PGA Tour: Fourth of July Weekend at Greenbrier: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 01 Jul 2014, 5:10 pm

1).Not many fireworks at Congressional last week where a US Open broke out in place of the "regular" Tour event scheduled. The course was among the longest of the year, the rough was up, the fairways fiery and the greens were baked. Fitting that a US Open Champion should take home the winner's spoils and kudos to Justin Rose who won his sixth Tour title in just over four years: Muirfield Village, Aronomink, Doral, Cog Hill, Merion and Congressional. Not a bad six-pack.

2).Apparently only Tiger has won more events (8) than Justin in that time.
And: What of Mr.Woods? Comeback or publicity stunt?? By his own admission he was only teeing it up to help benefit his Foundation. He missed his first cut since his half-hearted effort at Greenbrier two years ago and was long gone by the time Rose lifted the trophy.

3).It seems impossible to know how fit Tiger is, how ready he was to play. Instead of the "reps" he says he so badly needs, he's off on holiday for a week then he'll make his way to Hoylake. If the rough there is as high and lush as reports suggest, I'd think his real (and realistic) target is Bridgestone and his Major objective at Valhalla in August. Longer term, slightly, if he doesn't play well, very well, in these three tournaments he won't reach the FedEx Play-Offs, so there'll be another enforced month-long lay-off before the Ryder Cup. Unless he swallows deeply and contests a European Tour event.

4).Just a few weeks ago, at Memorial, we had a PGA Tour first: Two left-handers in the final pair on Sunday.
I wonder if last Sunday saw the first pair of girls' names, Rose and Stefani contesting a play-off?

5).Dateline San Francisco:
~Increased speculation that Harding Park will stage next year's WGC MatchPlay, in May. No idea what that does to the traditional Tour calendar, though perhaps there's an extra wek between Augusta and the US Open?
~Expect announcement tomorrow that the 2020 PGA Championship will be staged at Harding Park.
~Harding Park is also expected to be the venue for the 2015 BMW Championship and the 2025 Presidents Cup (as it was in 2009).
~Expectation that Olympic Club will be "awarded" the 2023 US Open. Watch this space on that.

6).A great course last week at Congressional, though I agree with Faldo that the set-up was unusually demanding, probably not quite what the players are looking for in 90-degree heat unless it's a Major.
And a classic this week, CB McDonald's Old White course at West Virginia's Greenbrier resort.
The top players have either left for Europe or are taking a break - last week's field was relatively poor and this week's is the same - a few top players but not much depth except for those struggling to make the Play-Offs and thereby retain their card. A shame the Tour ever left Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Westchester, even Broome County, you name it, if it was north of the Mason Dixon Line the PGA Tour shunned it. (What would Jeremiah Dixon and Charlie Mason have thought of it - perhaps Mark Knopfler and James Taylor can help?)

7).Apparently there will be more places available for Hoylake, but these are reportedly going to owgr "alternates" rather than Open "Qualifiers". A great shame this and the contortions by the R&A (etc?) to increasingly commercialise The Open are unsightly.

8).Bernhard Langer won last week's Senior Players Championship, bringing his earnings (not including his 8th place Masters cheque) to $1.8M for the year, $14.3M for his Champions Tour career.
It's his 21st Champions Tour win, good for 8th place behind Irwin, Trevino, Morgan, Barber, Charles, Chi-chi and January.
Life gets jump-started at fifty, for golfers anyway.
And these Europeans have booked their spots in big events:
Langer: TPC (and The Masters along with Jimenez). Will he be grouped with Kaymer for Rounds 1 and 2?
Montgomerie: PGA championship.

9).And there was an extraordinary win on the web.com Tour for Greg Owen; starting Round 4 in 14th place, he quickly triple-bogeyed his first hole but caught fire on the back with five birds and an eagle only to make a typical horlicks of the 18th. No matter, everyone ahead of him was also redefining "pig's ear" and Mansfield Man won.
And now Owen has a very real chance to join fellow journeyman extraordinaire Alex Cejka on the 2014/2015 PGA Tour. Messrs Gonzo, Olesen, Colsaerts and Hanson would like some of what Cejka and Owen are having.

