#AskLav: Rory or Phil; Tiger or Jordan?

By Ryan LavnerJuly 31, 2014, 12:30 pm

It’s the last day of July, which means after 37 PGA Tour events, 32 different winners, 10 months, three poorly rated majors, two “top-5” declarations, one very notable back surgery and zero Tiger and Phil victories … well, we’ve finally arrived at the best month of the year for golf fans.

No offense, January. Those views on the Big Island are the envy of snow-shovelers everywhere, but let’s be honest here – football is still king. 

No hard feelings, April. There’s no greater spectacle in our sport than the Masters, but after that there is the … uh … Zurich Classic?

No chance, June. The U.S. Open beats up everybody, players and viewers alike. 

The point is, they’re just not August. 

Think about it: There is a WGC event (this week’s Bridgestone Invitational); the fourth and final major of the year (next week’s PGA); the start of golf’s postseason (FedEx Cup); and, on a biennial basis, the race for the Ryder Cup (we’ll know nine of the 12 U.S. Ryder Cuppers on Aug. 10). 

It’s a hectic eight-week stretch for players, but the jam-packed schedule is to the golf fan’s benefit. From now until Sept. 14 – when the FedEx Cup champion is crowned – there is a steady stream of important events, high-level golf and juicy storylines. 

Even if Tiger Woods isn’t around for the conclusion, this is undoubtedly the best time of year. 

Your mailbag questions:

 

 

There are two obvious favorites, and it’s the head-to-head matchup that I debated when filling out my fantasy roster this week: Adam Scott vs. Rory McIlroy. Scott won at Firestone in 2011, and since his victory at Colonial he’s followed it up with high finishes at Memorial (T-4) and both summer Opens (T-9 and T-5, respectively). McIlroy is a no-brainer choice, as well. He’s riding high off his Open win, he’s engaged (on the course) and motivated, and he has three top-10s in his last four trips around the big ballpark in Akron. These two are the clear-cut favorites over others like Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler or Keegan Bradley. 


 

 

Rory, mostly because it would seem that Phil’s best chances to win an Open are behind him. Two of the next three are at relative unknowns – Chambers Bay and Erin Hills – and the ’16 Open is an all-time brute in Oakmont, where he missed the cut in 2007. Phil will be 47 at the end of the Erin Hills Open. As for Rory, well, with his high, right-to-left ball flight it’s a surprise that he’s only been in contention once in six trips to Augusta. The magnitude of the moment might be too much next spring, but expect him to tick off that feat sometime in the next few years. He’s only 25, with his peak years still ahead of him. 


 

 

Kaymer is the leader in the clubhouse, after his Players-U.S. Open double dip, but I have a feeling the next few weeks will provide a more definitive answer. Right now, though, my rankings would look like this: Kaymer, Rory, Bubba, Jimmy and P-Reed. The Open may have been McIlroy’s first victory of the season on this tour, but he’s given himself a couple of other chances to win and hasn’t finished outside the top 25 all season. Based on Rory’s recent history (see: late 2012), everyone is expecting Boy Wonder to parlay his major success into a few more big-time titles before the season ends in mid-September.


 

 

Well, Dubuisson is certainly the most intriguing, not least because of his aloof personality. Consistency might not be his forte, but he’s shown recently that his A-game is pretty tough to beat. Few had even heard of him when he won against a loaded field in Turkey. A few months later, he was the runner-up at the Match Play. A few months after that, he tied for ninth at the Open. In between those starts, he didn’t do much of anything. Playing in the States requires an adjustment, which helps explain why of the four players you mentioned, none has more than two top-10s in PGA Tour events this season. At No. 21 in the world, Dubuisson is the best player right now, but it wouldn’t surprise at all if Francesco Molinari enjoyed a solid campaign if he went full-time in the U.S. Strong ball-striker, and he possesses the professional-plodder mentality (a la Matt Kuchar) that tends to work on a week-in, week-out basis.   


 

 

Been writing for a while now that getting to major No. 15, not No. 19, will be the toughest for Tiger. Nothing that has transpired in the past few weeks has changed that opinion, and when he does return to elite form – and he will, whether it’s this week, later this fall, next spring, or sometime next year – he’ll find a landscape more crowded than before. It’s never been harder to win on Tour, from the young and fearless players (Rickie, Spieth, P-Reed, etc.) who never were tormented by Woods’ dominance to those like Rory, Bubba and Kaymer who are capable of winning majors (in routs) when everything clicks. The immensely talented Spieth will get his, no doubt, but it might take a few more years, and certainly a few more opportunities. With eight top 5s since his breakthrough victory, Spieth, like Woods, understands that patience is required in this new world order.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm