PGA Tour: The "Valspar" on Copperhead Road: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 09 Mar 2016, 3:22 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).What a leaderboard last week at the WGC-Cadillac! And a fantastic bounceback from Adam Scott and caddie Dave Clark. Speculation as to whether Clark or Steve Williams carries the Scott bag at The Masters.
The top few finishers can find much to be proud of as the run-in towards Augusta gathers steam; Scott, Phil & Bubba will be expected to contend and Danny Willett proved he belongs in the higher echelons of World Golf.
But Rory got out of sync with his irons and must be troubled by the fact that he seemed unable to make any mid-round adjustment. Shades of Riviera? And Dustin Johnson's GPS went haywire early and was never re-set - he's making a very bad habit of that.

2).Regardless, they all earned their way to the top of the Round 3 leaderboard - what of those who were far adrift? Spieth seems to be struggling a little. Lots of garbage being written about his travel schedule, but there must be more to it than that. He defends his Valspar title this week, before missing Bay Hill and then playing three in a row.
Jason Day was never playing well - wonder if he still has some health issues chasing him?

3).For some other Europeans, Doral was a mixed bag. Good stuff from Paul Casey, at last, as he retrieved a dreadful Saturday with a fine round on Sunday. Ho-hum from Sergio; Justin Rose finished well but from way off the pace. Still fancy him for Augusta though, and most of this year's Majors.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello slipped a little on Sunday but is a dead cert to play the MatchPlay and a decent finish there will get him a trip to Augusta. Poor again from Kaymer and a back-nine 7 and an 8 from McDowell kept him from a top ten finish. Imagine Darren Clarke is thrilled to see his compadre, McDool, back close to his best.

4).There was nothing over the weekend to dispel the Tour's party-line that Cadillac won't be returning as title sponsor of this WGC. And that means Doral's fixture as a Tour venue is still at risk. Must say that Doral seemed to play as a truer test than in past years; still a bombers' paradise but at least not quite so gratuitously penal. Was that due to modifications to the course, or just lack of the howling wind of past years?

5).Either way, no disputing the merit of the leaderboard, and a shame that Brandt Snedeker had to withdraw before playing more than one round after reportedly inspiring some of the changes. Sneds has a persistent issue with sore ribs and he's missing again this week.

6).I wonder if the players influence course design and set-up more than we might expect? At The Barclays, at Plainfield CC, last year we saw Pat Perez (in apparently good humour) and Billy Horschel (not so much) harangue Tour officials about the set-up, stretched Par 4's and pin positions the chief complaints. Imagine that's an everyday occurrence, but interesting to observe nonetheless.

7).And, speaking of Perez, he's out for the rest of the season following surgery on a torn labrum. Arguably one of golf's leading under-achievers, Perez probably hits as many high quality iron shots as anyone out there, but never seems to keep his temper in check long enough to contend regularly. He's 40 now and the memory of him burying clubs and committing gbh on his golf bag are unlikely to fade.

8).So off to the Tampa area, the Innibrook Resoprt's Copperhead course, and the "Valspar Championship". The Larry Packard design is much admired by the pros (7th best among regular Tour stops in a pro's poll four years ago), and there's a good field ignoring Steve Earle's advice that: "You better stay away from Copperhead Road".
Since the boys were here last March, the course has received a facelift with fairways replaced, greens rebuilt and bunkers restored to Packard's original design. The winners in past years include the longest drivers (Gary Woodland) and shortest hitters (Furyk, Donald), and is widely seen as being among the fairest tests, a Par 71 with 5 x Par 3's, 4 x Par 5's.

9).Interestingly, an informal poll this week had the pros rate the five Florida courses:
1st: Copperhead, 2nd: TPC Sawgrass, 3rd: PGA National, 4th: Bay Hill, 5th: Doral.
The field includes Donald, Harrington, Kaymer, McDowell, Molinari, Poulter and Willett, plus all the top Saffers continuing their preparation for The Masters.
For me, this is a horses-for-courses venue and expect to see last year's play-off contenders (O"Hair, Reed and Spieth) revive their seasons and guys like KJ Choi and Senden play well. Jason Dufner continues to plod along under the radar and perhaps this week would be a good time to start doubling up on small each way investments.

10).Olympic Golf made news again this week:
The first "test drive" of the Gil Hanse design, the news that a dozen Americans were fitted for Olympic clobber last week, and reports that Sharapova's meldonium medication is still legal on the PGA Tour. But golfers come under WADA's watchful eye on May 1st and aspiring Olympians will need to ensure their medicine cabinet is thoroughly emptied out.
Hopefully Olympic Golf will be a success, but still wonder whether it will match Majors in the way the leading pros prepare for it. Or even how many (Adam Scott has dropped hints for instance) decline their opportunity.
We'll find out soon enough but I'm looking forward much more to this week's "Valspar Championship"!

kwinigolfer

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Post by McLaren on Wed 16 Mar 2016, 2:16 pm

A bit strange to hear one player question anothers schedule, but Day expressed concerns for Jordan in his APInv presser.

Day wrote:“I’m worried about him because I don’t know if he’s playing too much and he’s doing too many things with golf and sponsor obligations that he might make — may get burned out and go through a rut where he doesn’t want to be on the golf course for awhile,” said Day, who recalled a period in 2012 where he felt like that.

Everyone goes through that. I’ve told a few people on my team I’m kind of worried about him because of what he’s kind of putting himself under.

He has played a lot of golf, especially the last few years. You can look at his world ranking and how many events he’s played over the last couple years and you can see that he’s kind of wearing himself out.

So, I mean that part of it has a huge, huge — obviously part to it but there’s just so much. Once again, there’s so much that people are wanting. The timing issue is hard because everyone wants a piece of you. I wish you could multiply yourself because there’s not enough of us to really do it.”

He also mentioned that he though Fowler, Rory and Spieth were the cool kids and that his lack of social media savy didn't bother him.

more here: http://www.weiunderpar.com/?p=44191#sthash.8K57zdFR.dpuf
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Post by McLaren on Wed 16 Mar 2016, 4:22 pm

PGAT announces that @APinv will increase field to 120 players, increase purses to $8.7 million and give a 3 year exemption to winner from next year.

Got to make it one of the PGAT mini majors?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 16 Mar 2016, 4:38 pm

Already is a 120-player field and a 3-year exemption . . . . . like the extra loot though.

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