#AskLav: Welcome to the silly season

By Ryan LavnerOctober 10, 2012, 6:50 pm

The silly season arrived early this year – or at least that’s one conclusion that can be drawn from this past week’s headlines.

Tiger apologizes to Ryder Cup rookies for his poor play. Telling you, he’s a changed man!

Rory shoots 76 in Turkey exhibition – with his tennis-star girlfriend watching. Clearly distracted.

Spencer Levin out for the season after belly-putter injury. Even more reason to ban them!

Turkey’s top-ranking golf official head-butted a journalist following Tiger. … Peculiar, yes, but why do you think golf writers, as a whole, have such ripply, sculpted muscles? To combat sneak attacks such as these, obviously.

Weird week, indeed. Here are your questions for this week’s #AskLav mailbag ... 

 Hey @RyanLavnerGC do you think events like the one in Turkey are good for the game of golf? #AskLav

Absolutely. Four of the top five players in the world are at the cash-grab exhibition in Turkey, even if most aren’t playing like it. The European Tour announced that next year it will stage an event in the country for the first time. The game is expanding, globally. Is this good for the PGA Tour? Absolutely not. It detracts from the domestic product.

Will I be denied a credential for next year’s PGA if I don’t say the Wanamaker? (That’d be unfortunate – I grew up 30 minutes south of Oak Hill.) Anyway, no, sorry, it’s not the PGA or the FedEx Cup. It’s the trophy that also comes, more famously, with a green jacket. Every kid who has ever stroked putts until dark dreams of winning The Masters. It’s the tournament players most want to win. It’s the jacket deserving of its own closet, the trophy of its own mantel, the event of its own capitalization rules.

#AskLav ... if golfers get so easily distracted when it isn't 'quiet as a mouse' around them, why don't they pop in earplugs???

Don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do during a round of golf is listen to the various machinations of my brain. 

 Hey #AskLav, Any thoughts on whether popularity of the Shriners event will decrease when JT's affiliation is removed '13?

One of many curious decisions that were inevitably made last weekend in Vegas. Starting next year, the one-time boy-bander won’t be associated with the Tour stop because, tourney officials said, they wanted the focus to return to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. That’s fine. But then the tournament chairman showed poor form by publicly bashing Timberlake, saying the entertainer seemed to show up only when the cameras were on. Uh, isn’t that the role of the tournament host? 

@GolfChannel @ryanlavnergc Best advice for breaking into the golf media world? #AskLav

The scientifically unproven #AskLav Method was to work unpaid gigs for three summers, writing anything and everything and learning how to cover the game. Wash carts in the morning, cover an event in the afternoon. When it came time to apply for jobs, I had little money, sure, but at least I had a portfolio that was bursting with clips. That’s what employers most want to see. I think.

#AskLav If you were PGA tour commissioner, what are the first changes you would make? #AskLav

What a terrifying prospect. But the first order of business: The PGA Tour needs an offseason. A real one. I’m reminded of this each fall, as tournaments such as last week’s Vegas event and this week’s Frys are contested against the backdrop of the NFL season and the weekly SEC battles and the baseball playoffs. With only a two-week break in December, there is no time to miss the game, no time to create storylines, no time to wonder what a fresh season might bring. Shut it down for a month, maybe two. Let the beginning of a new season actually mean something.

@RyanLavnerGC What's your favorite Kid Rock song? #AskLav

Finally! The pressing matters of the week. For me, this discussion boils down to two choices, depending on my mood: “Only God Knows Why” is a soul-searching classic, but it reminds me of a sixth-grade year full of angst; and “Bawitdaba” is not only a rebellious anthem, but it also is helpful in learning another language: gibberish.

@RyanLavnerGC why doesn't the  http://web.com  give more exemp. 2 amateurs and college players? Could be good for the game..#AskLav

Wondered this myself over the past two years, as players such as Russell Henley and Harris English and Ben Kohles and Luke Guthrie have made the jump from the college game to the pro ranks seem relatively painless. There is an incredible depth of talent in the college game right now. The concerns with this plan? Well, it takes away spots from those who already play the Web.com Tour. And it hurts the big-time amateur events. But in the summer, tourney directors should be offering exemptions to some of these elite amateurs – it’s the equivalent of an internship. They’ve already shown they can compete – and, in some cases, win.



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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry