PGA Tour: Road Trip to Mexico: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 11 Nov 2015, 5:52 pm

1).How would you feel if you followed two golfers for five years and, just when they're ready to take the next step, you bottle out and place your bets elsewhere; then watch them finish a WGC event in first place and runner up? That's kinda how I felt when Knox and Kisner took that next step to complete surely the most surprising one, two finish in a WGC or Major since Kevin Sutherland beat Scott McCarron in the Match Play, about fifteen years ago.
Fact is, I wouldn't have chosen Knox and Kisner for such a breakthrough week in a month of Sundays, but good for them - and let the Russell Knox for Europe's Ryder Cup Team debate begin.

2).Did Knox and Kisner just play out of their skins at the WGC-"Champions", or were they given huge assists by no-shows and lack-lustre "efforts" from the remaining galacticos? Probably a bit of both, but I know I won't be picking either of them for a US-based WGC or Major, not for the next eight months anyway. (PS: Wish they'd change the name of that WGC but at least Russell Knox will be a "Champion" next time round.)

3).Closer to the Tour's home, Peter Malnati was the last man standing in Mississippi and took home the Sanderson Farms chicken. Like winning the lottery for Malnati as the Tour's nearly men stumbled through Round 4 and handed the trophy to the guy who concentrated on fairways and greens, and holed almost 500 foot of putts. Would've thunk it?

4).Knox and Malnati play together this week at Mayakoba, grouped with Matt Kuchar. Knox will be the only man to play each of the first five tournaments of the new PGA Tour season.

5).As for Kuchar, he's one of a number of golfers on the World Rankings slippery slope trying to rediscover past glories. And he'll be doing it with a new caddie as he and Lance Bennett have parted ways after a long partnership. Kuchar misses about one cut per year but no Tour wins in 2015 spells change. Instead, he'll have Hunter Mahan's long-time caddie, John Wood, on the bag. John Wood and Hunner have been together for at least eight years, but Wood caddied for Bill Haas at the Presidents Cup and no real surprise that he's now moving on.
One of the more amusing memories from their work together is the "Jake's Takes" NBC segment on Tour caddies that ran a year or two ago. One of the cameos featured Wood describing how arduous a caddie's life could be, carrying a heavy bag in all elements - he was lugging the Tour bag, weighed down with rain gear, on a treadmill going at various speeds while Hunner was shown with a hosepipe, drenching Wood, umbrella, club cover and all. Made me chortle anyway.

6).Keegan Bradley, Cabrera, Clark, Dufner, Harris English, Graeme McDowell, Ogilvy, Todd and several others join Kuchar in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately flight at Mayakoba. And the European challenge includes Gonzalo F'dez, Nacho Elvira and most of the usual suspects. One suspects that it will be a journeyman who leaves this lot behind as this tournament tends to be a one-off. For once the European Tour's points yield for the winner is double the PGA Tour reward.

7).Amid the discussion about Knox's Ryder Cup options, the shape of the US qualifying rankings has been left unmentioned, but this is the current Top Twelve following last week's WGC:
Spieth, Dustin, Zach, Fowler, Mickelson, Kisner, Bubba, Koepka, Holmes, Furyk, Reed, Streb.

8).On the Champions Tour, Bernhard Langer lost the 72-hole Schwab Championship last week, in a play-off with Billy Andrade. But he took home the $1M annuity that goes to the winner of the season-long Schwab Cup as the challenge of Montgomerie and Maggert fizzled.
Langer apparently keeps himself in fantastic shape - the skin on his face seems stretched as tight as Niki Lauda's these days, but now he has to contend with anchoring aweigh as well as Father Time. Remarkable second wind to his career whatever happens.

9).web.com Stage Two qualifying is taking place this week and next - no significant European Tourists entered and that seems to be the trend as there is no incentive for Europeans to up sticks unless they are based here.

10).As mentioned, Graeme McDowell tees it up in Mexico this week, his first appearance there for eight years. A year of golfing futility has seen a Tiger-like plummet from 15 in the World Rankings a year ago to the depths of #85 now, out of the Top 100 by year's end if he's not careful. It's a year since his last Top 15 finish on Tour and he placed golf in its rightful place as he took time out for his first fatherhood responsibilities.
But perhaps he also took time out for some Martin Kaymer-like celebrations - "It's very important that if you have big wins you enjoy them, so they have a meaning to you. For me, that's the best way to enjoy." "I practiced less!"
It been a year since Ryder Cup glory and almost eighteen months since his last win. A top result this week would be a good start or he'll risk seeing his brilliant future unfulfilled.

