Van Cynical Mailbag: Just How Good Is Jason Day?

September 1, 2015

Enough about me. Let’s peer into the Van Cynical Mailbag, which is much like staring into the heart of darkness, wouldn’t you say, Kurtz?

And don’t forget to keep a close eye on those FedEx Cup point totals for two more weeks… before they wipe them out and reset them.

Hey Van Cynical, What’s up with this Jason Day?—Kirby via email

I will go out on a limb, Kirb Your Enthusiasm, and say, He’s kinda good. He hits it as far as Bubba Watson only with a better swing. At the moment, he hits his irons closer than Bubba—well, closer than everyone else, for that matter. And he’s putting like Ben Crenfaxonspieth at the moment. In a word, damn!

Hey Sickleburgh, When are we getting out to play? I hear these Pittsburgh winters can curtail the numbers of days you can chase the white ball.—Tad Lehmann via Twitter

I had only just made my triumphant return to the links after April knee surgery, Tadpole, and it has been the opposite of triumphant. I need a few rounds to try to remember how to play, plus I am now recovering from out-patient toe surgery. That was a blow because my game had just been upgraded from Horrible to Pretty Crummy. When are we playing? Well, what was it that Barry Manilow once said about October? I think it was, “When is it?”

Great Vans of Fire, What is your fave funny movie? And how many FedEx tourneys would Jason Day have to win to steal Player of the Year?—Tad Lehmann via Twitter


Hmm, your name sounds familiar, Tad To The Bone, as if I’ve just read it somewhere. “Caddyshack” has the most memorable lines of any movie and it’s fall-down funny at times (Judge Smails: “I’ve sent boys to the gas chamber, Danny. I didn’t want to do it but I felt I owed it to them.”) but overall, it’s weak. “Airplane!” and “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” would be up there. As for Jason Day, let me put it simply: If Day won all four FedEx tourneys and the $10 million bonus, would Jordan Spieth trade his year for Day’s? No way (insert the adjective of your choice between those two words for emphasis).

Van Crabby, Great point, “The ball and the game have gotten away from the USGA and R&A. It’s a shame.” What can reasonably be done?—BigMark via Twitter

The only reasonable solution, MarkyMark, is bifurcation. One set of equipment rules for pros, with limits on driver head size or limits on the ball, whatever you like, to make sure that 350-yard drives aren’t commonplace. Another set of equipment rules for amateurs, so manufacturers can continue innovating better clubs that make the game easier and more enjoyable and maybe, just maybe, will entice some people back into golf. Won’t happen, though. Too many blue blazers think harder is better. Canasta and bridge are hard, too. How are those card games doing with the under-40 set?

Van Slickening, I hear Jordan Spieth played at Baltusrol after he missed the Barclays cut. Is that true?—JoeDon79 via email

Spieth and Rickie Fowler both checked out Baltusrol, site of next year’s PGA Championship. This is why you should root for Spieth, Joe. He’s already preparing and doing his homework for next year’s majors. Remind me to pick Spieth for the 2016 PGA, buddy.

Van Cynical, How intentional was the PGA Tour in getting stroke play at Rio to protect the Ryder/Presidents Cup rivalries?—Ben Smith via Twitter

I love a good conspiracy theory, Smithers, but I don’t think it was that. Television hates match play, is absolutely petrified of it because of the possibility of an 8-and-7 blowout leaving them with 45 minutes of dead air. Jim Nantz might have to interview the tournament sponsor a second time—at length! The Olympics is a TV show, not a competition, and stroke play is time-predictable. Twosomes equal four hours. It was probably that simple. Let’s go to Verne at 16…

Van Cynical, Why did you fail to attend my annual late summer golf trip? You missed a great opportunity for potential stories.—Brian Bailey via Twitter

Well, let’s see, I covered three straight tournaments, helped Oconomowoc Golf Club begin its 100-year anniversary (by buying a commemorative golf towel) and attended a family reunion in greater Minneapolis, where I brought the nine-hole historic Fort Snelling course to its knees (and by that I mean I didn’t hit any boarded-up old barracks with errant tee shots) and was chased off Willinger’s by lightning before I threatened the course record. So I was kinda booked. Feel free to send me the alleged stories I missed. With the proper embellishment, who knows? It could be the stuff of Hemingway. Craig Hemingway.

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