10).No idea what to make of the Greenbrier field. The field is mixed, to say the least, with two Watsons and a Faldo playing because they have homes or commercial affiliations there, and a sprinkling of top players who have good records there, Webb Simpson and, especially Jimmy Walker included.
Jonas Blixt won last year, and Charlie Howell played 72 holes of bogey-free golf a year or so back, and just squeaked a Top Ten.
But I'd bet on one thing if Patrick Reed has a 54-hole lead: He'll brush off last Sunday's mess and take his record of converting 54-hole leads to 4 out of five.

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Post by GPB on Tue 01 Jul 2014, 5:56 pm

R&A confirmed Royal Birkdale in 2017 and Carnoustie in 2018.

These two courses seem to be #2, #3 on the R&A favorite host venues behind the TOC.

When I first started to follow golf, I though Muirfield was the 2nd favorite venue.


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Post by GPB on Tue 01 Jul 2014, 6:19 pm

If Gonzo, Colsaerts, Oleson, and Hanson don't get into the top 125, will they swallow their pride and play the WTF series, or go back to the EuroT with their tail between their legs?


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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 01 Jul 2014, 6:55 pm

They should return to Europe, tho' it seems Gonzo and Hanson are pretty much committed to living in Florida.

Would think Birkdale 2nd fave, followed by Muirfield.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 01 Jul 2014, 8:36 pm

Apparently the R&A made the Birkdale/Carnoustie announcement at the Greenbrier. Whatever next?
Can't imagine the USGA making their announcements in Europe (tho' I s'pose they may in Asia).

Dawson is so far up Finchem's arse he'll never need a colonoscopy, just a JCB to get him out.

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Post by GPB on Tue 01 Jul 2014, 9:43 pm

The USGA did announce the deal with Fox during the PGA Championship last year.

That raised a few eyebrows.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 1:01 am

!!
That was a wind-up, similar to Tiger's "I have sinned" news conference/conessional prior to the MatchPlay!

Now, how I can't stand the way the Tour does its tee-times:
Two Hall of Famers playing Greenbrier, Watson and Faldo.
One gets to play with Bradley and Simpson.
The other gets Rollins and Tringale

Way to show respect, Tour tosspots. Hope Watson gets reciprocal treatment from the R&A.
But thankfully the R&A aren't better than most organizations but you can be sure they'll put the PGA Tour to shame.

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Post by GPB on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 1:56 am

One of them has Lifetime PGATour Exempt Status.

The other does not.

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Post by Bob_the_Job on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 9:14 am

I feel sorry for whichever one of the is with Bradley and Simpson.
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Post by navyblueshorts on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 9:29 am

Bob_the_Job wrote:I feel sorry for whichever one of the is with Bradley and Simpson.
Laugh Quite!
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Post by pedro on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 10:03 am

Imagine how p!ssed off Faldo would be if Bradley still had his old pre-shot routine.

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Post by GPB on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 3:03 pm

Eerie Ball, who was the last living participant in the first Masters Golf Tournament in 1934, has died at 103 yrs old.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 3:07 pm

Oh no . . . .

Errie Ball, I think GPB, from the North Wales town of Bangor. eerie indeed.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 5:33 pm

Wonder what y'all think of this change to the format of WGC-MatchPlay:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/golf-central-blog/report-match-play-use-group-play-format/?cid=Email_WednesdayNL_20140702

Who thought this one up? Tiger or Phil??

Imagine assertion that this format guarantees participation by all the Top 64 players might be a little far-fetched but we'll have to see.

