#AskLav mailbag: Sneds, meth labs and spiderwoman

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 14, 2013, 6:46 pm

These are peculiar times in golf, not least because a pop-up meth lab was found in a porta-potty on a golf course. (Editor's note: Aforementioned porta-potty not shown here.)

If you haven’t yet seen the story, a Purcell, Okla., muni was at the center of a police investigation Tuesday after authorities found a “shake and bake” meth lab near one of the holes. (Full story here.) There is no truth to the rumors that the bunkers were actually made of bath salts.

Anyway, that ridiculous news brief almost makes the story of Daniela Holmqvist seem ordinary. The rookie on the Ladies European Tour was bitten by a black widow spider at a pre-qualifier, and not only did the 24-year-old dig a tee into her ankle and squeeze out the poisonous venom, but she also kept playing, shot 74 and didn’t visit the local hospital.

A 74 under those unusual conditions is extraordinary, really, but keep in mind it’s also 11 strokes higher than what Lydia Ko posted in Round 1 to take the early LPGA lead. Already Ko is 30th in the Rolex Rankings – ahead of Sandra Gal, ahead of Morgan Pressel, ahead of Michelle Wie. A reminder: She’s only 15 years old. Not old enough to drive. Not old enough, technically, to see an R-rated movie by herself. Barely old enough to be your babysitter.

The only golfer hotter at the moment? Brandt Snedeker, who broke through after consecutive runner-up finishes and set the tournament scoring record at Pebble Beach … only two days later, he revealed that he’s been playing through a rib injury and could miss the next month. In hindsight, how remarkable is that stretch of golf?

And, lastly, the USGA announced it would begin drug testing at this year’s amateur championships. Smart move, because if the feigned uproar is any indication, many disenchanted players likely turned to illegal substances after learning that the Publinx would be retired. Or, you know, this is simply the USGA’s reaction to the explosion of golf-course porta-potty meth labs across the country. 

Yes, what a strange, intoxicating week it has been. With that, here are your questions in this week’s #AskLav mailbag:

Love the idea, far-fetched or not. Rory picks his opponent for Round 1, then Tiger makes his selection. It’s Survivor: Dove Mountain. Think of all the back-room deals, the psychological ploys. Think of all the bruised egos!

Well, at least under the anti-doping policy the Tour is required to name the offender and suspension levied. But that’s all we get. Unlike other sports, there is no disclosure of fines, no disclosure of suspensions. Camp Ponte Vedra wants to protect the image of the sport, transparency be damned.

There is no shortage of spectacular finishing holes on the regular Tour schedule – PGA National, Pebble, Hilton Head all come to mind – but the 18th at the Riv is in my personal top 5. Unless you’ve stood on the tee, it’s impossible to comprehend how difficult that drive is on the 18th, especially for a right-hander. And the natural amphitheater surrounding the 18th green is one of the most hair-raising scenes in golf, as this euphoric fan from last year’s event demonstrates here.

Just mowed the living-room carpet to 12 on the Stimpmeter. I’ll be ready for 2015.

Uh, if you’re flying all the way over to Scotland, you might as well play golf with a few buddies, no? Just make sure you’re on-site Sunday, in case there’s a reprisal for Medinah.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."