I was almost as entertained by reading Alan Shipnuck's article as I was by watching one of the best Masters ever. Thank you for providing insight into what was happening behind the scenes—especially with Amy Mickelson. The scene following Phil's birdie on 18 has to be one of the greatest testimonies to love and marriage that I've ever had the privilege to witness.
Margie Duffy, York, Pa.
It was uplifting to see a dose of determination and compassion drown out all the negativity and hype that led into the Masters (For Amy, April 19). Although Tiger Woods remains No. 1 in the world as a golfer, as a husband and a father—the true test of a man—Mickelson outranks him by a million. Good guys can finish first.
Michael LaBonte, Hudson, N.H.
In a time of troubled athletes, this article was a breath of fresh air. As a guidance counselor, I am glad there's an athlete I can point out to my students who's a winner both in the competitive arena and away from it.
Randy Durr, Worland, Wyo.
I was struck by the themes of the stories about Freddy Adu (Didn't You Used to Be the Future?), Jason Heyward (Legend Before His Time) and Eric Berry (The Sure Thing) in the April 19 issue. The question about veteran soccer pro Adu is whether he's washed up. With Heyward, it's how long it will take him to be recognized as one of baseball's greatest sluggers. With Berry, it's whether he'll transform the safety position in the NFL. Adu and Heyward are 20; Berry, the oldest of the three at 21, has yet to play a professional game. Here's hoping the kind of unrealistic expectations that have dogged Adu in his young career don't hamper Heyward and Berry if they struggle from time to time.
By glorifying the changing dynamic of youth baseball—from one of sandlot fun to semipro status—in his story on Jason Heyward, Tom Verducci encourages parents with visions of grandeur for their kids to force-feed the game to them 24/7. Heyward is a great example of hard work paying off, but for every player like him, there are thousands who will never play for an elite program such as East Cobb despite parents who are sure they have the next can't-miss prospect.
Jim Ward, Salado, Texas
As a Mets fan, it has been ingrained in me to never like anyone on the Braves. Until now. Heyward seems to be the real deal, a man raised by good parents who has earned the respect of his teammates while not getting a big head.
Bob Allen, Oceanside, N.Y.
In a world in which players evaluate their careers based on whether or not they win a championship, it is nice to see Vince Carter (On with the Show, April 19) portrayed as someone who is doing what he loves.
As a Raptors fan, I vividly remember Carter's exit from Toronto. He was, as the story stated, much maligned for his effort (or lack thereof). Carter, who never won 50 games as a team's best or even second-best player, has seemingly never been about winning. Why is it only at 33 that he has a picture of the championship trophy at his locker? If Orlando wins a title, it will most likely be in spite of Carter and his love of jump shots, rather than because of him.
Dave Stelli, Toronto
No player in NBA history comes close to Carter in terms of the wow factor. This generation is lucky to have seen him play—with or without a ring.
Eric Schaefer, St. Louis
The Word on Woods
Give Selena Roberts a double eagle for her profound analysis of Tiger's return to the Masters (POINT AFTER, April 19). The insight of Joslyn James, the 32-year-old stripper with whom Tiger had a three-year affair, was illuminating. "He is whatever he needs to be in the moment," she said. If any other married golfer had affairs with multiple porn stars, the media would ruin him. But they bought and sold the new image of Tiger. Roberts aptly summed up his strategy for rebuilding his reputation: "Just fake it."
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
I don't think this column was necessary. Tiger cheated on his wife. That is something that I do not respect, but in my opinion he does not owe the fans anything. I am rooting for Tiger to show the world that people can make mistakes (even big ones) but then make the most of their second chances.
George Muha, Brookside, N.J.
Between your feature on the class of Phil Mickelson and his loving wife, Amy, and Roberts's brutal and all-too-accurate dissection of his rival's psyche, SI has delivered the most notable Tiger Slam yet.
Mark Beneventi, Dallas
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ROBERT BECK (COVER)