PGA Tour: Aloha!: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 06 Jan 2016, 4:55 pm

1).We've said our Happy New Years, the only turkeys in sight are contesting the Republican Primaries, the stock market is tanking, our first cold spell has delivered "smoke on the water", and sunrise ticks earlier by Friday. What does it all mean? That's right. Kapalua.

2).It's back! PGA Tour golf returns Thursday for what looks to be a terrific field at gorgeous Kapalua.
Furyk is still nursing the wrist "bone contusion" that he injured during last September's Play Offs, Lowry, McIlroy and Rose are resting on last year's laurels, but everyone else who's eligible will be teeing off the new year at the "Hyundai Tournament of Champions", the best field there for ten years. The forecast is excellent, so none of the rain or unplayable wind of years past is expected, just longer drives than ever and green complexes that can give the players fits. Experience matters more than size this week.

3).The press has been writing about "Tiger at Forty" for the past month, but let's not look back, look forward to the year ahead. In no particular order:

4).Anchored putting has left the Tours, perhaps never to return, and some golfers will be affected, maybe to the permanent decline of their careers. Bradley and Simpson tried the short putter last season with disappointing results, the jury is out on Adam Scott, though he was brilliant in his Presidents Cup singles, and Pettersson and Clark are still to stand up and be counted. Brendan Steele has adjusted reasonably well but he seems to be the only one.
When the Champions Tour resumes, all eyes will be on Bernhard Langer to see what he comes up with.
The anchoring along one's arm that Kuchar and some others indulge in looks awkward but it may well be the technique of last resort to some of the contortionists. As for Martin Laird, not quite sure how his efforts with the putter are categorized, but he'll need to putt a lot better with whatever it is he does to keep his card this year.

5).Talking of Martin Laird, it's going to be a crucial year for some of England's fading flag-bearers, Messrs Donald, Poulter and Westwood, especially if they harbour Ryder Cup aspirations. Right now, you'd bet against them. After Justin Rose, the next English golfers in the owgrs are Willett, (Casey who for these purposes doesn't count), Sullivan, Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood before we get to Westwood and Poulter, Donald even further adrift.
For double-dipping purposes, Donald has no current Major or WGC eligibility, Poulter's just in The Masters, Westwood is in The Masters and Open, while both will contest the PGA if they retain owgr Top 100 status, no certainty based upon the past six months.

6).Current European Ryder Cup qualifying top nine: Rory, Vic, Fitz, Sullivan, Stenson, Rose, Wood, Broberg, Willett. With Sergio and Martin Kaymer in the wings, and Lowry, McDool, Knox and Donaldson all hoping to play, Lukey, IJP and lw1 need to get cracking.

7).The US Ryder Cup Team will look very much like the recent Presidents Cup squad, perhaps with Kisner, Justin Thomas, Koepka, Sneds, perhaps Horschel, and even the little squirt known as Kevin Na in contention.

8).Davis Love is playing Kapalua following his win at Greensboro. DLIII is into his fifties these days, but I'd suggest he's been the best player of the past 30 years not to have multiple Majors. Discussion on that?

9).Always difficult to know who to fancy at Kapalua; course experience plays a big part, but one never knows from year to year who's still working off the mince pies and Christmas pud, and who's been in the gym and on the range.
Reed was in terrific form at the end of 2015 and is defending champ so you'd think he's favourite going in. Used to be that Southern Hamisphere golfers had an edge, Ernie and Vijay, Ogilvy and Apples, but not to much since Aussies and Saffers have stopped winning.
In the absence of Rory, Rosey and Shane, GB&I is represented by Harrington, McDowell and Knox. A sneaking fancy here for McDool who looked newly motivated at Mayakoba after mailing it in for most of 2015.  

10).Lastly, it's goodbye to Ryder Cuppers, Bromley's Jimmy Hitchcock (1965) and Christy O'Connor Jr, nephew of Himself and hero of the 1989 win at The Belfry. Only one win in three matches between the two of them, but what a win it was. Farewell Christy.

