PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 02 Mar 2016, 3:51 pm

1)."Let's get any mention of his name out of the way first thing: The nastiest man in America has his name all over both PGA Tour venues this week:
The WGC-Cadillac Championship will be staged at the Drumpf National Doral in the Miami area . . . . "
Oops, That's the opening of my thread two years ago . . . . . . some things don't change, (except we're not playing Puerto Rico this week).

2).What has changed is that we now have a couple of years to assess the $250M Gil Hanse redesign of the one-time Blue Monster, and we can now look forward to four days of golf at one of the most gratuitously penal, and longest courses on the PGA Tour. This is not to discourage investments in medium-to-short hitters, but they have to play at their absolute rock-solid, very best to succeed at Doral. Top six last year:
Dustin, Bubba and JB, Adam Scott & Stenson, King Louis. Just saying.

3).The Tour's "Florida Swing" teed off last week at PGA National; a new, improved Adam Scott won quite convincingly I thought, despite the narrow one-stroke margin over Sergio. Take away Adam's one-hole meltdown on #15 in Round 3, a tee shot missing wide right and a wedge from the drop area which flew over the pin before just dribbling into the water, and it was the most impressive ball-striking seen from Scott since his first 68 holes at Lytham. Why shouldn't the Bubba/Adam/Bubba sequence at Augusta National be renewed? Especially if Scott can putt like that.

4).But what of the other one-time anchorers? Not so good, with Bradley, David Hearn and Simpson all struggling and Tim Clark playing well in Hawaii but awol for the past month.
There are others but perhaps the most successful so far, other than Scott, may be Brendan Steele who registers consistently good results without ever really contending.
Carl Pettersson has curiously got the best strokes-gained-putting stats, but the rest of his game has been terrible. An early candidate to lose his card.

5).We are now about 1/3 of the way thru the Tour season and the FedEx Cup Points listing starts to become relevant. Among Europeans outside the Top 50 whose season is, by comparison with the rank-and-file, is just beginning, these are the current positions:
McDowell: 7th.**
Jacobson: 22nd. **
Cejka: 26th.
Blixt: 41st.
Laird: 74th.
Owen: 83rd.
Harrington: 93rd. **
Donald: 124th.
Norlander: 160th.
Molinari: 166th.
Poulter: 167th.
Donaldson: 177th.
Pettersson: 182nd.
Davis: 194th.
** indicates those with exemption for next year, excluding those, like Donald, who might need to use a one-off career earnings free pass.

6).And what of Paul Casey? After eschewing European Tour membership for this year, you'd think he'd be hard at work cementing his PGA Tour status, no? No! Only played 5 times and wallowing at 127th in FedEx points. Important week at Doral then, where at least some points are a guarantee, following a season where he'd already registered two runner up finishes by this time.

7).One of the traditions of the pros' time in Florida is the Seminole Golf Club Pro-Member. On Monday, Justin Rose shot a 63 to win, with Luke Donald two strokes back in 2nd. Jason Day and McDool were among 8 a further stroke back, Scott and McIlroy in with 68's. Justin Rose could be a terrific choice to fly under the radar this week, depending on tweaks to the course at Doral.

8).Note 2). above notwithstanding, there have been some small changes to Doral since last year, following consultations with two of the Tour's more respected players, Snedeker and Ryan Moore.
The problem, as described by Sneds to Rex Hoggard, included:
"There were times when I was hitting to a fairway that was 12 yards wide, while some of the longer guys were hitting into fairways that were 35 yards wide." Wonder which golf course owner ever thought that was a good idea?
Anyway, Gil Hanse studied the ShotLink stats and found that, for one particular bunker, "It was obvious that the longer hitters weren't even thinking about that bunker" etc, etc.
Hopefully the changes will make for a more balanced tournament.

9).As observed by others, there's no Luke Donald this year, no Poults, no Westwood, and Fitzpatrick, Sullivan and Wood have taken their places. Danny Willett finished 12th here last year and could be a good bet this week. (Not to mention most times he plays these days.)

10).It was interesting/instructive to listen to Jason Bohn talking about his Honda heart attack.
Sounds as if he is a lucky man. I've had "difficulty" on a golf course a couple of times, not heart-related thank goodness, and it's a pretty helpless feeling. But Bohn, who's been having another good season, is only 42. Not perhaps the first person you think of as an "athlete" on Tour, but certainly not a fatty either. One would like to think the Tour's policy would include thorough "physicals" every year but perhaps not. Nice that he's been in close touch with Erik Compton and Notah Begay regarding their experiences.
Regardless, good health to Mr.Bohn - his card is already secure for next season so hopefully he'll take his time and get back to rude good health before we see him again. Would actually be a breath of fresh air in the commentary box.

