Van Cynical Mailbag: Should Rory McIlroy Change His Putting Grip?

March 2, 2016

DORAL, Fla. — The Van Cynical Mailbag comes to you from DonaldLand this week in the wake of Super Tuesday, which I’m pretty sure isn’t how Marco Rubio refers to it:

Hey Van Cynical, Now that Donald Trump has ruined the Blue Monster, what’s it going to cost me to play it?—KL1956 via email

Hold on to your Bernie Saunders For President (of Russia) button: In season, which is now, the Blue Course goes for $450 a pop. That’s Pebble Beach territory, yeow. Plus, you’ve got to take a forecaddie so you’re going to have to pay him, too. The lesser Red and Gold Courses are $250, the Silver is $195 and the White course, once fancily redone by Greg Norman, is no more. So I can probably get you a deal on the latter.

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Hey Custom Vans, I heard today that Rory McIlroy is messing around with left-hand-low on his putter. That can’t be good, can it?—Stads88 via email

Rory says his right hand is “too active” in his putting stroke and he thinks going crosshanded will quiet it down. I grew up putting crosshanded, went conventional at age 25, and evolved to the claw grip about eight years ago. These were all out of necessity. I can still roll it really well conventially—just not on the course, not all the time. I hope LHL (left hand low) solves Rory’s issues. Sometimes, you need a different look. Long-term, however, I suspect he’s got a bigger issue with his stroke. I guess we’ll see.

Van Recyclamate, I saw you Tweeted photos of the Woods and Nicklaus villas at Doral and then Gary Player tweaked you about getting a room in the one named after him. So what’s your favorite villa at Doral?—2768sicm via email

Who am I to argue with Mr. Player? I’ll go with the Gary Player Villa, especially since I haven’t been in any of them since Trump’s major remodeling project. The rest of the place is amazing, by the way. You can joke about Trump all you want but he knows how to fix up a resort—you do it right and you spend money. He took a resort that looked its age and turned it into a hot high-end destination. Although I personally wouldn’t be interested in dropping five bills to play the Blue, but the resort looks top of the line now.

Hey Van Cynical, With Phil’s recent comments on Tiger, do you see their relationship evolving like Jack/Arnie as they close their careers?—Chad via Twitter

You never know what the aging process is going to do to some people. Have Tiger and Phil already mellowed? Since they’re not the on-course rivals they once were, they may well let bygones be bygones in the quest for Ryder Cup team unity. That’d be nice… but I’m not placing a wager on it.

Hey Van Sickling, Headed to Seattle in June for work and want to play once or twice. Where do you suggest that won’t necessarily break the bank?—Gordon via Twitter

When I was in Tacoma for last year’s U.S. Open, I was still in knee surgery rehab, not that I would’ve had time to tour the area courses. I haven’t played anything in Washington in the 21st century so I have no first-hand tips for you. Druids Glen is supposed to be decent and reasonably priced. Gold Mountain has two courses and looks nice in the photos. The Home Course in DuPont is highly ranked (by somebody) and also doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. But this is all stuff I got from an Internet search, just like you already did. Any crowdsourcing help from readers would be appreciated.

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Hey Van Incinerated, Will Donald Trump offer free corporate hospitality to his new “less than highly educated friends”? :-)—Walter Hall via Twitter

They’re going to be tough to identify, Hall Monitor. What would you have to do to qualify for the hospitality tent—flunk the entrance exam? Sign up to be a member of “Trump for Dummies?” After losing the Minnesota primary to Marco Rubio, The Donald definitely isn’t going to be buying any real estate in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Hey LaGary, with caddie Joe LaCava not working another bag while LaTiger rehabs, is he getting paid by LaWoods? Question sent from LA.—Len Hochberg via LaTwitter

I am not privvy to Tiger’s deal with Joe. He may well be on a service contract, unlike most caddies who get paid by the week, but I don’t know. Joe has had a Hall of Fame caddie career, though, and he throws nickels around like they’re manhole covers so even if he isn’t getting paid at the moment, he should be in good shape. Unless he was heavy into Enron.

Hey Van Cynical, First Augusta then St. Andrews and Augusta again. At least Oakmont doesn’t need to be changed because the ball goes too far.—David Troyan via Twitter

I disagree, Troyan Horse. The ball goes way too far at Oakmont—on the greens. At least it does when I hit a putt there.