PGA Tour: PGA Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 07 Aug 2012, 3:08 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy!
Has Five Hour Furyk forgotten how to win? He experienced quite a drought in the late 2000's, rediscovered winning ways at the 2010 Transition (despite shanking down the 72nd hole and singeing KJ Choi's eyebrows on the way), and won squeakily at Hilton Head followed by a round full of fortitude to win the Tour Championship (and FedEx Play Offs). Now he's been in the driver's seat three times this year and parked in the wrong place each time.

2).Meanwhile, Keegan Bradley finally wins without a play-off but still due to the haplessness of another. Still not convinced that Keegs is the real thing. And nor is his local newspaper - the biggest paper in Bradley's Vermont had not one word of the golf in Monday's edition, not even the result. But he's secured his Ryder Cup place and it looks increasingly as if Furyk (so brilliant in the Presidents Cup in Melbourne but very dodgy in Ryder Cup play) will be hoping for a Captain's pick.

3).A perennial gripe about these WGC's - what incentive is there for the pros once they slip out of, say, the top twenty? There aren't many bigger admirers of Lee Westwood than me, but his weekend demonstrates that the WGC people have got their prizemoney structure all wrong. +14 was Westwood's weekend "effort" in finishing 70th, but he still took home $42K, only $30K less than two level par rounds would have earned him.
And then there's Jaidee, Crane and the vanishing Taniguchi who handed in sick notes, banked $40K and limped off to South Carolina.
Time for a cut (like The Masters, say, top 44 and those within ten shots) and lower paydays for the bottom trawlers. Spend that money instead on the leaders and create differentials worth playing for.

4).Didn't see much of the Bridgestone but really enjoyed the coverage of the Reno-Tahoe Open. A leaderboard full of characters and a worthy winner in JJ Henry. The four rookies on the USA Ryder Cup Team at the K Club, Zach, Wetterich, Vaughn Taylor and JJ have had mixed fortunes since their drenching in Ireland. Zach Johnson, of course, has gone from strength to strength, injuries have derailed Wetterich's career almost before it really started, Taylor has hit the buffers, but JJ has been like a journeyman freight train, chugging his way through the Tour season, consistently keeping his card for 12 years while supporting minor events, but never returning to the winners' platform. Until now.
Great to see Brazil's Alex Rocha getting in to the mix, four years early?, and pleased to see Romero back in the shake-up. Then there were the Open Champions: Daly tied with Leonard for his first top five since 2005, Hamilton in 8th, Harrington 19th, and Cink (talk about a slump) and Duval squandering chances of a decent payday. Seemed the modified Stableford format was very popular among the pros.

5).Very disappointing performances at the Bridgestone for those hoping for a Ryder Cup qualification. Given that Rose, McIlroy, Westwood, McDowell and Donald have their places secure, the best Bridgestone finish by the next ten contenders was T29 for Cabrera-Bello, Sergio, Kaymer and Poulter. Expect Davis Love to be quaking in his boots.

6).And look at the Europeans' form this year. Of the current owgr top fifty, the following have all lost more points this year than they've gained, indicative of their games being off the boil:
Donald, Westwood, Kaymer, Garcia, Poulter, Bjorn, Jacobson, Dyson, F'dez and Quiros. (While others such as Casey, Karlsson, Hansen, Luiten and The Mechanic have disappeared completely.) Is it too late to have another look at Carl Pettersson's eligibility?

7).But the Americans only have the long-term absentee Dustin Johnson, Watney and Toms from the top 55 with more points lost than gained, the rest (Mickelson possibly excepted) in decent to sparkling form.
There may be a turnround on the Carolina Shore this week, but I doubt it.

8).And so to Kiawah Island, home of the War on the Shore. (For accounts by those who were there, read your August Golf Digest - the most telling part to me was American disbelief at the amount the Europeans were drinking!)
Very few of those in the 156-man field for this week's PGA Championship have competitive form at Pete Dye's "Ocean Course", although some such as Rafa C-Bello, have played Junior competitions there.
But the WGC World Cup was played there twice, in 1997 and 2003, and these guys played well!
1997: 1st: Harrington (won with McGinley)
2003: 1st: Sabbatini and Immelman, with Casey and Rose runners up.

9).No Bernhard Langer or Hale Irwin this week, no Paul Broadhurst and no Steve Pate (come to think of it we didn't see much of him in the Ryder Cup either. Hmmmmm.), and hopefully no camo gear.

10).Weather will play a big part this week though; Pete Dye took a gorgeous ocean-side property, raised much of it above the dunes, and created a seaside target-golf monster, with almost all the course exposed to the elements but very few run-up areas in front of the greens. There has been significant rain these past few days and a steady diet of 10 - 15 mph breezes is forecast. Yorkshireman Kerry Haigh is responsible for setting up the course and he'll need all his skill to strike a fair balance, but he has an impeccable reputation and let's hope he lives up to it!

No idea who might win, but I fancy local-ish boy Dustin Johnson as best of the Americans. Otherwise I expect Ireland (North and South) and South Africa to contest the medals. For a rank outsider, how about Simon Dyson?

But of one thing you may be certain: If the sole survivor from the War of 1991, Jose Maria Olazabal, plays as he did 21 years ago, there'll only be one winner!

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Post by Dave The Jackal on Mon 13 Aug 2012, 10:41 am

Fantastic stuff from McIlroy. Could be an expensive win for me though! I went to the Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda last Oct (the 2 day shoot out between the 4 Major winners), and it was great. Had ruled out a return visit this year after Bubba and Webb Simpson won the first 2 Majors ... started to reconsider after Ernie's Open win ... and now Rory completes the set (assuming they all turn up). Much more attractive shout now!