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Post by Shotrock on Wed 06 Jan 2016, 8:36 pm

Happy New Year Kwin. Always look forward to this event ... kind of like golf course porn with the amazing vistas and weather.

Agree with you on Davis Love ... seemed to lack that killer instinct that so many multi-major winners possess.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 06 Jan 2016, 10:57 pm

Golf Digest's ranking of the Top 100 courses in the World:
Royal County Down #1,

Top Ten:
1: RCD
2: Augusta National
3: Pine Valley
4: Cypress Point
5: Dornoch
6: Royal Melbourne
7: Shinnecock
8: TOC
9: Muirfield
10: Merion

Other GB&I courses ranked:
22: Turnberry
23: Sunningdale
25: Portmarnock
26: Carnoustie
27: Portrush
35: Birkdale
45: Royal SG
47: Porthcawl
50: N.Berwick
54: Drumpf Islamic
61: Swinley Forest
65: Lahinch
69: Kingsbarns
82: Lytham
91: Machrihanish
92: Sunningdale (New)

Troon not ranked.

Full list:
http://www.golfdigest.com/story/worlds-100-greatest-golf-courses-2016-ranking

Not sure about this, it almost seems as if the rankings are designed to recognized old classics they'd be shot for not including, but panders to new developments that have stood the test of dollars, but not yet time.

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Post by sirbenson on Wed 06 Jan 2016, 11:22 pm

Finally a field befitting the label of a tournament of champions, should it be made a mandatory event?

Looking forward to 2016 should be an epic year!

Great article as usual Kwini!

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Post by sirbenson on Wed 06 Jan 2016, 11:25 pm

As for best players with only one major win, surely Furyk would be amongst the discussion alongside Davis?

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Post by pedro on Wed 06 Jan 2016, 11:32 pm

Then we have all the players without a major win, eg. Monty?

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Post by GPB on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 12:42 am

Going back further than 30 years, I would nominate Wadkins and Littler, although both might claim their US Amateurs were majors.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 1:02 am

Hi sirbenson,
Don't see how you can make the TOC mandatory any more than you can a Major. Nice try though!
Had thought of segueing Furyk into that discussion but put the RIP's in instead. Would certainly say Love , especially with his two Players.
Monty a good call, but would say Love's CV is superior, much better in WGC's as well.

Good shouts on Gene the Machine and Lanny, GPB. I'd still go for Davis, though Littler would run him close, arguably Weiskopf too.

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Post by Shotrock on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 12:02 pm

Save for the every other year exhibition country v continent event, Monty (to my knowledge) hasn't ever hoisted a winner's trophy on the big tour.

Doing just fine on the fossil tour over here, however.

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Post by super_realist on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 12:18 pm

There wasn't such a chasm between the PGA and the European Tour in Monty's day as there is now.

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Post by Bob_the_Job on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 12:23 pm

Cheers Kwini.

RIP Christy O'Connor Jnr indeed - met him years ago and he was fun to chat with.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 1:40 pm

Nominations so far are pretty strong: All these have one Major:
Love: 3 x 2nd, 21 x Top Tens
Wadkins: 4 x 2nd, 4 x 3rd, 18 x Top Tens
Littler: 3 x 2nd, 1 x 3rd, 20 x Top Tens
Furyk: 3 x 2nd, 22 x Top Tens
Weiskopf: 5 x 2nd, 3 x 3rd, 21 x Top Tens

No Majors:
Montgomerie: 5 x 2nd, 1 x 3rd, 10 x Top Tens
Westwood: 2 x 2nd, 6 x 3rd, 17 x Top Tens


(And do Westwood's two wins on the "Big Tour" make his record better than Montgomerie's? I think not.)


My top two from these candidates would be Weiskopf and Love, with Montgomerie and Wadkins a close run thing for 3rd.

But I'm sure there are other candidates . . . . . .

