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Hey Van Cynical, Will Chambers Bay Be Open-Worthy?

Tour Confidential: Should Pros Be Wary of Chambers Bay?
Some tour pros found Mike Davis' recent comments about Chambers Bay's difficulty comical, but should they heed his warnings?

Let’s see, after two weeks of heavy rain and horrific flooding, where could the PGA Tour go to get some guaranteed good weather this week? I know. The Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio!

Is that being cynical or ironic? I dubbed it the Mudmorial Tournament years ago for its penchant for drawing rain the way black holes attract science fiction movies. The one year it didn’t rain happened after Barbara Nicklaus, wife of tourney host Jack, set a glass of whiskey on the grave of a local Indian chief as an offering. It was a one-off gesture but I’m not kidding, I’d be pouring one every year for The Chief if that’s what it takes to finally get some good weather for this event.

I think the main thing is the media parking lot is paved. (Well, if you get there before it fills up by 8:30 a.m.) But enough about me. Let’s go to the Van Cynical Mailbag…

Van Cynical, How many "torture Chambers Bay" puns will the Fox golf crew conjure up at the U.S. Open?—Mr. Fairway via Twitter

Ugh. You’re ahead of the curve, Fairlawn, thinking two moves ahead like a chess master. I’ll set the over-under number at nine for the week—I could see Joe Buck going for it repeatedly. But even worse, there will be many more references in newspaper headlines (they still have those, right) and website headlines. Thanks for the “heads-up.” Ughs all around for everyone.

Deep Sicks, Will Chambers Bay expose a great champion or will it be exposed as a circus? I like birdies. –Jason Sipes via Twitter

We’ll get a pretty good winner barring horrendous weather or a disastrous course setup. I think Mike Davis has a pretty good feel for what limits he can stretch a course to and I don’t think he suffers from that age-old par-is-a-great-score USGA disease. The slopes on the greens are the biggest concern, if the greens get super-hard and super-fast, we could see some Keystone Kops action on the greens. Once Chambers Bay gets its TV closeup, though, it’s going to join the pantheon of must-play tracks for recreational golfers. It’s going to look great on TV with Puget Sound constantly in the background.

Van Shanksalot, How would you rank the U.S. Open venues from 2011 through 2020?—Kirby via email

You want rankings based on course quality and setup or who’s got the best pressroom food? I’ll go with the course stuff. One is a slam dunk. Oakmont next year.

Two: Pebble Beach. Can’t beat the ocean views. 

Three: Merion. Cramped and crowded but just cool.

Four: Shinnecock Hills in 2018—it’s a great course if the USGA doesn’t allow the setup to be ruined again.

Five: Winged Foot in 2020. It’s Winged Foot, I am such an idiot.

Six: Pinehurst, at least it looks better now.

Seven: Chambers Bay, a big question mark but again, water views will sell it.

Eight: Congressional, lacks pizzazz.

Nine: Erin Hills, a nice piece of terrain that I predict will be downgraded because it has no real signature hole or glamorous large water hazard. The blind par-3 Lahinch hole would’ve been sexy but it was bulldozed out of existence at the USGA’s suggestion.

Ten: Olympic Club. Looks great, plays great in the winter but when has it not produced a winner that left fans disappointed?

Sickle sell, Watching NCAA golf championship. The future of golf seems SLOW.—Greg Palochak via Twitter

So I guess you haven’t played on Saturday morning behind the senior outing? Yes, college golf is notoriously slow for no good reason. It just is. As formulated now, the NCAA championship is not a good TV product. If any event ever needed a shot clock (as I’ve written many times as the only real solution to slow play), this is it.

Wow worlds are colliding--GVS with a FIFA reference. Can we all agree that Sepp Blatter is about to get beat 10 & 8 by the FBI? –Tom Kister via Twitter

Blatter resigns a day after a letter to his right-hand man detailing the $10 million bribe was released so at this point, Blatter will be lucky to only get beat by the FBI. He might find himself on the losing end of a shootout.

Van Cynical, Perhaps I will get one of the help to email you a question. #FIFA bribes—Gary Rind via Twitter

That’d be great, Grinder. I’ll get you that $10 million check in the mail tomorrow.

Vans, Is the NCAA tournament a top 5 amateur event in the world?—Andrew Polson via Twitter

Yes, according the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (www.scratchplayers.org), it was the No. 4 ranked amateur event last year in terms of strength of field.

Got a question for Van Cynical? Tweet him @GaryVanSickle!

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