In Praise of Singh
Thank you for the article in your GOLF PLUS 10TH ANNIVERSARY
issue setting the record straight on Vijay Singh (Paying It
Forward, March 23). I've played in pro-ams with several touring
pros and once had the privilege of playing with Vijay. He was
delightful, engaging, funny--and helpful. Many pros won't help
read putts, but Vijay was interested in all of his playing
Edward C. DeLashmutt, Omaha
Singh has always displayed enormous class on the golf course, and
gaining an insight into his actions and demeanor off the course
makes me that much more of a fan.
The Scales of Justice
April 25, 2004
Jennifer Besler's case in Starving for a Win (SCORECARD, April 5)
was not about the power coaches have over kids, it was about the
power lawyers have in our society. This frivolous lawsuit, which
initially saw Besler awarded $1.47 million because her coach had
told her to lose 10 pounds, and which has since been overturned,
is another example of political correctness (and greedy lawyers)
run amok. A coach telling a player to lose weight to be faster
and quicker is not an unreasonable request.
Tony Collins, Tokyo
My duty as a high school football and ice hockey coach is to
motivate my players to be the best possible athletes they can be.
If losing 10 pounds will make them "faster, a better player,"
then suggesting proper diet and exercise to attain those goals is
exactly what I should be doing.
Scott Phillips, Toronto
Back when I was in high school, my basketball coach encouraged me
to lose weight in an effort to make me quicker. I am 5'10" with
an athletic build and was about 150-155 pounds at that time. I
lost about 10 pounds, and while I never developed a full-blown
eating disorder, his request did trigger an unhealthy obsession
with food and exercise that's lasted for almost 20 years. I
wonder sometimes what would have happened if my former coach had
helped me improve my game instead of focusing on weight.
T. Flanagan, Chevy Chase, Md.
The Media and the Masters
Alan Shipnuck's Taking on The Times (GOLF PLUS MASTERS PREVIEW,
April 6) is a fascinating expose of how a powerful media
organization exploited the Martha Burk-Hootie Johnson debacle in
an attempt to influence public opinion about a social
issue--women's rights--that is best advanced in another context.
The importance of the media in shaping public opinion affects
issues far beyond the scope of sports and has particular
importance in this year's presidential election.
Andrew T. Semmelman, Landenberg, Pa.
When considering the function of the press in a free society,
even the sports press, we too often view "free" as synonymous
with "unbiased." That is simply not the case. Shipnuck has done a
great service in bringing fair and balanced reporting to your
pages, and hopefully readers on both sides of the Hootie-Martha
debate will learn from it.
Andrew Helmboldt, Battle Creek, Mich.
Boohoo for Jeff Maggert. He's upset because the bunker--the one
that's supposed to penalize players--wasn't perfectly raked and
didn't afford him the ideal lie (Sand Storm, April 6). How
ridiculous. What the PGA Tour needs to do is institute a policy
in which no bunker is ever raked. The sand is a hazard, and
should be played as such. With footprints and craters in every
bunker, we'd definitely see a reduction in the number of players
who lay up into the bunker to avoid the rough.
Joe Wanninger, Indianapolis
In the June 17, 1963, issue, you printed my letter in response to
Palmer Gets Fit to Fight Again (June 3, 1963). In that letter I
wrote, "He'll come back to beat Nicklaus, Player and everyone
else." Having just read End of an Affair (April 6), I'm happy to
say he did.
Rande Wayne Smith
It's obvious in your poll of Illinoisians that you didn't talk to
anyone outside the Chicagoland area (Sports in America, April 5).
Otherwise, you'd have found out what the rest of the state and
all the Midwest already knows: The Cubs-Cards rivalry is second
to none and goes back 120 years. When you are born, you are
either one or the other and root for that team forever,
unconditionally. I have been a Cardinals fan since birth and
proud of it.
Matt Brahler, Ofallon, Ill.
William Nack seems to suffer from viewing the past through
today's perspective (Sweet and Sauer, April 5). He refers to
Wrigley Field in 1952 as "the spiritual center of sports in
Illinois." However, the White Sox had higher attendance than the
Cubs in 1952, as they also had in '51, and as they had in 14 of
the following 15 years. It may have been his spiritual sports
center, but it wasn't mine or that of many other residents of
Graham Smith, Wheaton, Ill.
It's rough when Otto Graham can't crack your list of Illinois's
six alltime best sports figures. Automatic Otto, Waukegan's pride
and joy, with his four AAFC and three NFL titles in a 10-year
Hall of Fame career as quarterback of the Cleveland Browns,
should have warranted some sort of mention.
Marc Jenkins, Waukegan, Ill.