#AskLav: Giving awards before new season begins

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2013, 12:21 pm

Golf doesn’t lend itself to instant analysis, yet it appears we have little choice when reviewing the 2013 PGA Tour season.

The new campaign begins in 14 days. So, yes, it’s best to post this now, before it’s a season too late.

Here, then, is one man’s roll call of award winners:

Player of the Year: Tiger Woods

Honorable mention (in order throughout): Phil Mickelson; Adam Scott; Henrik Stenson

If this were a blind rsum award, it wouldn’t even be close: five wins (including two WGCs and The Players), money leader, Vardon Trophy winner, No. 2 in FedEx Cup. Here comes POY title No. 11.

Rookie of the Year: Jordan Spieth

Honorable mention: Russell Henley; Derek Ernst

Announcing the other nominees was just procedural. This is a no-brainer choice, with Spieth making the biggest splash by a rookie since Tiger in ’96.

Courage Award: Erik Compton

This new award likely will (and should) go to Compton. After all, he kept his card just five years removed from his second heart transplant. 

Comeback Player of the Year: Henrik Stenson

Honorable mention: Graham DeLaet

Oh, if only this award hadn’t been retired. Two years ago, the newly minted FedEx Cup winner had slumped to No. 230 in the world. An epic comeback, no?

Shot of the Year: Adam Scott, Masters

Honorable mention: Jordan Spieth holes out bunker shot at Deere; Jim Furyk wedge to set up 59; Patrick Reed from the trees at Wyndham

Both Scott putts were equally memorable: the ground-shaking birdie he made on the 72nd hole and the green jacket-clincher on the 10th hole. Maybe the nod goes to the playoff birdie, for that prevented the Masters from heading to a deflating Monday finish.

Tournament of the Year: Masters

Honorable mention: British Open; The Players; The Barclays

From women in green jackets to the slow-play penalty to Tiger’s drop to the Scott-Cabrera slugfest, this year’s Masters, like so many before it, did not disappoint. Scott’s popular victory, and brawny finish, helped erase what was largely a sleepy Sunday.

Breakout Player: Jordan Spieth

Honorable mention: Henrik Stenson; Billy Horschel; Roberto Castro

January: No status on any major tour, No. 810 in the world. Now: PGA Tour winner, Presidents Cup selection, No. 21 in the world. Breakout, indeed.

Knucklehead of the Year: Sergio Garcia

Honorable mention: Vijay Singh; ‘Baba booey!’ fans

In one month, he provoked Tiger on national TV, spectacularly kicked away a tournament, made a racially insensitive remark involving fried chicken and was the subject of jokes and criticism. One of the lasting images of 2013 – for this scribe at least – will be Garcia, walking down the fairway at Merion, while a fan screamed, “I ate the bones!”

Biggest Disappointment: Rory McIlroy

Honorable mention: Bubba Watson; Lee Westwood; Bud Cauley

Poor form, equipment and swing struggles, poor on-course comportment – add it all up, and it was a disastrous season for the former world No. 1. The only player in the top 35 in the world to gain fewer OWGR points than McIlroy (90.854) this year was Louis Oosthuizen (70.001), who spent months on the DL. Apart from a runner-up against a weak field in San Antonio, Rory was more or less a non-factor in 2013.

Biggest Non-Competition Story of the Year: Anchoring

Honorable mention: Deer antler spray; 2016 Olympics

Despite more pressing concerns – you know, like, slow play and out-of-control distance – the sport’s governing bodies decided instead to tackle the anchoring ban. A cursory glance at the putting stats suggests it was a war not worth waging. And it wasn’t the last move that the USGA bungled in 2013.

Player Most Likely to Win 2014 Major: Henrik Stenson

Honorable mention: Tiger Woods; Brandt Snedeker; Phil Mickelson

The Tour’s preeminent ball-striker could be the favorite at any of the four major venues, but he’d seem to set up particularly well for Royal Liverpool, host of the ’14 Open, and Augusta National, where, despite his poor record there (one round in the 60s in 26 attempts), he can rope that power 3-wood around the doglegs.

Early Favorite for 2014 Breakout Star: Keegan Bradley

Honorable mention: Jason Day; Harris English; Morgan Hoffmann

Picked Keegan to be the ’13 POY and, yeah, well, it just didn’t pan out. This massive talent had seven top 10s, including two runners-up, but didn’t win. So now we’re doubling down.

