Tour and News

PGA Tour Confidential: Dream 'Re-Match' pairings, Frys.com, Turkish cash-grab, more

Photo: Robert Beck / SI

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson (shown here at the 2012 Pebble Beach Pro-Am) are popular choices for teams in a dream 'Re-Match.'

Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

YOUR DREAM RE-MATCH
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Forget the Frys.com Open, the big golf event of the past week was The Re-Match at Cypress Point. This got me thinking. If you could pick any four players and the venue for this kind of exhibition, what would be your dream matchup?

Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: Living players?

Shipnuck: Let's start with the undead. By the way, I'll take Tiger and Phil vs. Rory and Poulter, at Pine Valley.

Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: I like Pine Valley as the venue -- another classic that's "too short" for the moderns.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: If you're looking to keep the "Experience vs. Youth" theme, I think it'd be tough to top Tiger and Phil vs. Rory and Rickie. Hopefully the camera crews would be allowed into that one.

Wei: I'll go with Tiger and Phil vs. Rory and Rickie at National Golf Links of America, playing with old school equipment.

Herre: I love Cypress Point, so that's easy. Couples-Love is also a no-brainer (too bad Fred's back went out). The other pairing is interesting. Bubba, yes. Fowler, not so sure. How about Kyle Stanley? Harris English? The Duf?

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Tiger and Rory vs. Phil and Bubba at St. Andrews.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: How about Rickie and Keegan vs. Rory and Colsaerts at the Links at Pacific Grove?

Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: Phil, Freddie, Arnie and Jack at Augusta. I'd pay mucho dinero to see that.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Living players, in their primes: Jack and Arnold vs. Tiger and Bubba Watson. Living players, right now: Tiger and Rory vs. Keegan and Phil. Any player, living or dead: Bobby Jones and Tiger vs. Jack and Arnold. All matches at Pacific Grove muni, but if it's too crowded, then Cypress.

Van Sickle: I don't see a lot of good vibes in that first match. Jack and Arnie together? Split 'em up. And Watson and Tiger? No way. Make it Jack and Tiger vs. Arnie and Watson.

Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: Mickelson and Keegan Bradley vs. Tiger and Rory, at Augusta National.

Shipnuck: If we're going all-time, I say the 1930 Jones and 1953 Hogan vs. the 1972 Nicklaus and 2000 Woods.

Herre: Nah. Woods doesn't play well with others. Let's try to make it competitive.

Godich: Tell Tiger it's a major.

Charlie Hanger, executive editor, Golf.com: I'd take Tom Watson and Nicklaus vs. Seve and Olazabal at St. Andrews.

Shipnuck: How about Seve and Olazabal vs. Azinger and Payne Stewart. Anytime, anywhere, even in the parking lot.

Van Sickle: Let's not forget Old Tom and Young Tom Morris, a vibrant tag-team, vs. Watson and Trevino. I don't know, this all-time thing makes it tough to pick. Especially without a fountain of youth, exhumations and a time machine.

Wei: If we can raise the dead, I'll say Jones and Tiger (as an amateur) vs. Nicklaus and Palmer.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Pick four players and a course for your dream "Match."

RULINGS FOR THE AGES
Shipnuck: Sad news out of the LPGA where Doug Brecht, the longtime rules official, died from West Nile virus. The outpouring of love and sorrow from the players has truly been touching and a reminder of how integral these officials are to golf at the highest level. They get to see the players at their best and worst. What's your all-time favorite ruling, good or bad? I'll go with Will Nichols giving Ernie Els relief in the middle of the Augusta forest, strictly for its oy factor.

Herre: I didn't know Doug personally, but I do know that he lived a wonderful golfing life, and that he maintained the highest standards on the LPGA tour.

Shipnuck: Yes, Brecht was always a gentleman. And it was funny at the Re-Match that the PGA Tour's Mark Russell was on hand to keep score. He's better known among golf fans than many PGA Tour journeymen.

Herre: Russell probably loved the overtime pay.

Wei: Of the rulings I've seen in person, it's Tiger Woods at Quail Hollow in May, when he got a free drop on the fifth hole after his ball "disappeared" when he sniped it into the woods with thousands of people in the area.

