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Phil Mickelson and the Ryder Cup Team in the Van Cynical Mailbag

Vaughn Taylor Edges Phil Mickelson in AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Vaughn Taylor shot a final-round 7-under 65 to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday. Taylor finished 17-under and beat Phil Mickelson by one.

Ten things nobody is saying after last weekend's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am:

Vaughn Taylor? Looks like it just became The Big Five. Make room, Jordan, Jason, Rory and Rickie...

In that Farmers Insurance commercial, Rickie Fowler has more screen presence than the Farmers pitch man who won an Oscar…

The way Phil Mickelson hit the ball on the weekend at Pebble Beach, he’s sure to win a major this year -- probably the U.S. Open at Oakmont…

I wish CBS would talk to more celebrities standing around at Pebble Beach and show even fewer golf shots…

I loved it when CBS interviewed celebrities waiting on the 16th tee, then interviewed the same celebrities again in the tent at 17, all the while showing no relevant golf shots…

Can’t get enough Hiroshi Iwata…

The tree in the middle of the fairway at Pebble’s 18th hole is sheer genius…

I wonder where Vaughn Taylor ranks in FedEx Cup points now?...

Watching a wet dog shake itself dry on the sand at Pebble Beach in super-slow motion never gets old…

The suspense of the pro-am portion of the tournament is killing me…

Let’s go to the Van Cynical Mailbag:

Hey Van Cynical, Do Pebble Beach and Riviera have the most iconic 18th holes on the PGA Tour (non-Masters division)?—David Troyan via Twitter

Absolutely, Siegfield & Troy. They’re the clear winners but here are my honorable mentions: TPC Sawgrass and its lake-adjacent finishing hole, a scary hole when you need a par; Doral’s 18th, which plays hopscotch twice over a lake, is reasonably iconic though loathed; Harbour Town’s closing par-4 with the lighthouse in the background—it used to be a tough par-4, not anymore; and Glen Abbey, possibly taking its final turn as Canadian Open host this year, and its closing par-5 where Tiger Woods hit that 6-iron from a fairway bunker 210 yards across a lake. I would not endorse the 18th at Torrey Pines, a risk-reward par-5 over the contrived pond known as Devlin’s Billabong, that has become gimmicky since they started shaving the bank in front of the green so balls can roll back into the hazard. Lame. Pebble would be the unanimous No. 1 in this category.

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Hey Van Cynical, Phil Mickelson lipping out that last putt at Pebble Beach was a heartbreaker but shouldn’t he have chipped it closer on what was a pretty routine shot? Can he still close?—Kirbymarker via email

Yes, that was a weak effort from Phil, Kirbvorkian. I’m sure he’d give himself a B-minus at best on that chip. He should’ve stoned it, especially given his short-game heroics all week. It’s hard to be down on Phil, given that he poured in the putt he had to have at 17. That was clutch. Plus, he almost got in a playoff despite hittting it like rubbish over the last 36 holes. I take that as a good sign. Can he still close? Well, Phil has always been erratic and kicked away as many titles as he’s won. He’s no Mariano Rivera in the ninth but if you mean, can he still win? His showing at Pebble convinces me yes.

Hey Vance Ickle, Does Phil’s showing at Pebble Beach mean we’re going to be stuck with him again on the Ryder Cup team?—Shortgamer89 via email

Geez, Shortstop, you make it sound like sending Bennie Daniels to the mound for the old Washington Senators in the 1960s. Yes, it does look like Phil will be Rydering this year for the 11th time and yes, Bennie, the U.S. has a 2-8 record in Phil’s appearances. Just coincidence.

Van Cynical, Old question, your take: Is playing Pebble Beach worth the price?—Eric Houser via Twitter

There’s a difference between being a cheap bastard and just being thrifty, House Money. I put myself in the latter category. That said, it’s close to five bills to play Pebble and to get a tee time you may have to stay two nights in the luxurious Pebble Beach Lodge. Plus you’ve got travel expenses to get to Monterey. You’re approaching $2k in a hurry. It is the golf round of a lifetime, and that’s about how long it takes to play 18 there due to the daily logjam of tourist hacks carefully putting out so they can go home and say they shot 143 at Pebble. I’d still say yes, it’s worth it to do once. If that’s too much coinage for you, buy a ticket for next year’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and walk the course as a spectator. You’ll experience Pebble and have a fabulous day for the price of a cart fee.

RELATED: The Insider's Guide to Golf at Pebble Beach

Hey Van Johnnie Cochran-Cynical, Sounds like the judge in the caddie-lawsuit case got it right. The bib is a uniform, but their overall treatment could be better. Your take?—David Troyan via Twitter

You don’t get stupid rich by sharing wealth, Troy Band, and the PGA Tour has kept the caddies at arms-length. The suit didn’t have much merit but the caddies’ cause does. It would be awfully easy to set up some minimal health insurance and pension plans (maybe even discounted hotel rates) for hard-working caddies but the tour’s stance has always been that caddies are employed by their players, not the tour, so no cut of the pie for them (even though the players’ pension plan is dripping with dough and curiously performance-based so the rich get needessly richer). I support better treatment for caddies at events. The players could make it happen… but they haven’t.

Hey Van Scintillating, What’s the harm in Jack and Barb Nicklaus having the Ryder Cuppers over for dinner, per the Golf.com Tour Confidential topic? Anything to get to know each other can’t be bad, can it?—BigMark via Twitter

Exactly my point, Biggie. You would be wise to scoop up any pearls of wisdom that fall out of Jack’s mouth. A dinner probably isn’t really going to do anything to build team unity but hey, dinner with Jack and Barbara is a night to remember. I’ll have the swordfish, Bear.

Hey Van Cynic, Since Vaughn Taylor is back in the winner’s circle, does this mean that former Ryder Cuppers Brett Wetterich, Jeff Overton and Chris Riley are going to have comeback seasons, too?—Playin2nd18 via email

Yes, and Hal Sutton will be named to captain the 2018 squad.

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