Couldn't we have a little bit of praise for the victorious European team playing in the U.S. on a U.S. Open course?
IAN WILLIAMSON, INDIANAPOLIS
Having read Rick Reilly's article about the U.S. team's defeat in the Ryder Cup (Wrong Man, Wrong Time, Oct. 2), it is obvious to me why the Americans lost: They were simply too confident. Indeed, their confidence bordered on arrogance. They did not think it was possible to lose, and so the Europeans taught them the oldest sporting lesson in the book.
Reilly himself could learn a little humility. Reading his story, one would imagine that two or three U.S. golfers had contrived to let down an otherwise superb team and thereby lost to a bunch of losers "named Mark and Per-Ulrik." Naturally, had the Europeans had names like Brad and Jay, the winning margin would have been a little larger.
It would have been nice to read some acknowledgment of the fact that the Europeans are not "shlubs" but superb golfers who defeated worthy opponents.
NIGEL CLARKE, London
I have never read such a negative piece of journalism in my life. Is this the same man who had such a positive view of the game of golf when he wrote about his round with President Clinton (Perfect Pard, June 12)? Reilly seems to think that the U.S. has fallen behind in the cold war again just because the European team won the Ryder Cup. The Cup is now an evenly matched event in which the winner cannot be easily predicted. Isn't that what a great sporting event is all about?
JOHN GALLAGHER, La Crosse, Wis.
Curtis Strange took one of the world's best players to the 18th hole in match play. Neither Strange nor Brad Faxon nor Jay Haas lost the Ryder Cup. The U.S. fielded a good team and put forth a fine effort. The Cup was won by 12 of the world's best golfers, the European team.
ANDY KILGORE, Rochester, N.Y.
Ryder Cup captain Lanny Wadkins deserves all the criticism he's getting over his picks for the U.S. team. To have tapped an old crony, Curtis Strange, who has had a desultory record the past few years, over Lee Janzen, the hottest player on the Tour, was boneheaded. The Ryder Cup selection process needs to be revised before Spain in 1997, or we again risk fielding a second-rate team.
TOM ZENGEL, Rockville, Md.
Your SCORECARD item on baseball's odd namemates (Sept. 18) brought to mind a pair of veterans who enforced clubhouse rules for the Kansas City Royals in 1986: Law and Orta ( Rudy and Jorge, respectively).
JEFF DRIVER, North Kansas City, Mo.
From the mid-'80s: Steve Trout of the Chicago Cubs pitching, Steve Lake catching and Houston's Kevin Bass batting.
JEFFREY LESSERSON, Hauppauge, N. Y.
Rick Reilly's account of the courageous and patriotic Stephenson family (The Ultimate Price, Oct. 2) brought tears to my eyes and a feeling of pride that compelled me to share the article with my judicial colleagues. At times I am so bombarded with the dark side of our society—reviewing, as I do, so many criminal trials—that it is refreshing to read about what is good and right with this nation. Thanks for reminding me that our nation's youth include young men like the Stephensons. God bless all of them and the parents who guide and inspire them.
STANLEY F. BIRCH JR.
United States Circuit Judge