PGA Tour: Wells Fargo Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 04 May 2016, 5:23 pm

1).The Wells Fargo Championship has been played at Quail Hollow, in Charlotte, North Carolina, since 2003; before that the George Cobb design / Tom Fazio redesign hosted the Tour's Kemper Open in the 70's and a Seniors event in the 80's.
But it steps up in prestige next year as the host for the 2017 PGA Championship. It's a true championship lay-out with an attractive mix of holes, including some excellent risk/reward Par-5's and my favourite (Tour) reachable Par-4 (the 14th) east of Riviera.

2).Quail Hollow saw Rory McIlroy's PGA Tour coming out party in 2010 when he started Round 3 seven shots off the lead and closed Round 4 with a four-shot winning margin. He returns to start defence of his victory here last year the day after his 27th birthday.
But first let's go over some news/speculation:

3).Last week we talked about winners on Tour. Suffice it to say that Brian Stuard's win on Monday at the "Zurich Classic of New Orleans" defined "out of the blue".
Kudos to Stuard, but just look at his stats:
~No bogeys in 54 holes - coincidentally the first bogey-free winner on Tour since Lee Trevino, also in New Orleans but for 72 holes, 40-odd years ago. (Others have completed 72 bogey-free holes since the, Charlie Howell at Greenbrier a few years ago for one, but failed to win!)
~2.9 strokes gained putting led the field.
~40 putts attempted from ten foot and in, 40 holed.
etc.

4).Stuard is now exempt for the Bridgestone, but he won't see Rory there. And: I wonder who else might choose to miss the Bridgestone in this crowded summer?
Jordan Spieth is saying that he won't now have a break of more than one week until after the Ryder Cup unless he chooses to miss the Bridgestone. Pure speculation at the moment.

5).More speculation surrounding the return of owgr #508, T.Woods: He has booked "accommodation" at The Players and Memorial with the increasing likelihood that he might return at Memorial. "The Players'" commitments have to be confirmed by Friday, then three wks until commitments are due for "Jack's place". Both Sawgrass and Muirfield Village, especially, are courses where he's enjoyed success, but both could make a fool of the under-prepared as well.

6).Jim Furyk definitely tees it up this week; then 3 more in 4 weeks as he prepares for the US Open. While Stewart Cink takes indefinite leave as he offers support for his wife's health concerns. Good health and best wishes to the Cinks.

7).Another week, another lost opportunity for one of Davis Love's Ryder Cup wannabes to make a statement, with Charley Hoffman the only golfer in last week's Top 25 to advance his position (from 12th to 10th).

8).Meanwhile, many Gleneagles veterans are continuing that week's dismal form:
Simpson is 38th in RC pts, Mahan 46th, Bradley 60th.

9).Back to the "Wells Fargo" and an important stretch of golf coming up for Donaldson (missed out on The Players, and not clear when he'll reappear in the States), Molinari and Poulter. Poults may very well be playing at least four in a row now; he's not in either "Open", or Bridgestone, and his Tour career will start to ebb away unless he can string together some good results soon, very soon.

10).1st, cut, T2, T10, T8, 1st.
That's Rory's career so far at Quail Hollow, clearly the horse for this course. Only lukewarm confidence in him this week though, but now's the time for him to get his game back into gear for the summer. It's been almost six months since his last win and that's way too long for his undoubted talent. He too could be teeing it up at least the next four weeks; it's going to be a summer of increasing scrutiny if he can't win one soon.

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Post by sirbenson on Wed 04 May 2016, 5:27 pm

Interesting to see Rory has opted out of the BMW PGA Championship!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 04 May 2016, 5:45 pm

Hi sirb,
Hadn't seen that; maybe not "teeing it up at least the next four weeks" in a row then! Wish these golfers would keep their web-sites updated.
That's a big loss for Wentworth; wonder if he'll play Memorial or Memphis instead? Regardless, it's a crowded calendar, something's got to give on everyone's schedule.

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Post by GPB on Wed 04 May 2016, 6:22 pm

John Daly makes his PGATour Champions debut this week in Houston.

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Post by GPB on Wed 04 May 2016, 6:31 pm

sirbenson wrote:Interesting to see Rory has opted out of the BMW PGA Championship!

Maybe Pelley ought to anoint the BMW PGA to sacrosanct status (like the Open de France) and give a player 2 starts for playing and double Ryder Cup points!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 04 May 2016, 6:44 pm

GPB,
Can't believe the hoopla Daly's entry to the Senior ranks has generated. As far as I can see, he's fully exempt for two years then he has to have produced results to continue his exemption.
If his act around the world over the past few years is repeated, I can't see the Champions Tour players being too thrilled if he then perpetuates his tee-times via sponsor invitations.

Anyway, hope it generates a bit of interest; he yucks it up with Zoeller and Jacobsen this week, two who are just about to be relegated to the ranks of hangers on. Sub-par field . . . . . . . .

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Post by McLaren on Wed 04 May 2016, 10:45 pm

If the European tour could find a date that would attract Top American's and ROW players to their flagship event (but dump the BMW PGA) would you prefer that?

Or is the BMW PGA ok as it is?


Talk that the players find it a little second rate these days.



Kwini

If Rory could have added any course to the Major rota no doubt quail hollow would have been it.


Also, why do you think Donaldson is still persevering with the PGAT? Shouldn't he just accept it won't work for him and concentrate on Euorpe?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 05 May 2016, 1:32 am

Mac,
Not sure what your first point is.
But surely any flagship event should be held on a date that suits the members of the home Tour first?
And I would say the end of May date is ideal for the European Tour members, a perfect kick off for the European tour of the European Tour (to paraphrase Howard Dean).

