PGA Tour: Standing on a Corner in Phoenix Arizona: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 02 Feb 2016, 7:01 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).OK, So they won't be playing at Winslow, but had to get a Glenn Frey reference in here somewhere.

2).Pristine conditions didn't last in San Diego, where Sneds was right, Round 4 WAS like playing an "Open Championship on a US Open set-up"; but no such concerns this week in Phoenix, the only wind and p1ss likely to come from the NBC commentary booth. Last year was the first playing of the "Waste Management Phoenix Open" since Weiskopf tweaked his TPC Scottsdale design; it still largely played under par for the week, the grip-it-and-rip-it tee balls still not enough to win unless you had a top notch short game.

3).It's not clear where Snedeker's round of 69 stands in the pantheon of extraordinary rounds (compared to the rest of the field); I suspect the lack of a "league table" to detail that infers that it was very, very, very good, but not quite so sh1t hot as one or two others, including recent rounds like Furyk's 59 and Holmes's 62 at Doral last year.
And the scores of those finishing Monday were slightly better than those who signed off on Sunday suggesting that, although the leaders seemed to make heavy weather of their final 8 holes, conditions during Snedeker's round were at least as challenging. Final round average was 77.9 strokes, the "second-toughest, non-major final round on the PGA Tour of the last 25 years" according to the Golf Channel.

4).Sneeedeker is now up to 3rd in the early season Ryder Cup standings. OK by me; I like Sneds but he was a bit of a weak link at Medinah with a won-one, lost-one in team matches with Furyk against McIlroy and McDowell, but then getting duffed up by Paul Lawrie in the singles.

5).And, speaking of Furyk, he's undergoing wrist surgery so that his five-month absence will be extended at least another three months. With Stenson saying he'll miss the WGC: MatchPlay and Furyk now out, it'll be golfers in the Top 66 of owgr positions who get to play the MatchPlay in March.

6).Branden Grace's win in Qatar elevates him to the short list du jour for the Colin Montgomerie trophy as best player without a major, presumably along with Fowler and Stenson.
Could be a poisoned chalice for Grace if he wins a Major, though; unless I've missed something, Retief Goosen in 2003 is the last time a South African won a Major and went on to win again on the PGA Tour, with Immelman, Oosthuizen, Schwartzel and Els all going winless since their last Major.

7).Still no announcement from the R&A as to the venue for the 2020 & 2021 Opens, and doesn't each passing day suggest that their statement that Turnberry was never considered for either not look increasingly disingenuous?
St.Andrews will get one, and they'll also host the 2018 Senior Open, following Carnoustie this year, Porthcawl next. Expect US participation to increase accordingly.

8).Talking of Seniors, Bob Estes turns 50 today. Can't imagine there's a Top 50 career money-winner who's less well known than Estes, even after 600+ tournaments and four wins. Once one of the Tour's slowest players, unaffectionately nicknamed RoboPro, he joins Todd Hamilton and Craig Parry now eligible to make their Champions Tour debut.  

9).Some speculation that Arnold Palmer is not in the best of health; will he appear at Bay Hill in six weeks' time?

10).Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker combined to win the Shark Shoot-Out in December, and now both have won, in consecutive weeks. Both play this week; Koepka is defending his title but his form has been inconsistent.
Great to see Paul Dunne joining Harrington and Lowry. Fancy all three more at Pebble Beach rather than Phoenix where Martin Laird had every chance to win last year.
This has been a very happy hunting ground for Bubba Watson and would be shocked if he didn't contend (win?) this week, while Kevin Na has a fine record here and streaky Billy Horschel has started to string good results together.
Stop Press: Good news for Lincoln's David Skinns who has Monday Qualified for his third career Tour start. If he does half as well as debutant Paul Dunne did last week, he'll have done very well. Good luck to him.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 1:52 pm

Agree about Bubba, but he DOES ask for trouble. Sounds like #16 got a bit louder when Bubba came through!

33 golfers left out on the TPC Scottsdale course at sunset last night. Talk of possible further frost delays but looking unlikely from what I can see, so hopefully we'll be on course to wrap up Round 2 this evening.

Edit: Off on time. 3-putt bogey for Poults, from 50+ feet this time, better than his 3-putt from 6 feet on his previous hole.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 5:15 pm

Early bath for Carl Pettersson; not sure of his record with short or anchored putter last year, but he hasn't had a top 35 finish for 6 months. Not sure if that's significant, but his record so far in 2015/16 needs improvement or he'll be down to his exemption of last resort, the one-time career-earnings safety net.

