PGA Tour: Not your father's Bob Hope any more: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 20 Jan 2016, 4:29 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).Thirty or forty years ago, it seemed that every "A" List entertainer attached themselves to a PGA Tour event, from Bing Crosby to Glen Campbell. This lot are mostly dead now, or at least don't know the difference, but certainly made their mark in PGA Tour golf, either helping to save tournaments that were struggling or attracting new fans to the game as television coverage grew.
Bing Crosby might have been one of the pioneers in this, with his Pebble Beach "clambake", but his one-time sidekick, Eltham's own Leslie Hope, probably had the most enduring impact.

2).The "Bob Hope Desert Classic" began in the California desert's Palm Springs area in 1960 and has endured, just about, seemingly reinventing itself every two or three years ever since, its latest reincarnation lyrically named the "CareerBuilder Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation", as in Bill and Hillary.
The Pro-Am part of the event has declined in terms of household-name participants and is largely unwatchable, but the competitive nature of the host courses is slowly improving and fingers crossed for a competitive Final Round, pros only, on Sunday.

3).156 golfers tee it up in Rounds 1, 2 and 3 (on three different courses) and the cut will be made after Round 3. Round 4 will be at PGA West's Stadium Course. Who will be Building their Career this week?

4).Fabian Gomez certainly built his career at last week's Sony Open and most likely sealed a spot with Emiliano Grillo representing Argentina (blue and white striped shirts please) at Rio's Olympics. That's Fabian's third win in seven months, Memphis, November's "Personal Classic" on the Latinoamerica Tour, and now Hawaii!

5).Zac Blair's ten foot eagle putt just missed wide right on the 72nd hole, but he's another Career Builder, half a generation younger than Gomez. Shortish and baby-faced (almost Joe Root-ish) he nevertheless has Spieth-like confidence. His Dad has flirted with the PGA and Champions Tours, but with less success than that showed already by Baby Zac.
He also created a stir of his own on Sunday by appearing to play a chip shot on Waialae's 17th with his fairway wood touching his stomach. This was (no doubt correctly) ruled inadvertent but, together with Shingo's efforts in Malaysia shows just how fine a line the Tour's gestapos are going to have to tread in enforcing the "anchoring" rule.  

6).And now I see the European Tour are leading the way on stamping out egregiously slow play. One day's worth of watching Premier League games shows just how rules can be interpreted in different ways so let's hope the Paramors of this world can officiate with common sense without being gratuitously officious (or vindictive). Another fine line as football's best refs prove every week.

7).European Tour Ryder Cup wannabes have largely failed to make up any significant ground in the Qualifying process, with Harrington's good result at Kapalua the only Top Ten in the Hawaii part of the "West Coast Swing". McDowell has reverted to last year's mid-season form, Knox has lost his form, while Donald, Harrington and Molinari will rue throwing away good starts at the "Sony".
Better luck next week? Let's hope so, but only Luke and Franny among the big names go this week, though David Lingmerth is clocking up Top Twentys. He announced himself to the PGA Tour at this tournament a few years ago with a Play-Off loss, and is playing well again.

8).Two golfers who have had trouble over the past few years with sickness of body and putter are Jason Dufner and Graham DeLaet. Both scored Top Tens at the "Sony" and both should be worth following at favoured courses this year. Might almost be worth doubling up on each-way investments until they pay off.

9).Phil Mickelson's seasonal return from his customary sabbatical will no doubt attract the TV cameras, and there's someone who could use these coming weeks as a Career REBuilder, having slipped to #36.
If Phil can't get things turned round early this year, with the motivation of playing on Davis Love's Team, I'm fearing his brilliant career could fade fast.

10).With not much course form (other than at various Q-Schools) to go by, it's probably best to look at current form (Reed, Blair and Lingmerth, for instance) and desert success (Howell, Steele, Haas etc) for likely winners, but all a bit of a lottery really.
But things start to get tasty next week, with San Diego followed by Phoenix, Pebble Beach and the mini-Major LA Open at Riviera, three out of four played on great courses where horses-for-courses once again becomes a good guide.

kwinigolfer

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 27 Jan 2016, 10:41 am

Reports yesterday that Paul Azinger will be announced this week as Greg Norman's replacement alongside world-class knowitall Joe Buck on Fox's golf coverage. Can't help but improve it, but they really need to get rid of Buck. Unfortunately for us, the Buck stops there.

kwinigolfer

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 27 Jan 2016, 6:43 pm

Confirmation:
Norman OUT, as we knew.
Azinger IN, as we hoped!

Buck still stops there. Damnit.

kwinigolfer

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