Your mailbag questions for this week:

Publicly, theyre all in favor of Tiger. No one is trying to become a headline here. But because the voting process is essentially anonymous among Tour members, their actual ballots may tell a different story, whether they truly believe there was a more deserving player in 2013, they want to see Phil rewarded for a career achievement, or perhaps theyre turned off by Tigers rules snafus. The Tour doesnt disclose vote totals, but the guess here is that it wont be all that close.

Expect a blowout. Be thankful for anything closer. On paper, at least, this matchup is woefully one-sided. The U.S. teams average world ranking is 13.58; the Internationals is 33.25. The Americans have eight players inside the top 15; the Internationals have only one, No. 2 Adam Scott. The Americans have won 16 titles on the PGA/European tours this season; the International team has combined to win only five times. The U.S. team has won the Presidents Cup by at least a four-point margin each of the past three matches, and it would surprise little if it was even more lopsided than that. Could become known as The Mauling at Muirfield Village.

Out of shape, certainly. And, um, is that a tobacco stain on your base?

Well, Ill be hard-pressed to ever top the trip the GolfChannel.com boys had pre-British Open. The weather was perfect, and we walked 108 holes in four days (126 in six). The best track? Its likely a three-way tie between Turnberry ' where, it should be noted, I went birdie-birdie-par to finish ' Western Gailes and North Berwick. Stunning, all of them.

Loyal readers of this mailbag will recall a few lengthy visits to the dentists office in recent months. Thus, the Stense knows Coke is off-limits for this guy.

Hey, Ive been on this bandwagon since Spieth was waxing kids in AJGA events, but lets not go overboard. Yes, he was the biggest climber in 2013, but he wasnt the best player. If hed closed out wins in Puerto Rico, Charlotte and Atlanta, OK, maybe. It was a great season, arguably the best ever for a rookie. And, sure, I guess it could be argued that he deserves some POY consideration. That argument just wouldnt have much merit.

Oooh, tough call. Id take the $10 million, and shirtless existence, but only after hiring a personal sun-blocker and sweat-blotter.

Yes, grudgingly, and I figure by 2017 I could probably become the mayor of Des Moines. First bill that would be passed, before the Solheim Cup rolled into town: making face painting a felony.

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Garcia among bubble boys keeping playoff hopes alive

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 12:34 am

Sergio Garcia gave himself a chance to keep his perfect FedExCup Playoffs record going with his rally Friday at the Wyndham Championship.

D.A. Points moved into position to make a historic leap into the postseason.

And Johnson Wagner dunked his last shot of the day from long range to keep his hopes of making the playoffs alive.

But the day didn’t end nearly as well for Tyrone Van Aswegen’s FedExCup hopes.

Van Aswegen didn’t do himself any favors trying to hold on to the 125th spot on the FedExCup points list. He missed the cut by a shot.

Only the top 125 advance to The Northern Trust and next week’s start to the playoffs.

Van Aswegen wasn’t alone among “bubble boys” missing the cut. No. 122 Jhonattan Vegas, No. 123 Seamus Power, No. 124 Martin Piller, No. 126 Chad Campbell and No. 127 Robert Garrigus all failed to make the weekend.

Garcia is among 13 players who have advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs every year since they began in 2007, but his run was in jeopardy of ending starting the week. He’s 131st on the FedExCup points list

With a 65 Friday following his opening round 66, Garcia is in more than a great position to advance. He’s in position to win the Wyndham. He is tied for fourth, five shots off the lead. The day ended with Garcia projected to move up to 118th on the FedExCup points list.

Wyndham Championship: Full-field scores | Full coverage

Current FedExCup points list

“I'm just going to try to keep building on the things that I did well these first two days,” Garcia said. “Whatever happens, happens. Like I said at the beginning of the week, if I have a great weekend, then it will be great. If I don't have a great weekend, it will still be great because

I'll get to rest.”

Points started the week 214th on the FedExCup points list. With back-to-back 64s, he trails only Brandt Snedeker going into the weekend. He’s projected to move to 81st in points. Nobody has ever started the Wyndham Championship that far back in points and qualified for the playoffs. Davis Love III was 186th when he won and advanced in 2015.

Wagner, 136th on the FedExCup points list, went to spectacular lengths Friday to keep his playoff hopes alive. He was outside the cut line until holing his 153-yard approach at the last.