Bubba keeping up his excellent TPC Scottsdale form, just three strokes off Matsuyama's lead as he makes the turn.
Cut line oscillating between -1 and even par - either way, Harrington & Poulter have plenty of ground to make up.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 8:51 pm

Shane going in one direction, Padraig in another. Dunne? Needs to at least par in or he'll be dunne.

Poulter putting one-handed on #16, same result as with two hands. Outahere.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 10:19 pm

Hey Kwini, in fairness to Dunne he only made two bogeys Friday, can't be too harsh on the lad second PGA Tour start and all. Pretty good golf on offer apart from that. I love the shot shaping pro tracer stuff.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 10:21 pm

The Phoenix Open is definitely on my bucket list.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 10:26 pm

Hi B_t_b,

Went to see "Brooklyn" last night; lots of Wexford . . . . .

Hoping that Paul Dunne might still make the cut, which would be a terrific effort; he's in next week at Pebble Beach and look forward to seeing more success. Great result last week.

Shane's doing himself proud.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 10:47 pm

I haven't seen Brooklyn yet, but have heard good things. Saorise Ronan is certainly a very talented young girl. Im a bit surprised Dunne has done so well this week, he's a very unassuming character and I wouldn't have thought this week would have been his thing. Personally I would have hoped Poults did a little better, he's usually great in this type of atmosphere.

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Post by skiddy on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 10:53 pm

The most useful thing Ben Crane's bible could tell him is to have some respect for his fellow professionals and hurry up!

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Post by Be_the_ball on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 10:59 pm

Skiddy, I believe the phrase is "get the finger out".

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 11:01 pm

Saoirse was superb.

Peter Jacobsen actually came up with a witty comment: "That tree's grown a bit since he's been there . . . . . "

PS: Paul Dunne now inside the cut-line.

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Post by skiddy on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 11:39 pm

Fowlers going to win this with shots to spare

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Post by skiddy on Sat 06 Feb 2016, 12:12 am

Is it me or is David Feherty not so much better on the course than regular commentary?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 06 Feb 2016, 1:05 am

Agree skids, Not much good anywhere, but much better on the course.

A knee trembler for Paul Dunne.

EDIT: Not this time. Too bad.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 06 Feb 2016, 1:18 am

OK, Unlucky for Paul Dunne, tied for 71st.

But he'll go again at Pebble Beach with:
Harrington & Lowry
Davis & Donald & Knox & Owen & Poults & Rosey
Cejka
Blixt, Freddie, Lingmerth, Norlander & Pettersson.

No sign of McDool - course form? Well, he won the US Open there. Who picks these guys' schedules??


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Post by Snap Hook on Sat 06 Feb 2016, 4:04 am

So today I ticked off an item off my golfing bucket list and visited the PHX open, precisely two weeks after going to the HSBC in Abu Dhabi. Chalk and cheese is an understatement of the highest order when comparing these events.

The first thing to say about PHX, it is an experience first and golf tournament second, may sound strange but the sheer volume of people many with little or no interest in golf in attendance is incredible. It's is a party to the guys and girls who turn up in night club gear, rather than gear for a walk round a golf course! Though it works and people have a good time.

The course has some interesting holes, 17 & 18 being the best, risk reward. Viewing is generally great, and was able to watch many key shots from Mickelson & Fowler despite monster galleries.

The 16th is simply bonkers, but a stroke of genius. It is a bit like going to Twickenham for the six nations, loads of beers flying around, and generally good natured banter. We queued for 20 minutes to get in but stayed for 2 hours saw Rickie & Phil. If you like golf, you have to experience this hole in full effect. You will love it or hate it, but you certainly will never forget it. So worth the trip.

Phil is gracious to the fans, but is treated as God in these parts given the ASU connection. Rickie a little more focussed than Abu Dhabi but looks all set to get the job done.

Poulter was moody for the two holes we saw him. Surprised to see that Zach Johnson is now with DXG brand, thought he was Titleist to the core.

Finally, the organisation of this is immense. Provision of buses, parking and general flow of people was brilliant. A big hats off to the organisers.

Finally, predict Rickie Fowler will win with -17!

An awesome day.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 06 Feb 2016, 12:06 pm

Sounds fun, Snap, Thanks for the update.
Where next?

Never been to the PHX Open, but perhaps the "organization is immense" also applies to other PGA tournaments also.
I attend the Travelers at Hartford every year and have always thought European Tour event Tournament Directors could learn a lot from the Hartford experience. Everything about that tournament is first class and designed for the convenience and enjoyment of the fans, even more so than others I go to more sporadically.

