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Not so fast on praise for Caves Valley PGA golf event | READER COMMENTARY

Bryson DeChambeau celebrates after sinking a putt on hole 16 during the final round of the PGA Tour's BMW Championship at Caves Valley on Sunday, August 29. 08.29.21
Bryson DeChambeau celebrates after sinking a putt on hole 16 during the final round of the PGA Tour's BMW Championship at Caves Valley on Sunday, August 29. 08.29.21 (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)

‘I stand firm in my position that many mistakes were made’

I am not sure if you want this dialogue to continue, but I am compelled to reply to John Voneiff’s very prominently placed reply (”Caves Valley ran an exceptional BMW tournament — for volunteers and spectators,” Sept. 19) to my own letter, which was critical of certain aspects of the BMW golf tournament at Caves Valley (”Caves Valley treated tournament volunteers (and spectators) poorly,” Sept. 9). 

Despite all of the water that Mr. Voneiff II claims was available, none of the volunteers I spoke to received water from the various sources he mentioned when they were on duty. This meant that their only choice was to buy water at a concession stand or to visit the volunteer tent, which they could not easily access when they were working.

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Mr. Voneiff’s comment that “buses were employed to transport people to and from the entrance” applied to anyone who used off-site parking, but it is simply not true in the case of those volunteers who were dropped off at the nearby ride share lot. As I said in my letter — and which Mr. Voneiff does not deny or even address — those people were required to walk the 20 or 25 minutes to the entrance.

Last, Mr. Voneiff’s entire final paragraph seems to state that the end justifies the means and that the success of the tournament renders my comments moot. I’m not at all sure what the “millions of people” who watched the tournament on TV have to do with anything I said in my letter, but I stand firm in my position that many mistakes were made, and that improvements should be considered and implemented for future tournaments.

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Claire Hoffman, Lutherville

Of course Mr. Voneiff had a good time; he a golf cart, radio and cooler full of water

John Voneiff II wrote: “As a marshal responsible for covering 18 holes, I had the use of a radio and golf cart. I carried a cooler that contained ice and bottled water. When I needed a refill, the product delivery volunteers would restock my cart.”

When I read that, I had to laugh. No wonder Mr. Voneiff objected to Claire Hoffman’s criticism of volunteers’ treatment at the BMW tournament. He had a wonderful time! If you were unlucky enough to be assigned to the Access Control committee, as I was, your experience was nowhere near as enjoyable as John’s. Directing pedestrian, golf cart and shuttle bus traffic on dusty gravel or searing pavement in 100 degree Fahrenheit temperatures is not what should be expected of volunteers. I was almost taken out by a side view mirror more than once. For future tournaments, the Western Golf Association should make Access Control part of the paid security detail, not a volunteer function.

Steve Klose, Ellicott City

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PGA should be sued for providing unsafe environment

John Voneiff II praised the Western Open FedEx BMW Championship at Caves Valley greatest sporting event ever to hit the Baltimore area. And vitiating that conclusion: $5.50 for a bottle of water on one the hottest weekends ever to hit the Baltimore area.

On one day of the August event, the heat index in the shade at the Caves Valley BMW PGA tournament was 110 degrees Fahrenheit. You would think that the golf association would provide free water for all of the fans who paid $50 or more to attend said tournament. Not the case, as they charged $5.50 cents per bottle of water and did not allow water to be brought onto the course. Of course, the millionaire pros and their amateur, billionaire, playing guests were sucking all the free water they wanted. Downright immoral on the part of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America, and they should be sued for not providing a safe environment for their fans.

It’s time also for the State of Maryland to require all venues with excessive heat exposure to supply free water for all involved with said events.

Bernard H. Meyer, Elkridge

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