And: Which tournament (Hilton Head, New Orleans, Quail Hollow) gets squeezed from its traditional date?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 8:09 pm

Some of the Harding Park dates are confirmed,
2015: MatchPlay
2020: PG2025: Presidents Cup
 
Questions remain:
What's happened to next year's Wells Fargo Championship? The tournament web-site still shows the date to coincide with those of the MatchPlay, so what gives for one of the Tour's better events?
 
And: Whither next year's BMW Championship now that the Tour is already headed to San Fran just four months earlier?
EDIT: Apparently it had been announced in May that the Beemer would return to the Chicago area, to Conway Farms, site of the 2013 BMW, won by Zach Johnson.
 
More questions than answers, in the short-term at least.


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Post by pedro on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 8:36 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Wonder what y'all think of this change to the format of WGC-MatchPlay:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/golf-central-blog/report-match-play-use-group-play-format/?cid=Email_WednesdayNL_20140702

Who thought this one up? Tiger or Phil??

Imagine assertion that this format guarantees participation by all the Top 64 players might be a little far-fetched but we'll have to see.

And: Which tournament (Hilton Head, New Orleans, Quail Hollow) gets squeezed from its traditional date?
Makes sense. Too much of a lottery today. Still want to know how the groups are drawn though. Most likely like in football with 4 seeds, but I wouldn't be surprised if the PGATour still somehow tweaks the groupings to reflect what they want to see - just like UEFA and FIFA.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 8:48 pm

This tournament is sure to cannibalize (don't get excited Luis, not you), fields for the Zurich, presumably Quail Hollow if it takes the week after The Players and the Byron Nelson/AT&T.

And: The finalists are expected to play 72 holes on the weekend, then fly three time-zones and 3,000 miles to tee it up at Sawgrass (admittedly a $1m or $2m the richer).


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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 10:34 pm

Where's the outrage??!!

The R&A has announced TEN additions to this year's Open Championship field.
"From the Open Championship Qualifying?" I hear you ask.

"Not a cat in Hell's chance of that," responded Peter Dawson, "we might see some chaps getting in who actually want to play." "No, they are 'alternates' from the owgr, fellows who if they really had any desire to play would have signed up for local qualifying."

So: Stadler, Holmes, Choi, Compton, HowellIII, Koepka, Hadley, Jacobson, Lahiri, Stallings all get invites to play.

I know some of us think the Majors should only feature the creme de la creme, but what's OPEN about the Open Championship anymore.

Fall on your sword Dawson. RIH (rot in hell).


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Post by GPB on Thu 03 Jul 2014, 2:15 am

Anirban Lahiri did try to qualify, in Thailand. Sort of.

He was in the field and WDed. No details on anyone scores, so it is not clear when he WDed.

http://www.theopen.com/en/Qualification/TheOpenQualifyingSeries/Asia.aspx#results

I can understand US PGATour players not crossing the pond to local qualify. It would be skipping at least one if not two tournament on US Tour..

They should have kept the qualifying from McKinney Texas that they had for a few years.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 03 Jul 2014, 11:25 am

Agreed GPB, but think the TX qualie fell foul of the organizers because so many guys entered and then withdrew.

I wish they'd reinstate it, do away with all the phoney ways of qualifying by being placed in a specific event, extend the owgr qualification period, add high finishers in the other Majors (i.e. Compton) and throw open more places for local qualifiers.

Trying to be all things to all people seldom works and, in this case anyway, makes a mockery of any pretence at "Openness" in the qualifying process.

Stephen Gallacher doing himself some good en France . . . . not so much Luiten and especially Thomas Bjorn.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 03 Jul 2014, 12:47 pm

Could be a showery day at the Greenbrier, but gorgeous weather likely thereafter.
 
Anyone fancy Kevin Kisner for a very speculative shilling each way? Time for him to take the next step and plays well in the Carolinas and adjacent States.

Horrendous first hole for Kaymer (+2) and Dubuisson (+3) in France.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 03 Jul 2014, 3:26 pm

Smalrus tied for the lead en France, Blixt out in front at The Greenbrier, Gonzo just behind.
Small world.

