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The Van Cynical Mailbag: Golf on the SI cover, bringing the PGA Championship to a muni, and trucker hats on the golf course

Tiger Woods
Robert Beck/SI
Tiger Woods on the cover of the April 8, 2013, issue of Sports Illustrated, the only golf cover of the year.

This just in from the Van Cynical Mailbag:

Van Cynical, Instead of the PGA Championship going overseas, why not have it at the worst muni’s in the U.S.? --Brian Norman via Twitter

I, too, would pay big money to watch Phil Mickelson have to put his ball in the rack to get in line on the first tee, hit shots off bare patches, play bunker shots out of traps filled with gravel, dirt, mud or kitty litter or whatever’s in there, putting on froghair greens rolling at 5 on the Stimpmeter and, oh yeah, no chipping on the putting green, fellas! Great idea, Norman. One clause: If you’re going to play at a muni, you’ve got to let the pros wear shorts. Also, shirts are optional.

Vans, Barring a miracle, this will be the first year since 1994 without a golf cover on an issue of Sports Illustrated. How can golf better compete for relevance? --Howard Riefs via Twitter

Historically, golf earns relevance from its superstars. We’ve had only two for quite some time, Tiger and Phil. Tiger hasn’t won a major since 2008. (Tiger was on the cover of the April 8, 2013, issue.) Phil won the Open this year but it was in July, when ads are noticeably absent and your issue of SI feels disturbingly thin. Rory McIlroy fits the superstar bill but he took the year off or something. The truth is, golf is a niche sport played avidly by a small percentage of the populace. It takes a Palmer, a Nicklaus or a Tiger, to name a few, to get attention. Jason Dufner and Justin Rose aren’t going to get it done until they win about four more majors. First call, Jordan Spieth!

Van Cynical, You are my new literary hero: ash holes!!! I almost spiet diet Coke all over my monitor. #instantclassic --Eric Houser via Twitter

Please put your comments in the form of a question, please. Thanks for reading last week’s Mailbag, though. Updating the scoreboard: Censors 492, Van Cynical 1.

Van Sickle, I noticed a disturbing trend at my golf club. In addition to untucked shirts and guys playing in running shoes, not golf shoes, I’m seeing a big uptick in guys wearing those cheap mesh hats that truckers wear. What can be done to halt this unsightly habit? --Douglas via email

Nothing, Douglas. Your membership is apparently made up of a bunch of truckheads. My advice, roll with it. Let’s get us a convoy, good buddy!

Gary, This Webb Simpson guy is a really good player but he seems more than a little odd in the TV interviews. What’s with his frequent thank-yous to The Lord whenever he wins? --Robbie via email

I’m not picking on the Webb-slinger for that. Like a lot of pro athletes, he just really likes Jesus a lot. Turn the other cheek, Robbie.

Van Cynical, Do you think Rory’s break-up will help his golf game? --Derek Lewis via Twitter

I’m confused, man. Is he or isn’t he broken up with his tennis player friend? I’m not sure, although his unhappy press conference in Korea at that tournament last week may have indicated that it’s true. When asked about it, he said he wants to keep his private life private. He didn’t answer the question. He also didn’t deny the breakup report. I’ll leave the gossipy details to “Entertainment Tonight” and TMZ. I’ve got Rory penciled in to play better in 2014. Or 2013. Or 2013-’14. Or whatever we have to call this. Really, could he play worse? I say he rebounds like Dennis Rodman. Hmm, bad example, perhaps.

Vans, According to your Rules of the 19th Hole article this summer, you say that all food within reach is community property and therefore up for grabs. Does that include fries and cole slaw if they’re added Pittsburgh-style in the bun with the hamburger? I say the bun is the bread equivalent of out of bounds stakes. --William R. via email

Officially, the demilitarized zone begins where the lettuce, tomato or pickles are placed on the plate. You should not only think outside the buns, you should stay outside any buns that aren’t yours. I rule in your favor, sir. Out of bounds! Please eat a provisional.

The Short Game

What’s not on TV this week: First stage of Q-School, which now gets you to the Web.com. I’m caddying for a former Byron Nelson Award winner named Mike here this week at Pinewild. Caddying? Hey, you get what you pay for…Your shot at Double Jeopardy! What do you get for winning the PGA Grand Slam of Golf and who won it last week? What, you got skunked on both answers? A pink blazer (that reminds me, I could go for some lemonade right now) and Adam Scott…Two weeks into the new PGA Tour season and the leader in the tour’s Ball Striking stat category is Charley Hoffman. I thought barbers in America ought to know…If you’ve seen that insurance commercial with the zombie asking about the lifetime guarantee, that’s not Larry King playing the zombie. Even though it does kinda look like him…There are a lot of people in Las Vegas. Where were they last week? Not at the Shriners tournament. Hopefully next week’s World Long Drive finals at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway draws better… Better than a shutout: Stewart Cink and Justin Leonard have one FedEx Cup point each so far in the new season. Cool stat…The best thing about Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., is that on a clear day, like Monday morning, you can see the Washington Monument, the Capitol and the Jefferson Memorial. That’s also the only good thing about Reagan National. Thanks for the cattle call, US Airways…Elsewhere: Mongolia.

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