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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 1:46 pm

Shotrock wrote:Save for the every other year exhibition country v continent event, Monty (to my knowledge) hasn't ever hoisted a winner's trophy on the big tour.  

Doing just fine on the fossil tour over here, however.
Not disagereeing with you here, but in 1997 he won the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf before it became WGC matchplay.

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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 1:53 pm

Love this tournament. As Shotrock said, the weather, the views, and the high quality field make this pure fantasy golf porn, especially when it's cold, dark and wet in miserable old England. Not many courses where the cameraman gets distracted by whales.

This course can make you look silly, with putts seemingly breaking up hill, and balls rolling 100+ yards away from you if you find the wrong part of the fairway.

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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 2:30 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Golf Digest's ranking of the Top 100 courses in the World:
Royal County Down #1,

Top Ten:
1: RCD
2: Augusta National
3: Pine Valley
4: Cypress Point

So these 4 courses have been around a long time. I know Augusta gets tweaked regularly, but what has happened for RCD to move up from 4 to 1, or Pine Valley down from 1 to 3?

Course ranking is so subjective. This is worthy of a separate thread....

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 5:47 pm

That's one way to get Jason Day to play in Auistralia . . . . . . .
Announced today that the 2016 World Cup will be held at Kingston Heath, presumably Day and Scott defending the title they won in 2013.
Is this going to be every three years now? Absurd.
Also: Wonder which Americans will show up, being that their Thanksgiving-for-their-guns is the Thursday of the event?

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Post by Be_the_ball on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 9:05 pm

Great piece as always Kwini, I do like this event but the time difference ruins the live coverage for me TV coverage doesn't start until 11.30pm here.. Can't be doing that on a school night Wink Although its a good field and would be a shame to miss it.

Definitely feel that Love has under achieved with only one Major win, he and Fred Couples you would feel with their length advantage and natural talent should have won more Majors.

RIP Christy Jnr, remembered fondly by many for his Ryder Cup heroics but also for designing many courses here in Ireland, one of them being the home course of Shane Lowry - Esker Hills Co. Offaly.

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Post by super_realist on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 9:12 pm

Be_the_ball wrote:Great piece as always Kwini, I do like this event but the time difference ruins the live coverage for me TV coverage doesn't start until 11.30pm here.. Can't be doing that on a school night Wink Although its a good field and would be a shame to miss it.

Definitely feel that Love has under achieved with only one Major win, he and Fred Couples you would feel with their length advantage and natural talent should have won more Majors.

RIP Christy Jnr, remembered fondly by many for his Ryder Cup heroics but also for designing many courses here in Ireland, one of them being the home course of Shane Lowry - Esker Hills Co. Offaly.

No doubt that was the draw for Lowry.

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Post by Shotrock on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 9:14 pm

Course ranking is indeed subjective, and you could easily throw a towel over the top 10 as far as I'm concerned.

I will say this ... The golf course that is Pine Valley is exceptional, but the entire "experience" of playing and then post rounds drinks and food make the experience astounding!


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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 12:05 am

Blimey,
Harrington tied for a very early lead.
Long may it last.


Good call on Couples, B_t_b, Never has so much natural talent been so comprehensively squandered. Sad to say.
School night much more important than this carp.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 12:56 am

Decent start for Harrington; missed one fairway, one green, but his putter failed him, losing more than two strokes to the field.
Still, _3 ain't bad.
McDool +2 which is obviously disappointing; 2 x double bogeys in his last six holes. Must do better.

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Post by Shotrock on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 2:26 pm

An unsurprising leaderboard thus far. Boy this is fun to watch, and comes at an ideal time of day for my personal viewing!


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Post by McLaren on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 2:39 pm

Shotrock

Not sure exactly what time this is on in your time region but one of the reasons I watch way more PGAT action compared to the Euro tour is that the PGAT action tends to be on in the evening. It is rare to be around the house in the middle of the day when the European tour is on, or in bed if it is on even earlier when playing east of us. If I am around during those hour then I will be watching football, F1 or another sport.