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Post by Davie on Wed 11 Nov 2015, 8:24 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:
7).Amid the discussion about Knox's Ryder Cup options, the shape of the US qualifying rankings has been left unmentioned, but this is the current Top Twelve following last week's WGC:
Spieth, Dustin, Zach, Fowler, Mickelson, Kisner, Bubba, Koepka, Holmes, Furyk, Reed, Streb.
 

In my opinion, take FIGJAM and Holmes out of that lineup and it's starting to look like the strongest US team for many years

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 11 Nov 2015, 8:40 pm

Not much wrong with Phil and JB at the Presidents Cup.
But there was an interesting interview with Fred Couples last weekend where he said that Phil was already incorporating some new tweaks to his game at the Presidents Cup and he felt Phil would be focussed this coming year to qualify for (possibly his final) Ryder Cup and Olympics.

Agree this is the nucleus of a very strong team.

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Post by GPB on Thu 12 Nov 2015, 3:52 pm

ICYMI: Bubba is playing in Japan this week and shot 63 to lead Shingo Katayama by one shot in the first round.

Ryo Ishikawa is the only other PGATour member in the field, and he shot 68,

Next week is the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan. Danny Lee, Tony Finau, Will Wilcox and Matteo Mannassero are notable non Japanese Tour players in the field.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 12 Nov 2015, 5:29 pm

Russell Knox just teed off in Mayakoba and seems reasonably certain that he's joining the European Tour:
"It looks promising now that I will join. I'd be stupid not to pursue it. I look forward to giving it a crack."

On the other hand, it seems possible Graeme McDowell might go the Paul Casey route and relinquish his European Tour card if his game doesn't pick up soon. He loses his full exemption on the PGA Tour this season, so needs a win or Top 125 FedEx points finish to retain his card. He told the Golf Channel:
"My playing privileges on this side of the Atlantic are more important than my playing privileges on the European Tour, simply because when you boil it all down and look at it from a purely monetary point of view, I want to be employed in the best possible job I can. Making a living is what it's all about."

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Post by pedro on Thu 12 Nov 2015, 8:19 pm

There's no money in MC's Gmac!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 12 Nov 2015, 10:52 pm

Much better today from McDool, tied for 10th with just a few groups still out there.

Justin Leonard making a surprising return to the leaderboard - he's been saying he'll only play a dozen events this year. Will we notice the difference? Good player for so long, but only "relevant" now on a small number of courses. (And, no, I'm not talking about Luke Donald, not yet anyway.)

Lousy from Gonzo on a course you'd think he should play well on. Looks like he's not in next week's field and it may be a long time before we see him playing the PGA Tour again.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 13 Nov 2015, 2:53 pm

Much much better from McDool - now in the lead as he embarks on his second nine. Wonder if that's the first time that's happened since Stadler choked on his long putter en Paris two summers ago.

Gonzo with four birds in his first six holes - someone tell him he needs at least three more, and no stumbles.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 13 Nov 2015, 5:33 pm

Lovely stuff from McDowell, takes his first pint with a two-stroke lead after shooting 8-under-par 63.
Russell Knox in with a 65 of his own and he'll have his haggis sarnie in 7th place.

Hope he has his European Tour membership all i's dotted, t's crossed.

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Post by robopz on Sat 14 Nov 2015, 12:42 am

GMac... awesome.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 14 Nov 2015, 12:51 pm

Early start in Mayakoba due to anticipation of bad weather later today.

McDowell on the move at 9.00 a.m., 3.00 p.m. en Paris # censored

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 14 Nov 2015, 2:34 pm

Double bogey, bogey start for McDowell, and he's been swallowed up by the field, including Russell Knox.
That five-over-par just on the first hole for McDool this week. So far.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 14 Nov 2015, 9:38 pm

Good comeback, four penalty shots considered, by McDowell - tied for third going into Round 4 with Russell Knox and some others.

Very good to see Freddie Jac playing well; he's playing on a Medical Exemption, but just has eight events, including this one, to earn $283K or 155 FedEx points to have full "playing privileges" restored. Tomorrow could see him fulfil those requirements, at the very least eat up a big chunk of them.

Wonder if this has happened before:
Last week in Mississippi Johnson Wagner shot four straight 69's.
This week in Mexico he's shot three straight 67's. What price a fourth?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 15 Nov 2015, 3:00 pm

Up and running in Mayakoba now, but for how long? Thunderstorms in the forecast according to the PGA Tour's web-site.
Each of the leading threesomes has a European, Knox, McDowell and Jacobson.

