Stumbles, wimps and bad stylin’

Each week we ask our panel of writers, PGA members and golf industry experts to weigh in with their views on the hot topics of the day.

Graham DeLaet was in an excellent position to win his first PGA Tour title on Sunday but once again couldn’t seal the deal when he was close. Various headlines on Monday morning “celebrated” DeLaet’s T6 finish while others noted his stumble. How do you view his performance?

Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): I was at the 2013 Presidents Cup and was really impressed with DeLaet’s play, and particularly his positive attitude.  I thought “this guy’s the real deal, he’s gonna go places”.  I realize that he’s suffered from injuries since then, but I would’ve thought he’d have won a Tour event by now, and contended more often.  His failure to shoot 69 or better on Sunday (which would’ve won the event), was disappointing, and suggests to me that he just doesn’t have the confidence he used to have.  I don’t think T6 is anything to celebrate, but if it boosted his confidence instead of deflating it, then onward and upward.

Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario (@craigloughry): It is VERY hard to win on Tour in any given week. Graham certainly put himself in great position. That triple killed him, he battled back nicely, but not too many players win making a triple bogey in any given week, never mind the final round. I think he has to look at this as trending in the right direction. Consider Hadwin earlier this year, he was the same, having some really good finishes with a chance to win, until he did. Graham looks the same, is playing well, had some good finishes of late, so I don’t think fans should beat him up over not winning this week, nor look at it any other way than a building block to something bigger.

Dave Kaplan, Freelance Writer (@davykap): I am obviously happy that DeLaet has overcome the yips but this past weekend was just another example of the struggles that DeLaet faces whenever he tries to close out a tournament.  I was excited heading into Sunday that maybe DeLaet’s domino would be the next one to fall after Sergio Garcia opened Pandora’s Box at the Masters two weeks ago. However, it was not to be. Too bad. Hopefully, he gets one some day.

Hal Quinn, Freelance Writer, Vancouver: It’s the way he has played for his PGA Tour career. Sergio finally came out and said he didn’t have what it takes to win a Major. That might have started his recovery from whatever demons were holding him back. DeLaet should talk to Sergio about what got him over it, and how to play on Sundays and maybe then have something worth celebrating.

Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): Stumble barely covers it. It’s like watching two different players. Maybe somebody should tell him it’s the second or third round so he keeps it in high gear instead of the defensive mind-set he adopts for the final. Probably didn’t help that he was playing with Dufner who was ill-tempered, rude and playing abysmally but a T6 finish is nothing to celebrate when a win is within your grasp.

Almost four decades ago PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman created the “all-exempt” tour, which, among other things, spread the weekly purse out to more players. That has created a lot of millionaires but perhaps also dulled the incentive to risk everything for a win. Do you like the current system or do you think the pay-out at PGA tournaments should be adjusted to reward top finishers more and generate some exciting races for the winner’s circle?

Deeks: I’m okay with the current system because I really don’t care about, or pay attention to, the money these guys make… which, in the grander scheme of things, is pretty obscene.  I also don’t have a lot of sympathy for guys who choose to play golf for a living, then can’t do well enough to earn a good living.  The fact that there’s a 36-hole cut is probably the best incentive to play well.  It would never happen, but it’d be great to see a winner-take-all-tour (or at least a few such events), where the only guy who gets paid is the winner.  Then we’d see how many guys decide this is a career worth pursuing!

Loughry: I don’t think you can manufacture races or finishes based on top heavy prizing or exemptions. I think that only works for the guys who make the cut on the number (or so) who feel like they have nothing to lose anyway, they need to move up, so they may play a little more aggressively in the odd situation. But to think that guys would have the wherewithal under the gun to stand over any given shot and think prior, gee I have to be aggressive here to finish high or because I need this win, that`s a stretch. There are simply too many starts in a season for that to make any difference. It’s actually why the MAJORS are the MAJORS. There are only 4 each year and the onus is put on those events and the riches (exemptions, purse, invitations) that go with them.

