PGA Tour: Opportunity Knocks: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 30 Sep 2015, 6:55 pm

1).Opportunity has already knocked for Jordan Spieth; that discussion about Player Of The Year lasted less than one week.
And Opportunity knocked in the form of FedEx moolah; quite apart from the $6figures banked for performance at the Tour Championship, FedEx bonus pool money included:
$3M for Stenson (that 50-footer on his 72nd green was worth a million bucks over:
$2M: Day
$1.5M: Fowler
$1M: Watson
$600K: Rose
$280K: Casey
$250K: McIlroy
etc.

2).And Sangmoon Bae collected $195K in bonus money, but that's almost certainly the last we see of him for 21 months as he's off to South Korea for Presidents Cup duty and then for the local version of National Service. He doesn't even get to enjoy defending his Fry's title later this month.

3).Lots on this board as to why Stenson has trouble closing out tournaments this year, especially given his outstanding ball-striking stats. Certainly his putting sometimes seems suspect in the heat of battle, but two self-inflicted "logistical" flaws were exaggerated last weekend:
~The course was soaked and the distance given up off the tee in driving with 3-wood (or iron) is magnified when there's no roll. Spieth is long but not Bubba-long yet he enjoyed at least a club advantage on most second shots.
~Play more quickly! He obviously gets out of sync when he's put on the clock, he certainly did at Bay Hill, even though it was his playing partner at fault; just the same w/Spieth. Spieth was not only on the clock earlier in the week but had a bad time too, so Henrik must have known his own leisurely dawdle and deliberations would look even worse when paired with Spieth.
Still, Stenson earned $2.6M in the Play-Offs plus his bonus swag of $3M, a decent five week's work in most peoples' book.

4).Lots in the press about Paul Casey's imminent meeting with European Tour chief Keith Pelley. Casey is lobbying for his European Tour obligation to be reduced from 13 tournaments to 11. Casey has an immense talent that was wasted during the years (early/mid thirties) most golf pros consider their prime, but enjoyed a renaissance 2015 on the PGA Tour. But one suspects he's trying to grind more than one axe here:
"I think I could make a massive contribution to the European Team, but I didn't get picked in 2010 when I was in the World's Top Ten, so who's to say I'd make it even if I did rejoin."
Exactly Paul, so do you want a guaranteed Ryder Cup place as a downpayment for rejoining the European Tour? Not going to happen. You may be p1ssed off with Colin Montgomerie but that doesn't mean the rules should be modified just to accomodate the chip on Paul's shoulder.
Ooh, and by the way, Europe have done OK without you since you last played, for Faldo in 2008.
4 x Majors + 4 x WGC's and you only have to find five events Paul; I'm sure you can do that.

5).No PGA Tour event this week, and Presidents Cup action next week in South Korea. Still no word yet as to whether Furyk and Oosthuizen will be good to go, but imagine standbys have been summoned. Holmes and An??

6).The latest on Anthony Kim's odyssey was posted on last week's thread, but here's another look:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/doug-ferguson/anthony-kim-speaks-golf-only-fond-memory-mine/

(Isn't it ironic that it was Robert Allenby at the 2009 Presidents Cup who called Anthony Kim a boozing party animal after reports emerged of a wee-hours sighting? And that was the same weekend that Kim thumped Allenby in "Singles". Rumours that Kim was in Hawaii during January's Sony Open cannot be confirmed . . . . )

7).And so to Opportunity Knocking, and the final event of the web.com Tour Finals: the web.com Tour Championship at the Dye's Valley course, at TPC Sawgrass, in Florida.
Several golfers emerged from the WTF's last year and reached the FedEx Play-Offs.
Reached BMW Championship: Zac Blair, David Lingmerth, Sean O'Hair
DeutscheBank: Herman, Pinckney, JJ Henry, Greg Owen, Swafford
Barclays: Nick Taylor, Knost, Peterson, Chad Collins.
In contrast, Richard Sterne qualified comfortably and promptly went into a 12-month funk. You never know.

