Jon Rahm Covid

#AskAlan,
Vol. 2

With thoughts about Lexi, Rahm, Brooks vs. Bryson, all-time major collapses, the U.S. Ryder Cup, burger dogs and much more

We need the Ship take on Rahm. CBS, the PGA Tour and the Bear are all taking the praise-Jon angle. I love Rahm but the state of Ohio is not even at 40% vaxed.  So weird. @DonDoncarey4

Based on the contact-tracing protocols Rahm was subjected to by the Tour it’s clear he had not been vaccinated. That’s a risky decision for a member of a traveling circus that barnstorms from town to town, especially given how disruptive to his playing schedule (to say nothing of his young family) a positive test would be. In the wake of Rahm’s W/D the Tour made a point to announce that more than 50% of its members have been vaccinated, which means probably around 49% haven’t. Fellas, the world has changed, like it or not. To get in the door at the U.S. Women’s Open, fans (and reporters) had to show their vaccine card or proof of a negative test in the preceding 72 hours. When I was looking for a restaurant reservation in San Francisco I ran across multiple places that required diners to show proof of vaccination to snag a table. No one is being forced to get the vaccine but if you opt out you’re giving up certain privileges, up to and including a Sunday tee time at the Memorial. By the way, I didn’t get the criticism of the Tour’s decision to tell Rahm the news just off the final green on Saturday afternoon. Time was of the essence, but more than that, it was a riveting TV moment that brought home the cost of Rahm’s choice. 

What would Johnny have said about Lexi? @wcyoungIII

“That’s pressure, Rog.”

Gonna need you to stack rank the all-time major implosions. I feel horrible for Lexi but that’s gotta be pretty high up there. ‪#AskAlan @hailflutie

15. Rory McIlroy’s 80 at the 2011 Masters

14. Dustin Johnson’s 82 at the 2010 U.S. Open

13. Ernie Els’s 80 at the 2004 U.S. Open

12. Lexi

11. Retief Goosen’s 81 at the ’05 U.S. Open

10. Lorena Ochoa’s dropkicked snap hook into the lake on the 72ndhole of ’05 Women’s Open

9. Adam Scott’s four straight bogeys to close the 2012 British Open

8. Scott Hoch ’89 Masters – in addition to blowing a 2-footer in sudden death that would’ve won the green jacket he missed another shortie on the 71st hole.

7. Sam Snead at the ’47 U.S. Open playoff, which he led by two strokes with hole to play but he booted it away, including missing a 30-inch putt on the final green to lose by one

6. Phil at Winged Foot

5. Shark at the ’96 Masters

4. Snead tripling the final hole at the 1939 U.S. Open

3. Jordan Spieth at the 2016 Masters

2. Jean Van de Velde

1. Arnold at the ’66 U.S. Open

Did the USGA cut the rough back too much? @JStew68129215

Nah, I thought the Olympic setup was pretty close to perfect. There was a substantial cost to missing the fairway but a lot of the time players drew a lie good enough to play some kind of recovery shot. The greens were firm and fast but never close to getting out of control. In the end, only five players broke par. Olympic reaffirmed its place as a superb championship test.

On a scale of 1-10 how big will this Rahm story be two weeks from now? I expected it to be a super polarizing hot-button issue but 24 hours later people seemed to have already moved on. @KYECHSPORTS

Well, that’s the modern news cycle. But a little less than two weeks from now he will be returning action at the U.S. Open, where Rahm was already going to be a favorite. I think he’ll be a man on a mission at Torrey Pines, which means the story ain’t going away.

‪#AskAlan‪ do you think Bryson and Brooks should settle it in the ring? @PaulTyson04

I’d prefer they settle it on a golf course. How about a prime-time exhibition match—no gags, no quarterbacks, just pure golf with $10M on the line, all of it going to charity. Put mics on them and let them go play. It would be f’ing intense.

Who is the front runner for PGA Tour POY? What would Phil have to do to grab the title? @TBromfman

Let me start by saying I go by calendar year, not the hokey wraparound schedule, so 2021 is a season of parity, with no multiple winners so far. Spieth has been the most consistent player while Mickelson’s PGA Championship triumph is certainly the most impactful moment. Obviously the upcoming Opens, at Torrey Pines and Royal St. Georges, will go a long way toward defining this season. If the wins continue to get spread out the FedEx Cup will have much more importance than usual. Per Phil, he will certainly have to win at least one more tournament to have a chance at POY, which, incredibly, would be the first of his Hall of Fame career. If Phil is even on the fringe of the conversation I could see some of his colleagues voting for him as a kind of lifetime achievement award.

