PGA Tour: "Danny, Champion of The World"?: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:41 pm

1).Well done Danny Willett! Hopefully The Masters will prove to be the first of many Major wins.

2).Anyone blaming the 12th hole water safari for Jordan Spieth's defeat is missing parts of a bigger picture. After his Round 1 66, Spieth reckoned that he got everything he possibly could have out of his round. Perhaps he proved it from Friday to Sunday as his +4 over Rounds 2, 3 & 4 was only 19th best in the field. Willett by contrast went -3, DJ was -2, Westwood and Holmes -1 and the rest even par or worse.

3).Willett ranked 1st or 2nd in both Par-3 and Par-4 scoring, but was only even par on the Par-5's, whereas Spieth was -11 (and Rory -10, Casey -9). Angel Cabrera was +5 on the Par-5's, +8 on the 15th hole alone, a birdie hole for almost everyone else in the field, yet still finished 24th at 6 over par.

4).Other random thoughts from Masters week:
How bad did Arnold Palmer look at the ceremonial opening drive? Thank goodness he didn't try to swing the club. He talks about his damaged shoulder but rumours abound that there's something much more serious chasing him. Sadly can't see any more Champions Dinners for Arnie.

5).Didn't the 350 yard Par-4 3rd hole prove that there's room at Augusta National for something more strategic than the otherwise relentless diet of 450+ yard Par-4's?

6).Billy Payne needs to let CBS TV have course reporters following the golfers. Or CBS needs to insist on it.
And CBS's broadcast crew have an average age of about 60. It was good to hear Dottie Pepper on the broadcast, but surely some younger blood would freshen things up a little/lot?
The magnanimous Green Jackets announced the award of a lifetime membership to Peter Oosterhuis - sure Peter is thrilled, but how cynical can Augusta National get?

7).Olympic stuff:
Paul Casey must have thought a 4th place finish would close the gap between him and Willett in the qualifying race for Team GB. Wrong, so expect to see Casey play a little more often now (starting this week) as it's probable that his only route to Rio is to secure a Top 15 owg ranking - unlikely he'll overhaul Willett & Rose.
And Fiji probably won't be represented with Vijay opting to concentrate on the PGA Tour.

8).Low Amateur was the golfer known to CBS as Bryson Deeee Sham Bo. He's now turned pro and debuts at this week's RBC Heritage.
Also returning to action will be Jason Bohn after apparently having recovered from his Honda heart attack. Good health to him.

9).Harbour Town has undergone some changes. The greens have been laid with TifEagle Bermuda (will that also mean they are firmer, this year anyway?) and tee-boxes, fairways and rough reseeded; a new irrigation system will hopefully improve the course's sustainability for the 51 weeks a year the Tour's circus is not in town.
Weather will have its say again this week, with winds an ever-present unwanted guest and rain expected, especially on Friday.

10).Good to see Matt Fitzpatrick committed for a week beside the seaside.
But this is also an important week for compadre Luke Donald who has a fantastic (for a non-winner anyway) record here. He's accumulated 3x 2nd place finishes and 2 x 3rd's since 2009, so if he's ever going to recapture his form, this will be a friendly place to start.
Two of Lukey's Ryder Cup mates from 2010 and 2012, McDowell (2013 winner here) & Molinari are also playing and both could use a return to form.
Harbour Town is among the shortest courses on the PGA Tour at 7,000+ yds and is probably the most "playable" for amateurs, low and high handicap golfers alike. A gorgeous place.
We've had the streak of "International" winners this spring. Now for a European streak?

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Post by puligny on Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:25 pm

Kwini - definitely one of the best US events. Course looks amazing and still planning to get there.
Hope it is firmer - my recollection is it has been a bit damp in recent years, and that will narrow further the fairways. Luke must turn the corner soon - convinced he hasn't become a bad player so quickly, but needs the putter to work. Imagine Jordan Speith with an ordinary/average putting stroke and results?
BTW, caught an excellent programme last night R&A/IMG series about Open winners (Champion Golfers). Last night was Tiger, and programme was basically Tiger (talking head) giving insight into Open wins and some losses, and more in terms of his development. Best, possibly most revealing view of him I have seen.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:52 pm

Hi puligny,
I'm sure there would be some great packages from Britain for Hilton Head; about 20 courses, many of them very good/excellent and plenty of non-golf stuff to enjoy. Loads of tennis and would strongly recommend staying on one of the wonderful sandy (perfect for beach cricket) beaches. Ideal for the non-golfers in our family!
Savannah close by and that's a beautiful city.