Has Knox now signed up as a European Tour member? He's committed to NedBank and could really use the owgr points available this week.
McDowell could use whatever he can get - he's in next week's field also, in a part of the world he's enjoyed success in.
And Freddie Jac is on that Major Medical Exemption, see previous post.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 15 Nov 2015, 7:56 pm

No resumption of play expected before 3.30 p.m..
Monday finish looms.

EDIT: Make that no play expected before 4.00 p.m.; now certain to be a Monday finish.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 15 Nov 2015, 9:50 pm

Looks like their rocking and rolling in Mexico, Russell Knox and Jason Bohn rolling in birdies to open up a 2-shot margin over McDowell.

Nice to see the British in contention.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 1:15 am

Knox & McDowell will be back at it Monday morning, tied for the lead, two strokes ahead of Giveadoga and four ahead of the field.

Play resumes 8.00 a.m. local time, 2.00 p.m. en Paris.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 1:08 pm

Play resumed at 7.56 a.m., suspended again at 7.59 a.m.
Just enough time for Jason Bohn and Russell Knox to pitch/chip on the Par-5 13th to within 5ft birdie range.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 2:07 pm

Thriller at Mayakoba, Knox with a one-stroke edge over Bohn and McDowell, a couple of holes left.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 2:51 pm

Play off !!!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 2:58 pm

A good result for all three play-offers - would mean even more to McDowell than it would for the other two who are both already exempt for next season.
Imagine that, if Knox wins, he'll have earned another year's exemption.
But this tee-shot doesn't seem to fit his eye.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 3:07 pm

Wow. Great shot.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 3:07 pm

Almost a Craig Parry . . . . . . .

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Post by I'm never wrong on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 3:08 pm

Advantage GMac

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Post by I'm never wrong on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 3:13 pm

We'll done GMac.

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Post by pedro on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 3:19 pm

So the proverbial luck of the (fat) Irish (accountant) capitalises on the equally proverbial choke of the tight fisted Scot. kiss

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Post by super_realist on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 3:20 pm

Racist

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Post by hend085 on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 3:23 pm

he get into the masters with that? thru top 50?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 3:26 pm

Great win for McDool, imagine that'll change his schedule a little. But he's not going to get back into Top 50 territory yet, should creep up to about 64th.
He should make sure he plays Kapalua, third there the only time he's played it, and you'd think the course would be right up his street.

hend0, Definitely into The Masters with the win.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 3:27 pm

Definitely in Masters, just by winning I think. Not sure if he gets to top 50. Something along the lines of "Winners of full point tournaments..."

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Post by pedro on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 3:28 pm

hend085 wrote:he get into the masters with that? thru top 50?
As far as I'm concerned he should get in thru affirmative action.

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Post by Shotrock on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 4:10 pm

GMAC's commitment to the big tour looks like the right call! Well played.

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Post by Bob_the_Job on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 4:13 pm

Nice win by GMac - bit of a trial of concentration.
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Post by hend085 on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 4:22 pm

ah i was thinking the Win wasnt enough as it was opposite the China WGC but of course the WGC was the previous week

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 5:40 pm

prince drac has McDowell at #62 in the owgr's.

So far as I can see he's played the McGladrey (now called the RSM Classic) a few years ago, but only once and missed the cut.
Limited familiarity with the "Seaside" course, probably none with the "Plantation" course and wonder whether it's worth him flying in and trying to learn, essentially, two new courses in two days?

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer on Mon 16 Nov 2015, 5:50 pm

Confirmed Kwini.

Fitzpatrick and Poulter replace Lingmerth and Westwood in the top 50

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Post by McLaren on Tue 17 Nov 2015, 7:18 pm

Did Gmac extend his PGAT career? I doubt he will qualify via any other route than past winner in 2017.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 17 Nov 2015, 7:24 pm

What do you mean, Mac? McDowell is now exempt for all of 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18.


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Post by McLaren on Tue 17 Nov 2015, 7:26 pm

Sorry I meant 2018.

If gmac had not won, I would have predicted that his current form would have meant this would have been his last season on the PGAT.

I predict his form will not improve and that his only status from 2017 to 2018 will be based on this weeks win.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 17 Nov 2015, 8:11 pm

Strange posting that, Mac. He played pretty darn well in Mexico. Would expect him back in the owgr Top Fifty sooner rather than later.

Surprised to see Russell Knox's name is yet to be included in the Ryder Cup World Points list - does that indicate that bureaucracy is holding up his (assumed) application to join? Those 12 points he earned in Mexico might be important in the months ahead.