I really enjoy having a few drinks and nibbles and watching the PGAT in the evening.
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Post by Shotrock on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 2:49 pm

Mac - Exactly. I live in the Eastern Time Zone, so watching this event 8pm+ is ideal for me. Sure, I could TIVO all golf, go into radio silence, and watch every event at that same time ... but that never works for me!

One of these years I should just go and watch this in person. I've been to Hawaii and would like to return again.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 3:21 pm

Not a good idea Shotrock; almost unwalkable. Much better to save your ducats until you have an opportunity to take the clubs and play it. That'll be a memorable experience.

What do you think of Piazza reaching the HOF? Think I would have voted for Raines first.

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Post by raycastleunited on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 3:30 pm

Shotrock, I imagine Kapalua is very poor for spectating... long walks between holes, holes that run parallel are often separated by un-crossable ravines so you can't easily switch between groups, one side of the fairway is often bordered by ravines so limited vantage points.

On the other hand, playing it is golfing heaven. It's not cheap but well worth it.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 7:36 pm

Decent return from injury by Harrington yesterday, and good news today that Stenson is recovering well from his December meniscus surgery and is already hitting balls - should be good to go in Abu Dhabi.

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Post by Shotrock on Sat 09 Jan 2016, 3:03 am

Wonderful effort Jordan at the halfway point... but one gets the feeling that if Rory were here it would be a different story line.

No denying Piazza's offensive output Kwin. Few catchers do what he's done. Not a Met's fan however!

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Post by McLaren on Sat 09 Jan 2016, 10:02 am

Sadly sounds like Henrick has been conned into getting arthroscopic knee surgery.


The evidence against it is pretty interesting.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1305189#t=article

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa1301408

http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h2747

http://www.cochrane.org/CD005118/MUSKEL_arthroscopic-debridement-for-osteoarthritis-of-the-knee
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 09 Jan 2016, 12:36 pm

However good Rory is, Spieth is pretty darned incredible. When he plays like this, he looks like he'll never make a mistake.


Sony Open next week and a solid, if not spectacular field.

Europeans committed include:
Blixt, Cejka, Donald, Harrington, Knox, Lingmerth, McDowell, Molinari, Norlander, Owen and Pettersson. Brian Davis continuing his taste of life as a web.com graduate - fourth alternate.


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Post by Be_the_ball on Sat 09 Jan 2016, 9:25 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:However good Rory is, Spieth is pretty darned incredible. When he plays like this, he looks like he'll never make a mistake.

Yep, the kid looks bullet proof at the minute. I really didn't see him continuing last year's form into this year, but he's been magical this week so far, good on em great golf.

He looks like he rolls over on the outside of his left foot especially on his driver swing, hopefully he doesn't do any ligament damage in the future. As long as he doesn't play 5 a side with Rory''s mates he should be OK ;/

Delighted with Harrington so far, he looks fresh mentally which is good.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 09 Jan 2016, 10:06 pm

There he goes again! 45 ft in putts made and Spieth's 3 under par for his first five holes.

The latest issue of Golf Digest reckons he's surpassed Mickelson and Woods in total annual earnings; it also has Phil a couple of $mil ahead of Tiger in "off-course" earnings. Never thought I'd see the day.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 1:27 am

Remarkable performance from Spieth.

Eagle at the last, -13 over the 12 x Par 5's he's played so far, and no three putts in the 126 holes he's played at Kapalua in his career. That is incredible, as I'm sure JAS will testify - most improbable that any amateur would two-putt or better every hole in one round, let alone seven.

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Post by super_realist on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 9:25 am

I thought the Science Denier might struggle to reach the highs of last year. Doesn't look like it so far.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 4:55 pm

Poulter's still chasing Woods. 40 today, Poults!

