind of money.

Paul Martin
Lake Placid, Florida

Which Network Does Golf Better?

I could have written John Hawkins’s piece (Jay Monahan Delivers In Televised LIV Golf Rebuttal; NBC's Best-in-Class Crew Returns, June 15). Yes, we are “not calling a war,” and Dottie Pepper is under-utilized in my opinion, and I can do without, “I agree, Dottie.” But, I still miss Gary McCord.

Bruce Wyrwitzke
Yuma, Arizona

The NBC team delivered an exceptional broadcast of this year's U.S. Open. Hicks and Azinger are pros and don't try to upstage the event. Azinger and Koch never blow about their own accomplishments but offer insightful comments helpful to we the viewers. Maltbie and Begay continue to give value added observations from the course. John Wood is a nice addition to the team.

The CBS broadcasts unfortunately are stuffed with the lead analyst's arrogance and his colleagues cheerleading him, including Jim Nantz, who often seems more intent on applauding the lead analyst than covering the event. I frequently just turn off the sound on the CBS broadcasts. I wish the NBC team were on every week.

Doug Hoxeng
Tempe, Arizona