Kaplan: I suppose I wouldn’t mind seeing a little more going to the top spots and a little less going towards the middle/bottom, but I don’t really have an issue with the purse system as it stands today. Although I do find it a little surprising that Charles Howell III has somehow raked in over $32 million in his career despite only winning twice on the PGA Tour.

Quinn: Guys like our boy DeLaet better send Beman a birthday gift every year, and a nice one. He’s one of the many the poster boys for the ‘all-exempt’ fandango. He has three seconds, three thirds, 30 top tens in 160 events yet has banked $10.2 Million (US). He made $217,700 (US) for T6 on the weekend. Just more proof that the Gawds must be crazy.

Mumford: The days when players would room together and car-pool from one event to the next are long gone but they did it because they had to. Of course, Palmer was flying his own plane while Nicklaus, Player, Casper and other multiple winners were chartering jets. We’ll never go back to such a disparity but I’d love to see 90% of the purse going to the top 10 players and positions 11-70 splitting the remaining 10% equally. I’m tired of guys wimping out to secure a cheque for 17th spot. I want to see guys risking it all for a trophy or a really big cheque. Let the Hunger Games begin!

RBC Heritage winner Wesley Bryan looked like an Easter egg in his fuchsia pants and electric blue shirt on Sunday, a fitting look for the occasion but perhaps not so apt for the red tartan jacket that was awarded to him later. What’s the most egregious fashion faux pas you can recall from a PGA Tour player at an event?

Deeks: John Daly, hands down the worst, and being the snob that I am, I would never play in a group with anyone wearing the same crap that Daly does.  Rickie Fowler, five years ago, was also an eyesore, and I’m glad he’s dropped the all-orange and all-pink wardrobe. I was never a fan of Payne Stewart’s plus-fours, but at least they were tailored and not in-your-face.  In the 90s, Nick Price wore shirts from Le Coq d’Or that looked like pizza barf on cotton.  Back in the 70s, those loud plaid flared pants looked pretty stupid, but we all wore them, and we’re all embarrassed now to see old photos of ourselves.  I’m not suggesting that everyone should be bland, but as former Ontario Premier Bill Davis famously said, “Bland works”.

Loughry: It’s Poulter every time he tees it up. He’s a fine player but seemingly losing his talent. He should be paying just as much or more attention to his game than his fashion statements.

Kaplan: I don’t know how egregious it was, but I think Adam Scott looks terrible when he wears his khaki and taupe outfits. The guy has done it several times and always looks like a giant manila envelope.

Quinn: Well, any John Daly outfit. The shirt with his 1950s Lion head logo design topped off a very ugly run a few years back. These guys sign the lucrative clothing deals and then their attire is ‘scripted’ so they don’t even have to think about it. So ugly is out of their hands. But somehow Matt Kucher can very rarely get a cap that goes with anything he’s wearing. It ain’t egregious, but because the networks love him so much, it’s very irritating.

Mumford: Boy, where do you start? Several examples spring to mind: Bubba Watson fastening the top button on his shirt; the saggy khaki Dockers worn by players like Duffy Waldorf that would be sweat-soaked from waist to crotch during steamy events in Memphis and New Orleans; Bernhard Langer’s cargo pants; Boo Weekley’s camo pants; the grotesque wardrobe sported by John Daly at almost every point in his career; and the one or two sizes too big shirts that many of the American players swam in for a time. You could throw in Rickie Fowler’s high tops and his Sunday Creamsicle outfit too. But the most egregious faux pas ever has to go to the dirty burgundy picture-frame shirts worn by the 1999 U.S. Ryder Cup team at Brookline. They were ugly 18 years ago and haven’t gotten any better with age. (See image below). There have been a number of ghastly Ryder Cup outfits over the years but those were the worst of the worst.

Tiger Woods, Davis Love & Phil Mickelson – U.S. Ryder Cup 1999
The Round Table
The Round Table is a panel of golf writers, PGA members and industry experts.

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