Fresh fan mail from the Van Cynical Mailbag:
Vans, It was nice to see Tim Clark and Jim Furyk, who are not bombers, finish first and second in Canada. Have big hitters taken some strategy out of the game?
--Eric Porter via Twitter
You’re a little late to the party, Eric, but welcome! Yes, the pro game has completely gotten away from golf’s governing bodies. There have been 699 drives on the PGA Tour in excess of 350 yards this year, 235 longer than 360 yards. Sure, a lot of them loaded up at the Hyundai Championship at Kapalua, where they play a few holes down a mountain. But there are monster hits every week. I counted six drives beyond 360 at last week’s Canadian Open, led by Oliver Goss and a 370-yard blast. Rory McIlroy drove the green at a 436-yard par 4 at the Scottish Open and he’s an average-sized guy. The USGA missed this boat a long time ago but gee, they got all over that long-putting thing and they’re sure putting a quick stop to slow play by running those commercials. What a difference those spots have made, he wrote sarcastically.
Van Cynical, Is Tiger giving up on his season already? How does committing to Notah Begay’s tourney make sense for his schedule?
--Bradley Hendricks via Twitter
It’s a one-day, one-round charity fund-raiser. It’s not going to interfere with Tiger’s schedule. The event is two days before the Deutsche Banke Championship and barring a really good finish in Akron or the PGA Championship, Tiger won’t be in the FedEx Cup playoffs. His season will be over. So it makes perfect sense… unless you’re opposed to charities.
Vans, Is golf dying?
--Bill Poirier via Twitter
I asked a former SI editor three years ago if I could write a story with that as the headline. The editor grudgingly said I could as long as the answer wasn’t yes. Bad for advertising and all that. Story idea killed. It doesn’t look good, Bill. Golf is definitely shrinking, that’s for sure. Too early to drag the Grim Reaper into this, though.
Are you going to Swenson’s while in Akron this weekend?
--Max Johnson via Twitter
Max, Did you mean am I going over to Stenson’s, Henrik Stenson, this weekend? The answer is no. Swenson’s? Yes. Cheeseburgers away!
Van Cynical, What does Captain Tom do? Of the top nine players, are those guys a bunch of followers or are there any leaders in there?
--Ragan via Twitter
Never mind leaders, Raganomics. Are there any guys among the top nine who can make a crucial putt on 18 to win a singles match in a Ryder Cup? Ask the last two U.S. captains, Corey Pavin and Davis Love. I don’t know.
Vans, Another golf pundit laughed at this question and said no: Should Tom Watson pick himself for the Ryder Cup?
--Dave Conlon via Twitter
I’m not laughing, Con-Man. What’s not funny is that right about now Ol’ Tom looks like as good a pick as anyone who’s left among the Americans outside the top nine on the points list -- sorry, Phil and Tiger. In fact, that’s not funny at all. I’ll say no to Tom picking himself but it’s not outrageous at all.
Van Sickle, How close would Bernhard Langer have been in an Open Championship as opposed to a Senior Open? He was unreal!
--Paul Spencer via Twittter
I guess we would know if he had tried to qualify for the Open but with all 17 of those senior majors bunched together in mid-summer, he wasn’t able to. He was pretty darned good at the Senior Players at Fox Chapel, too, and finished eighth in the Masters, the only real major he played in this year. All these murmurs about whether Watson should pick himself for the U.S. are moot. A better question is, Should the European captain pick Langer? Maybe.
Sickle, Do golf writers name-drop Irish/Scottish golf courses just to boost cred when writing for Golf.com?
--Brian Bailey via Twitter
Are you referring to the Golf.com Tour Confidential question about which Irish/Scottish course you would like to see in the British Open rota? Because it was kind of hard to answer that without “name-dropping” an Irish/Scottish course.
Van Cynical, Memo to Golf Channel/CBS: I don’t care where a player is on the FedEx points list. I do care about the money list and Ryder Cup points.
--Michael (Mannix) O’Connor
You’re barking up the wrong network, Mannix. The Ryder Cup is seen on NBC. You won’t hear much chatter about that by the CBS crew. And the PGA Tour wishes the money list would go away because it’s trying to make FedEx points matter. Honestly, is there any drama about which 120 guys get in the “playoffs?” Not counting Tiger Woods, who is in line to miss them this year. Also, as I’ve ranted since Day One, why would I care about the points when they reset the totals before the finish? I’m old school, yes, but I still follow the money list.