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Punch Shot: Giving a gift on Tour this holiday season

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K.J. Choi of South Korea reacts on the first tee during the first round of The Barclays at The Ridgewood Country Club on August 21, 2014 in Paramus, New Jersey. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)  - 

What do you get for the guys who have everything. You know, for the guys who play golf for a living. With the holiday season in full swing, we asked our writers what gifts they'd get for the pro golfer of their choice. Here is their list. No word on how many times they checked it.


For Tiger Woods, some weekend mojo for the 2014 majors, with a red ribbon around it.

This isn’t so much about rooting for Woods to win his 15th major as it is rooting for the greatest chase in sports to resume in earnest. It’s about rooting for the wonderful drama that ensues if Woods steps up his quest to break Jack Nicklaus’ record total of 18 major championship victories.

It's about re-engaging the great pursuit. It's about getting to see it come down to the wire. I’m not rooting for Woods or Nicklaus as much as I am for all of us to get to see what happens if Woods gets close. What happens if Woods gets to 17, that’s left to fate, destiny and the gifts of the humans involved in the struggle.

As a kid, I was riveted watching Hank Aaron chase Babe Ruth’s career home-run record. I was a Chicago Tribune paperboy in Southern Wisconsin who yanked out the sports page every morning to see if Aaron popped another homer in the great chase. I was about 2 feet from the TV screen in our home the night Aaron ripped an Al Downing pitch for his 715th homer, passing Ruth. I want to feel the wonder of a historical chase like that come down to the wire again.


My gift isn't one for a single person. It's multiple gifts for multiple people – but based on just one.

In today's era of flat-bellied golfers, with the fitness trailer overtaking the local watering hole as the cool gathering place each week, my gift is to help every pro find the Fountain of Youth.

I'm going to have them emulating Miguel Angel Jimenez.

That means Rioja (red wine) and fine cigars all around. If you question what kind of effect this can have, consider this: The man known as The Mechanic recently set the European Tour standard as the oldest winner in history. He bested the previous record, which was held by none other than ... himself.

Maybe those guys doing crunches every morning and suicide sprints every afternoon are barking up the wrong tree. My gift could have them playing better golf – and would certainly have them enjoying life a little bit more.

And of course, I'd send a card with each present, too. It would be inscribed with just four words.

"Stay thirsty, my friends."


There is no shortage of items on Santa Claus’ PGA Tour player wishlist: a better attitude for Sergio Garcia, more reasons for Rory McIlroy to smile in 2014, a U.S. Open title for Phil Mickelson to complete the career Grand Slam, a major for Tiger Woods (who knew No. 15 would be the hardest?).

But if Ebenezer Scrooge needed a feel-good story to set things right for the New Year, look no further than Briny Baird.

Winless in 366 starts on Tour, Baird needs a break. Not a gift per se, because that would suggest the 41-year-old is incapable of breaking through and that’s just not the case.

Baird came agonizingly close at the McGladrey Classic last month only to rinse his approach shot at the 72nd hole and finish a stroke behind champion Chris Kirk.

“You got to take away some silver linings,” the veteran said at the time. “To play as many tournaments . . . it's not all about winning. I've said that, but this hurts. This really does. This is very disappointing.”

Baird doesn’t need a mulligan under the tree on Dec. 25, just a putt here or a good bounce there. They say luck favors the prepared and if anyone has put in his due diligence, it’s Baird.