AskLav: Too early to look ahead?

By Ryan LavnerOctober 18, 2012, 6:00 pm

No mailbag questions this week about PGA Tour Q-School. That makes sense, I guess. Most golf fans tune into the event only on the final day of the final stage, when players have the greatest chance of self-immolating. Reality TV at its finest.

This week is first stage, though, and there is no shortage of great stories.

Here’s a short one. The 2012 Adams Golf Pro Tour Player of the Year is Brian Rowell, from Lafayette, La. He earned $47,030 this season.

His first Q-School was back in 1997, in Jackson, Miss., and the weather was dreary and miserable, which just about sums up the entire experience.

Now, he’s 39. This is his 10th Q-School. Most years, his entry fee has been $4,500. That adds up. He hates math, for that very reason.

“Each year, I’m like, (expletive), I don’t want to have to send this check in again!” he told me. “That’s, like, 50 grand I’ve had to send them! I’ve made about 50 grand on Tour. So I guess we’re about even then, right?”

Well, no, not quite. Rowell is still ahead. The way I see it, after 10 years, after countless disappointments, he’s still chasing his dream. Pretty cool.

Here are this week’s mailbag questions:

 #AskLav - with Jonas Blixt winning this past week, who do you think should be rookie of the year?

Blixt’s win last week at the Open – and his solo third at the Fall Series opener – made the conversation more interesting, no doubt, but John Huh is still the favorite to take home the award. He won the Mayakoba Classic, tied for second in San Antonio and played well enough throughout the year to advance to the Tour Championship. Incredible regular season for a 22-year-old . . . which kind of makes Rory McIlroy’s achievements, at 23, seem all the more remarkable, no?

 @RyanLavnerGC u know what's silly about the silly-season: the PGA Tour thinkin' they have a monopoly on all 52 weeks of the year #AskLav

Shame on the PGA Tour for trying to protect its investment! No, seriously, beginning next fall, the silly season will be virtually extinct. The 2013 PGA Tour season will end in late September, and then the 2013-14 season is slated to begin the very next morning, or so it seems. Those events are now part of the FedEx Cup schedule and should feature stellar fields . . . unless, of course, those players decide instead to spend their fall competing in the European Tour’s lucrative run-up to the $8 million Tour Championship in Dubai, which many of the world’s best – maybe even Tiger! – seem likely to do. A monopoly, it is not.

Normally, I say predictions are for fortune-tellers, not sportswriters. But since you asked . . . it’s hard not to be impressed with what we saw from Bud Cauley in 2012. In his first full year out of school, the kid had six top 10s (including four top 4s) and earned more than $1.7 million. Expect to see a ‘W’ out of him next year. And it’ll also be interesting to see the transition of upcoming Tour grads such as Luke List, Luke Guthrie, Paul Haley, Russell Henley and Ben Kohles, all of whom are 27 or younger.

 @RyanLavnerGC Based on the venues they're being held at, which major are you most looking forward to in 2013? #asklav

Merion intrigues because it’s the first time in 32 years that the famed course has hosted a U.S. Open. For years, it’s been thought to be too short and claustrophobic for today’s modern game. But Muirfield is one of the best on the Open rota, and the weather there can be just dastardly. (Remember the 2002 British there? Tiger does.) It will be a great test. And then, personally, I’m looking forward to the PGA at Oak Hill, located about 30 minutes north of where I grew up, in Canandaigua, N.Y. (Google it: It’s one of the Finger Lakes.)

What are the common injuries plaguing the recreational golfer and what can be done to mitigate them? #AskLav

An unscientific, highly fictionalized poll suggested these three injuries were the most common among golfers: Separated shoulders, from taking a turn too quickly and rolling the cart; sore knees, from bending down to read putts from every angle and thereby contributing to the slow-play epidemic; and migraine headaches, from playing golf in the first place. Remedies include Advil, Icy Hot and more Bud Light.

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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.