8).Among pros who can be a little mercurial, and we've already mentioned the talents of Casey and Kim, can be counted Andres Romero. He's back from using the hole-marker as a punching bag in Reno and has one tournament to qualify for the PGA Tour where his talents undoubtedly belong. Hope he's fit.

9).European Tour players Grillo and Lahiri have already qualified, as has Sweden's Norlander; Brian Davis needs a Top 30 finish to be sure of joining them, but Thomas Aiken and Marcel Siem need a miracle.
And what about Gonzalo F'dez? After playing "decent", certainly not great, thru three rounds last week he was d/q'd for not signing his card. Now he's put himself in a deep hole that only a Top Ten finish this week will get him out of. If he fails, and you'd have to say he's been accident-prone all year, what next for Gonzo?

10).Lastly, First Stage of Q-School begins this week; no longer does it offer a direct route to the PGA Tour, but merely access to the web.com. And Justin Thomas, Tony Finau and Daniel Berger proved this season that Opportunity is only delayed one year for the right man. We'll try to keep track of any Europeans competing, but don't imagine there'll be any "notables".

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Post by GPB on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 4:17 am

Finally watched the Final Round.

Spieth was waiting for Stenson on the 10th tee.  Personal time for Stenson perhaps.

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Post by hend085 on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 8:30 am

hey Kwini. i didn't think Stenson was behind Spieth that often? his strong 3 wood was often passed him. i think it was when he chose to use the his other weaker wood that he was a bit behind. he is obviously very comfortable with his long irons and rightly so. i think his short putting and bottle is what is letting him down consistently rather than his course managment

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Post by McLaren on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 10:31 am

Stenson is very fidgety and uncomfortable looking as he stands (for VERY long time) over the ball before a shot. If you want to know why I doubt his chances of winning when he is in contention then that might be the number one reason. He just isn't very good at winning despite having some pretty good scoring most weeks.

He is clearly as bad, if not worse, than the famed slow coach Kevin Na. He needs to speed up and don't understand why kwini excuses Stenson's constant slow play and not others.
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Post by super_realist on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 10:41 am

Mac, Bradley would be the perfect example of how someone with such affectations CAN win a major, whilst Harrington is also someone who plays at a glacial pace and still wins majors.

Case closed.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 11:01 am

Mac,
I know you don't read my notes, but please see 3). above.
Plus, How do you then explain Stenson's autumn of dominance in 2013?


(Am putting together analysis of Rounds 3 & 4 driving distance!)

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Post by McLaren on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 11:30 am

Kwini, I read your notes every week, sometimes several times.

I know you have sort of acknowledged above that Stenson is slow but in general you were initially slow to accept that Stenson was slow and seem to cup him more slack than for example Na.


Super

As Keegs twitches have got worse his game as deteriorated. He looked like he would be a top 10 player for the next ten years only a year or so ago. I am not so sure now. And it is Stensons uneasy nature before he pulls the trigger that seems to be an issue, and not his slow play which is just tedious to watch and presumably to play with. Harrington is slow but I don't think he has issues with pulling the trigger.
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Post by super_realist on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 11:39 am

All professional golfers are slow. THey'd get a rocket up their arse at any club in Britain.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 12:15 pm

Mac,
I've never watched Stenson play live, so don't know what he's like in person. But Kevin Na, when I've seen him play, has been an ungracious toerag, slow and surly, miserable to watch in action.
My comment about Stenson was more to do with the fact that he knew he'd be with Spieth, who even managed to get put on the clock at The Open, not to mention his earlier round last week with Day. Why didn't Stenson adjust his pace of play accordingly? Harrington & Langer get round their slowness by walking fast between shots, most of the slowcoaches find a way to compensate somehow.

Surprised what you say about Keegan Bradley - about appearing to be a top ten player for ten years. Would never have thunk that myself, he's never had the consistently good shortgame to go with good ball-striking and reliable putting. And he's eliminated the spitting part of his pre-shot routine, that surely speeds him up?

