Van Cynical Mailbag: Is it finally Sergio Garcia's time to shine? Plus, PGA Championship picks and dark horses

Sergio Garcia
Getty Images
Sergio Garcia tees off during the third round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Let’s try Potpourri for $200, Alex:

Tiger Woods has won 14 of the 79 majors he’s played, none since 2008. As a pro, he has missed only three cuts in majors. Which is pretty astounding. On a more somber note, Tiger has not played in four of the last 14 majors, not counting this week’s PGA…

It’s easy to forget that major championship venues aren’t all about the golf course. Valhalla has its critics, including me, but tickets for this week’s PGA in Louisville are sold out. That’s impressive…

Bob May, the foil for Tiger in that thrilling 2000 PGA at Valhalla, is an instructor at a golf academy in Las Vegas, just in case you were wondering…

I’ll spare you my recurring rant on the flaws in the Official World Golf Ranking because the rankings are far too slow to respond to bad play and leave you with these numbers: Tiger Woods is still ranked No. 10. He’s right behind thumb-impaired Jason Day. Seriously? …

Some former World No. 1 players and where they are now: Martin Kaymer, No. 12; Luke Donald, No. 26; Lee Westwood, No. 34…

I searched online for a list of Louisville’s attractions and found a Bucket List of 50 Things To Do in Louisville on WLKY.com. Before I read the list, I saw this comment below: “Bucket list? If you’re waiting to die until you’ve completed this list, go ahead and die now because you’re not really missing anything.” -- d3331892828. Out of respect for that funny line, I didn’t open the list. There’s got to be more in Louisville than in Augusta, Maine (pop. 19,000 or so). Augusta’s official online list of 19 things to do ended for me when No. 13 was disc golf…

Just noticed that singer Ingrid Michaelson is performing Tuesday night in Louisville. I saw her and her band play outdoors in Pittsburgh on the riverfront. She put on a good show and seemed to have a fun personality…

The PGA Tour Player of the Year race is a tight one. I’m leaning toward Martin Kaymer over Rory McIlroy at the moment. They’ve got two wins each and one major apiece. Kaymer gets the edge for winning The Players, perhaps the deepest field in golf. Rory’s win at Firestone was nice, but the WGC events have only half-fields. Plenty of time left for one of them to pull ahead with another win or two…

Phil Mickelson’s final-round 62 at Firestone was nice, but if I’m Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson, I’ve got to see more than one hot round from Lefty before I spend a wild-card pick on him, regardless of whether Tiger is on the team. On the other hand, who else is playing so great that he absolutely can’t be left off the team? Nobody. So Phil’s probably still in the running, maybe even the leading candidate…

Where the PGA Championship (or any major) goes, hotel price gouging follows. The downtown Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites still has a few rooms available starting Wednesday for only $289 a night. For a Fairfield? Yes, but hey, that includes a facsimile of breakfast, too.

Checking out the Van Cynical Mailbag:

Van Cynical, Keegan Bradley to win the PGA. He will fire at pins to impress Capt. Tom. -- Kokomice via Twitter

A fine pick, Mighty Mice. Keegan is a former PGA champ, and he was in good form last week in Akron. I disagree with your other point, though. Keegan will fire at the pins because that’s how he always plays golf. He’s as aggressive as his mentor, Phil Mickelson.

Vans, You thought Monty was a tough Hall of Fame vote? Wait until Sergio is eligible. -- Brian Bailey via Twitter

The difference between Monty and Sergio is that while neither player won a major (I think Sergio still might now), Monty was the dominant player on the European Tour for eight years and won the money title eight times. Sergio isn’t close to being in that ballpark. He’s at least two major championships away from Hall of Fame consideration.

Van Cynical, I kind of think it might be Sergio’s time. -- Zubes via Twitter

Could be, but Sergio seems to be the King of Bad Timing. He played some of his best golf early at the peak of Tiger Woods’ greatness, got hot again during Padraig Harrington’s two-year career run and now he’s looking good right as Rory McIlroy is turning into Superman before our eyes. Maybe Sergio was right the first time about those unseen forces he’s battling.

Van Sickle, I like Pablo Larrazabal. He plays good the week after playing horrible. -- The Bogey Train

I love unexpected dark-horse picks like that. We have seen a few surprises at Valhalla before, such as Mark Brooks and Bob May. Perhaps you should legally get a wager down on him. He’s got to be 100-1 or higher. My dark-horse list would be led by Brooks Koepka, who made a run at Pinehurst. He’s a big hitter and perfect for a big-hitter’s ballpark like Valhalla.

Is Tiger done for the year or done permanently? -- Kirby via email

With back surgery, I think you’ve got to give it a full year before you can evaluate a golfer’s prospects. I wrote earlier that I’d wait until next June to judge Tiger, and I’ll stand by that. He might be just fine by then. Or he might not. In which case, he’s got big trouble.

Vans, Rickie Fowler is my pick. He’s been close in three majors and is playing well but not peaking too early. -- Brian Rosenwald via Twitter

Another very good choice, BriRo. Butch Harmon appears to have gotten him over the hump from just another guy who plays well enough to rack up money to a player who looks capable of winning multiple majors. Which would be good, because he’s already more famous than a lot of guys who have won multiple majors.

Van Cynical, I’d love to pick one of the Canucks but Justin Rose’s play this summer makes him my PGA pick. -- Brian Norman via Twitter

He, too, looked pretty sharp in Akron, Shark. And he’s got a major on the resume already.

Vans, Rory McIlroy because it looks like he’s starting another hot streak and can bring Valhalla to is knees with his length. -- Chad Wolfe via Twitter

You’re so right, Chadillac. Rory can bring any course to its knees with his length. And he’s not even a big guy -- maybe 5-11 and 165? His power is remarkable. That’s what makes him a potential dominant player for the future.

Sickle, Shane Lowry is a man on form recently and he will love the challenge. -- BetterGolf.ie via Twitter

I’m just glad he’s returning to play in America, because I was tired of saying, Come back, Shane. Shane, come back.

Van Cynical, Rory McIlroy because he will win. That is all. -- Mark Ruhe via Twitter

Strong. Bold. Concise. That is all.

For more news that golfers everywhere are talking about, follow @si_golf on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube video channel.

Forecast
PGA Tour News
Trips
Travel & Courses
Lessons
Tips & Videos
The Shop
Equipment News & Reviews