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Post by GPB on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 5:05 pm

Luke Donald says he almost quit golf last year

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/golf/12091816/Luke-Donald-My-confidence-was-shot-and-I-was-seriously-thinking-of-quitting.html

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 6:25 pm

Good article about St.Luke - he hits the nail on the head when he reflects he needs to be among the best in the world with his short game if he's going to start climbing the rankings again. And that starts with all the scoring clubs, not just around the green.
Hope he does it, and he should hope so too - his "off course" earnings for 2015 are reported as $4M, and those will diminish as quickly as his on-course swag does.

Thanks GPB.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 11:30 pm

Jordan Spieth is the best putter I've ever seen. Unreal.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 2:46 am

Nice start to Harrington's year; should be good for a Top Ten finish and maybe we'll see the renaissance that his Honda win suggested after all.
Incredible performance from Spieth - almost matched Ernie's course record but, to continue the golf porn analogy, all final rounds were under par.
Bigger challenges are ahead.

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Post by McLaren on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 12:30 pm

Rory need to seriously consider altering his schedule so that he faces Spieth more often. If possible, handing a wupping to Spieth might be the only way to break his momentum. Rory can't just sit at home and hope that Spieth will stop winning.
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Post by Shotrock on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 1:09 pm

Mac - Not sure that Rory cares Jordan is winning when Rory is not in the field. BUT, Rory/Jordan/Jason's victories will all come with an asterisk when not competing against each other. Looking forward to a great year of competitive professional golf.

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Post by McLaren on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 1:28 pm

Shotrock

He will care if the only time he competes against Spieth is in the big events and Spieth kicks his asre, because Spieth is in such a confident mood. I suggest Rory tries to beat Spieth in the smaller events so that he gets used to doing it.


As you say, this could be a great year for golf.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 1:35 pm

Mac,
Won't Rory/Jordan get their chance in Abu Dhabi?

Hopefully Rory is taking the long view; he'd be crazy to adjust his schedule every time the next bright young thing came along. As they all would.

EDIT: Mac, Spieth and Rory are also both reported to be committed to play Riviera, Doral and the Dell MatchPlay. Plus Augusta of course. Isn't that enough to be going on with??


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 3:18 pm; edited 1 time in total

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PGA Tour: Aloha!: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: Aloha!: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by pedro on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 1:56 pm

Think Day will be flukey. Spieth however is here to stay. I wonder if he thanks God or science? Rory has to keep playing at his best to match Spieth. If he does though, 2016 could turn out to be a great spectacle.

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Post by McLaren on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 3:18 pm

Els was broken by Tiger very early on. However Rory tackles the Spieth problem he needs to avoid that outcome.
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Post by Shotrock on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 3:22 pm

Strange last year for Rory ... never really got on a run and his footie injury did him no good. I expect he'll play very strong early on and throughout the year.

I would like to lag putt like Spieth for one round. Is that asking too much?

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Post by navyblueshorts on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 3:56 pm

McLaren wrote:Els was broken by Tiger very early on.  However Rory tackles the Spieth problem he needs to avoid that outcome.
Seriously? Yes, he's a broken man. I can see it in his body language every time he's on TV....
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Post by navyblueshorts on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 3:57 pm

pedro wrote:Think Day will be flukey. Spieth however is here to stay. I wonder if he thanks God or science? Rory has to keep playing at his best to match Spieth. If he does though, 2016 could turn out to be a great spectacle.
Who gives a XXXX? He doesn't preach live during his 18th green interviews after his wins does he??
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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 4:09 pm

Ernie won three Majors during the "Tiger" era; don't suppose Rory would think it a failure if he failed to get more than three more Majors. So long as one is a Masters.

Ironic that the tournament that Tiger really got in Ernie's head was at Kapalua - still the most memorable head-to-head final few holes I can remember.

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Post by sirbenson on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 4:10 pm

Great start to the season Padraig!! Now let's keep the momentum and have another good tournament this week!

Spieth is head and shoulders above Day and Mcilroy imo!

I can't see Day replicating last year and for me Spieth is so much more mentally stronger than Rory, and that is not even taking into account his far superior putting.

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