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Post by McLaren on Tue 17 Nov 2015, 9:24 pm

Why is it strange to post that? I though this blog was partly focused on Europeans playing the PGAT. If that is so it is perfectly normal to discuss how a European will fare on the PGAT in the coming years.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 17 Nov 2015, 9:57 pm

Yeah, But why come up with such a negative post after he's played his best golf since Gleneagles? And won it with a perfect drive and wonderful 5-iron. Superb. And hopefully a sign of things to come.

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Post by McLaren on Tue 17 Nov 2015, 11:27 pm

I thought it was a positive post. He has extended his career beyond what would have been reasonable to expect only a week ago. I like Gmac and am glad we will see him on the PGAT for two further seasons.
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Post by pedro on Tue 17 Nov 2015, 11:30 pm

McLaren wrote:I like Gmac
No you don't. He's Irish. Run

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 18 Nov 2015, 2:43 pm

Interesting comments from Adam Scott, suggesting he might not go to Rio even if he qualifies for the Aussie Olympic Team.
"I've been pretty open and outspoken that it's not really a priority of my scheduling next year, which is based around the Majors, and if the Olympics fits in then it does. There is a gap in the schedule there . . . some time off sounds quite good actually."
etc, etc.

He goes on to criticise the format and the quality of the potential field, and doesn't see how it is likely to enhance or grow the game.

Well said Adam, agree 100% - have never seen the point of sports in the Olympics that don't recognize Olympic achievement is the pinnacle of the athlete's career.

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Post by super_realist on Wed 18 Nov 2015, 2:47 pm

Seems like a sensible man. Golf, a "sport" which can have a fat knacker at the top who smokes and drinks capaciously, and where the competitor walks, and whose equipment is carried by a third party has no place in the pinnacle of athletic sports.

There's a lot of sports in the Olympics like that (dressage for example) and we don't need another.

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Post by beninho on Wed 18 Nov 2015, 3:22 pm

I have no issues with Golf in the olympics.

When the current majors started they weren't all the most important things to the golfers of the day. Its just happened over the years. Nothing to say that in 30/40/50 years an olympic medal in golf wont be the most important event of the year.

When the European cup was formed, British teams paid little attention, Real Madrid paid it lots of attention, and set themselves up as the most successful club sides ever.

If you take out any sport that does not recognise the Olympic achievement as the pinnacle of their career, then you would remove a lot of events.

Look at the success of cycling from the Olympics, though is it the pinnacle, nope, The Tour de France is. Its been said that in Athletics the World Championships are harder to win and a better standard overall than the Olympics.

If Adam Scott does not fancy the Olympics, then fine and well, I would assume Australia's premier Golfer will play anyway.

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Post by Davie on Wed 18 Nov 2015, 3:38 pm

super_realist wrote:Seems like a sensible man. Golf, a "sport" which can have a fat knacker at the top who smokes and drinks capaciously, and where the competitor walks, and whose equipment is carried by a third party has no place in the pinnacle of athletic sports.

There's a lot of sports in the Olympics like that (dressage for example) and we don't need another.

Oh hell he's off again with periodic rant #2. The Irish being periodic rant #1. Won't be long till #3 appears I reckon (the mythical flying spaghetti monster or whatever it is he always uses to attack religions)

Can almost set your watch by these rants....

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Post by GPB on Wed 18 Nov 2015, 3:50 pm

I wouldn't be surprised if Jason Day finds an excuse to not go to the Olympics. He has shown that he doesn't like to travel. Only been back to Australia a couple times since he came to USA, never has played the HSBC.

IMO, Olympics should be for the extreme niche sports where an olympic medal is the epitome of the sport.

Swimming, Track/Field, Gymnastics, Figure Skating, etc.

Golf and Tennis doesn't fit that definition. Nor does Hockey.

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Post by super_realist on Wed 18 Nov 2015, 4:10 pm

Davie wrote:
super_realist wrote:Seems like a sensible man. Golf, a "sport" which can have a fat knacker at the top who smokes and drinks capaciously, and where the competitor walks, and whose equipment is carried by a third party has no place in the pinnacle of athletic sports.

There's a lot of sports in the Olympics like that (dressage for example) and we don't need another.

Oh hell he's off again with periodic rant #2. The Irish being periodic rant #1. Won't be long till #3 appears I reckon (the mythical flying spaghetti monster or whatever it is he always uses to attack religions)

Can almost set your watch by these rants....

I gave my opinion on why golf shouldn't be in the Olympics because it doesn't live up the the Olympic ideal. What's wrong with that?

If you are going to put golf in some sort of world games, stick it in with an event which features: shove ha'penny, quoits, bowls, ten pin bowling, croquet, petanque, fishing etc.

The Leisurely and Physically Inactive Games.

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