AskLav: Another improbable comeback

By Ryan LavnerNovember 15, 2012, 5:35 pm

Charlie Beljan won last week on the PGA Tour after he was strapped to a gurney, rushed to a hospital and forced to chug Gatorade just to keep himself upright. The New York Times breathlessly described the rookie’s Disney title as “a triumph over the most mental of games.” For his troubles, Beljan received an $846,000 first-place check, a get-out-of-Q-School-free card and a two-year exemption.

That Friday 64, when he thought he was going to die, has to be considered one of the best rounds of the year, if not the best.

That two-shot victory at the Magic Kingdom, when he entered the event needing a top-10 finish just to keep his card, has to be considered one of the best comebacks of the year. From the ambulance to the CT scan machine to the first tee to the victory celebration with Mickey Mouse. Of course.

Not bad, Charlie, but that was far from the most inspiring performance in the past seven days. 

That’s because one day last week – with no camera crews present – I spent 7 ½ hours in a dentist’s chair and lived to tell about it. It was the longest-ever visit in that office, nearly requiring a full 8-4 shift. At the end, the dentist’s empty stomach sounded like a golf cart rumbling over a wooden bridge. All I got out of the deal was a renewed fear of drills, an astronomical bill and a few tubes of Sensodyne toothpaste. And my exemption lasts only six months!

Here’s hoping this week’s mailbag doesn’t cause dry mouth:

 @RyanLavnerGC Who are the players you are watching at Q-School? Predictions on players like N. Begay or J.Parnevik? #AskLav

Obviously I’ll be paying attention to the four college players who are currently competing in second stage – the reason why can be found here – and also guys such as former European Ryder Cupper Ross Fisher and erstwhile can’t-miss-kid Jamie Lovemark and brain-surgery patient Jeff Klauk. So many compelling stories.

As for the two players you mentioned: Well, it’s difficult to forecast success for two guys who combined to make eight PGA Tour starts in 2012, with one cut made. This season, Begay was better known for his fine work as a Golf Channel analyst and Parnevik for his “Gangnam Style” video. Advancing to the finals would be a stretch, but hey, at least their second careers appear promising.

@RyanLavnerGC What's your Social Security Number? #AskLav

Tweet sent on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 10:24 a.m.: Still time to send in Qs for this week's mailbag, to go up Thursday. Use the hashtag #AskLav. Nothing off-limits ... well, kind of.

Needless to say, I need to adjust my laissez-faire approach.

@RyanLavnerGC Going to miss Q School? #AskLav
@RyanLavnerGC #s say #webdot grads on avg. do better than QSchool grads. Don't ppl want to see the exceptional not the avg? #AskLav #Beljan

How convenient: I can answer the first question with another of this week’s queries. Sure, beginning next year, Q-School will no longer be able to produce the romanticized story of an unheralded player navigating through each stage and eventually making it onto the PGA Tour. That’s probably a good thing. Little staying power. Instead of having the same names recycled in Q-School each year, the Tour has become the official proving ground for the PGA Tour – just like the commercial says! – and the number of winners via each route in the past few years supports that. Everyone loves an underdog story, but not at the expense of a potentially stronger product.

 @GolfChannel @RyanLavnerGC The long putter, is it legal to anchor to the body? #askLav

Hello there. Good afternoon. It could not have been comfortable living under that rock. But since you briefly disappeared, Rory has supplanted Tiger as golf’s dominant player, President Obama was re-elected and, yes, it is still legal to anchor the putter to a part of the body … for now.

 @RyanLavnerGC do you agree with no masters invite for opposite-field and fall series events winners? #AskLav

Rory and Tiger seemingly simplify the task at times, but if nothing else 2012 showed it’s hard – really hard – to win on the PGA Tour, no matter if the event is played during the West Coast Swing, the Florida Swing, the Texas Swing or the Fall Series. Only 16 times in 44 stroke-play events did the 54-hole leader go on to win the tournament. Golf might be the deepest it has ever been. But Augusta National still can run its own tournament as it sees fit. If the green jackets don’t want their field size to tip the scales at 100, then it won’t. Clearly, in their collective minds, at least, those fall events are still viewed as second-tier.


To avoid long-term injury, Hulk should seek immediate medical attention for any rash lasting more than four hours.

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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: