PGA Tour: The Real Start to the Golfing Year?: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 27 Jan 2016, 5:55 pm

1).The first three US tournaments are behind us;
The "Golfing Porn" of gorgeous Kapalua.
The fairways and greens of the excellent Waialae CC.
And the bugger's muddle now known as the CareerBuilder.
All appetisers for a string of three weeks out of four on great golf courses, plus the golfing mosh pit sometimes known as TPC Scottsdale.

2).Starting this week in San Diego, at the two Torrey Pines courses.
Tranquil (hopefully not risk-of-fog tranquil) weather should prevail until Sunday when the forecast resembles that of the Bay of Biscay on a bad day rather than Sunny California. Hopefully the forecast of high winds and horizontal rain will be an exaggeration, but don't say you weren't warned. Monday looks good though.

3).The US Open was played on Torrey Pines (South) in 2008 and will return in 2021. The South course can be stretched to 7,700 yards and has recently favoured (duh) the longest hitters, but the field will also play 18 holes on the shorter (7,000 yds) North Course where scores should be lower and the Par-5's are among the easiest on Tour. West Coast guys usually have an advantage, and good form here is often followed by success at Pebble and Riviera.

4).Local-ish boy Rickie Fowler will be here, fresh off his latest win, in Abu Dhabi. But CareerBuilder Jason Dufner will presumably be cooling his jets until his rise continues, appropriately enough, in Phoenix.
What a contrast in media reaction to their respective excellent wins?
Rickie Fowler follows a 30-yard front nine bunker shot hole-out with another holed chip on the 17th and is immediately elevated to Spieth/Day/McIlroy status.
While Dufner's win, also aided by a slice of good 17th hole fortune, is characterised as "lucky".

5).I mentioned last week that Dufner should be followed, and he seems to have put Amanda's behind behind him and will be worth following again on suitable courses - he lost a play-off a few years ago in Phoenix, for instance, and he has won or runnered up at New Orleans, Dallas and Ft Worth.

6).We don't talk about Stewart Cink that much nowadays, but he's still plodding along, flattering with occasional good rounds only to deceive on most weekends.
Last week he played his 500th tournament as a Pro.
And he joins ten other under-50's who still have some Tour status remaining at 500 tournaments or more:
Mayfair (755), Estes (633) and eight more who have played 500 or more events, in descending order:
Toms (594), Kelly, Leonard, Furyk, Mickelson, Herron, DiMarco and (surprised me) Appleby.

7).Amidst the musical chairs being played by Tour sponsors, it's being speculated that the termination of the DeutscheBank contract for Round 2 of the FedEx Play Offs may lead to the number of Play Off events being reduced from 4 to 3.
Meanwhile, Hyundai are succeeding Northern Trust as title sponsor of the LA Open from 2017.
And Northern Trust are taking over the New York tournament from Barclays.

8).The 2015 "Farmers Insurance Open" could be seen as the start of Jason Day making the transition from G'Day to Great Day. He missed this week's Pro-Am with "flu-like symptoms", a euphemism if ever there was one, and may not be at his strongest, but there's a strong field including Day, Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Casey, etc, etc.. Following his two steps to the podium in Hawaii, Snedeker will be playing at another happy hunting ground, with a 1st and two other 2nd place finishes here. While Phil will be hoping to add to his three San Diego wins, and his Ryder Cup qualifying status.

9).Despite all the chest thumping about winning back the Ryder Cup, I wonder if half the motivation of top US players is just to get on the Team, rather than actually winning the damn thing? Webb Simpson, for instance, already rumoured to be wearing DLIII's patience thin with incessant volleys of text messages.
Who knows, but what we do know is the current standings for the eight automatic qualifying places:
Spieth, Dustin, Zach, Fowler, Sneds, Kisner, Phil and Dufner.

10).The European points element of the European qualifying will be clearer following next week's Dubai action, but World points are also crucial and Justin Rose will be looking this week to improve his 3rd place position. And Shane Lowry (26th in World points) will be hoping to repeat last year's success in San Diego where he finished 7th. At 209th in FedEx points Lowry needs a good result or three.
Paul Dunne scored a sponsor's invitation and it'll be interesting to see how his early-career form translates in California.
But I reckon this would be a good week to start doubling up on making a small e.w. investment in Graham DeLaet. Oh Canada?

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Post by raycastleunited on Wed 27 Jan 2016, 11:12 pm

Great write up Kwini, enjoyed that even more than normal.

Do you not think it's fair for the media to start hyping Fowler as potentially gate-crashing "the big three"? He did just beat 2 of them. And isn't he now up to 4 in the rankings? For me, he can't join them at the top table until he wins a major.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 12:42 am

Hi ray, Thanks.
Yup, of course it's fair; Rickie's much more likely to be their ticket to stronger interest than Dufner. But it's all propoganda really. You're right, he needs to win a big one first. Stenson too.