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Post by Eyetoldyouso on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 12:46 pm

I went to the Open last year at Hoylake and could not believe just how slow Jason Day was. I don't think I've seen anyone slower.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 12:59 pm

kwini

Just seemed for a while like Keegs might be the best US player for a while. Before Fowler, Spieth etc moved ahead of him. Keegs seemed like he could really go for the pin when his game was working. Which it doesn't seem to be at the moment (53rd in the world and finished 60th in the fedex)
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Post by Shotrock on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 1:37 pm

Wonderful write up Kwin, per usual.

I've played rounds of golf with and behind a couple professional golfers. Both played VERY fast (neither known to be slow), but tournament golf obviously much different.

Not sure who would have beat Jordan in Atlanta. When his putter is that hot, there is very little room for error.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 2:06 pm

hend0,

I've been through the ShotLink driving distances for Round 4 and the two (Spieth & Stenson) are closer than I expected!

For all 14 drives, Spieth averaged 283 yards, Stenson 280

For the ten drives Spieth outdrove Stenson, the difference was 11+ yards

For the four drives Stenson outdrove Spieth, the difference was 17 yards on average.

Not clear what club was used on any single tee shot, but predominantly driver for Spieth, 3-wood for Stenson, four iron on #12.

Haven't looked at comparable for Round 3 but imagine similar.


Sr, Agree about Pro's speed of play - I still chuckle at the memory of Stadler driving over our heads at PGA National once, racing by us in a cart and having played to the green by the time we reached our drives! But some caddie/pro combos are deathly, Swatton and Day, Greller and Spieth being among the worst.
My point with Stenson is that he knows he reacts badly to his group being put on the clock; why put himself in that position when he knows his group will be under scrutiny as he plays with a(nother?) slowpoke?


Underway at Sawgrass, looks like perfect scoring conditions this morning, storms possible this afternoon.

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Post by super_realist on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 2:11 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:hend0,

I've been through the ShotLink driving distances for Round 4 and the two (Spieth & Stenson) are closer than I expected!

For all 14 drives, Spieth averaged 283 yards, Stenson 280

For the ten drives Spieth outdrove Stenson, the difference was 11+ yards

For the four drives Stenson outdrove Spieth, the difference was 17 yards on average.

Not clear what club was used on any single tee shot, but predominantly driver for Spieth, 3-wood for Stenson, four iron on #12.

Haven't looked at comparable for Round 3 but imagine similar.


Sr, Agree about Pro's speed of play - I still chuckle at the memory of Stadler driving over our heads at PGA National once, racing by us in a cart and having played to the green by the time we reached our drives! But some caddie/pro combos are deathly, Swatton and Day, Greller and Spieth being among the worst.
My point with Stenson is that he knows he reacts badly to his group being put on the clock; why put himself in that position when he knows his group will be under scrutiny as he plays with a(nother?) slowpoke?


Underway at Sawgrass, looks like perfect scoring conditions this morning, storms possible this afternoon.

Might have guessed he would be in a cart. Fat knacker

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 5:43 pm

Mildly surprising news that Danny Willett has opted not to join the PGA Tour for 2015/16. Good news for Darren Clarke though.

And talking of "fat knackers", one European who presumably WILL be joining the PGA Tour, Shane Lowry has stunk up Carnoustie today.

Presidents Cup fitness report on Jim Furyk is that there's still nothing certain about his fitness, a final decision likely Friday. Confirmation though that a replacement has been to the tailor and travel agent so will be suited and routed on the flight to Seoul if necessary.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 7:00 pm

I don't see it as any surprise that Danny has not joined the 2016 PGAT, given the recent trouble even some high profile double dippers have experienced.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 8:18 pm

Mac,
I would actually have thought that Danny Willett was ideally suited to play both Tours, but seems he's focusing on Ryder Cup candidacy instead.

Gonzo and Brian Davis halfway through Round 1 at the WTF Tour Championship, and neither at the pace necessary to reclaim their cards.

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Post by Davie on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 8:32 pm

McLaren wrote:I don't see it as any surprise that Danny has not joined the 2016 PGAT, given the recent trouble even some high profile double dippers have experienced.

How many of those troubled double dippers are living on or near the poverty line?

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Post by McLaren on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 8:50 pm

Davie, I clearly meant they were in trouble in terms of being unable to keep a PGAT card or suffered a general loss of form.

Please name some double dippers who currently have a higher OWGR now than before the embarked on double dipping? (obviously excluding McIlroy)
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 9:02 pm

Rose for one. Stenson for another and Donald, Harrington & Casey obviously had their moments.
The ones that have struggled are the borderline guys, while Poulter just ticks along, a Ferrari here, another Ferrari there. Sergio too if this past year is anything to go by.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 10:08 pm

Kwini

They are pretty historic examples. How about an example of a player who first double dipped in the last 5 years?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 01 Oct 2015, 10:10 pm

Well, a Players and a US Open wasn't bad for Kaymer last year - not sure that he tried too hard for his card this year.
Molinari did nicely, battling injuries and paternity . . . . .


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Post by McLaren on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 2:05 pm

Kwini

Does that not strengthen my point? Even a player capable of two majors and a players can struggle to double dip?

Here is a list of players who have tried to double dip in the last 5 years and have suffered drops in OWGR, failure to retain their card or lost form in europe.

Victor Dubuisson
Jamie Donaldson
Jonas Blixt (at least he kept his card)
Thorbjorn Olesen
Edoardo Molinari (Ok, not that recent)
Matteo Manassero
Hanson
Lyn
Karlsson
Gonzo
Fisher
(westwood?)


I would now like you, if you wouldn't mind, to present a list of players who have tried to double dip in the last 5 years and who have seen an improvement in OWGR, euro tour finish or fedex ranking.

This will help in deciding whether or not it is realistic to aim for double dipping as a career option. Remember double dippers only play around 15 PGAT events whereas the average is 22. Good luck getting more points than the other very good players who play 7 events more than you.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 2:37 pm

Mac,
Blixt has never double-dipped.
Have no memory either of Matteo or Eddie Molinari trying it, but perhaps you have better records.

Lynn did fine his first year, packed it in his second.

And a few of those you mention fell foul of injuries, Olesen and Hanson especially, while Karlsson did just fine until also going thru health problems. Even Donaldson has missed PGA Tour events this year solely due to injuries.

Not sure that Dubuisson ever tried to make an effort over here, while Gonzo (who did OK his first year) and Fisher have failed. And Westwood's sojourn is now over.

But, apart from Blixt who has always used the PGA Tour as his main Tour, collected two wins and placings in two Majors (hardly a failure), none of the others went to Uni over here, and most took up PGA Tour membership relatively late in their careers. Willett is approaching his prime (hopefully), 28 tomorrow, and spent two years playing College Golf. He knows the country, knows his way around, and will be in all next year's big events whichever side of the Atlantic he chooses. Much more like McDowell, Casey and Donald in that respect.

Who knows why Kaymer played poorly this year, but he certainly did just fine last year. Perhaps you'll blame Rory's injury on double-dipping, but he has also done just fine. I'm not that sold on Franny Molinari's future here either, for what it's worth, but he certainly played well this summer.

I'm with you on marginal (just in or just out of the top 50) Europeans taking two Tour memberships, but Willett has his career in front of him and, if he's going to try both Tours, this would be a good time to start. Only question mark against Willett is his fitness and the Two-Tour route is unforgiving in that regard.

Another case of Mac arguing apples and oranges.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 2:45 pm

kwini

Ok my revised list is;

Victor Dubuisson
Jamie Donaldson
Thorbjorn Olesen
Edoardo Molinari
Hanson
Lyn
Karlsson
Gonzo
Fisher
Kaymer
(westwood?)