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Post by pedro on Fri 04 Jul 2014, 8:10 am

Smalrus leading on the ET! Talking about a Tour in crisis....

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Post by Bob_the_Job on Fri 04 Jul 2014, 9:44 am

I don't get it? How does Smalrus leading say anything?
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Post by incontinentia on Fri 04 Jul 2014, 10:32 am

It doesn't. He's a top competitor, I'm guessing it's a girth thing.
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Post by pedro on Fri 04 Jul 2014, 10:49 am

That a 2nd tier PGA Tour player can walk in and blow the field away in a supposedly top ET event.... Would never happen the other way around.

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Post by incontinentia on Fri 04 Jul 2014, 11:40 am

He's ranked 62 in the OWGR, so not that surprising. Surely any player in the field can lead after day 1, lets see how he finishes on sunday.
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Post by Bob_the_Job on Fri 04 Jul 2014, 12:18 pm

He also won an event on the PGA Tour this year, so by your own logic that tour is also Friar Tucked?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 04 Jul 2014, 12:19 pm

It wouldn't be the first ET event he's won . . . . Stads must have been playing pretty darn well to shoot 64/68 with a double bogey to finish up with.

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Post by pedro on Fri 04 Jul 2014, 12:32 pm

I'm just saying that no regular ET player would ever walk in from the street and lead a PGATour event, just as Smalrus is doing now. Even top ET players constantly struggle in the US.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 04 Jul 2014, 12:46 pm

On the other hand, Jonas Blixt is not known for his ET exploits - just another Swedish college boy with two PGA Tour wins.
I get your points though!
Having said all of which, Americans playing in Europe are by and large (sorry Stads) on a busman's holiday, whereas Europeans in America are usually playing for the chance of a lifetime, and some have still fared well. Different pressure.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 04 Jul 2014, 4:38 pm

Rotoworld is passing along a report that Charlie Howell won't take up his Hoylake tee-time. Stricker has also said he's leaning against playing.
EDIT: Olesen in, Chris Stroud reported to be the latest "first alternate". (Stroud playing well at Greenbrier, a surefire future Tour winner and, seemingly, a very nice guy.)

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Post by kouchi on Sat 05 Jul 2014, 12:31 am

This years setup of Le Golf National has been very PGATour-like. With high and lush rough, especially around and close to the greens. Most of the ET players aren't used to this. Smalrus must feel very well at home on a course prepared like this one. Also on both days the putter went hot as he confirmed to the press. It was a bit like Kaymer at the US Open. A great round in the weatherwise rather trying circumstances of thursday afternoon and very well hanging in the next day. Let see if Smalrus can keep this up as well as Kaymer did at Pinehurst.

BTW. let's just hope those local French course managers do not ever dare to repeat this setup in 2018!  Rolling Eyes picard 
Fortunately RC captains do have a big say in this. Cool

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 05 Jul 2014, 11:52 am

High numbers in Paris again this morning.
 
 
3,000 miles to the West (sort of), it'll be a chilly start at The Greenbrier for 89 golfers who have made the 36-hole cut.
Plenty of MDF's after 54 holes then, as there'll be another cut tonight leaving 70 golfers plus ties to play Sunday.
 
Tom Watson got himself grouped for Rounds 1 and 2 with Bradley and Simpspn, kinda Ryder Cup audition. Bradley made the cut comfortably, as did Watson, but Simpson has the weekend off which doesn't augur well for his Captain's pick chances.
EDIT! Whoa! Simpson didn't miss the cut, how did that happen? But he's in good shape early on to miss the "secondary" cut.
 
Stricker making a rare start as he warms up for his Major, next week's John Deere Classic. He's well placed just behind three non-winners, Hurley, Stroud & Chappell who, if they don't win this week, surely will sooner rather than later.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 05 Jul 2014, 4:07 pm

Stadler's spreadeagled the France field. Par for his final 22 holes would seem to guarantee him first or second.
But quite bunched at The Greenbrier, almost 30 golfers within five shots of Hurley's lead. Even Davis Love looks like he'll be on the fringe of the Sunday argument.

