Ryder Cup 2016 and Tiger Woods in the Van Cynical Mailbag

August 23, 2016

Give yourself a bronze medal for clicking on another edition of the Van Cynical Mailbag. I’m pretty sure it’s covered under the terms of Obamacare.

And we’re off:

Van Cynical, Phil has easily qualified for his 11th Ryder Cup. That stat is amazing and a testament to his longevity and quality of golf.—Joan via Twitter

No doubt about it, Joan of Swing Arc. Phil’s revival in his mid-40s after a bad 2015 season has been remarkable. I thought he was done because his iron play, the strength of his game when he’s on, was so bad last season, even though he actually began putting better. He turned it around, had a great season and was unlucky—thanks to Henrik Stenson—not to win a major. Phil earned his place on this team and as you pointed out, that accomplishment is notable. Phil already had the most appearances by an American, now he’ll tie Nick Faldo’s mark of 11 Ryder Cups.

Hey Van Cynical, It’s almost September and I still don’t care about the Ryder Cup. Not the least little bit. What’s wrong with me?—Klaugh56 via e-mail

It’s not you, KirbYourEnthusiasm. Blame it on Rio. Hey, that gives me an idea for a terrible movie. The Olympics blotted out the sun for all other golf events in the immediate vicinity. The FedEx Cup starts this week and has zero buzz, although that’s fairly normal. Usually, there’s some Ryder talk by now about the teams but the Euros locked up their first nine guys and nobody cared. I think you’ll get some Ryder buzz this week because the U.S. team points race ends after Bethpage. If not, continue to blame Trump and Hillary.

Hey Van Cynical, Did you change your mind about Rio? Is golf worthy of the Olympics?—Turtle Trader via Twitter

Olympic golf made for a good TV show, Donatello. I’m still not a fan of the small fields—60 players—or leaving some of the best players out. Like any competition, though, once the action starts all that stuff is forgotten. A Chinese golfer won a medal and a Russian woman shot a 62. That’s cool. If you can look past all the top players left out (by the rankings, not by who chose to stay home), it works. Would a team format be better? If it’s limited to 60 players (and apparently that’s an IOC decision), probably not. Play it again the same way in 2020 and let’s see. So I’ve gone from anti-Olympics to grudging acceptance. One thumb up!

Hey Van Carrybag, At the U.S. Amateur, Curtis Luck’s caddie used a push cart. Should pro caddies be allowed to do so? #Beastsofburden—Juan Herrera via Twitter

Nice job, Juan-Putt, I’ve never heard anyone bring this up before. It didn’t ruin the U.S. Amateur, apparently. I wouldn’t have a problem with it but the PGA Tour is very conscious of how things look. Remember the war over letting caddies wear shorts? Caddies were finally allowed to do it on hot days and guess what, nobody cared. The same goes for rangefinders—the Tour hates the look, thus they’re not allowed. Even though everyone uses them in practice rounds. Not a big deal ultimately but I don’t see them being permitted on Tour… unless there’s additional ad revenue involved!

Hey GVS, What aisle are the Band-Aids in? Wait, I mean, will we miss Tiger Woods even more when there’s an 11-way tie for Player of the Year?—Len Hochberg via Twitter

It doesn’t sound like you’re loving golf’s new parity, Iceberg. Just do the “Frozen” thing and Let It Go. Tiger has realistically been gone for a couple of years. Any comeback by him now would be beyond amazing.We’d all like to see it but at the same time, we’ve moved on. We’ve got Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy for starters, plus Phil Mickelson shows no sign of going away. That’s a pretty good group to keep the American public’s interest. The POY award is still up for grabs, with Day and Johnson the leaders. A FedEx Cup win for either could decide it.

Hey Van Cynical, I’ll be at The Barclays this week. Where I can meet my favorite GOLF.com writer?—David Troyan

You can check the media center, Troyan Horse, as I’m sure an array of GOLF.com’ers will be on hand. I’m skipping the FedEx Cup opener to rest myself for the next three stages plus the Ryder Cup. It has nothing to do with me furtively hearing that you’d be at Bethpage. I learned this move from Phil.

Hey Van Slicely, What swing tip did you learn from Zinger and Faxon watching the U.S. Am?—David Beto via Twitter

Brad Faxon talked about some amateur’s great posture and how he let his arms hang straight down at address, D.B. I thought, Hey, I used to do that but I’m not doing it now. Then Azinger repeated what Byron Nelson once told him. Said Zinger: “Byron said, You can never stand too close to the ball. Well, you can but I don’t think you would.” I applied both ideas on the range (I’ve been struggling to adapt to playing golf on a bad knee) and saw substantial immediate improvement. And now Zinger is probably going to send me an invoice. Dang.

TOUR CONFIDENTIAL: Should Fowler Be a Ryder Cup Pick?

Hey Moving Vans, Do we now get a three-year-from-Olympic-golf hype or will Matt Kuchar’s bronze medal be mentioned as if it was a major win?—Lionel Mandrake via Twitter

Since Golf Channel is firmly embedded with NBC and its Olympic telecast, I think you already know the answer, TrainMan: Yes, Kuchar just won his first major. Although you have to admit, he seemed happy enough to have won a major, good for him. Kooch has always been good at being consistent and finishing third. It finally paid off. Unexpected part of Olympic golf appeal is that we no longer just care about the winner, we care about the next two runnerups. That makes it a lot more fun to watch, especially if one player has a big lead, like Inbee Park did. Too bad there’s not some way we could incorporate that into PGA Tour stroke-play events.

Hey, Custom Vans, BTW: 174 gold medals issued in 1968 Olympic Games, 307 at Rio.—Lionel Mandrake via Twitter

Good stat, TrainMan. The Olympics are turning into the Grammys. And they’re adding skateboarding, surfing, pencil-sharpening, paper-airplaning, kiting and team laser-sharking. Can’t wait for 2020.

Van BarTab, What’s the most overused word in golf announcing? I’m thinking, “little.” In a drinking game, you’d never make it to the back nine.—Kevin Montminy via Twitter

You’re a little off, Monty. This is just a little 9-iron with a little left-to-right wind, hurting a little, and the putt should break a little to the left although at the end, it’s going to fight back a little right. It’ll be a little while until we show the next live shot—actually, it’ll be a long while. We’ll be back after a little message from our sponsors.