#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.



Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.