Editors' BlogMay 3, 2007

Whitten on the Players

Never argue with people who buy ink by the gallon. Tommy Lasorda

Jeremy Franks, an assistant golf professional at Chevy Chase Club in Maryland, takes serious exception to Ron Whitten's "New Status?" story on the Players Championship in May. It wasn't Ron's suggesting that the Players may now be a major that drew his ire, but rather Whitten's unkind reference to the absence of club pros in the field.

It is totally against my nature to write to someone about how I feel, but here it goes.

I happen to be a good humored individual, I hold nothing back if someone deserves a little jabbing

for what they did or didn't do. And I hope the same on myself for some folly I committed to be pointed

out.

However, I was a little offended by the term sweater-stacking club pros used by your writer Ron Whitten

in the May 2007 issue of Golf Digest. I am a "sweater-stacking club pro" and work hard at my

profession. It would not even have been a big deal to me except for the fact that in referring to the amateurs, I teach to play golf on a daily basis, he makes no negative connotation to their inadequacy to play in the Players Championship.

I understand his point about the event. It is what I love about the Players Championship. I cannot even watch the AT&T Pro Am anymore because I only see a good swing broadcast every fifteen or twenty minutes. Drives me nuts. But I also know a few players in my sections that, allowed to take a sponsorship for a year to cover their expenses and play on tour, would be in the Players Championship by the end of it.

Appreciate your feelings, Jeremy, because that description was pretty catty. (Though my experience is that the club pros who make it into majors don't handle too many sweaters, anyway.) I also appreciate your acknowledging Ron's point. The Players will be a major someday and the field is why. The new May date helps, too, although, c'mon, didn't you miss watching them play Oh-No Corner (16, 17, 18) as the start of your golf season?

One more point. Golf Digest loves the work you guys do with amateurs (and with sweaters, for that matter). That's why elsewhere in the May issue, you'll find Free Lesson Month, which we created with parent association, the PGA of America and which generated almost 100,000 free lessons last year. So please forgive the shot. It may that Ron's bitter that none of the many efforts by your fellow professionals to improve his game have borne fruit.

—Bob Carney

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