Van Cynical Mailbag: Who Are the Stars of the Future (Besides the Obvious)?

August 20, 2015

Wow, I guess I’m gonna need a bigger bag.

Due to an unusually heavy amount of fan mail (more than three questions from the same three readers, in other words), here’s a second encore helping of the Van Cynical Mailbag in the wake of the PGA Championships at Whistling Straits. You’re welcome:

(In case you missed the first edition, you can read it here.)

I was asking (in my previous question) about young players apart from the obvious (Spieth, Rory, Fowler, Day) who might win majors.—Lionel Mandrake

Here are your serious up-and-comers, Manduck. Justin Thomas, big hitter who won NCAA team title at Alabama; Patrick Rodgers, Stanford alum who’s played his way into Tour status; Ollie Schniederjans, a Georgia Tech All-American who finished 12th at the British Open last month; Daniel Berger, a Florida State alum who’s cleared $1.8 million in winnings this year; and Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, currently playing in Europe but dying to play over here. They’re all stars in various stages of happening.

Van Cynical, Will Tiger make the cut at his own no-cut tournament in December?—Mr. Fairway via Twitter

I think this might be a trick question but I’m going to say yes, once he gets a special exemption to be in the field. I’ll predict he won’t finish last.

Hey Pop Sickle, The Tour Confidential pro didn’t speak too highly of the Straits. Is that a common thought or an isolated one?—Tom Kister via Twitter

I think the pros’ feelings about Whistling Straits are in direct correlation to the amount of wind and the height of the rough when they play there, Kistybrinkley. The PGA was optimal scoring conditions so more players left happier than ever before. They all love the scenery, too. Overall, my sense is that they’d give it about a B-minus. Not great but not bad.

Van CheeseCurds, Can we all agree that Tiger Woods is the best player who’s won a major and is not going to win another one?—Klaugh56 via Twitter

Kirb, I think you may have really wounded Tiger with your hurtful remarks. A note of apology written in your own blood might get you back on his Christmas card list. I know it seems unlikely now but no, I can’t agree that Tiger might not figure it out and come back to snag one more major somewhere, somehow. Note I said, might.

Vans, I saw a picture of Clinton and Obama playing golf. Have you ever played golf with a President?—BigMark via Twitter

Of course. I forget his name, Marksman, but he was president of the Lions Club in Weyauwega, Wis. I also had a couple of matches at my club with the president of Dick’s Sporting Goods. U.S. Presidents? Not so far. If you write my pal Rick Reilly in Italy, he can tell you some great tales of golfing with Clinton… if he’s not too busy lounging around Lake Como to check his email.

Sickle, The 17th hole at Big Canyon is no slouch. It’s hard not to like Beau Hossler at the U.S. Am.—Kevin Frink via Twitter

Good call on Beau, Frinkenstein. I remember writing about him being a teen phenom at a U.S. Open. Feels like 10 years ago now. He’s probably about ready for the senior tour by now, isn’t he?

Van Cynical, Regarding exciting tournaments: Kapalua is going to be far more exciting than it has been in ages. Likely seven of the top 11 in the world rankings.—Brian Rosenwald via Twitter

First, they’ve gotta show up, BriRo. Kapalua would’ve been pretty good a lot of years if Tiger and/or Phil had bothered to play. Still, I can’t get excited about a field of only 35 or so players. That’s an outing, not a professional tournament. I would be excited if someone paid me to go to Hawaii for a week to write about it, though. I take PayPal, fyi.

Van Shankopotamus, Any chance the PGA Tour will abandon the wraparound season?—Chuck Acquisto via Twitter

Nah. That would mean abandoning all those fall events, Chucky, and kissing all those sponsorship dollars goodbye. The PGA Tour did not get where it is by allowing dollars to slip through its fingers. Those tournaments vanish, Chuckwagon, and you’d have to cut back on exempt status (from 125 to maybe 100) or greatly reduce the number of spots available to grads of Q-school. There wouldn’t be enough playing opportunities to support the current number of exempt players.

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