Would you be able to provide a list of players who have tried to double dip in the last 5 or so years who have improved their OWGR or European tour finish?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 2:55 pm

If Eduardo Molinari ever took STM (and I have no record he did, he never played more than 12 events over here) he certainly didn't try to maintain it.

As for the rest, see above. Which typically you don't appear to have read. Another case of apples and oranges.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 2:58 pm

Kwini

even if you think my list is biased in some way, why is this stopping you from providing a list of double dipping success stories. Forget about my list for a moment and tell me who you think improved their OWGR/euro position after attempting to double dip?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 3:07 pm

Mac,
Don't think your list is biased at all, inaccurate in a couple of instances.

Beyond the very top players double-dipping doesn't work and I've never said it did, quite the contrary in fact.

But, if Willett is going to try it, he's as well qualified as anyone to give it a whirl, especially at this moment.

I wouldn't regard the examples you list as "failures" except for Gonzo and Fisher (and to some extent Westwood); there have been mitigating circumstances (including indifference) in each and every case, which I try to use as a cautionary tale for every player that tries it.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 3:15 pm

Kwini

We may well be disagreeing on the cut off for what counts as a top player. As far as I can tell only McIlroy (mybe Koepka) has improved his world ranking while doubling dipping in recent years.


Shane lowry has not player a full season so it is a little early to judge for him.

The reason I wanted to see your list of players who have gained OWGR positions or bettered Euro form after double dipping is because my list consists of one player. McIlroy. Can you think of anyone else?

(PS we had this debate once before and I clarified that in this discussion success/failure meant the measurable things like OWGR and tour rankings, I thought you were on board with that?)
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 3:26 pm

Lowry "has not played a full season". No, he's not been a Member, so not surprising.

I've said I don't disagree that there have been few examples these past five years, except Kaymer, Koepka & McIlroy. No debate about it.
Let's move on.


Gonzo and Brian Davis have ten holes each to resurrect their seasons, otherwise it's web.com action (or Europe) for them next year. Greg Eason doing nicely but a long way to go yet.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 3:55 pm

More grist for the Allenby haters mill:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/golf/pga/2015/10/01/life-robert-allenbys-caddie-can-hell/73142742/

Last time I followed Allenby he couldn't have been much better to watch. I walked nine holes with his "life coach" who was English; I should have asked why Allenby needed a "life coach' . . . . . . . . .

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Post by McLaren on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 4:19 pm

Kwini

I clearly think there is a debate to be had and find the conclusions of accepting that only 2/3 players in the last 5 years have had success with double dipping quite interesting.

It is surely effects the dynamics between the PGAT and Euro tour of the top Europeans cannot play on the PGAT without risking their career prospects. It is pretty clear that for whatever reason (I imagine the maths of 15 vs 22 events is a big part of it) you need to be in the McIlroy class to do both tours now.

Would you agree that it would be inadvisable for European players to try double dipping?

I would, and would add to that that if they want to play the PGAT, do it full time, forgo ryder cup selection and play 25 PGAT events a year.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 5:18 pm

Strongly recommend you find another sucker to have that debate with, Mac.
No point in debating something we pretty much agree with, pretty consistent with my position on the subject since 606 days.

As for your final conclusion, I'll leave it to you to have a word with Lowry, Willett, Grace, you name 'em.

In my book, the best Europeans are good enough to tee it up with the best of 'em, wherever, and whatever Tour it may be.
The next level have way too much strength in depth to compete with to be sure of success over here, unless the golfer is content to be a journeyman, which is pretty much where Poulter is at, and where I suppose Gonzo aspired to be.

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Post by Nay on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 7:38 pm

So has anyone seen the sky video with John Paramore talking about the banning of anchored stroke.