Bill Haas, who is among those 13 players to have qualified for the playoffs every year, started the week 150th in points. He can keep his perfect playoff record going with a big weekend. He shot 68 Friday to make the cut. He’s tied for 52nd in the tournament.

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Points two back after missing 16 of 17 cuts

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 11:54 pm

What’s the better story come Sunday?

Brandt Snedeker turning his 59 in the opening round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship?

Or D.A. Points winning after missing 16 cuts in his last 17 starts?

They’re both scripts in the works at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.

Points, who has been struggling this season with a herniated disc that causes numbness in his fingers, has broken through his season-long funk to shoot back-to-back 64s. He starts the weekend in second place, two shots behind Snedeker.

Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“It's been difficult,” Points said of his slump. “It's been hard on my family. I was in this position a couple years ago, and I clawed my way back and won in Puerto Rico.

“I had that big downturn, and I clawed my way out of it just to find myself way back down in another deep hole again.”

Points, 41, is a three-time PGA Tour winner. He won his first title playing alongside Bill Murray at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2011 and two years later won the Shell Houston Open. He slipped into a three-year funk after that, before rebuilding his game and winning the Puerto Rico Open last year.

“Hopefully, this is my way of starting to claw back out,” Points said.

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New 'Mr. 59' Snedeker needs Day 2 rally to keep Wyndham lead

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 11:24 pm

Brandt Snedeker struggled coming off the emotional high that comes with shooting 59, but it didn’t stop him from rallying Friday to try to turn his historic round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship.

After a sluggish start to the second round, Snedeker caught fire on the back nine at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., to take the lead going into the weekend.

With a 3-under 67, Snedeker moved to 14 under overall, two shots ahead of D.A. Points (64).

“I knew it was going to be tough” Snedeker said. “It wasn't going to be the same way it was yesterday. Kind of battling the emotion of everybody pulling hard for you, wanting to see you do it again. So the front nine was disappointing.”

A day after becoming the ninth player in PGA Tour history to post a sub-60 tournament round, Snedeker opened with three bogeys and two birdies on the front nine. He said it was a struggle to begin anew.

Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“You hear people telling you every two seconds, `Mr. 59,’ or saying how cool it was to watch it,” Snedeker said. “Phone's still blowing up this morning, guys in the locker room are still talking to me about it. So, yes, totally on your mind. You can't ignore it. You can't try to forget about it. Hardest thing is trying to get back into a rhythm.”

Snedeker did with an eagle and two birdies on the back nine. Rolling in a 30-foot eagle putt at the 15th gave him back the lead he lost earlier in the round.

“To see that go in was huge,” Snedeker said.

Not every player to break 60 on the PGA Tour has gone on to win. In fact, Snedeker is looking to become just the fifth player to do so.

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Garwood (64) leads Dick's Sporting Goods Open

By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 9:53 pm

ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Doug Garwood birdied the final three holes for an 8-under 64 and the first-round lead Friday in the Dick's Sporting Goods Open.

The 55-year-old Garwood had nine birdies and a bogey, playing his final nine holes - the front nine at En-Joie Golf Club - in 6-under 31.

''Drove it well, hit the irons well, pitched well, putted well, thought well,'' Garwood said. ''I got to a point I was just making birdies and I kind of lost track of how it was going,'' Garwood said. ''That's always a good thing.''

He won the 2016 SAS Championship for his lone PGA Tour Champions title.

Full-field scores from the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open

"I haven't been playing great this year, but I've been working hard on my game and things I've been working on are paying off,'' Garwood said. ''My golf, I take it a shot at a time, don't think about too far in advance because you really can't control, you know, the 13th hole tomorrow. It's just about the tee shot on No. 1.''

Michael Bradley and Marco Dawson shot 65, Woody Austin and Clark Dennis followed at 66, and Bob Estes and Tom Gillis were at 67.

''It was a good day,'' Bradley said. ''I've traditionally not driven the ball well here and you've got to drive the ball good here to shoot a good score. I drove the ball well and made a few putts, so that was that.''

Kenny Perry, the 3M Championship winner two weeks ago in Minnesota, had a 68. Bernard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez each shot 70. Langer won the 2014 tournament. Jimenez is coming off a victory at St. Andrews in the British Senior Open.

Defending champion Scott McCarron had a 72. Kevin Sutherland also had a 72. He shot the only 59 in PGA Tour Champions history in the 2014 event. John Daly, the winner of the PGA Tour's 1992 B.C. Open at En-Joie, opened with a 73.