1. Day and slow play
Jason Day's honesty is appreciated, and nobody should hope to suppress it. If he feels it is better for him to slow down an already snail-like golf routine, good of him to say so.
But simply put, that attitude is not going to win him many friends.
"In my opinion, I don't care so much about speeding up my game," Day said last week at the SBS Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. "I've got to get back to what makes me good. If that means I have to back off five times, I'm going to back off five times before I have to actually hit the shot."
Day wasn't suggesting he would defy any PGA Tour rules, but then again, how would he think that backing off so many times would ever be proper within the letter of the law?
It suggests that the No. 1 player in the world knows that golf's attempts to deal with slow playing are severely lacking. He knows the rules are not enforced, or he is willing to put up with the flimsy fine structure that obviously serves as little or no deterrent.
Day rightfully pointed out that the stakes are high. This isn't recreational golf where the rest of us could all get a move on without impacting our results. But on fast greens and brutal conditions with big money and tournament titles in the balance, Day doesn't feel he should rush through his routine for the sake of some nebulous notion of faster play.
If anything, this should be yet another wake-up call to the PGA Tour. Day certainly is not the only slow player, and he's likely not the only one who feels taking his time will help. But that doesn't say much for those who hate to be slowed down by the dawdlers.
A reasonable warning system followed by stroke penalties for slow-play violations is the only way to get results. Day might not like it, but he will figure out a routine that works if he risks taking penalty strokes.
2. A negative effect
While some players might be secretly applauding Day's comments, others are not. For example, Brandt Snedeker, noted for playing fast, wasn't pleased to read what Day said on the topic.
"I don't think it's the right statement to be making," Snedeker told Golf Digest. "If I were to get paired with Jason on the weekend of a major championship -- this is what slow players failed to understand. If we get put on the clock and I need a minute on a shot late on Sunday afternoon or late Saturday afternoon of a major championship, am I allowed to have that time because Jason has played slow all day, has chosen to do that? That creates a problem with me. I don't feel that creates a level playing field, and it's not being respectful to your fellow tour players."
3. When less isn't more
New PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is apparently not going to be heeding the advice put forth by ESPN.com's Jason Sobel, who suggested that contracting the schedule would be ideal.
The PGA Tour has often stood behind the mantra that it is, first and foremost, a player's organization and about presenting playing opportunities to its members. And to that end, Monahan didn't see the tour taking events away, because someone else would stage events in their place.
"I'm a believer that there would never be a true offseason in this game," Monahan said.
4. A new-look Tournament of Champions?
Early last year the PGA Tour and LPGA entered into what was called a "strategic alliance" with thoughts of perhaps staging events at the same venue or reviving the old mixed-team tournament. Monahan took that a step further when he suggested to Golf Channel that there are discussions about the LPGA Tour being part of the SBS Tournament of Champions, which was contested this past weekend. The tournament has been for PGA Tour winners from the previous year; there were 36 players eligible, with 32 participating. Monahan said there have been discussions with LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan.
"You could see men and women here at the Tournament of Champions," Monahan said. "That is something we are thinking about and talking to Mike and the LPGA about. We would like to see that happen. We have some interest from sponsors."
Monahan added: "We are spending more time talking about how do we drive more people to the game, both men and women, girls and boys. Can we potentially get men and women into the same field of play? Again, another thing that no other sport can do. And then looking at the media. Are there some shared efficiencies with how we present our tours to the world at large?"
5. Tiger's schedule
It is fair to wonder about the ambitious schedule Tiger Woods recently announced. Are we to believe that after playing just one tournament in 17 months and being cautious about his back, he will play four tournaments in five weeks?
Here are a few things to keep in mind, both good and bad.
Torrey Pines, where Woods will make his 2017 debut in two weeks at the Farmers Insurance Open, is a place he loves and where he has won eight times as a pro, most recently in 2013. But the South course is also a very difficult test these days. Last year, in difficult weather conditions, it ranked behind only Oakmont and Royal Troon in scoring average. Cool, damp conditions are not great for Woods' back. And in his past two appearances, Woods missed the 54-hole cut in 2014 and withdrew during the first round in 2015 with the infamous glute activation issue.
The following week, Woods is scheduled to play at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, a European Tour event he has won twice and where he last played in 2014. It's a 12-time zone difference and roughly an 18-hour trip to the Middle East from San Diego, but Woods does have his own plane and he won't be scrunched into a middle seat. It's a long journey, but Woods is expected to get his usual seven-figure appearance fee -- it has been a while since he has received one of those -- and the Emirates Golf Club course is user-friendly, with little rough and almost guaranteed nice, balmy temperatures.
After the long trip home, Woods has the week off before heading to Riviera in Los Angeles for the Genesis Open, where his foundation is now in charge of running the event. Woods stopped playing at Riviera in 2006, and it is the event he has played the most without a victory. Cool, damp temperatures again post a risk, but Riviera offers a good test for his game.
Then he plays consecutive events for the second time at the Honda Classic. That is his de facto hometown event in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and Woods would have traveled home anyway after Riviera. He'll be staying at home and playing a tournament he knows. PGA National is no easy test, but if Woods is healthy, he'd be practicing that week, so why not play?
6. Tiger and Trump
Very little information has been disclosed about Woods' pre-Christmas round with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump International in West Palm Beach, Florida. Woods did give up some details in a website post last week.
"What most impressed me was how far he hits the ball at 70 years old," Woods said. "He takes a pretty good lash."
Trump has a GHIN handicap index of 2.8, although he rarely posts scores.
Woods said that their discussion topics were wide-ranging and that he had fun playing with Trump.
"We both enjoyed the bantering, bickering and needling," he said. "I also shared my vision for golf and what I'm trying to do."
Woods also noted that he has now played golf with Trump, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
"I appreciate the opportunity," he said.
His praise of Trump prompted this from late night TV host Stephen Colbert.
Tiger Woods says he was impressed by Trump's golf game. Makes sense, Trump is known for winning with the lower number.
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) January 6, 2017
7. Moving up
His victory at the SBS Tournament of Champions was his second in four starts on the PGA Tour and one of three top-10 finishes in that period. He now has three PGA Tour victories, matching the career total of Rickie Fowler. And he has moved ahead of Fowler and Sergio Garcia to No. 12 in the world ranking. Fowler is 13th, and Garcia is 14th.
8. Short-lived joy
Thomas said in the aftermath of his big win Sunday that he woke up thinking about the Alabama-Clemson college football championship game -- even though he had his own big day to worry about. The Crimson Tide lost to the Tigers, and Thomas was none too pleased about his alma mater's defeat.
Without a doubt most upset I've ever been in my life. Just hate to see those guys lose that game after a great season. Congrats to Clemson
— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) January 10, 2017
9. Sergio's big couple of days off the golf course
Not only did Sergio Garcia recently celebrate his 37th birthday, he also had a pretty big announcement, which he made via Twitter.
— Sergio Garcia (@TheSergioGarcia) January 7, 2017