Different thread I know, but Jack Senior's Walker Cup Team were really up against it - as well as Spieth, there were Russell Henley, Harris English, Uihlein, Blayne Barber, Patricks Cantlay & Rodgers etc. Not surprising GB&I only won by two points!

(I'll see if I can find the Champion Golfers on-line.)

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Post by McLaren on Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:52 pm

Regarding point 2), I couldn't agree more. And I tried to make the argument on the Masters thread but got little agreement. As well as the stats you have provided above I think it is ridiculous to say a player shooting a 73 blew a major.

We should really be talking about he bogey free round of 67 and not the slightly shaky round of 73. I assume Navy will counter this with his "out of context" and that 12 was a big deal, but I would counter with the fact it was inevitable that Spieth would shoot over par for the day because that is what he had done the past two days and that was all his swing could offer. The correct context is the Spieth was spraying it all over the shop and even a super human short game couldn't stop rounds of 74, 73, 73. vs Willets 74, 72, 67.



Bryson DeChambeau has signed for Puma, I guess it makes sense to add another snappy dresser to the stable. He is an artist after all.


Is Matty Fitz playing on a sponsors invite?
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Post by McLaren on Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:44 pm

IOC PED's testing not to VJ's liking?

Whatever happened to the deer spray court case?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:59 pm

Drug testing? Makes you wonder; and presumably anyone remotely in contention for an Olympic place comes under their drug-testing protocol. Wonder if there be other defectors?

The deer spray case against Vijay was thrown out. But Vijay's lawsuit vs PGA Tour is still in the court system process - those things take a long time over here, all the better for lawyers piling up legal fees.


Funny story about Bernhard Langer and the d1ckhead that is Billy Payne, as relayed by Michael Bamburger:

"During the dessert course of a recent Champions Dinner, Bernhard Langer talked about a hole he thinks could be improved, the bunker-free 14th. Visually he doesn't like the tee-shot, he told his fellow champions and the chairman. The green, he said, is too severe.

Payne cut him off.

'This is not the time or place for this kind of discussion,' Payne said.

'Then when is a good time?" Langer asked.

'Write a letter,' replied Payne, banging the table, and announcing, 'This dinner is adjourned.'"

Players were stunned, Langer was steaming! Not clear if Bernhard wrote that letter, but the hole hasn't changed much.

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Post by McLaren on Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:40 pm

Langer must be a bit of a GCA philistine. The 14th at ANGC is one of the best bunkerless holes in the world. Play that hole with a sensible stimp reading and you would have one of the most enjoyable putting surfaces in the world.


Payne is of course a plonker for acting like that and should just have calmly explained to Langer that he is talking out of his arse hole.
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Post by McLaren on Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:50 pm

Shane Lowry gets married. rose heart

http://www.golfdigest.com/story/shane-lowry-gets-married-in-nyc-posts-romantic-photo-by-a-subway-entrance?mbid=social_twitter


I guess he had to fit it into his busy schedule somewhere.
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Post by McLaren on Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:29 am

Anyone got any thoughts on Bryson DeChambeau?

He is probably one of the most eagerly anticipated new players for quite some time and I would like to know how people predict his early career will go?

For example what tour will he be playing on next season?

Paul Azinger made a strange comment on the bbc coverage, saying Bryson DeChambeau "is already the best player in the world". Clearly an overblown comment but is the hype warranted or is he the next Ty Tryon?
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Post by Roller_Coaster on Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:34 am

Don't know anything about BdeC other than the same length clubs, the cap he wore and I believe he's quite a clever chap (Physics and/or engineering degree?).

Wild guess is that he'll do OK. Seems bright enough to put a lot of work in and to quickly find a routine for playing weeks. I'd guess one of the hard things is how to plan your year/schedule (when you have done well enough to pick and choose a bit anyway!).

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:51 am

It seems there's a new "next big thing" coming off the production line every two or three months.
Eight years ago we had twin phenoms Rickie Fowler and Jamie Lovemark in one of the first tournaments for either competing in a play-off.
Rickie's the real thing. But jury still out on Lovemark.
And where's Patrick Cantlay?
Justin Thomas and Patrick Rodgers may turn out to be great pros, but they are both older than Matt Fitzpatrick, for instance, and who knows if either will take the next step forward. I'd say probably yes and no on what we've seen so far.

