#AskAlan, Vol. 22

With thoughts about Tiger’s future, Rory’s nipple, J.Y. vs. Nelly, my personal PIP ranking, blowing up Spanish Bay and much more

By Alan Shipnuck

Who will finish 2nd at the Masters behind Tiger? 🙂 @ESPN_SwingCoach

Phil, obviously. 

What do you think Tiger will serve at the Champions Dinner in 2023? @MidwesternGator

Revenge. Best served cold.

I think Tiger’s biggest hurdle to returning to golf isn’t the golf swing, but the walk. Any chance he would consider a cart? (This is definitely a no.) #askalan @ShoshEAK

The walking is definitely a concern. Factor in practice rounds and the average tournament week is probably a 30-mile hike, up and down hills and traversing some gnarly terrain. Then add in all the time standing on the range and practice putting green. Plus the grind the week before as Woods ramps up his preparation. I agree he is too much of a traditionalist to take a cart, even if a Casey Martinesque exemption could be carved out, although perhaps he would make an exception for a hit-and-giggle like the Father-Son. Can Tiger’s foot take all of the pounding? I hope so, because that one rhythmic swing he posted on Twitter certainly sent a charge through the golf world. 

Can you imagine Tiger hitting the shot Spieth hit on 17 at the Ryder Cup and having to run down the hill? #AskAlan @JonathonJFelix

I gasped when I read this. That’s a horrifying thought. Also an extreme example, but funky lies and weird stances happen all the time. Maybe we should ordain that Tiger only play on flat, non-Pete Dye Florida courses.

Rory Mcilroy
Photo by @Tourmiss on Twitter

I just saw the picture of Rory’s ripped shirt. To you, does that signify that he’s starting to care about winning enough to make a run in 2022, or that he’s pressuring himself too much and he’s closer to falling apart than putting it all together? I could see a case for either. @luke_peacock

All of the above? Trying to psychoanalyze Rory is a fool’s errand because even he is perennially trying to figure himself out—and not doing a very good job of it. It does make me concerned that he is not fully in control of his own instrument. But it has been three years of Zen Rory and Big Picture Rory and Reading Self-Help Tomes Rory and that hasn’t exactly helped him reclaim his status as golf’s alpha, so maybe a little more red ass is exactly what he needs. We shall see.

Seventeen years from now, when Rory—still sitting on four majors and a wardrobe full of tattered clothing—is flirting with the Champions Tour, what will his legacy in the game be? #AskAlan @PleatsForDays

He has already earned a spot in the Hall of Fame. He is the most accomplished European of the last quarter-century. He is a fantastic ambassador for the game, notwithstanding a few moments of pique. But if he never wins another major championship, he will go down as one of the game’s great what-ifs.

What did you think of Rory’s Incredible Hulk impression and why does he get such an easy ride from the media when he does or says something stupid? #AskAlan @pkeen52

It was ridiculous and funny and, ultimately, harmless. Every player loses his head occasionally. He didn’t destroy the green or spit in the cup, a la Sergio. He didn’t drop a homophobic slur, like Patrick Reed or Justin Thomas. He didn’t start playing tennis with a moving ball, as Phil Mickelson and John Daly have done. He didn’t displace his anger on the fans and try to get them ejected, like Ian Poulter or Bryson DeChambeau. Let’s be honest: No one buys those Nike polos anyway, so what’s the harm in shredding one and showing a little nipple?

#AskAlan Is it just Jin Young Ko and everybody else at this point or is Nelly still part of the conversation? @Reagan_Mask

Of course she’s part of the conversation! Korda was the LPGA’s keynote player for much of the year, until Ko found a gear no one else has over the last four months. Christina Kim and I had a lively debate about this on the Full Send podcast: Korda may yet be voted player of the year by the Golf Writers Association of America. Ko has more LPGA wins, 5 to 4, but that doesn’t account for Nelly’s gold medal, which was the biggest moment of the year for women’s golf. And Korda also won a major championship, unlike Ko. Of course, everyone knew the final round at the CME would go a long way toward determining POY, and Ko blew Korda off the course, so that certainly counts for something. It’s going to be a very close vote, and every hour I change my mind as to which name I’ll punch. 

