#AskLav: Turn down the noise; turn up the spotlight

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 6, 2014, 1:10 pm

Welcome to another installment of the #AskLav mailbag, where we are decidedly happier and more plump than this time last week.

Because, you see, just a few days after plopping down on the couch for nine straight hours to devour the wife’s artery-clogging snacks – OK, so I watched the Kitten Bowl, Puppy Bowl and Super Bowl in succession – your trusty correspondent finds himself doing the exact same thing this week … only this time enjoying stunning views of the Monterey Peninsula instead of East Rutherford, N.J., and also Brandt Snedeker’s happy-go-lucky demeanor instead of Peyton Manning’s, well, Manning Face.

(Oh, no, scratch that – just saw a replay of Manning frowning after hitting a pedestrian shot.) 

Hey, on the first depressing weekend after football, we’ll take what we can get. 

This week’s mailbag:



We can all agree that the fans on the 16th hole produce fantastic theater. You know, like chanting “A-Rod!” at Vijay, or “Sabbatini’s right behind you!” at Ben Crane, or “Porn star’s classmate!” at Scott Piercy. Tremendous stuff, all of it. In theory, the Tour could use a few more arenas like Scottsdale, because it’s the most well-attended event of the year (supposedly) and actually appeals to the younger demographic. But there’s a fine line, too: Scottsdale is great because it’s unique. If there are too many boisterous stops, it’s too much of a good thing. So here’s a quicker, easier solution that keeps the party going: extend it down the drivable 17th hole, since the tee box is already amid the pandemonium.



Um, even worse odds than Tiger rekindling his relationship with Hank Haney. 



Earlier this week on GolfChannel.com we debated which celebrity we’d want to play a round with at Pebble Beach. I chose Will Ferrell, for obvious reasons. If I wanted to win the pro-am portion, I’d probably take Kenny G. If I wanted to be entertained, I’d close my eyes, sigh deeply and select Kid Rock. And, if I wanted to have a brief glimpse into an existence I’ll never know, I’d team up, of course, with Tom Brady, if only for the five-plus hours of bliss. 

Instagram#AskLav: Why is Adam Scott so good looking? – via Maxwell Anderson, on Instagram

Dunno, sir, but I’m hoping he is asked this at his Masters presser. If we knew the secret, wouldn’t all the magic disappear?



Cool contrast here. At some point, sure, Pebble probably will need a facelift – last year it checked in at only 6,816 yards for the tournament. That said, it still provides a stern test when certain forces (like the USGA and Mother Nature) collide. In 2010, when the Open was last held there, Graeme McDowell won at even par. In the final round, only six players shot a sub-par score. It was a war of attrition. But that week one of America’s most famous courses was stressed to the breaking point – brown and tricked up in spots. That’s no way for Pebble to exist.

Instagram#AskLav: Should rangefinders by allowed on the PGA Tour? – via Jaime Villarreal, on Instagram

Absolutely. Look, there’s little doubt that rangefinders help speed up pace of play. A recent study showed that lower handicappers (6-13) played about 30 minutes faster when they used rangefinders, while the higher handicappers (14-18) improved their pace of play by 17 minutes. Plus, the R&A recently allowed the use of the distance-measuring devices during its amateur competitions, and it’s reasonable to assume that the USGA will soon follow suit, too. Though certainly not imminent, the Tour will probably eventually permit caddies to use DMDs not just in practice rounds but during the actual tournament, as well. Hey, if nothing else, it’d be one less excuse for slow play at the pro level.

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.