(PS: On the road for most of the next 3 wks so Notes will be short (not sweet) until the Tour hits Texas.)

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 02 Mar 2016, 7:17 pm

It wouldn't be a WGC if there wasn't a Tiger Woods event to steal the media thunder - sure enough, Woods news conference at 2.00 p.m. Eastern Time.
There's only one other American who hoovers up as much media attention as Tont and we won't be talking about him.

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Post by Davie on Wed 02 Mar 2016, 8:41 pm

1/3rd of the way through FedEx season already? Feels like it's hardly started - stupid alignment

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 1:28 am

Thing is, Davie, it starts in October and finishes mid-August, then four Play-Off tournaments after that. I think it takes the more unwary pros by surprise also.

$1M+ to the runner up this week. Will this be the first million dollar "loser"?

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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 3:06 am

kwinigolfer wrote:It wouldn't be a WGC if there wasn't a Tiger Woods event to steal the media thunder - sure enough, Woods news conference at 2.00 p.m. Eastern Time.
There's only one other American who hoovers up as much media attention as Tont and we won't be talking about him.

Is Tiger running for president? Now that's a thought....

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Post by Bob_the_Job on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 8:49 am

Cheers Kwini

re 8 - Interesting (and smart) that the course designer is listening to two like Sneds and Moore - they come across as thoughtful guys with strong but not brilliant games that they get the most out of. Hope the tweaks do even it out wrt accuracy v power.
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Post by Shotrock on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 12:56 pm

Don't see how it could take any pro by surprise. The start of the season is well communicated and any pro that has difficulty reading a calendar ... well ...




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Post by McLaren on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 1:18 pm

$250 million to update an already existing course is quite frankly a little mind boggling to me. I am clearly to accustomed to large amounts of cash but WTF did they spend the $250 million on? And we know Trump is partial to using cheap mexican/other foreign labour despite his "build a wall" comments.


They could have covered the whole place with top soil and started from scratch for that amount of money. Why bother tweaking a broken product when you have that kind of cash at your disposal?


Kwini

Hate to bang on about the same old things but some players (europeans in particular) seem to think they can take it easy on the PGAT up to this point in the season. Not so. On average fedex cup participants have played 8 events by this point. Gmac, casey and shane have only played 5 events so far. If they keep playing 3 fewer events per 1/3 of the season it makes it mighty tough to out score those playing 25+ events a year.
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Post by super_realist on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 1:20 pm

Mac, you'd be surprised how much certain projects cost. $250 million really isn't a lot of money these days.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 1:26 pm

I forgot that they were teeing off around 4pm UK time and went to look at the leader board. Although no one has teed off yet,
Louis Oosthuizen, for an extreme example is set to jump 144 places in the FedEx rankings. Is this without striking a ball and based on the minimum payout he will receive? If so, big money.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 2:18 pm

Mac,
McDowell has done the right thing, looked after family etc last year and made sure he's got early action in this year. Happily it coincides with good form and now he can plan out the next two seasons.
If guys maintain a constant or improving quality of results, a thin early season schedule won't hurt them, but a blip in form or fitness, as happened to Casey a few years ago, and you get behind and realise belatedly how difficult it is to catch up. Luckily for Casey, his European exemptions bailed him out - oh, wait . . . . .

As for your quiz thread. Here's one for you:
Complete the WGC sequence:
McIlroy
Lowry
Knox
. . . . . .

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Post by McLaren on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 2:21 pm

OK, copied it across.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 2:24 pm

No need, it's just rhetorical as I forgot to mention in my notes that GB&I have won the last three - hope we win a fourth!

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Post by McLaren on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 2:26 pm

I see. Rose the most likely contender based on previous form?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 2:32 pm

After last year, I'm increasingly convinced that Justin Rose is someone who manages his schedule almost perfectly, to the extent that one should never be surprised when he turns up on a leaderboard - see Note 7). above!

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Post by McLaren on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 2:34 pm

I agree. Rose is the best English golfer since Faldo.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 2:51 pm

thumbsup

Meanwhile, Mac, here's your favourite part of this thread:
Golfers parking their Cadillac courtesy vehicles at Doral are welcomed by a pretty good weather forecast for the weekend.
Warm and relatively gentle breezes today, warmer Friday, wind in different direction for Saturday & Sunday and a tad stronger, just as the owner would hope for. No significant rain forecast yet.
So, unless the wind starts gusting, scores should be pretty good this week.

