I don't totally disagree with the Masters tournament decision to curtail past champions' participation, but since they have an invitational tournament they should do it case-by-case.
If Doug Ford and Billy Casper abuse their invitations by not completing even the first nine holes, then tell them they are welcome Monday through Wednesday, but not on Thursday. They would have the total support of the field, past champions and the fans.
I watched Ben Hogan play his final tournament during which he shot that incredible 66. And I had the opportunity to watch Arnold Palmer this year make his graceful exit.
Denying these other great champions their right to decide when to call it quits is a horrible change of policy that the Masters will find to be universally opposed. These champions deserve the right to terminate their competitive rounds at their discretion and not be subjected to the "Doug Ford Rule" - a rule made in haste to avoid the so-called "abuse" of playing privileges by a past champion
Mr. Ford and Mr. Casper can't complain about the public humiliation they received because they brought it on themselves. I suspect that those letters would have ensured that other champions use better judgement in the future, and they deserve the opportunity to do just that.
The Masters seems intent on making change for change sake. This one is unnecessary and ill-advised.
Mark Brannen, Augusta
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