#AskAlan: Which Tour players will be most impacted by the scheduling break?

March 20, 2020

In this installment of the #AskAlan mailbag, GOLF senior writer Alan Shipnuck fields questions about the coronavirus, when you should start teaching the game to children and which Tour events he’ll miss most this year.

Which pro golfer is least likely to wash their hands properly? @alexthomascnn

J.B. Holmes.

If you had to be quarantined in one clubhouse which one would it be? You have access to all the facilities and can order from any menu. @Flip_Hamburglar

National Golf Links. Incredible views from the back patio, shower heads the size of a manhole cover that produce so much flow you can drown, and when you sit down to dine, instead of a basket of bread they bring you a whole lobster.

Just cancelled our buddy trip to Bandon for this Sunday, that we booked 10 months ago.  Should I cry for the full day? Or just until my wife and kids gets home and might see me? #askalan @mjcostel27

I’d still be crying! And you should definitely let your wife and kids see a few tears — they need to know just what a big deal this is. My annual dudes trip to Bandon is set for October and I’m already nervous. Can’t even imagine the pain you’re feeling. Hang in there.

#AskAlan Will there be majors and Olympic golf in 2020? @TheTexasSteve

It’s not looking great at the moment. An autumn Masters would be delicious and is probably the most likely of the big events to actually get played, because the infrastructure is already in place and the weather would be nice. But how are we going to cram three more majors and the Games after that? Long Island, Tokyo and England aren’t exactly toasty in November. (San Francisco, though, usually has great weather during the Indian summer in October-November.) But making predictions at this point is folly, because there is so much uncertainty that lies ahead.

Alan, what PGA golfer’s game will be affected the most by a prolonged tournament schedule delay? I think anyone nursing injuries will benefit. I will say Bryson because I think his mind works overtime and without the competition it will stress him out. Thanks. #AskAlan @forearmshivers

I fear that Bryson is going to return to work looking like William (The Fridge) Perry. Sungjae is probably the one most negatively affected because he was on such a heater … and has nowhere to live at the moment. Meanwhile, Tiger and Brooks should benefit most from this delayed offseason. Both looked like they were playing hurt and their games were rather raggedy, so they now have time to get healthy and hit the reset button.

#askalan Okay, so this situation is pretty lame overall, but would you agree that it might be a great time to not only reconnect with the family but start teaching the kiddos golf? What is better than being together outside, away from people, getting exercise, enjoying nature?? @JSwinging

Absolutely nothing! I love this idea and you have my full support. Here’s hoping your local courses do the right thing and stay open. We’ve never needed golf more.

Happy Gilmore, Tin Cup, Caddyshack, Greatest Game Ever Played, Bagger Vance…what’s the greatest golf movie out there? What others would you recommend for some bingeing? @GolfLover67

Caddyshack is in a league of its own, but I have to say Tin Cup is my fave. The writing is so clever and the Tour player cameos never fail to amuse. You should definitely check out Follow The Sun, which is certainly cheesy but the Hogan story remains irresistible.

Speaking of the ‘89 Masters [which you commented on for Golf.com’s Pod Unlike Any Other], where does the Hoch miss rank as the single worst shot ever? I give it #1 place for greatest golf gaffes. Better than van de Velde. Number 1, baby! @JoeGunter

Van de Velde is an unbeatable bit of slapstick, and Hoch’s miss is savage, but I think Doug Sander at the 1970 Open Championship tops them both. He had 3 feet to slay Nicklaus at the Old Course and he blew it! What a nightmare.

As mere coincidence seems highly improbable, to what do you attribute the serendipitous timing of Rahm and Koepka’s twin repudiations of the PGL? @Lou_TireWorld

Brooks is clearly enjoying his new role as one of golf’s truth tellers. Once Rory staked out his position I’m sure Koepka was quite eager to put himself on the right side of history. And as soon as the two best players in the world said no the PGL was effectively kaput, so the likes of Rahm might as well weigh in, too, because there is no longer any risk in doing so. I love conspiracy theories but I think these players came to their own conclusions, not that it was very hard — the PGL was always a lame idea with untoward financing. I’m glad it will now be going away.