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Post by Bob_the_Job on Mon 13 Aug 2012, 11:03 am

You lucky censored

I've seen it on TV and looks like a good one to go to - crowds not that big and close access to see the shots clearly.
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Post by Thomond on Mon 13 Aug 2012, 11:05 am

Unreal stuff from Rory, great for Irish golf and great for Northern Ireland. Well done Rors, keep her lit. A star in the making.

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Post by Dave The Jackal on Mon 13 Aug 2012, 11:30 am

Bob_the_Job wrote:You lucky censored

I've seen it on TV and looks like a good one to go to - crowds not that big and close access to see the shots clearly.

Yes, it was a great couple of days last year. As you say, close access to the players ... made even better by being able to walk the fairways behind the group (because there's only one 4-ball playing). Spoke to Rory's dad Gerry a couple of times on the course ... and Chubby Chandler in the lift in the hotel, I think about 24 hours before he was ditched by Rory! Sat about 2 feet from Darren Clarke and his fiance at breakfast the day after it finished. Was going to say hello until I noticed how red his eyes were. Clearly had had a VERY good night! His golf was dire for the 2 days, finishing a distant 4th.

Only downside last year (apart from getting absolutely drenched towards the end of round one), was 2 days of suffering Keegan Bradley's tortuous stop-start pre-shot routine. I wanted to run out and deck him by round 2, and I think he won it by boring the other 3 guys into submission! Probably took as long over his shots as the other 3 combined, because Rory, Dazza and Charl don't really hang about.

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Post by Bob_the_Job on Mon 13 Aug 2012, 11:35 am

Yeah..that's not really making me any less jealous.
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Post by Diggers on Mon 13 Aug 2012, 11:39 am

Was there a golf tournament on this weekend ? I see David Lynn came second so what was it, the Estonian Masters ?
Well done Coco, golf needs a star (IMO) and he is certainly the most likely.

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Post by McLaren on Mon 13 Aug 2012, 12:39 pm

It would be a mistake to think that this event did not live up to the great performances we have just been treated to during the Olympics. I don’t suppose I was alone in thinking a golf event could not live up to the Olympics but thanks to Rory playing one of the best final rounds ever in a major, it was as good a watch as most things Olympic.

Too often this year golf’s winners have been the result of others misfortune, but not this time. We saw the worlds best demolish the rest with Usian bolt style winning margin. It goes to show, like many Olympic events did, that you don’t need a close battle for a sporting event to be a great watch you just need to feel like you are seeing a very special performance.
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Post by Tinmar on Mon 13 Aug 2012, 1:49 pm

Incredible performance from Rory and he is halfway to becoming only the 6th player ever to win the career Grand Slam. He also should have a lot of time ahead of him to achieve it.

The biggest advantage he may have in doing this is that the two he has won have traditionally been the hardest two to win for European players. I can still see a lot of the more difficult US Open courses causing problems for Rory in the future so it's good he has that one in the bag already. I've always though the PGA was difficult due to timing and very little build up compared to the other three. Also, the fact that it usually represents the best chance for the 'ordinary' US Tour member tends to make it a bit more difficult for the top players. Palmer & Watson never won it.

So Rory is just Augusta and the Open away from winning all four. He certainly has the game to win at Augusta. If he can get to St Andrews with calm weather and his game in good shape (as Tiger did twice), he would be hard to stop. I don't think I would bet against him now winning all four at some stage of his career.

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Post by Plunky on Mon 13 Aug 2012, 2:19 pm

Bob_the_Job wrote:Yeah..that's not really making me any less jealous.

Me too ! I usually go there on biz twice a year but the timing never works out for me to be there in Oct for the event. Did you get to play the course at all ? It's my favourite course, though I have to adjust my expectations in terms of scoring especially if it's windy !

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Post by Dave The Jackal on Mon 13 Aug 2012, 4:44 pm

Plunky wrote:
Bob_the_Job wrote:Yeah..that's not really making me any less jealous.

Me too ! I usually go there on biz twice a year but the timing never works out for me to be there in Oct for the event. Did you get to play the course at all ? It's my favourite course, though I have to adjust my expectations in terms of scoring especially if it's windy !

Nah, I didn't bother taking the clubs, although having walked round the Port Royal course twice now, I'd love a game there. Pretty hilly, mind, and it was very windy both days of the Slam last year. Think that's what did for Rory's chances in the end, as he looked set to win halfway through the second round. Think the course would be quite short for Bubba though, who could murder it if there was little wind. Some breathtaking views.

In the meantime, I'll have to settle for a round at Trump tomorrow morning, probably in dodgy weather! Nothing like a challenge!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 13 Aug 2012, 6:45 pm

Davis Love has filled his four Vice Captain positions for the Ryder Cup with Jeff Sluman (perennial VC for Jack Nicklaus's Presidents Cup Teams and Chicago resident), and Scott Verplank who has a very good Ryder Cup record admittedly seldom used.

Press chatter here suggests Bjorn, Clarke, Jimenez and McGinley will help carry Olazabal's bag.

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Post by Skydriver on Wed 15 Aug 2012, 10:07 pm

I forgot to ask - did we end the year with a highly improbable grand slam of albatrosses at the majors?

[Including practice rounds - so Oosthuizen at The Masters, Quiros (p) and Watney at the US Open, Snedeker (p) at The Open]


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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 15 Aug 2012, 10:47 pm

Highly improbable.

And one golfer finishing in the top 12 of each Major.
Another in the top 15 each time.
Ten others made each Major cut, while Mark Wilson, Glover and Quiros missed all four (which sounds ignominious until you realise how few, relatively, qualified for all four).

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