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Post by super_realist on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 2:58 pm

Kwini, are Cadillac seen as some sort of Bentley in America.
I imagine for most of them, a Cadillac is a significant insult to what they normally drive.

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Post by Shotrock on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 3:06 pm

Super, I can answer that. NO

I know a major car dealer here in the mid-atlantic ... Cadillac searching for a market segment beyond the geriatric crowd, according to him. Not finding it.

Meanwhile, I understand Land Rover working around the clock to meet demand. See what happens when you make a fine product.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 3:49 pm

Be careful what you say about the "geriatric crowd". Full disclosure - I drive a Ford!


Shotrock, Are you going to Doral this week?

Interested to see Rory's cross addressing today.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 3:53 pm

Shotrock wrote:Meanwhile, I understand Land Rover working around the clock to meet demand. See what happens when you make a fine product.


I was going to say what great publicity it is for you when your car is associated with princess Diana driving it... But maybe not always.
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Post by Shotrock on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 3:58 pm

No Doral for me ... back to reality and work.

Utah to ski later this month, however.

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Post by super_realist on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 4:02 pm

A lot of American's would denigrate Land Rover SR, seems they find it hard to shake off the 80's union issues and reliability.

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Post by skiddy on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 4:54 pm

Spending $250m to turn an absolutely disastrously bad course into a bad course.
#MakeAmericaGreatAgain

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Post by Shotrock on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 5:02 pm

Super - I have a RRS (2015 - not the V8) and can tell you it's the best vehicle I have ever owned. (Still less than 20k miles however.)

Lots of demand for that vehicle in my neck of the woods.


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Post by Bob_the_Job on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 5:07 pm

Sporty start from Adam...2 under though one....
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 6:57 pm

Boring old Doral - not the course you want to play if you enjoy playing your golf "along the ground".

Highlights so far split between putts made and balls in the drink. Feel as if water so many water hazards are inserted to compensate for poor design. Can't wait for Innisbrook next week . . . . . .

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Post by Davie on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 9:16 pm

What is the real issue with Doral apart from its owner? Always looks fine on TV to me. Is it unplayable off shorter tees for mere mortals or something?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 12:39 am

I'm probably the most outspoken against Doral - have never liked it but even less so now that water comes into play on (almost?) every hole. Way too penal for all but the very best amateur.
It'll be HOT tomorrow and becoming breezier thru the weekend, drying the course out so imagine scores will get higher by the day.

Just a thought, for most tournaments, Saturday is termed "moving day", but in stroke-play WGC's (and perhaps all limited field events) Friday is the real moving day.

Marcus Fraser has a gorgeous putting stroke . . . . . .

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Post by McLaren on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 12:48 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Marcus Fraser has a gorgeous putting stroke . . . . . .

Woa it's getting kinky, but he's not really my type.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 2:16 pm

I love the way many South Africans speak, usually very direct, very clipped, almost terse; certainly the sportsmen we hear from and definitely the blokes I've worked with.

Wonder how they react to Jaco Van Zyl's absence this week:
"Unfortunately won't be playing in Doral, it's a long way to go with such short notice, would have loved to though," tweeted Jaco.

WHAT???? Just plan man, plan for success. You're playing to win so plan your travel based on that happening. Makes him sound American for goodness' sake!


Nothing particularly fiery about Doral yesterday, but still don't care for the water, water everywhere.
It'll be HOT today, then chance of some showers tonight, then weekend breezes could make Rounds 3 & 4 a touch trickier.


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Post by McLaren on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 2:27 pm

PGAT and LPGA announce strategic alliance. Anyone know what that means?
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Post by I'm never wrong on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 2:53 pm

You don't like Google, do you Mac?
First link I found when I put PGA Tour Strategic alliance into Google.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 2:53 pm

Could mean joint events and joint marketing.

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/golf-central-blog/pga-tour-lpga-announce-strategic-alliance-agreement/?cid=twitter-gc-a-pga-tour-lpga-announce-strategic-alliance-agreement-030416


Seems like a good idea to me. Not sure how a joint event would work, would it be back to back like 2014 us open or played at a site with multiple courses and the tours rotate around them over the 4 days?

Some mixed fourballs/twoballs on the tuesday and wednesday of the event would be pretty fun to watch as well.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 5:12 pm

First walk-off: Snedeker, with sore ribs.
He has more trouble with his ribs . . . . . . .

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Post by I'm never wrong on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 5:26 pm

4 Fantasy Leaguers miss out.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 5:51 pm

No-one screaming out the traps today, unlike Hoffman & Piercy in Round 1. Perhaps the man with the hands saw something he didn't approve of yesterday?