PS: Poults had a lot to be moody about . . . . . ! Saw him putt one-handed on #16. He needs to get his sh1t together.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 06 Feb 2016, 3:45 pm

Round 2 finally complete, Bo Van Pelt making an improbable appearance in the top ten, and Round 3 coming under starters orders at 9.15 Desert time, shortly after the whistle goes for the second half at Fratton Park.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 06 Feb 2016, 6:39 pm

Unlucky for Paul Dunne, missing the cut on the number and then Cejka (who was in T13) w/d'd with a neck injury. Had Cejka withdrawn overnight, Dunne and the others would have made the cut - but Cejka wouldn't have got paid (unofficial money but it spends the same) or received credit for a cut. Shame.


Compadre Shane the only European in the Top 40 . . . . . . .

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Post by Snap Hook on Sat 06 Feb 2016, 10:16 pm

Kwini,

Regards management of the event, it is their ability to manage so many people, a lot of them quite worse for wear, but all done in a positive and welcoming manner! No doubt others are just as good. It just couldn't happen in the UK.

Totally agree regards Poulter, too much moaning when we saw him. Caddie was also steering well clear of him - walking 10 yes behind etc.Quite telling I thought.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 06 Feb 2016, 10:56 pm

"Welcoming" sounds very touchy feely, but I'd say it's so important, especially to the casual fan. They should want punters to enjoy themselves, support the golfers and spend money. And come back next year.
I think we've done 8 years in a row at the Travelers, seems to get better every year. And it helps them make huge amounts for the charities they sponsor which stimulates community engagement and support.

Meanwhile, Shane letting a good start get away from him. Decent round from Martin Laird and hopefully he'll maintain his focus Sunday - a good finish within his grasp.


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Post by raycastleunited on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 9:24 am

European tour event directors don't need to learn from the US tour. 200,000 at Phoenix yesterday required a lot of organisation. Doesn't take much effort to manage a crowd of 200 in Qatar or abu Dhabi

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 7:00 pm

Danny Lee requires "a lot of organization"; two bogeys in three holes have brought a crowd of players into the Phoenix mix, at least a dozen now in with a good chance. Probably not Lowry though unless he gets red hot.

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Post by super_realist on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 7:33 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Danny Lee requires "a lot of organization"; two bogeys in three holes have brought a crowd of players into the Phoenix mix, at least a dozen now in with a good chance. Probably not Lowry though unless he gets red hot.

That happens to Shane just getting to the fridge.

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Post by pedro on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 8:49 pm

The big question: Does Shane have guts? Headscratch

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 9:13 pm

He certainly has the stomach for it.

Birdie at #15 gets him into the top ten. At least.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 9:30 pm

Fowler's short game has improved beyond recognition.

And Shane will make himself some mega big bucks, pretty much justifying his schedule which some of us(me) have criticised.
Can't imagine a young(ish) player I'd like to follow more.

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Post by raycastleunited on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 9:54 pm

Harris English just pushed his approach towards the water on 15 and his ball hit the yellow stake and bounced back in to a bunker. How lucky is that? Would be incredible if he goes on to win by a shot

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Post by skiddy on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 10:27 pm

dumb play by ricky. Surely the 3 wood was the right club, particularly in the situation he was in?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 10:28 pm

What just went thru Fowler's mind?
Right: 315 yd hole, just hit my driver 344 yds two holes ago. Water long. Caddie: "Gimme my driver." Splash.

He may well still win but that is a brain fart of the worst kind.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 10:37 pm

Got what he deserved. What a berk.

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Post by raycastleunited on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 10:42 pm

It's 358 to the back of the green. Obviously he didn't think he could hit it that far. I understand the logic, as long as he didn't hit it left into the water he thought driver was safe. With hindsight maybe 2 wedges was the percentage play but Ricky had to assume that matsuyama would make birdie or eagle.

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Post by raycastleunited on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 10:54 pm

2 clutch birdies on 18. Bottle

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Post by skiddy on Sun 07 Feb 2016, 10:55 pm

There wont be many better tournaments this year

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 12:04 am

Thrown away.

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Post by McLaren on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 12:17 am

Rickie greetin'

Stephanie Wei wrote:
‏@StephanieWei
Awww, Rickie's eyes look really red and he's sniffling. Getting a little choked up, too. Says this one is going to hurt.

A bit tragic in the high tops'
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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 1:10 am

Only himself to blame, Mac, Perhaps Caddie Joe should've ripped the driver from his hands first time around.
Certainly not good course management from Rickie.

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Post by Snap Hook on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 2:52 am

Rickie got it plain wrong on 17, wind behind, downhill, nothing but water to slow it down. 5 wood, wedge both times and he would be a winner again.

Great finish to the tournament. Johnny Miller suggesting if you grew the rough, would be major ready. Not sure about that but Ryder Cup would be interesting.