PS: Interested in yr comments re Finchley Road at G.Green: As a sometime resident of Finchley Rd, and also Hampstead GS, are places like the Bull & Bush, Spaniards and JS's Castle still in business? All within fairly friendly walking distance when we found ourselves, unwittingly, in a kosher zone.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 10:11 am

Kwini

Dufner is rebounding after his career faltered badly and we do not know if this is a permanent or just a fortunate week. Rickie on the other hand appears to be on the up. We won't know what Rickies peak was until he also declines but the media are rightly interested in whether he can turn his now consistently good form into a major win.

Also, if that doesn't explain it enough for you then just check out who Dufner beat last week and who Rickie beat. As someone who writes about golf and am sure you know what the fans value and want to hear about?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 11:56 am

????? Dufner's closest pursuer was 52nd in the world, Rickie's 88th.

I know what you're saying, but my point is intended to be that Dufner is back, close to his Major-winning best, Rickie is just a very, very good one for the future. Equal billing would have been appropriate.

I don't much care "what the 'fans' value". Who are the "fans" anyway? It's easy to write Jordan this, Rory that, Rickie the other. But there's more to sport/life than that.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 12:44 pm

Big Philly complaining about not being allowed to be the archtiect for the Torry pines North overhaul. Has the north course dodged an Els/wentworth style bullet?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 1:25 pm

Mac,
I'm sure the architectural marching orders were different for Phil (enhance aesthetics and shot values without disturbing the character of the course) than for Ernie (make it bigger and better for commercial reasons).
Phil's design apparently disqualified due to application of some arcane local regulation, and Weiskopf exhumed to take the gig.

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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 1:29 pm

What would a course designed by Phil look like? Would he follow the Montgomerie principles, loads of bunkers and trouble down the left, lots of room down the right to hit a nice fade off the tee?

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Post by McLaren on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 1:32 pm

Raycastle

I would hope a course designed by phil would be the ultimate recovery shot course based on ANGC and TOC.
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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 1:34 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:????? Dufner's closest pursuer was 52nd in the world, Rickie's 88th.

haha. That is a little disingenuous, Fowler also beat numbers 1, 3 and 5 in the rankings!

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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 1:39 pm

Yes Mac, I could imagine Phil designing a course with lots of risk / reward options to favour aggressive play, but also the opportunity to recover. So bunkers, rough and contouring protecting the greens and not water. But no chip and runs, flop shots only.

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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 1:55 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:
PS: Interested in yr comments re Finchley Road at G.Green: As a sometime resident of Finchley Rd, and also Hampstead GS, are places like the Bull & Bush, Spaniards and JS's Castle still in business? All within fairly friendly walking distance when we found ourselves, unwittingly, in a kosher zone.

Jack Straw's Castle and the Spaniards still going strong, very popular in the summer. Don't know the Bull and Bush, but it's not an area I visit very often. The days of spending a lazy summer afternoon in a pub are long gone for me!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 2:06 pm

Tut tut ray, you'll grow out of that phase . . . . . !


Of course Rickie's win is more prestigious, that's not my point. Any sycophant with a bus pass can write headlines about the top players, especially when they have the veneer of flash as well.
Rickie's great to follow and great for the game; one day he might even win a Major, or a Ryder Cup match.
But I don't understand why the golfing press, who should know better, diminish someone else's success. Anyone would think Amanda was playing Dufner's shots three or four years ago. I've been saying he's on his way back for a few months now, glad to see he's fulfilling his commitment to return to the top.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 2:58 pm

Nice article about Jamie Lovemark:

http://www.pgatour.com/news/2016/01/27/jamie-lovemark-strong-season-start-farmers-insurance-open.html

Cool 2007 pic at County Down with DJ, Rickie Fowler and Billy Ho.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 4:46 pm

After speculating on the destiny of Gonzalo F'dez, he seems reconciled to the web.com circuit, and just signed for a 2-under par round in Panama, good enough for an early top ten placing.
Strong field, about 20 players with PGA Tour "veterans" or "past champion" status. It could be the place to rediscover some confidence.

EDIT: Gonzo's score amended to -1.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 8:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by puligny on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 5:39 pm

Very interesting article re Lovemark. Good luck to him.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 28 Jan 2016, 8:13 pm

Lovemark off to a decent start on the South Course.
Usually the North plays 2 or 3 strokes easier, but Laird & Choi are leading the way, both playing the South.
Perfect conditions, and should stay that way for a couple of days. Sunday's forecast still dreadful, could be a wash-out.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 29 Jan 2016, 12:12 am

@lexi Throwback Thursday

Spoiler:
PGA Tour: The Real Start to the Golfing Year?: Notes from the Ballwasher CZ2H-pjVAAAMPVS
Kinda cool photo.
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Post by Bob_the_Job on Fri 29 Jan 2016, 11:08 am

I wonder how she'd play if she had to use that club?
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Post by Roller_Coaster on Fri 29 Jan 2016, 11:53 am

She's holding a club?