Remember, a lot of the US hype is centred round their college careers, even which college they attended. Patrick Reed is one who was under the frat boy radar for instance, had to get into tournaments via Monday qualies rather than sponsors' invitations.

My guess is BDeC will earn enough to squeak in to the web.com Finals and earn his card thataway. He's already complaining of injuries . . . . . . .

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Post by McLaren on Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:07 pm

Kwini

Is BDec's only status on the PGAT at the moment sponsors invites? And you think through these invites he will earn enough fedex points (126-200) to qualify for the tour finals?

Will he have to earn special temp membership of PGAT as well?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:08 pm

Mac,
Basically BDec has no Tour "status", so your conclusion is correct - he's in the same situation as Spieth was at the beginning of 2013. Spieth overcame that by flukily winning the John Deere and that took care of everything!
SpecTempMemb is another level above the web.com Finals; Patrick Rodgers achieved that last year, for instance, largely by virtue of his high finish at Quail Hollow, and that superseded his web.com "graduate" Tour status.

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Post by beninho on Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:53 pm

HAs Danny Willet got PGA tour membership? If not does he have to take special temp membership or straight in with automatic following his win? And if so does it make him eligible for the fedex cup bonanza?

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Post by McLaren on Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:59 pm

Ben

Not sure what exemption he had before the Masters, but he now has a 5 year PGAT exemption that came with winner the Masters.

As far as I know he will not be taking up PGAT membership this season but will play in the The Players™.
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Post by puligny on Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:26 pm

Has anyone had more early rd1 leads than Charlie Hoffman? Up there again today, but Luke in hot (warm) pursuit!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:30 pm

ben, Mac,
Not quite as simple as that Mac. Willett has to stipulate that he will accept Special Temporary Membership.
Currently he is a non-member - but he will be exempt in to The Players, WGC's and Majors regardless.

He's pretty much said he'll take Tour membership for next year but not yet formally declared that. And he doesn't have to for another few months.

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Post by McLaren on Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:35 pm

Kwin

Ok. I knew he wasn't planning to enact his membership until next season.

What is the deal with those getting exemption through majors/wgc's and minimum tournaments?

Can someone like Willett decide to play the PGAT in 2016/17 season and then play less than 15 events, technically loosing their card but just turn up again in 2017/18 based on his masters 5 year exemption?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:38 pm

Hoffman scoring average and Tour ranking by round:
Round 1: 69.90 (40th)
Round 2: 70.80 (85th)
Round 3: 71.75 (175th)
Round 4: 74.71 (205th - out of 207 players ranked)

Come on Luke!!!!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:44 pm

Mac,
Any golfer fulfilling certain criteria (differs by tournament) can play in certain tournaments regardless of Tour affiliation.
So Willett can play Players, WGC's, Majors if he is exempt for each specific event - Kaymer is not a Member but will be eligible to compete in The Players, US Open, Open Championship and PGA. Plus, he can also accept a certain (not quite sure what it is this year) number of sponsor invitations.

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Post by McLaren on Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:49 pm

Kwini

I get that but my question is can a player loose a 5 year exemption to be a PGAT member if they fail to play the required amount of events during a season that covers the time period of the exemption?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:52 pm

Kaymer just did, and others have done previously, lw1 and DC among them, Rory too I think.

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Post by McLaren on Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:00 pm

Ok, thanks.

So like Kaymer, if you are going to chose to join the PGAT based on a 5 year exemption then you better make sure you use it properly as failure to comply could mean you loose whatever is left of the exemption.

If I have this right, kaymer won the US open in 2014 and could have been exempt on the PGAT until 2019. But wasted 2016 to 2019 membership exemption by failure to comply with rules during the 2015 season.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:46 pm

Mac,
I'm not quite sure what the fine print is for retrieving one's card after wilfully failing to fulfil conditions for retaining it. I'm thinking it has to be re-earned, thence another STM. GPB and robo are the experts.


Decent round from Molinari in breezy conditions on Hilton Head. Luke still playing well.
And the morning/afternoon wave could well have the advantage with Friday's terrible forecast, wet and very windy, could be borderline unplayable.



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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:26 pm

Luke playing very well, has an early clubhouse lead. Good start for the course specialist.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:00 pm

See Note 5). above and see Luke Donald's comments.

https://twitter.com/RexHoggardGC/status/720662420407132160

Couldn't agree more. Billy Payne please take note.