Thoughts on the LPGA POY points system? Is a major really “worth” the same as two regular LPGA wins? The same as five second-place finishes in regular LPGA events? That seems to significantly undervalue winning a major. Two majors = 10 second-place finishes??? @DREAMWeaver2784

It’s lame, and that’s why algorithms should not be used for POY votes. Much better to rely on confused, conflicted humans!

If Phil Mickelson commits and rips on the Champions Tour, laps Langer and Hale and shatters all the 50+ records, how far up the all-time list does it push him? Say 80+ combined wins and 14+ combined majors has to be considered top five all-time in a sport that values longevity, right? @jefft24

Ummm, no. I don’t think golf gods can change their legacy on the Senior Tour. If they could, Gary Player would have to be considered the second or third greatest player of all time. For sure, the dominant play of Peter Thomson, Lee Trevino, Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer helped us further appreciate their greatness,  but none of them are suddenly on golf’s Mount Rushmore because they boat-raced a bunch of old guys. When talking about his place in the firmament, Phil’s credentials are six majors and 45 wins. Period.

I think the Collin Morikawa being awarded a lifetime membership on European Tour story has gone under the radar. He backed it up, but part of me feels it’s a bit premature. Has the story been under the radar, and do you think the lifetime membership is justified? @NoahWieder

It’s defensible but weird. What’s the rush? I guess this is just part of the new world order in golf, where the dwindling number of superstars are suddenly being plied with money, World Ranking points and various honorifics just to try to curry favor as the established tours attempt to fend off the incursions of the Saudis and the PGL.

Without discrediting what Morikawa did this year, I feel like the Race to Dubai needs to find a way for the year-long award to go to someone who isn’t winning only elite, yet quasi-Euro events like majors and WGCs. Am I wrong in thinking it’s a tough blow to full-timers? @VeryAvgDad

Yeah, there should be a higher minimum number of tournaments required to be eligible for the season-long title. It makes sense to count majors and WGCs, but if a player wants to win the Order of Merit title, he should have to play at Wentworth and in a handful of national Opens and other “regular tour” events. As is, the Race to Dubai name should be scrapped and let’s just call it what it is: the FedEx Cup East.

Many good reasons why Pebble won’t be getting a full restoration/reimagining any time soon. But what about Spanish Bay? That part of the property has less than zero buzz. Why not bring in DeVries or Rob Collins to blow it up and add some pizzazz to the resort? @koconnor513

Yes, please. And thank you. This has been discussed locally for decades, but there was never the political will within Pebble Beach Co. Earlier this year, however, this monolithic corporation finally got a new CEO after more than two decades. Now that there is an excellent practice facility and fun little par-3 course, if the new guy wants a legacy project, Spanish Bay is the only real option. Here’s hoping, because it really is a wonderful piece of ground with so much potential.

What’s your top 10 PIP list look like, Alan? #AskAlan @woolydub

I don’t have at my disposal any of the fancy algorithms or metrics the Tour is claiming to employ, but this would be my top 10 of the players (across all tours) who are the most fun or engaging or thought-provoking on social media:

  1. Jim Herman 
  2. Max Homa
  3. Joel Dahmen
  4. Phil Mickelson
  5. Meg MacLaren
  6. Eddie Pepperell
  7. Christina Kim
  8. Thomas Bjorn
  9. Ian Poulter
  10. J.J. Killeen

Why don’t we talk more about Freddy’s calves? #AskAlan@Coitsky

Good gawd, seriously! It’s a good thing Couples’s heyday came before the Tour allowed shorts in pro-ams because otherwise People would have had to retire the Sexiest Man Alive franchise. Those cantaloupes on the back of his legs were just two of the many revelations from the Wishbone Brawl.

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