Oh yeah. She is.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 29 Jan 2016, 3:24 pm

Perhaps Mac should start a Lexi Thompson/water sports thread . . . . .

Meanwhile, San Diego saw the South Course scores 2.5 strokes higher than the North Course yesterday, but looking at the scores doesn't show the usual disparity until you gaze at the bottom of the leaderboard where the worst scores were all on the South, exaggerating the averages.

Fine first start as a Pro in the States for Paul Dunne, but nothing much else to write home about. Good weather still for Friday and most of Saturday, but forecast still horribilis for Sunday.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 29 Jan 2016, 5:53 pm

My DeLaet call is looking pretty sick; early in Round 2 his "strokes gained putting" is -4.9. That's about as dismal as it can get.
He can't always putt that badly though, still worth following.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 29 Jan 2016, 11:05 pm

Well, DeLaet made the cut which is something Casey, Davis, Molinari, Rose, Jason Day and Phil can't say.

Martin Laird and Freddie Jac carrying the flag for Team Europe.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 29 Jan 2016, 11:13 pm

Field published for Phoenix; Bubba and Rickie Fowler leading the galacticos.
Harrington, Laird, Lowry, Owen and Poulter going for Team GB&I.

Perhaps not quite the quality of field of recent years.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 30 Jan 2016, 12:32 am

And there go Rickie and Hideki also, weekend off for the both of them.

Poor Rickie, Top Four one week, out with the washing the next. He goes again next week and imagine he'll have his head in the game by then.

Does Rory go ahead of Jason Day? Waiting for news from the oracle, PD.

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Post by GPB on Sat 30 Jan 2016, 1:09 am

kwinigolfer wrote:
Does Rory go ahead of Jason Day? Waiting for news from the oracle, PD.

I am no oracle, but I can do it.

Simple answer is no, Rory basically treads water with the loss of a tournament in his divisor; his average going from 10.33 to 10.32.


Jason Day goes from 10.56 to 10.38.


Rory probably needs about 6 OWGR next week to overtake J-Day.  I haven't seen any projection on the OWGR rating for Dubai, but any Top 10 should be worth 6 points (OWGR-44 or above)

Major Faux Pas above

Yes, Rory will be ranked #2 this week

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 30 Jan 2016, 1:48 am

Thanks GPB, I assumed that, but wasn't sure.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 30 Jan 2016, 2:02 am

This could very easily become a 54-hole tournament.
Terrible weather, wind and rain, forecast for Sunday, and high winds expected on Monday.

Not quite what Albert Hammond had in mind.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 30 Jan 2016, 4:18 pm

Leicester City may not be playing today, but the man pgatour.com describes as hailing from "Leicester City" has just signed for a 61 on the web.com Tour, in Panama.
Well done, Greg Eason!!!!
EDIT: Eason's score amended to 62, still pretty good though.

Early starters underway in San Diego.

Tee times for Sunday have been moved forward so that first groups go off at 7.00 a.m.
Given the forecast, and the timing of the meteorological armageddon (by SoCal standards), that will give a significant advantage to those leaving the traps early; expect to see some early starters coming up thru the field as the wind starts howling and the rain comes driving in.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 1:09 pm

No interest in the golf on here, so excuse me while I talk to myself for a bit.
Some (very) early morning showers, which will further "lush" up the spinachy rough, and a lull before the storm.
Imagine the really early starters will get their rounds in, unaffected by bad weather at least for their first nines.
Then conditions should start deteriorating fast in mid/late morning and not likely to improve much before dark.
Patrick Reed doesn't fancy it; he's already done a runner.
Paul Dunne with a chance to make a big cheque in his first Pro event in the States - already earned himself an invite into Pebble Beach, but a Top Ten here presumably gets him into Phoenix. Good luck to him.

PS: Spieth stranded on the 18th green in Singapore with a five foot putt which could tie him for the lead. Make it and he could win.

PPS: Good call be super_ on the luck of the Scots . . . . . hopefully Martin Laird can get the job done today.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 3:09 pm

Confirmation that the "Farmers" are off and running.
Now they've started, is Magnus insisting they'll finish?