Herre: The "removable impediment" -- a 2-ton boulder -- for Tiger in Phoenix is an all-time classic.

Bamberger: The biggest, by far, is Trey Holland giving a drop to Ernie Els at Oakmont at the '93 open.

Van Sickle: Right, he got the drop from a TV camera mounted on a stand. It was movable, but Holland incorrectly ruled it an immovable obstruction, so Ernie got a much better lie out of the deal. But here's a better one: Arnie playing two balls from an embedded lie in the 1958 Masters at No. 12. He made a 3 with one, a 5 with the other, and was allowed to keep the 3. In his book, Venturi went off on Arnie and the ruling. It's obvious he felt Arnie got preferential treatment.

Herre: The Masters people make their own rules.

Godich: Let's not forget David Price breaking the news to Dustin Johnson at the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Shipnuck: Yes, there was something very tender and human about the way Price had his hand on Dustin's shoulder.

Van Sickle: Another good one: Slugger White let Stewart Cink clean out a trench behind his ball in a waste bunker at Harbour Town in 2004. Ted Purdy, who lost to Cink, is still upset about that one.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What's your all-time favorite ruling, good or bad?

ULTIMATE WORLD TOUR
Shipnuck: The talk of Tiger joining the Euro tour is interesting. It leads to a lot of speculation about what his schedule would look like. Let's say we could create one global golf tour with 20-25 events. The majors are obviously part of it, but everything else is up for grabs. Which handful of events, here and/or abroad, do you keep?

Herre: The majors, the WGCs, the Players, Jack's and Arnie's (while they are alive), Boston and D.C. (for the TW foundation), and whatever pays best.

Shipnuck: I'd start the year with the South African Open and then the Australian Open. My West Coast swing is Kapalua, Riviera, Pebble Beach and Phoenix. Florida is Doral and then the Players, back in its old March slot. Augusta is followed by Hilton Head. Quail Hollow and the Memorial are the run-up to the U.S. Open. Wentworth and the Scottish Open lead into the British.

Godich: A West Coast guy, and you're going to leave Torrey off your schedule?

Van Sickle: You've gotta have Pebble Beach and the Dunhill, which uses the Old Course and Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. You'd want Wentworth. The Australian Open should be the fifth major, according to a few British writers I know. It's got history and some great layouts. From the Tour, I'd focus more on the venue than the tournaments. I'd want Riviera and Sawgrass, of course. Colonial is a classic course with a lot of history, so I'd love to see that included. I'd leave the rest up to the Euro tour.

Shipnuck: Actually, I'd have the Irish Open precede the Scottish Open, and the Dunhill Links follow the British. The more links courses, the better. After the PGA, we'd combine the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai to form "The Greatest Race." In consecutive weeks, they'd play in New York, Japan, Singapore and Dubai.

Wei: I enjoy some of the lesser-known events because they're more interesting to cover, so let's go with Kapalua, Honda, Hilton Head, Quail Hollow, New Orleans and the Scottish Open. I'd also toss in one of the Australian triple-crown tourneys.

Herre: The real golf will be played in the Southern Hemisphere for the next few months. I'm afraid the U.S. audience will be pretty much checked out.

Godich: I'd have the majors, Players, WGC events, Torrey, Pebble, Phoenix, L.A., Honda, Bay Hill, Charlotte, Nelson, Colonial, Memorial, events in New York, Chicago, Washington and Boston.

Walker: Phoenix has to be on the schedule for the atmosphere. As we saw at the Ryder Cup, the future of golf is loud. I'd have the majors and the four WGC events, so that's eight. From the PGA Tour, I'd take Phoenix, Pebble, Riviera, Bay Hill, Colonial, Quail Hollow, Players, Memorial and the FedEx Cup events (because of the markets). From the European Tour, I'd take the European PGA, the Dunhill, the World Match Play, the Irish Open and Abu Dhabi.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Which events, in the U.S. and Europe, would you keep as part of a new "World Tour"?

POSITIVE ID
Shipnuck: Jonas Blixt won the Frys.com. OK, be 100% honest: this very second, could you pick him out of a police lineup?

Godich: Only if he was wearing those nifty read shoes.

Van Sickle: What's the charge?

Shipnuck: Wearing those shoes.