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Post by GPB on Sat 05 Jul 2014, 10:41 pm

Final Group today is going to finish in a little less than 3 hours and 50 minutes at Greenbrier.

Smallrus and Riu took about 4 hrs 20 minutes in France.


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Post by lorus59 on Sun 06 Jul 2014, 5:57 am

I guess David Lynn would be considered as a 2nd tier European pro and he almost strolled to a win in a PGA event

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 06 Jul 2014, 12:33 pm

GPB,
Yup, The Tour guys can motor when they feel like it - but I think Greenbrier (like Hartford & Hilton Head) lends itself to faster rounds, unlike say the Congressionals of this world.

Big day for Hurley today, but big day for some others, especially Cabrera, whilst Camilo should also wrap up his card.

Looks like it's tipping it down en Paris - terrible starts by Kaymer & Jaidee - should be a waddle in the park for Smalrus.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 06 Jul 2014, 2:01 pm

Smalrus making heavy weather of the heavy weather - his waddle in the park could be overtaken by Donaldson's walk on to the Ryder Cup Team.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 06 Jul 2014, 4:16 pm

That must be among the shortest putts ever miised to lose a tournament - about the length that his Dad missed to lose a crucial Ryder Cup match at The Belfry 29 years ago. Like Father like Son. Too bad.
Great win for McDool though, got to like his chances at Hoylake. Plus he's pushed himself close to the "World" Ryder Cup qualifying places.

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Post by pedro on Sun 06 Jul 2014, 4:30 pm

Stadler thicked it.  Whistle

Not a nice way to lose s tournament though.

But I would be happy to see Gmac continuing doing well over the summer.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 06 Jul 2014, 7:04 pm

Hole in one at the 8th takes George McNeill to join Hurley in the lead. -7 after ten holes - 59 watch anyone? Nah.

Webb Simpson got a last-minute reprieve from Friday's cut - now he's challenging for a Top Ten finish and a timely boost to his Ryder Cup chances. Keegan Bradley following Simpson's path thru beaten golfers.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 07 Jul 2014, 1:08 am

Well done Angel - "Angel of the Evening" . . . . as Merrilee Rush (and so many others) might have sung.

No Ryder Cup qualifying places change significantly but big moves made by McDowell, Webb Simpson and, the US's stealth weapon, Brendon Todd, who moves ahead of Mickelson into 10th place on the US points list.

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Post by Bob_the_Job on Mon 07 Jul 2014, 8:42 am

I wonder what odds you'd have got on a GMac and Angel double at the start of the weekend?

Well done to both of them - GMac needed a bit of help, and on some of Smalrus's short putts he looked like an epileptic painter and decorator.

Angel's win look very classy - especially the drive up the 17th and then the 5 iron to the green.
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Post by SmithersJones on Mon 07 Jul 2014, 9:17 am

How bad must Stadler be with a normal putter if he can miss that length with a cheat stick?
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Post by super_realist on Mon 07 Jul 2014, 9:37 am

Very amusing to see that fat knacker fail.

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Post by beninho on Mon 07 Jul 2014, 10:19 am

but then you must have been gutted when big Angel won?

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Post by super_realist on Mon 07 Jul 2014, 10:33 am

He's nowhere near as gargantuan, plus although not an excuse, he's a grandfather and a middle aged man.
Stadler has no excuse for his repulsive condition.

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Post by pedro on Mon 07 Jul 2014, 1:25 pm

And may I add: Cabrera is fat in a cool way.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 07 Jul 2014, 1:30 pm

Thumbs up for El Pato.
Thumbs down for the Smalrus. (Hate to see anyone miss a putt like that to lose a tournament though.)

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