Van Cynical Mailbag: Will Chambers Bay Live Up to the U.S. Open Hype?

May 27, 2015

What the hell is wrong with June? It should’ve been here by now.

We’ve got Opens to play, and they’re not going to happen until we get some J & J — June and July.

To quote the early Kinks, “I’m so tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for you.”

Here’s the U.S. Open countdown: We’ve still got to get past this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson Championship, then the Memorial Tournament, then the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis.

Then, and only then, will we arrive in greater Tacoma, Wash., for the first Open played in the Northwest and also the first one played on a course with fescue greens, at Chambers Bay.

The British Open, or Open Championship, is four weeks after the U.S. Open. We’ll have to wade through the Travelers Championship, the Greenbrier Classic and the John Deere Classic before arriving at the Old Course in St. Andrews.

So since we’re all in one big waiting room, let’s go to the Van Cynical Mailbag for some meaningful discussion of the day’s significant topics and then, when we realize we’ve got nothing like that, check out your cheery questions and my cheesy answers instead:

Van Cynical, What’s your take on Chambers Bay? Is USGA chief Mike Davis hyping the event or is it really that dastardly? — Kokomice via Twitter

The greens at Chambers Bay look pretty evil, Mighty Mice, and that’s about all I know for sure. I watched some of the U.S. Amateur that was there a few years ago and yikes, some of those greens belonged on a mini-golf course. They toned down a few of them after that dry run, but they’ve got some slopes that will result in some crazy bounces for approach shots. Pros hate it when shots bounce out of their control, so they are likely not going to enjoy Chambers. There should be plenty of griping, which means it’ll be a delightful Open for our viewing pleasure.

Van Snickersbar, Ryder Cup ’16: Fowler, Reed, Spieth, Kirk, Henley, Horschel, Walker, D.J., Koepka. Young and fearless. Make them all captain’s picks. — Tad Lehmann via Twitter

I would throw in Justin Thomas, Tadpole, because I think he’s got the right stuff even though he only just arrived on Tour. That’s a nice battery of young guns (except Walker) you’ve got there. At a Ryder Cup, I believe skill trumps experience, so if the U.S. has no over-40 players, I’d consider that a plus.

Custom Vans, John Daly, plus or minus three Champions Tour majors? — Andrew Polson via Twitter

If you’re setting Long John’s over-under number at three, Little Poison, I’ll take under. His super-sized swing has caused him numerous body ailments, his putting stroke isn’t what it once was — whose is at age 49? — and years of not working out at all are going to catch up with him. I’d love to be wrong, though, because the senior circuit could use a marquee superstar, and if Daly came out and won six or eight times, it’d be good for everyone. I don’t see it, though, not while Monty is still king of the hill.

Sicklevator, How can we get Colonial and the Byron Nelson tourneys into the third tier of Tour events since the majors, then The Players and WGC’s are the top two tiers? — Brian Bailey via Twitter

Not so fast, Bail Mary, are you ranking the mostly meaningless WGC’s ahead of the crucial, all-important and ever-dramatic FedEx Cup playoffs? I mean, there are ads for them on TV and everything. Tim Finchem would strike you down with one of Zeus’ lightning bolts. It’s not just Colonial and the Nelson, man, it’s every other PGA Tour event. They’ve all been minimized by the Tour’s alleged big events. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I favor passing around the WGC title. One year, Doral has the Cadillac-sponsored WGC, the next year Honda or Colonial gets it and Doral holds your everyday Tour event instead. Same goes for Akron and the Match Play. Sponsors wouldn’t be keen on the idea, but it would help support the events that make up the Tour’s backbone. If Ben Hogan came back to life, that would do it, too.

VanSnapahook, Why don’t more Americans play the Scottish Open to get acclimated for the British Open? — Kevin Montminy via Twitter

And miss the John Deere Classic plus all those FedEx Cup points? Are you kidding or what? The Scottish Open had a long run at Loch Lomond Golf Club, a very American type course on a beautiful lake. Other than getting used to the time-zone difference, it offered no useful Open prep. Since then, the Scottish has been at Castle Stuart and Royal Aberdeen and this year goes to Gullane, one of my favorite Scottish tracks. Now that’s good Open links prep. Gullane is worth the trip over by itself. It’s such a good idea that Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar will tee it up at Gullane. Let’s see if that helps them at St. Andrews. It just might.

Hey Popsickle, Who makes better golfers, baseball players or hockey players? — Big Mark via Twitter

Physically, it’s a tossup, Marky Mark. They’re both used to swinging sticks ill-suited to hitting a moving object. I’ll go with baseball players because a lot of them play golf during their own season. That’s dedication, brother.

Van Wise Sage, Should bachelor party match-play teams dress up and play as Cowboys versus Indians? Good idea or not? I say yes. — Brian Bailey via Twitter

If you’re talking Dallas Cowboys versus Cleveland Indians, Bailbondsman, I’d say no because it’s insensitive to mix teams from two different pro sports. If you mean actual cowboys versus actual Indians, I’m in favor of it as long as you’re all using authentic weapons and on horseback. The Comanches were the most powerful Indian tribe ever and very likely the finest horseback warriors ever to roam the planet, or at least the Southwest. I make the Comanches heavy favorites in this one.

Sickle sell, Why do golf carts at PGA Tour events have no roofs? I’ve never seen one like that anywhere else? — Andrew Polson via Twitter

Topless carts used to be common until the cart-makers figured out that golfers in most parts of the country prefer a roof for protection from rain or sun. You still see topless carts at many low-end public courses that didn’t want to pay more for the roofs.

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