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#AskLav: Welcome to the silly season

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods
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The silly season arrived early this year – or at least that’s one conclusion that can be drawn from this past week’s headlines.

Tiger apologizes to Ryder Cup rookies for his poor play. Telling you, he’s a changed man!

Rory shoots 76 in Turkey exhibition – with his tennis-star girlfriend watching. Clearly distracted.

Spencer Levin out for the season after belly-putter injury. Even more reason to ban them!

Turkey’s top-ranking golf official head-butted a journalist following Tiger. … Peculiar, yes, but why do you think golf writers, as a whole, have such ripply, sculpted muscles? To combat sneak attacks such as these, obviously.

Weird week, indeed. Here are your questions for this week’s #AskLav mailbag ... 

 Hey @RyanLavnerGC do you think events like the one in Turkey are good for the game of golf? #AskLav

Absolutely. Four of the top five players in the world are at the cash-grab exhibition in Turkey, even if most aren’t playing like it. The European Tour announced that next year it will stage an event in the country for the first time. The game is expanding, globally. Is this good for the PGA Tour? Absolutely not. It detracts from the domestic product.

Will I be denied a credential for next year’s PGA if I don’t say the Wanamaker? (That’d be unfortunate – I grew up 30 minutes south of Oak Hill.) Anyway, no, sorry, it’s not the PGA or the FedEx Cup. It’s the trophy that also comes, more famously, with a green jacket. Every kid who has ever stroked putts until dark dreams of winning The Masters. It’s the tournament players most want to win. It’s the jacket deserving of its own closet, the trophy of its own mantel, the event of its own capitalization rules.

#AskLav ... if golfers get so easily distracted when it isn't 'quiet as a mouse' around them, why don't they pop in earplugs???

Don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do during a round of golf is listen to the various machinations of my brain. 

 Hey #AskLav, Any thoughts on whether popularity of the Shriners event will decrease when JT's affiliation is removed '13?

One of many curious decisions that were inevitably made last weekend in Vegas. Starting next year, the one-time boy-bander won’t be associated with the Tour stop because, tourney officials said, they wanted the focus to return to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. That’s fine. But then the tournament chairman showed poor form by publicly bashing Timberlake, saying the entertainer seemed to show up only when the cameras were on. Uh, isn’t that the role of the tournament host? 

@GolfChannel @ryanlavnergc Best advice for breaking into the golf media world? #AskLav

The scientifically unproven #AskLav Method was to work unpaid gigs for three summers, writing anything and everything and learning how to cover the game. Wash carts in the morning, cover an event in the afternoon. When it came time to apply for jobs, I had little money, sure, but at least I had a portfolio that was bursting with clips. That’s what employers most want to see. I think.

#AskLav If you were PGA tour commissioner, what are the first changes you would make? #AskLav

What a terrifying prospect. But the first order of business: The PGA Tour needs an offseason. A real one. I’m reminded of this each fall, as tournaments such as last week’s Vegas event and this week’s Frys are contested against the backdrop of the NFL season and the weekly SEC battles and the baseball playoffs. With only a two-week break in December, there is no time to miss the game, no time to create storylines, no time to wonder what a fresh season might bring. Shut it down for a month, maybe two. Let the beginning of a new season actually mean something.

@RyanLavnerGC What's your favorite Kid Rock song? #AskLav

Finally! The pressing matters of the week. For me, this discussion boils down to two choices, depending on my mood: “Only God Knows Why” is a soul-searching classic, but it reminds me of a sixth-grade year full of angst; and “Bawitdaba” is not only a rebellious anthem, but it also is helpful in learning another language: gibberish.

@RyanLavnerGC why doesn't the  give more exemp. 2 amateurs and college players? Could be good for the game..#AskLav

Wondered this myself over the past two years, as players such as Russell Henley and Harris English and Ben Kohles and Luke Guthrie have made the jump from the college game to the pro ranks seem relatively painless. There is an incredible depth of talent in the college game right now. The concerns with this plan? Well, it takes away spots from those who already play the Tour. And it hurts the big-time amateur events. But in the summer, tourney directors should be offering exemptions to some of these elite amateurs – it’s the equivalent of an internship. They’ve already shown they can compete – and, in some cases, win.