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Post by McLaren on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 6:29 pm

Is trump expected to attend the event at any point?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 6:35 pm

The course's owner is expected to be hands on on Sunday.

Rory should go back to conventional putting until he's got left-hand-low ready for prime time.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 7:02 pm

Are Rory's hands too small for left hand low. Didn't Wozza hint that Rory was a little lacking chap department?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 7:32 pm

I'll leave that to you, Mac, but he's looking a bit more confident after holing a couple of shorties, unlike the tiddler he whiffed on #2.

Casey and Oh Danny Boy playing nicely. More please chaps.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 04 Mar 2016, 8:35 pm

Who's going to be the next w/d?
Would think Matsuyama - +9 thru 11, and w/d'd last week. He's playing with Willett and Snedeker - oh, wait, Willett could be playing by himself.

Donaldson, Sullivan and Wood creeping up towards the top . . . . . . .

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Post by raycastleunited on Sat 05 Mar 2016, 12:14 am

Shotrock wrote:Super - I have a RRS (2015 - not the V8) and can tell you it's the best vehicle I have ever owned. (Still less than 20k miles however.)

Lots of demand for that vehicle in my neck of the woods.


Those Indian cars have been very successful shot rock. And soon they'll be made in Slovakia. Pretty much every other car is a range rover in my neck of the woods. A lot of Revere and Overfinch too. Lovely cars just not my style.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 05 Mar 2016, 1:57 am

Strong field for next week's "Valspar" at Innisbrook; Spieth, Stenson, Reed, Grace and the Kings Charl and Louis, plus this lot from GB&I:
Clarke, Donald, Harrington, Knox, Laird, McDool, Owen, Poults, Willett.
And Kaymer, Molinari, Freddie Jac, Blixt etc.

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PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 05 Mar 2016, 3:00 pm

Bowditch racing around Doral but with utter disregard to his score.
So far, in 46 holes, he's registered the usual 2's, 3's, 4's and 5's, but also has a SIX, a SEVEN, two EIGHTS and a TEN! Like my scorecard. Except for the two's.

Not sure whether there was any rain to soften the course overnight; if not, we're likely to see the course firming up, breezes today but sun and win forecast for Sunday. Adam Scott is currently ten under par; twelve or thirteen under could well win the Championship.
Still a bomber's course, despite the adjustments.

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PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 05 Mar 2016, 8:13 pm

Espana!!!!
Terrific rounds from Sergio and Rafa C-B.
Some big numbers out there, 4 rounds of 80 signed for already and plenty of bogeys+ still to come.

Course could be even trickier on Sunday.

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PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 06 Mar 2016, 1:15 am

Not much homefield advantage for Team USA so far at Doral.
Only five rounds in the 60's all by "Internationals", only three US golfers in top 8.
Does that reflect "International" invasion of South Florida, or p1ss poor golf by Team USA?

Shane Lowry paired with Kevin Na on Sunday - can't imagine that opposites will attract . . . . . .

Great twosomes for Round 4:
Rory & Dustin
Adam & Phil
Bubba & Danny
Sergio & Rafa (move up one place, or win a couple of MatchPlay matches) and Rafa could be on course for a note from Billy Payne, if he knows where the Canaries are.

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PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by lorus59 on Sun 06 Mar 2016, 6:33 am

How about Spieth's rules question about deliberately wetting the sole of his putter to make it glide more smoothly? Against the spirit of the game?

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PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 06 Mar 2016, 11:45 am

Never heard anyone discussing that before. No different, I would think, to brushing your putter across dewy/wet grass or rinsing one's club in water (stream say) or cleaning club generally, but never heard of it for that specific prupose.

I was more interested in Rory getting out a screwdriver or spanner, whatever it was, and tightening something on his driver. How can anyone possibly tell whether or not he was adjusting something, other than just tightening it.

Never seen either done before . . . . . ! Rory's been driving beautifully, whatever the rights (apparently it's legal) or wrongs (none according to NBC TV).

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PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 06 Mar 2016, 12:51 pm

No foregone conclusion for Rory today; the course will probably play firmer than yesterday and it's already blowing in South Florida, winds forecast around 20 mph later.
Nothing out of the ordinary if the set-up is reasonable, but pins in the wrong places could lead to a ton of big numbers. Par will be a pretty good score one would think, and a 72 for Rory would eliminate all but two or three of the chasing pack. Easier said than done.

Bowditch out first and he's yet to break 80.

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PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

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