Adam Scotts current putting style may not be illegal as anchoring is when the forearm to elbow is placed against the body.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 7:58 pm

nay

Is if just me or was that not very clear.

http://www.skysports.com/golf/news/12176/10014564/john-paramor-explains-the-new-guidelines-on-anchored-putting
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Post by Nay on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 8:03 pm

His explanation seems clear, but if that is case why has it not been clarified like this before. You can rest the butt of the putter against you chin, chest, belly as long as foreatms and elbows dont touch your side

It just all seems a bit wooly as a rule to me

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Post by Nay on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 8:07 pm

Although those who are more rotund get a free pass because they cant get arms out the way of their belly.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 8:39 pm

So the ban is actually a ban on anchoring your arms, and not a ban on anchoring the putter. How bizzare.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 8:51 pm

Imagine we'll learn more of Adam Scott's status next week at the Presidents Cup - can't see why he would have played (haplessly) with the short putter early this year if he thought he could continue to anchor.

Meanwhile, confirmation that Furyk has withdrawn from the US Team and Jay Haas has replaced him with JB Holmes. Good decision Jay.

Oosthuizen reportedly is expected to play, but you never know with him.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 8:57 pm

If adam scott can continue to putt like he has been then this anchoring rule will be a massive f*** up even for golf.
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Post by beninho on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 9:01 pm

This anchoring thing is a balls up. And all totally pointless. The term anchoring seems to be a problem. Adam scott holds the putter against his body, the putter isn't anchored of its own accord. While the belly putters are aanchored to the belly. It's a big mess.

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Post by GPB on Fri 02 Oct 2015, 9:04 pm

I still haven't seen any confirmation that the anchor ban starts this month on the PGATour.

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Post by McLaren on Sat 03 Oct 2015, 1:13 pm

Seems JB wasn't the most popular pick to replace Furyk. Twitter seems to think Koepka should have got the call.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 03 Oct 2015, 1:48 pm

Holmes deserves the pick; Koepka had a horrible Play-Offs, failed to make any case for inclusion.
Hazeltine maybe?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 03 Oct 2015, 6:23 pm

Gonzo F'Dez is all but mathematically certain to lose his PGA Tour card now; he'll have no "status" on next season's PGA Tour and the choice is stark:
~Go back to Europe; sure he'll get in to plenty of events though it looks like he's a place or two outside the Top 40 career money winners.
~Play the web.com Tour.
He moved his family to Miami so some soul-searching will be in order when he arrives home tomorrow night.

Meanwhile Brian Davis probably just needs an under par round Sunday to retrieve his card while Marcel Siem looks set to miss out.

Thomas Aiken and Andres Romero still have (very?) outside chances of qualifying; both could use plenty of birds as they complete Round 3.

And the jury is out on "Leicester City"'s Greg Eason, in good position as he starts Round 3.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 04 Oct 2015, 7:47 pm

Brian Davis fails to grasp the opportunity to take his future in his own hands - shoots a +3 round of 73 and now sits anxiously on the toilet waiting for others to screw up or seize the opportunity which Davis fumbled.
Currently 24th in money and the Top 25 will qualify, but there are bullets that he'll have to dodge first.
Greg Eason looks like he'll miss out unless he has a super back nine.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 04 Oct 2015, 10:59 pm

Brian Davis is a very lucky man . . . . . . . .

And a few departures from the European Tour are assured, Grillo, Lahiri and Thomas Aiken. Bet at least one is back for 2017, Aiken most likely.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 05 Oct 2015, 7:50 am

Reports from S.Korea suggest Adam Scott has turned up with a short putter and ligament strain in a finger. Just what Nick Price wants to see. Times two.

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Post by Shotrock on Mon 05 Oct 2015, 4:09 pm

That is not good news for Nick Price. I hope this is a close event. Or, if not, I hope the International Team wins. (Also hope my insomnia kicks in so I can stay awake for some of the live broadcast.)

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 05 Oct 2015, 4:44 pm

But Nicky's good news, I think, is that Louis Oosthuizen seems ready to go.

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