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Post by I'm never wrong on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 3:57 pm

For those of us over here, HERE is what it looks like over there.
Link to Torrey Pines Lodge Web Cam

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Post by puligny on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 4:01 pm

Kwini - good to see South coast in 5th round!
Just watching recording of rd3 as European finished yesterday. They seem to have real struggle with greens? Overall course looks amazing - but why wouldnt a US Open course?
In Az in March and just investigating a drive to San Diego - which we are told is popular, interesting and fun? Heard of that one?
Superb golfing country so very tempted.
Btw commentary here continues during chan el change in US with lots of comment we are seeing stuff not shown in US?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 4:58 pm

Hi puligny,
Yup, Disappointed PUP couldn't hold on; watching Chelsea right now, could have had 10 in the first half.

The trouble with the greens is that the poa annua grows at different speeds so the greens get bumpier as the day goes on. Spent some time in La Jolla but don't really know San Diego at all - all work and no play when I've been there. Enjoy AZ.

Interesting comment about your feed during US ads. Went to the Empire Leicester Sq for a couple of Super Bowls before CH 4 started carrying them; and the feed kept the mics open, and showing critical moments where the director clearly chose to overlook egregious officiating blunders! Sanitised TV over here!!

Hardly any birdies so far, winds coming up and getting wetter by the minute. At the time they stopped play, there were ten birds, 85 bogeys or worse. #mockery.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 5:30 pm

Play to resume at 10.00 a.m. local time? Might be drier, but certain to be windier.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 6:28 pm

All golfers on the course; no-one under par. There'll be plenty of eighty-something's out there. Nineties?

Shane Lowry among the best rounds on the course and he could do himself the power of good in conditions that are drier, but windier, than when he won the Irish Open.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 6:57 pm

Stop, Start, Stop at the moment. Start again at 11.00 a.m..

Shane has played 8 holes in +1 and already advanced 11 positions.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 7:48 pm

Snedeker showing everyone the way to go, -1 for the day after 12 holes. Streelman and Streb the only others under par, in their cases after 5 holes. Lowry still in grinding out pars.

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 8:43 pm

Only 2 players, Snedeker and Streb, under par at the moment; what the #%&$! is it like out there?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 9:08 pm

See Note 2). above. Gonna get worse again in an hour or so.
And Note 8). but unforced error for Sneds on #17. Can't afford that.
Lowry still with one of the best rounds on the course.

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Post by beninho on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 9:25 pm

Surely sends has wrapped this up. He won't horlicks the last. No one else semis to be able to cope. Some wind and rain and the world'sbest are blown away.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 10:01 pm

Excellent 73 from Shane Lowry.
Cabrera in with an 84; as I B-F so rightly said, "half the field have given up".

Horn goes; off the course, not very fair on the early guys who played thru similar conditions earlier; 11 of them are already in with 80+ scores.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 10:25 pm

Median score of those finished is about 78 or 79; it'll rain for about another hour but after that I'd imagine they'll send 'em out again. Very windy, but it's not going to be much better on Monday so they might as well bite the bullet.
Sunset at 5.21 local time, so they'll surely finish if they get back out by about 3.30 p.m.

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Post by John Cregan on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 10:33 pm

Walker will win this I think. Such a brilliant temperament.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 11:32 pm

Back tomorrow. Still going to be very windy though.
Imagine Snedeker will extend his hotel stay.

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer on Sun 31 Jan 2016, 11:43 pm

Supposedly an 8am start. Late afternoon in sunny England. Think results for the Fantasy League to be completed by the end of the working day. If it gets done...

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Post by I'm never wrong on Mon 01 Feb 2016, 9:29 am

Hope so Grumps. It's what I live for....... Shocked

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 01 Feb 2016, 9:43 am

Reports of damage at the course. Golf Channel yesterday said the media tent had collapsed. Not a big loss in itself, of course, but if there are trees down it'll take a while to clean things up. And in strong winds also.
Expect business to be completed today, but 8.00 a.m. start looks problematic unless they send 'em out in 25 - 30 mph winds.

As Snedeker said yesterday, it's Open Championship winds on a US Open set-up.


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Post by Bob_the_Job on Mon 01 Feb 2016, 9:52 am

It'd be unlucky for Sneds if the clear up took so long that the weather calmed down for those left to finish - with the tees up, greens soft and lighter winds they will post low numbers for their last 8 holes. His round yesterday was quite incredible given how the rest were scoring (69 versus a field average of 78)
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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 01 Feb 2016, 10:10 am

That's right, Bob; these are the forecast wind speeds from 8.00 a.m. that they have to work with to finesse something equitable:
8.00: 27 mph
9.00: 27
10.00: 24
11.00: 25
noon: 25
1.00: 24
2.00: 23
3.00: 23
And things calm down from there. It'll be mostly dry so they may not start at 8.00 a.m. but should find some sort of happy(?) medium.


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