Robert Beck/SI
By Gary Van Sickle
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It’s time for a quick dip into the Van Cynical Mailbag:

Van Cynical, Why is nobody talking about Rory McIlroy’s Masters performance? If he makes any putts, he wins by three. I love Jordan Spieth, by the way. — DanFromDC via Twitter

Gee, DC, it might have something to do with Jordo breaking (temporarily) the all-time Masters scoring record and the fact that Rory was never seriously a contender. If Rory makes any putts—well, if took a you-know-what and died. If Jordo doesn’t gaffe two chip shots (including the double at 17 on Saturday), he wins by seven. There ain’t no what-if in golf.

Van Cynical, Jim Furyk is a nice guy but he’s not Hall of Fame material with only one major. The minimum requirement should be at least three majors and even that is a bit weak. When is the HOF going to change from an old boys’ club into a legitimate Hall such as the LPGA? Who’s in charge of this fiasco? The PGA Tour? — SoCal Golf Guy via email

It was the PGA Tour that turned the HOF from a legit Hall into an old boys’ club, Guy, when it decided the annual induction ceremony should be a TV show that it could package and sell. The tour took the HOF vote away from media members so it could control who gets in by using a new rubber-stamp panel of golf greats it can control. So our opinions on who should or shouldn’t be in the Hall are moot. An induction ceremony needs inductees and rest assured, at the current pace Furyk will get in.

Vans, Jim Furyk, Hall-worthy? It’s already watered down. You can write the history of golf without mentioning him. He’s a lock for the Hall of Very Good, though. — Michael O’Connor via Twitter

Savvy comment, Mannix. You can write golf history without mentioning a number of major champion winners. Don’t bother having Hall standards anymore. Everybody is going to get in nowadays. Everybody.

Van Cine-man, Movie report: The Squeeze sucks. It’s terrible. It’s worse than Seven Days in Utopia and even worse than Golf In the Kingdom. It’s even worse than A Gentleman’s Game. I’m good with watching bad movies but this is crap. — Turtle Trader via Twitter

You surely noticed my review was not a rave, Donatello. I gave it a B for its original and surprising ending, and detailed many of its failings. But you sound surprised that Golf In the Kingdom was a bad movie. If you read the book, how could it be anything but?

Van Comical, I know it’s not your beat but the LPGA still isn’t quite there. I hate to say it but if I were Alison Lee, for instance, I’d probably use another last name. — Michael O’Connor via Twitter

It’s a fact, Mannix, that a lot of Asian players on the LPGA have similar names. I keep a separate file on players named Lee and Kim and Park because of their sheer numbers. In China, they probably think the NBA has way too many players named Johnson, Williams, Smith and Jones. This is why someone invented marketing—see Birdie Kim, for instance. You’ve got to build your brand your own way.

Sickle cell, When is the PGA Tour going to allow a dress code similar to the LPGA—Lumpy in a spaghetti strap? — Michael Bailey via Twitter

I stand opposed to making fun of middle-aged guys and their body shapes, Bailjumper. On behalf of the golf-writing media, we do miss Mr. Tim Herron being in contention and regaling us with tales in the pressroom. Lumpy, come back…

Vans, It used to be hard to go wire-to-wire in a major. Now it has happened in three out of the last four. Why? — Brian Rosenwald via Twitter

No idea. That’s just the way the scripts have come in from PGA Tour headquarters. I mean, it’s just coincidence.

Van Cynical, If Hilton Head is so popular, why not move it from after the Masters on the schedule? — Brian Norman via Twitter

One reason it’s so popular, Sharky, is that it is right after the Masters and only a relaxing two-and-a-half hour drive from Augusta. Another is that it’s a great vacation spot. You miss the Masters cut, you load your family in the car and drive to Hilton Head for two extra beach days. In addition, while the Phoenix Open gets all the attention as being the tour’s party spot for its loud behavior, the Heritage ranks right up there as one of the best parties on the tour—wine coolers, mixed drinks, marinas and shade trees. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—just shake it, don’t stir it.

Van Shanksalot, Does Kiradech Aphibarnrat have enough game to be a worldwide stud? — Andrew Polson via Twitter

Enough game, AP? No. Enough name? Absolutely. Sheesh.

Sickle, Jordan Spieth elevated his game to a new level this year. Who is the next guy to do the same thing? — Brian Rosenwald via Twitter

Wait, five minutes after The Next Big Thing arrives, you’re expecting another one? Spieth’s breakthrough is a once-in-a-decade kind of moment, if you’re lucky. It’s all about appearances, BriRo. How come the media didn’t declare Martin Kaymer’s runaway win at last summer’s U.S. Open as the start of a new era in golf? Because he’s German, not American? I don’t know. But I wouldn’t count Kaymer out from piling up a few more major wins. Long range, someone like Justin Thomas or Brooks Koepka could be a factor. But if you’re waiting for another Spieth, don’t hold your breath.

Vandemonium, What does Tiger’s success at the Masters do to his plans and schedule for the rest of the year? He has to be encouraged. — Craig M via Twitter

My best guess is, nothing. I don’t see Tiger adding another event to his schedule just because he had a good showing. That finish did move him up in the world rankings, though, and if he puts another good showing up at The Players or the U.S. Open, he can vault back into the top 50 and resume his spot on the World Golf Championship gravy train—in other words, he can play his way back into the WGC event in Akron, where he has won repeatedly.

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