Taking a break from shoveling white stuff and spreading calcium chloride on my driveway to respond to your superb missives about golf. In other words, the Van Cynical Mailbag returns:
Hey, Van Cynical, Does Jordan Spieth have to start giving the field strokes?—Mr. Fairway via Twitter
Great idea. We could call it Affirmative Action for the Putting Challenged. It's hardly fair that Spieth makes one-fourth of his putts from 25 feet. That's re-donk-ulous. Just issue handicap cards to all the tour players and adjust scores accordingly. ShotLink could be used to start providing gross AND net scores on tour. Why practice hard to get better when it's easier to sandbag your way to a higher handicap and become more competitive? It's the American way.
Hey Rock Paper Sickle, What does Jordan Spieth's gigantic new endorsement deal with Coke mean?—Kirby via email
It means he’ll always have a Coke and a smile while our combined net worth remains hovering just slightly above Coke Zero, he said bitterly.
Hey Van Cynical, Who had it better? Walter Hagen in the '20s or Tiger Woods in the '00s?—Brian Bailey via Twitter
Who had what better, Bailmoney? Music? Hagen had Bix Beiderbecke and ragtime. Tiger has Taylor Swift and Kanye. Baseball? Hagen had Ruth and Gehrig and the Yankees. Tiger has A-Rod, Moneyball and the Kansas City Royals. I could go on but overall, I give the edge to Tiger. He lives in the era of the Van Cynical Mailbag. Hagen lived in the era of actual mailbags.
Sickle sell, re Spieth running the table, I sincerely hope not. That would be as boring as someone who has a 20-shot lead!—Jackie Wirtz via Twitter
So almost as boring as Tiger Woods winning the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by 15 shots? You're probably right.
Czar of All Things Cynical, Is there any hope for improved American golf announcing in '16 or will it continue to be mind-numblingly god-awful?—Lionel Mandrake via Twitter
It's understood that your question is rhetorical, Li-Man. I’ll answer it with something I heard Mark Rolfing say during the Kapalua broadcast. I actually like Rolfing and the enthusiasm he brings to the air but on a replay of Bubba Watson hitting a flip wedge shot, he commented on how Bubba watched the ball in the air after he struck the shot. "Bubba loves to play golf with his eyes," Rolfing said. I don't know what that's supposed to mean but it did fill five seconds of dead air. Golf announcing needs a little higher entertainment value than it currently has.
Sickmananoff, Can tour pros deduct golf course fees as a business expense?—Eric Houser via Twitter
I would say so, House Boy, but I’m a member of H&R Blockheads, not an actual tax accountant. A better question is, other than at Whisper Rock in Scottsdale, how many tour pros actually pay money to belong to the private clubs where they play? Probably not many.
Hey Van Smackster, Any tournament-sponsor relationships expiring or otherwise in trouble this year?—Kevin Montminy via Twitter
Yeah, I don’t think the Shearson Lehman Brothers-Andy Williams San Diego Open is going to stick. The old Bob Hope Classic has gone through a lot of sponsor changes but now CareerBuilder has signed on for six years so it’s not going anywhere. Colonial doesn’t have a title sponsor at the moment, which is odd for a classic course in a big market like Dallas-Fort Worth.
Van Conical, When will El Tigre be back??—Turtle Trader via Twitter
I normally deal with only golf questions, Turt Vonnegut. As you know, El Tigre refers to “El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera,” an animated series about a 13-year-old boy who has great powers as the masked El Tigre, a friend named Frida and a super-villain who is his own grandfather. Its last episode aired in 2008. The Hardy Boys will be back before El Tigre. I’m kind of surprised no one asked about Tiger Woods, though. After his back surgery, his timetable remains unknown. He sent out a photo of himself giving Michelle Wie a chipping lesson—let’s skip the snarky remarks on that—so at least he’s upright and able to be on a golf course again. That’s progress. The Masters? I don’t know.