Is Tiger Woods on the cusp of winning a tournament?
David Callow/AP
By Gary Van Sickle
Thursday, November 24, 2011

Here are the snappy answers to those snappy questions I asked you to submit for the Van Cynical Mailbag. Why waste time with foreplay? Let's go directly to the in-box:

Is Tiger on the cusp of winning? Will the USGA ever outlaw belly putters?
-- Howard Riefs, via Twitter

Excellent questions, Riefer Madness. Tiger's game looked pretty darned good in Australia. Anyone who watched that and doesn't think he's got a good chance of winning in '12 wasn't paying attention. We have to wait to see whether his putting stroke returns, too. That'll determine how soon he gets off the cusp. But only a fool wouldn't be bullish on Tiger now... The USGA long ago missed the chance to outlaw long putters. Doing so now would be very unpopular.

What are your thoughts on Lee Westwood rejoining the PGA Tour? And how can we get Rory McIlroy to compete at the Players?
-- GolfProTalk, via Twitter

Westwood's return is good for the Tour. Any event he enters will be happy to have the No. 3 ranked player in the world. The hard part for him is playing the minimum number of events on each tour. As for Rory, trying to get players to show up at certain events without using appearance fees or their sneakier equivalents is like herding cats. All you can do is hold a good event and generate good buzz. If Rory doesn't want to play, hey, it's his loss. If you have a bad meal at a certain restaurant, do you go back a second time? That's where Rory is. Whether he competes at the Players or not is ultimately of no consequence to us. But if he does agree to play, I'll personally guarantee him there will be a box of Lucky Charms waiting in his locker upon arrival.


Should we create a fifth major championship in a location not yet golf saturated - China?
-- GolfProTalk, via Twitter

Only if you think we need a really good laugh. The Champions Tour and LPGA inaugurated fifth majors and were greeted with mockery, credibility issues and a general lack of interest. It would be difficult to make an all-new tourney the fifth major. You'd have a better chance of designating an existing event as the fifth major-the Players, Memorial, Australian Open (I actually like this one) or one of the premier European Tour stops. China doesn't get a major until it's running the whole world. In other words, about six years from now.

Can't we have a three-way Ryder/Presidents Cup and spare me a football weekend?
-- Tippett523, via Twitter

I've been touting this for close to a decade now, writing about making the Presidents Cup a qualifier for the Ryder Cup as a way to include players from the whole world in the Ryder Cup. I asked Tim Finchem about my concept at the Ryder Cup in Ireland and he floored me with his response: "We wouldn't be opposed to it." It would be a big win-win for everybody but it's not likely that the PGA of America would cut the PGA Tour in for a piece of the action when the Ryder Cup is the PGA's big money machine. But we can dream, can't we? On the bright side, Tippy, you don't have to give up a football weekend. Have you heard of a DVR?

Gary, do you believe in the golf gods?
-- Mark Button, via Twitter

Does Zeus count? If not... umm, no.



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