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Post by super_realist on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 6:39 am

Glad he lost, God must have been punishing him for those 'high tops'

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Post by pedro on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 8:26 am

Rickie got a hard down hill bounce on 17 in regulation. Brain fart yes, but also unexpected bounce.

Impressive first 3 play-off holes from both, especially Hideki who kept cool. Apparantly Rickie can't win when leading after 54 holes, still a bit of choker in him.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 11:47 am

Felt a bit sorry for Rickie last night, don't feel it's fair to say he "choked" as he physically hit the shot that cost him as well as he could have done. Too well in fact. But then he certainly messed up the fourth play-off hole.
Let's see where he goes from here.
Kinda refreshing to see Bubba and Danny Lee following the play-off . . . . . .

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Post by McLaren on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 11:56 am

If not a choke, was he actually too confident?  I am sure he would have got to watch at least the group in fronts tee shots and must have known how hard and fast the hole was playing in front of the green.  Long iron, wedge and he is more than likely going to get a birdie.

Top players are so good with a wedge in hand that they often seem to over value the driver option on driveable par 4's.  As another example look at "little england" (my new name for the jingoistically attired Andy sullivan) who went for the 17th in Dubai only to remove  any chance of a birdie.
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Post by pedro on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 12:31 pm

I wouldn’t say he choked, but he did seem a bit nervy during regulation:
The missed put on 16, the wet drive on 17, the drive on 18 that bounced twice in the bunker and got lucky (followed by a perfect wedge). Yes he did play well on the 3 first play off holes, but you still felt Hideki had the upper hand most of the time.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 12:46 pm

I think he kinda got emotional with his family (Japanese grandad who he is very close to) by the 16th hole, but then he still hit a great shot, just pulled his putt. He certainly WAS lucky with the ball that landed in the bunker and then scuttled up the 18th fairway as quick as his tee-ball across the 17th green! Fairways measuring 11 on the stimp-meter?
Whatever happened, he needs to figure it all out and then get over it.

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Post by super_realist on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 1:50 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:I think he kinda got emotional with his family (Japanese grandad who he is very close to) by the 16th hole, but then he still hit a great shot, just pulled his putt. He certainly WAS lucky with the ball that landed in the bunker and then scuttled up the 18th fairway as quick as his tee-ball across the 17th green! Fairways measuring 11 on the stimp-meter?
Whatever happened, he needs to figure it all out and then get over it.

Fowler is an 11 on the Gimp-Meter

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Post by McLaren on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 2:12 pm

Pretty funny sups.

He is pretty fucking far from ok.
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Post by raycastleunited on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 2:26 pm

super_realist wrote:Glad he lost, God must have been punishing him for those 'high tops'

I haven't worn high tops since I was about 15, so it's not a look I'm going to be copying. However I really hope Puma start selling them to see the look of outrage on the faces of the blazer and tie brigade when some kid turns up wearing them at the monthly medal. And then the absurd sight of fat 50 year old twuts wearing them with bright colours thinking they look cool when actually they look like bell ends.

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Post by pedro on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 2:28 pm

Interesting leaderboard dominated by Asians (incl. naturalised) + freaks: Na, Huh, Choi, Lee, Hideki + Boo, JB, Bubba, Zach, Knost, Bradley, with Fowler falling into both categories. All in top 25. A new normal?

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Post by raycastleunited on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 2:37 pm

Fowler may have blown it on 17, but not sure anyone can accuse him of choking. He missed the birdie putt on 16, but the most pressure was on the tee when he hit a great approach to 10 feet to set up the birdie putt. He hit a perfect drive on 17... it was the wrong club, nothing wrong with the swing. He got lucky with his drive on 18, but his wedge and birdie putt was definitely no choke.

Guys I think we have to give some credit to Matsuyama for his strong finish and composure in the play off.

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Post by pedro on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 2:45 pm

Agree, Hideki kept cool. I think he's the real deal.

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Post by GPB on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 9:05 pm

I wonder how much 2nd guessing would have happened if Fowler laid up on #17, made par, and then made par on 18.

Meanwhile, Hideki birdies #17 and #18, they tie in regulation and then goes on to win the playoff.

Rickie would have been roasted, just as he was 6 years ago when he laid up on #15.  He would have been asked why he laid up on #17 and not given himself a real good chance at birdie on the drive-able par 4.

Rickie hit a great drive on #17, that hit a down-slope and got a turbo boost that catapulted his ball.  

None of us doing Monday Morning Post-Mortems knows exactly what would have happened at Rickie laid up.  He could have easily 3 putted from 25 ft if he hit 5 iron off the tee and wedge to the green on Hole #17.

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