#askalan Post-covid19, will the world of pro golf be irrevocably different? How? @GolfJoss

I don’t think much will change. We’ll probably see wider corridors from green to tee so players can get around without fans reaching out and touching them. Phil may sign fewer autographs. The big shift will be no more Chainsmokers concerts.

Let’s say golf is effectively canceled through the Tour Championship. If we were to combine all four majors’s purses and the FedEx Cup purse, and put it all on the line at a tournament in October with open qualifying, where are we playing? @ANTIFAldo

If it’s East Lake just go ahead and give me the ‘rona right now! A unique event like this calls for a super special venue — sign me up for Pine Valley, please and thank you.

#AskAlan Was out for a game on Sunday with my boy. Left myself 6-footer for par on the last. As the light from the setting sun wrapped us in its warm embrace, it struck me that it could be the last par putt I ever have. Left it a foot short. Should I snap the putter? @TheSecretDuffer

Haha, I feel your pain. But spare the putter! You’re gonna need it to kill time by putting on the living room carpet while you shelter in place for the next five months.

If the Tour is done for the year should Korn Ferry and PGA Tour players have an extra year of status? #AskAlan @JJKilleenTCU

Oh, no question. The folks who won tournaments this season deserve to enjoy the spoils but when it comes to Tour status and similar issues I think we just turn back the clock to the start of the year. Similarly, I think the World Ranking should be frozen to what it was on Monday of Players week.

If only one male major is allowed to take place in 2020, which should it be?? @jcorrigangolf

The Olympics.

Which non-major tournament would you miss the most if it doesn’t get played this year? Related: Which Tour stop needs its tournament the most for local economy? Could make a case for Austin with loss of SXSW, or Quad Cities if Deere doesn’t get played. @jwfickett

I’ll miss the Match Play and New Orleans the most, because I’m a sucker for anything that isn’t 72 holes of stroke play. As for the economic impact, that’s a sad part of this whole deal, because so many communities are going to be negatively impacted. From a pure dollars standpoint, losing the Masters would be devastating to Augusta on an order of magnitude greater than anything another community will feel.

Any long form pieces in the hopper? Need one. @RyanPM_

Always. The April issue of Golf Mag just dropped and I have a long piece celebrating the 25th anniversary of Ben Crenshaw’s improbable win at the Masters. I sat in the Crenshaw living room in Austin and rewatched the final round with Ben and his wife Julie and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. And I just filed a fun feature for the May issue in which I hung out in the Callaway Tour truck at the Players and then drove clear across Florida in the 35-ton beast known as Bertha. I’ve got a few other things percolating but these are unusual times so we’ll have to see how they play out.

Top three golf trips to take… @CoachDelanySP2

1. Melbourne-King Island-Tasmania.
2. Scotland
3. Bandon

Are you still playing the single lengths? Any insight? @rihock

Of course I am! I love them so much. I’ve never hit so many pure long-irons in my life. I honestly can’t imagine why anybody would purposefully play a set of clubs in which every iron is a different length, a different weight and forces you into a different posture. It’s madness.

I sometimes “play” familiar golf courses in my mind to fall asleep. Do you? @Foregolffer

All the time! Pebble is my go-to. I rarely make it to the turn, no matter how many birdies I’m making.

The Monday of Masters week Fred Ridley calls you and offers you a spot in the field. If you take it, you’ll forever be remembered as the asshole who shot 130 and ruined a great week for literally everyone… but you get to compete in the Masters. Would you accept? @NaderBaajwa

Not a chance in H-E-double hockey sticks. I wouldn’t even play a practice round or the Par-3 because it would be utterly mortifying to have my game crumble in front of the world.

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