#AskLav: Some free advice for Sergio

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2013, 2:46 pm

To borrow a now-infamous Sergio Garcia expression, it doesn’t take a rocket engineer to figure out that he needs some serious public relations help.

So here it is (unsolicited, of course): Stop talking.

You can’t help yourself, I know, but unless you’re announcing that you’ve donated $1 million to the Oklahoma tornado relief efforts, or the Tiger Woods Foundation, don’t talk to anyone holding a recorder. Not even numbskull Jose Canseco has had so many foot-in-mouth moments in a two-week span.

The thing is, this all could have been avoided. Frustrated by Tiger Woods’ ill-timed club selection at Sawgrass? Fine. Mention it briefly in the NBC sit-down. Then drop it. In subsequent interviews, refer to the previous remarks, then refuse to discuss again. Simple.

Don’t say “at least I’m true to myself.” 

And “he’s not the nicest guy on Tour.”

And “I’m the victim here.”

And certainly not the racially insensitive remark at the black-tie European Tour gala.

Garcia doesn’t speak with a filter, a polarizing attribute for someone with his global platform. Some fans appreciate his honesty. Others despise his petulance.

Would this outcome have been different had Garcia still been represented by mega-agency IMG, not the startup Impact Point? Perhaps. A seasoned pro – from an agency with more available resources – could have been in Garcia’s ear, telling him to keep quiet, telling him he couldn’t win this battle, no matter how wronged he felt. But ultimately, it is the individual’s choice.

As you can imagine, this week’s #AskLav mailbag was dominated by the Tiger-Sergio feud, once again:

Not really. Remember, fellow pros took a few cheap shots at Tiger even when he wasn't in form, circa 2011. This incident was more the culmination of a longstanding, simmering feud, when no longer could the two players disguise their discontent.

'If you were the CEO of TaylorMade-Adidas, would you retain a high-profile client who made a racially insensitive remark that became worldwide news?'

Would Sergio have incriminated himself here? Probably not. But his answer would have been fascinating nonetheless.

Rory's head is screwed on plenty tight. I had no problem with his decision to leave Horizon and start his own management company. As Lee Westwood said, that's probably what McIlroy should have done from the start. The kid sells himself. The only curious aspect was the timing of the decision. Why now, in the heart of the season?

Well, he'd be wise to avoid them. He should reiterate his apology, then say that he hopes to move on from this regrettable incident. A face-to-face talk with Tiger would help, too.

Agree. They've never been rivals. Tiger leads in every conceivable category, most importantly majors 14-0. In their previous encounters, Sergio was the guy at the 1999 PGA who pretended his club was a sword, and who celebrated like he won a major at the made-for-TV exhibition, and who complained about Tiger's perceived preferential treatment at the '02 U.S. Open. From Woods' perspective, until Sawgrass, Sergio was a nuisance and little else. Still might be.

Absolutely! How is banning the anchored stroke 'good for the game'? Professionals are skilled enough to find alternative ways to get the ball in the hole. The average golfer, not so much. The recreational player switched to the long putter because of physical ailments, or to cure the yips, or to simply sinkmore putts and make golf fun again. This ban is focused more on the touring pro than the Average Joe. Remind me: How is that good for the game?

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.