WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—Welcome to the latest edition of the Van Cynical Mailbag, live from the finals of the Web.com Qualifying Tournament (still in progress)…
Van Sickle, Your thoughts on Dustin Johnson’s return to the Tour, including his play and acceptance by other players. Also, your Masters pick.
--MagnoliaLaneTickets via Twitter
I hear Dustin is working out hard with a trainer, sometimes doing two-a-days. He was already an impressive physical specimen, able to dunk in his bare feet. Imagine him ripped. I think his return will be surprisingly successful and he’ll begin to fulfill his golf potential. As for acceptance, not a problem. Other players like him, they understand he’s had issues and they’re sympathetic and respect him. It’s not as if he was taking performance-enhancing drugs. He’ll be welcomed back. A Masters pick in December? This could be a new record. Rory McIlroy is the obvious choice but he’s too obvious. How about Justin Rose?
Van Cynical, Is Tour Confidential required to have a Tiger question by law?
--Lionel Mandrake via Twitter
There’s no law mandating that, Mandate -- er, Mandrake. But if you want people to read it, yeah, you need a Tiger question. For every person who complains about too much Tiger coverage -- and we all agree on that subject -- 10 more say they want more Tiger coverage and won’t watch or read anything that doesn’t have Tiger. In other words, yes, there is a Tiger question requirement. He is golf’s version of The Most Interesting Man in the World.
Vans, Most memorable tantrum you’ve seen live?
--Matt Gallardo via Twitter
I assume you mean golf, not those small-minded football and basketall coaches I used to interview in my days as a newspaper sportswriter in Milwaukee. I remember one well-known Wisconsin club pro going off on a guy carrrying a camera around the clubhouse after the round at a big state tournament -- I forget which one or where. The pro just buried the guy for having a camera and taking pictures of him on the course and wouldn’t let him get in a word edgewise. Just a brutal three-minute rant. The guy tried to tell him he hadn’t been on the course and hadn’t taken any pictures, that he’d just gotten there. But the pro didn’t care and didn’t want to hear it. He just wanted to vent and didn’t realize -- or didn’t care -- that he was screaming at the wrong guy. It was pretty rude and my opinion of that pro dropped a lot that day.
Van Cynical, Anyone know why the Australian majors are crammed within a four-week period?
--Tej Sahota via Twitter
They’re most of what’s left of the Australian tour so while the titles are impressive and they are majors in Australia, they’re just very good international events. It’s also a way to entice international stars to make a long trip -- they’ve got a trio of events to tee it up if they want.
Sickle cell, Draft for total wins the next five years. Rory goes first clearly but give me your top five.
--Jonathan Hughes via Twitter
Man, that’s a long time to wait to collect your winnings. You’ve gotta go Rory, yes. After that, wow. Jordan Spieth has to be in there. Believe it or not, how about Dustin Johnson? He’s already racked up some wins. Patrick Reed. Hideki Matsuyama or Jason Day. There’s probably some college golfer who’s going to be a phenom whose name we haven’t noticed yet. Tough pool draft. Good luck.
Van Cyclical, Is FOX Sports going to introduce the FOX Transformer as part of their golf coverage?
--Ken Reiners via Twitter
I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure they can come up with something even worse. Like the Old Tom Morris Transformer. Or a cartoon shark that bites golf clubs in half and smirks. Or SNL’s old Ambiguously Gay Duo. You know, the FOX Transformer doesn’t sound that bad now that I think about it.
Vans, What PGA Tour tournament provides the best 19th hole stories?
--Brian Bailey via Twitter
Do you mean the best stories about golf heard at the 19th hole? Or the best stories that happened at the 19th hole? Never mind. It’s got to be the Phoenix Open, where the Bird’s Nest has evolved from an on-site party bar to an off-site extravaganza that is the city’s No. 1 pickup bar and music-fest. A lot of Tour players have been spotted there over the years trolling for talent, including married ones.
Vans, Multiple major-winners. What about ’94? Give Nick Price credit! British & PGA. You skipped over him.
--Barry W. Milam via Twitter
Sorry, BM, you misunderstood last week’s topic. I was talking about years when every major champion winner was someone who had already won a major. That didn’t happen in 1994. Ernie Els and Jose Maria Olazabal were first-time major winners that year.