No armlocks or longer putters in women’s pro golf. Why? A bunch on the men’s side. @Johan_Edin

There is so much imitation on the pro tours; when players see a colleague having success they are quick to steal the idea. Since the top players on the LPGA have eschewed the arm-lock (and most other putting weirdness) everyone else follows their lead. As soon as a top female player goes rogue and wins a tournament with the arm-lock others will follow. Unless, as suspected, women just have stronger minds and don’t need that crutch.

With so many players in the mix who is getting picked for the U.S. Ryder Cup team? @debrafleck

Dustin, JT, Bryson and Morikawa seem like locks to remain among the top 6 automatic qualifiers. Brooks is pretty close behind them. Right now Xander Schauffele is holding down the 6th spot. Even if he were to get edged out he would certainly be a pick so let’s say the above six players are on the team no matter what. Phil and Jordan are definitely getting picked, so now there are four spots for the following players: Reed, Cantlay, Finau, Berger, Simpson, Horschel, Scheffler, Kokrak,  Homa, Burns, Zalatoris, Woodland, Kisner, Cink. I don’t think there’s any way Reed gets a captain’s pick; at this point he simply has too much baggage. Cantlay probably locked up his spot with a big-time performance at Memorial. I think Horschel’s swagger and dominant run at the Match Play gets him on the team. Webb is simply too solid and experienced to get passed over. So now we’re down to one pick. Cink would be a popular choice among his peers, given this is surely his last chance and his easygoing, cerebral vibe makes him a good partner. If the U.S. is looking for more grit, it’s Kisner. More firepower for fourballs means Finau (who played great in Paris) or Woodland. If the Americans are building for the future, go with Zalatoris. Or Burns. Or Scheffler. I don’t envy Cap. Steve Stricker on this one.

‪#AskAlan‪ – Do you see this truly being the last reno at Muirfield Village and how did you feel about the changes? @jasleeack

I didn’t even notice. It’s hard to get emotionally invested in that golf course when Jack is constantly tearing it up. Given that the Olden Bear is now 81 this feels like it will be the last nip/tuck but 20 years from now Jack may very well be drawing new bunkers on the back of the bingo cards at his old folks home.

Does it really matter at all that Lexi didn’t stay for a full presser? If so, why is it a big deal? @Buchanamania

She acted like a pro and answered a few questions. Lexi was so shell-shocked there wasn’t much content in her responses and I’m not sure another half dozen questions would have changed that. I give her credit for facing the music and I’m glad her presser was mercifully short.

I’m personally not a fan of the two-hole aggregate playoff format. Make it either four holes or sudden death. Your thoughts? @OldBalcony

Yeah, it’s lame. The USGA’s rationale was that sudden death can be a little fluky, if a good drive lands in a deep divot or some other unfortunate rub of the green; having a second hole allows a player to recover. But the USGA also wanted the instant gratification of a short playoff for its TV partners so they settled on two holes, which somehow is both too long and too short.

Patrick Cantlay Memorial

Should Cantlay donate 10% to Jon Rahm’s charity of choice? ANSWER: YES!!! @delawarekip

More like he should donate 10% to Rahm’s caddie; poor bastard missed out on a bloated win bonus. But I like your idea. It’s kind of like in tennis when the umpire clearly blows a call and on the next point the beneficiary dumps one into the net to balance the ledger. Cantlay clearly deserves the victory but it would be cool if he acknowledged he was the beneficiary of good fortune.

How many burger dogs did you eat? ‪#AskAlan @gabehurl

Not a single one! The line was too long. But I loved the low-key drama surrounding the burger dogs this week. You may have detected on social media that various folks were underwhelmed with the famous Olympic Club snack, which in normal times is a proprietary mix of ground sirloin and ground chuck. I had two members buttonhole me to say that to cut costs the USGA greatly reduced the amount of sirloin and thus besmirched the proud reputation of the burger dog. It reminded me of last year’s U.S. Open when all the Winged Foot members were pouting publicly because the scores were too low. These country club members have a knack for wallowing in the most First World problems imaginable.

–Alan Shipnuck

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