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Post by puligny on Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:01 pm

Kwini - Hoffman scoring - thanks for that. Do you think he knows?
I can see Willett being more of a home bird for a while yet, and getting over for the events he wants to play in, rather than full time commitment.
Come on Luke!

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Post by puligny on Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:04 pm

Interesting that there is a similar test on Euro Tour this week - 6900, tight as a drum, small fast greens, trees and spinach off the fairways. What's not to like!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:12 pm

Would think Hoffman is well aware; sure he's been asked about it! It also seems to come up in post-round comment whenever he kicks off with a decent score.

Matty Fitz off to a nice start.

A few years ago an up-and-coming Nick Dougherty was coming off a T33 at Augusta and contending after three rounds at Hilton Head. Then his mother tragically died and he had to withdraw.
I know he won again in Europe, but always felt he was never the same after that . . . . . . .

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Post by McLaren on Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:44 pm

Wee Davie doing pretty well. Super might finally have a decent fantasy league week.


Kwini

I agree with point 5) and agree with Luke's point that there are several ways to skin the course set up cat.
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Post by navyblueshorts on Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:01 am

McLaren wrote:Regarding point 2), I couldn't agree more.  And I tried to make the argument on the Masters thread but got little agreement.  As well as the stats you have provided above I think it is ridiculous to say a player shooting a 73 blew a major.

We should really be talking about he bogey free round of 67 and not the slightly shaky round of 73.  I assume Navy will counter this with his "out of context" and that 12 was a big deal, but I would counter with the fact it was inevitable that Spieth would shoot over par for the day because that is what he had done the past two days and that was all his swing could offer.  The correct context is the Spieth was spraying it all over the shop and even a super human short game couldn't stop rounds of 74, 73, 73. vs Willets 74, 72, 67.



Bryson DeChambeau has signed for Puma, I guess it makes sense to add another snappy dresser to the stable.  He is an artist after all.


Is Matty Fitz playing on a sponsors invite?
:yawn: You say tomato and I'll say tomato. Obviously, Spieth ducking balls in the water on 12 at ANGC, particularly his second one, had nothing to do with the situation and everything to do with his swing that day. Whatever. Actually, I shouldn't argue your point - normally you'd accuse Speith of 'choking', so you've made progress Ale .
Enough about Spieth anyway, Willett's win and the way he closed it out, particularly on 16/17 was exceptional. If he didn't believe he could hit the top echelons before, he does now and he's clearly got the basic game to do so if he was the World's top amateur in '08.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:31 am

Watching Deee Shambo yesterday was pretty painful, like watching a prep school child who expected straight A's on all his exams and sneered when an A- popped up as he missed putts.
Contrast to Tony Finau who seems to enjoy every second he's out there. Wonderful result for him on #9 to drive the green for a tap-in eagle - first since 2003 to hit that green with his drive.

Windy and wet first thing this morning; looks like a miserable day in prospect for the pros, possible interruption in play I should think.

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Post by McLaren on Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:37 am

Kwini

Dee Shampoo is an artist. You gotta remember that.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:58 am

Must be quite the conflict with his scientific background. He certainly needs to lighten up a bit.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:42 am

Another exercise in futility for Mike Weir yesterday as he chalked up a 78 and promptly withdrew.
This is what one dismayed "alternate" had to say about that:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/golf-central-blog/van-der-walt-calls-out-weir-after-heritage-wd/?cid=rr_editorial_p5

I'm sure the Tour won't think much of that, but Van Der Walt has a point - Weir has surely earned his right to compete, but not to abuse the privilege afforded him.

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Post by McLaren on Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:16 pm

From 2010 onward Weir has pretty much been in an irreversible slump. He highlights some of the issues with golf's overly generous exemptions for past success. A player no longer able to compete at the top can hang on for many years. Although what status he has other than medical exemption I am not sure? He is playing this week on a sponsors invite according to the article you linked to.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:42 pm

Spot on, Mac; Weir's playing on a "minor medical exemption". I don't know if a sponsor's invite counts towards this, but it looks as if he has two more starts to earn $670K. Longshot.

Windy at Harbour Town, showers look to have blown through but more are likely later.