Walker: If he was holding the trophy, maybe I could.

Van Sickle: I briefly interviewed Blixt at the All-American college tournament in El Paso a few years ago so, yes, I probably could've picked him out. But he's kept a low profile on the PGA Tour this year... until now.

Van Sickle: You've got to like Blixt. His gallery is mostly good-looking blondes. He nearly holed out from over the green on the drivable par 4, he made a key up and down from a bunker, and he holed the life-changing four-footer for the win instead of going into a three-way playoff. He's always had a PGA Tour quality short game. That's good for a nice career on the tour.

Wei: I could ID him too, but only because I've been to 30 tournaments this year and those red shoes stand out. I like his swagger and candor and his Swedish-ness. Not the best ballstriker in the world, but I'd take his short game any day. I've seen him get up-and-down from some ridiculous places the past few weeks.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Will Jonas Blixt be a household name by this time next year?

BUCKET LIST TOP 3
Shipnuck: All the Cypress Point ogling this week has me thinking about my own bucket list, since I've been lucky enough to splash a few hybrids shorts of Cypress's 16th green. Name the three courses you most want to play. I say Kingston Heath, Royal Dornoch and Oakmont.

Herre: Oakmont is torture. Why would anyone want to deal with it?

Shipnuck: Same reason you hike to the top of Half Dome: to say you've done it.

Reiterman: Cape Kidnappers, St. Andrews, Cypress.

Shipnuck: Hmmm, Cape Kidnappers. Excellent golf porn. I might have to sub that in for Oakmont. Sorry, Arnie.

Godich: 1. Augusta National, 2. St. Andrews, 3. Cypress Point.

Shipnuck: Nice list, Godich, though not very imaginative. And, for the record, I've been there, done that, nailed it shut.

Godich: Some of us are just thankful to play Jericho National every now and then. And I was at Saucon Valley last week. Very nice.

Van Sickle: I've knocked off most of the top 50, probably. So my list is a bit different. 1. Merion, 2. Bandon Dunes, 3. Sand Hills.

Walker: I love a good golf trip, so … 1. St. Andrews, 2. Royal County Down, 3. Royal Melbourne.

Wei: 1. St. Andrews, 2. Cypress Point, 3. Royal Melbourne (and I might be checking that one off next month). Then, all the courses in the (British) Open rotation.

Hanger: I checked St. Andrews and Kingsbarns off my list last year, as well as the lesser-known but amazing North Berwick. I'd say: 1. Cypress Point, 2. Pacific Dunes, 3. Ballybunion.

Ritter: My bucket list is still pretty deep. Sign me up for Augusta, St. Andrews and Royal Melbourne. And I'd play them all in three days if I had to.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What three courses are on your bucket list?

TURKISH DELIGHT?
Shipnuck: Justin Rose, Ryder Cup hero, won a cash-grab in Turkey that featured some big names. Two questions: what do you think of medal match play? And, Rory didn't even try to pretend that he cared about the results of his matches. Do you respect him for being honest or worry that he doesn't grind every time he pegs it?

Godich: Don't like the medal match play. It can get to the point where it's like taking a knee in football. Rory isn't the only guy who doesn't grind every time out, and after the season he had, he deserves a pass. And if this had been true match play, I'm betting he would have kept grinding after he got in that back-nine trouble.

Walker: Medal match play is un-American, but a regular event in Turkey would be great for golf.

Wei: I respect Rory's honesty, but he was paid a lot of money to go there, so he should probably at least put in some effort. It wasn't televised here, but I saw a lot of pictures, and all the ones of Rory showed him making moony eyes at Caroline. Medal match play is lame; it defeats the purpose of match play.

Herre: No worries with Rory (or Tiger). Sponsors' buying their way into the game is a time-honored tradition. You can't fault the headline players from sticking their heads into that trough.

Shipnuck: Yeah, but Tiger kept shooting 64.

Van Sickle: What part of this thing in Turkey sounds like a real golf tournament? It was a corporate outing. It was just like parents hiring John Mayer to perform at their kid's birthday party. So I give Rory a pass, although it would be better for all concerned if he pretended just a little better.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What are your thoughts on the Turkish cash-grab? Do you respect McIlroy for being so honest about it?

 

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