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Post by McLaren on Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:25 pm

It is an even longer shot if you keep WD'ing.
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Post by beninho on Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:36 pm

If Weir is a sponsors exemption, than did he keep anyone out of the event? Do the sponsors have a set amount they can or cant use? Its the RBC heritage and Mike Weir is part of Team RBC.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:46 pm

ben,
There are some factual errors in the article and tweet, so not sure that Weir was there via sponsor invitation or merely using his exemption. If a sponsor invitation, then you're right, it would otherwise have gone to someone else, probably not Van Der Walt.

Not good though, whichever way one looks at it, from either player.

I see Harris English has now left the Island so holding breath for another indignant tweet.

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Post by McLaren on Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:09 pm

It does seem like there are a lot more WD's these days? Does anyone know if anyone has have recorded stats on number of players withdrawing from tournaments over the years?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:44 pm

w/d's?
Wouldn't think there's been much change.

If Casey and McDowell were looking to improve their Olympic qualifying position this week, they took a step in the wrong direction, both going home for the weekend, Fitzpatrick too.
Russell Knox looks like he's recovering some form though, after a poor start to the year.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Apr 16, 2016 12:25 am

Round of the tournament from Russell Knox, and he was even quite amusing in his post-round interview. And Luke Donald will also be in the last three groups. Maybe pairs?

Good grind from Poulter after giving at least a stroke away on his 9th hole (Harbour Town's 18th); survival from Molinari.

82 make the cut so mdf's Saturday for those outside the top 70 and ties.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:35 am

Another windy day in store at Harbour Town but good to see the Tour, yesterday at least, set the course up accordingly, hence scoring was pretty decent.
82 golfers made the cut so there'll definitely be a secondary cut after 54 holes.
Great to see Donald and Knox in contention, keep it up boys.
But also very important for Molinari and Poulter to play well in Round 3 and ensure they're around for Sunday. FedEx Points seem so trivial, but they're so crucial for these two.


Unrelated to PGA Tour, occasional poster "Mary"'s son Steve Surry is playing well in Zimbabwe on the Sunshine Tour, 14th after 36 holes.
EDIT: 3rd after 54 holes.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:48 pm

Leaders on their way at Harbour Town but Greg Owen and, most likely, Ian Poulter will be following Casey and McDool down the road.

Very poor from Poulter who needs some good results or he could be in real danger of losing his card - all his weekend scoring has been inferior to his Rounds 1 & 2, Charley Hoffman-like if you will, and he's only in The Players and PGA (provided he retains his Top 100 owg ranking) of the premium tournaments remaining. Today he played the back nine in five over par and needs a meltdown from someone ahead of him to play Sunday.
Poults is missing from next week's field and you'd think he'll start to re-examine his playing schedule.

The good news is excellent opening holes from Donald and Knox, plus Molinari showed some of the grit missing from Poults's round and survives the 54-hole cut.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:53 pm

Miracles happen on Hilton Head for Poults - a Ferrari just did a U-ey on Interstate 95 as two fat boys came free-falling down the leaderboard.
Now you've got to take advantage Poulter, make something happen on Sunday.

Big mess from Donald and Knox on #9, 335 yard horlicks.

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Post by skiddy on Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:34 pm

Its a pity there not more professional tournaments on courses like harbour town and valderama. I love the way nicklaus constantly complains about the golf, maybe if he refused to design his 8000 yard golf courses and designed narrower courses with more emphasis on accuracy then the ball manufactures would be less obsessed with distance.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:54 pm

Give Nicklaus a little bit of credit - he was co-designer at Harbour Town.

Plenty of long hitters playing well here - Kokrak, Grace, Day until he hit the wall, Finau ditto, Hoffman's not short.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:16 pm

The long (Kokrak) and the short (Donald) of pro golf will battle in the final pair at Harbour Town.
Blue skies, mild temps and lighter winds will greet the players.

There's invariably someone lurking in the pack to ruffle the leaders' feathers - Jason Day is surely too far back after Number One's Round 3 70 so it won't be him.

This week's sideshow, Deee Shambo needs a top ten finish to enable him to save a sponsor's invitation (he has six remaining, and why do they pronounce his name like that?), but perhaps Russell Knox will get his act together?

First things first though, and Poulter's out early with Scott Brown and hopefully Poults will have himself a decent round and earn some much-needed owgr and, especially, FedEx points.



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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Apr 17, 2016 5:13 pm

It looks like a day for scoring at Harbour Town; not bad from Poulter but he really needs to get his year going.



"I can't wait to go home and get hammered."

Obviously not the post-tournament winning ambition of a PGA Tourist. Finchem would be doing his nut, not to mention disciplining the lad.

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