Why shouldn't Donaldson persevere? He really only needs one or two top results and he's fine. But losing exemptions into the biggest events is obviously a problem. He's got himself into a bit of a pickle now unless he can squeak out a good finish this week or "Ireland" and get back into the Top 50.

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Post by GPB on Thu 05 May 2016, 3:41 am

According to a Golfweek Tweet, Marc Leishman has taken his name off the Australian Olympic consideration.

Since Greg Norman is no longer coaching the Chinese Olympic Golf Team maybe he should start a comeback!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 05 May 2016, 6:38 am

Leishman's Olympic w/d confirmed. Next up? Marcus Fraser, followed by Matty Jones, then Scott Hend.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 05 May 2016, 10:11 am

Anyone know (or have an idea) why so many golfers are withdrawing?

It isn't a premier event on the tennis circuit but at least the players still show up.
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Post by super_realist on Thu 05 May 2016, 10:20 am

Golf in the olympics is on a par with dressage and synchronised swimming, pure exhibition. Plus golf hardly lives up to the olympic maxim.

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Post by Davie on Thu 05 May 2016, 10:21 am

Maybe the Olympic motto should be renamed to "fatter, slower, lower"

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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 05 May 2016, 10:40 am

I like the look of Quail Hollow, although it's a modern course it looks well established and aesthetically easy on the eye.

The McIlroy withdrawal is hardly a surprise, something had to give.

Not directly related, but in recent years Wentworth has come in for a lot of stick from the pros. The course changes have divided opinion (I think in the long run lengthening / toughening the course will be a good decison), but it's the greens which have received the most criticism. The main complaint has been inconsistent pace. The manager at my club explained that this is due to inconsistent growth rates of different grassses at this time of year. Depending on the weather, you can get a growth spurt and it takes a couple of weeks to balance out. It's a common problem for parkland courses in May, we suffer from it.

I think the PGA would work better if it came a little later in the year - late June or early July - maybe the week before the Scottish Open.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 05 May 2016, 10:44 am

DJ working hard again. https://www.instagram.com/p/BEzhKK5Mj0j
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 05 May 2016, 11:41 am

Leishman states that his w/d is directly related to the health of his wife; remember, she was at death's door thirteen months ago when he had to w/d from The Masters etc, and is apparently still not 100%. Add to this the Zika furore and his withdrawal is surely understandable?

Some showers in the Charlotte area this morning, but weather should cooperate for a good week of golf.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 05 May 2016, 1:21 pm

Kwini

The golfer pull out rate seems a lot higher than other sports at the moment.  Where I assume the athletes face the same level of life issues as golfers do.


I know you love a rigged tee time, how about Rory, Rickie and Hiedeki?


My point above about the BMW PGA was hat it doesn't seem all that popular with the players who do play, so why would Americans or ROW golfers bother to turn up.   I am pretty sure they have a top 50 OWGR exemption category so they should try and get as many of those exempt in this category to turn up as possible.


PS: I wouldn't object to it being played abroad if it got a Players™ style field. Add it somewhere in the middle east swing as long as one of the other top events doesn't take too much of a hit.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 05 May 2016, 1:46 pm

Don't you think golfers are, on average, quite a bit older than other Olympians, more likely to have families, etc, etc.?
And the timing of the competition vis-a-vis Majors is terrible.
Golf was always a bad idea in my book so good riddance.

Over 30 yrs since I last went to Wentworth so I'll leave that to you locals.
But guarantee if the PGA doubled the prizemoney more tourists would regard it as a desirable destination.


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Post by McLaren on Thu 05 May 2016, 1:56 pm

Kwini

I guess, but why can't the players withdrawing be honest and just admit they are not playing because they don't like the idea of golf in the olympics. Everyone knows it is a bad idea and if the players openly mock golf being at Rio, hopefully come Tokyo golf will be gone.


True about the prizemoney. Also do you think the schedule (even in non olympic years) has room for another WGC/Players™ sized event that most of the top 50 would want to play?

(Would just attracting the Europeans in the top 50 be a better place to start never mind getting other stars to turn up?)
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 05 May 2016, 2:04 pm

I think Leishman was honest. Scott too.
And I'm pretty sure the South Africans would have turned up if there was an element of team play rather than the regulation 72-hole strokeplay, just on a different course.

Would think any new prestigious event would have to be created in the S.Hemisphere, preferably an upgrading of the Aussie or SAF Opens, but their sponsor don't push the boat out so b0ll0cks to them. (Surely yr final suggestion is really the R2D Final?)

Rotten start in Charlotte for Rory, but refreshing to see Poulter pulling his finger out.
Having said which: Early days on both.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 05 May 2016, 2:10 pm

Looking at shot tracker it looks like two pretty poor chips from Rory on 3(12th) and 4(13th) (although 7 footer for par on 3).  But might have been tough lies or stance.
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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 05 May 2016, 2:42 pm

McLaren wrote:
The golfer pull out rate seems a lot higher than other sports at the moment.  Where I assume the athletes face the same level of life issues as golfers do.

That's a bold statement. Have you got some evidence to support the higher drop out rate for golf?

I think it will take a while for Olympic golf to establish itself. At least 3 summer Olympics. Tennis returned in 1988 but it wasn't until 2004 that the Olympic tournament carried world ranking points.

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Post by Davie on Thu 05 May 2016, 3:28 pm

Rory definitely wobbling today...

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 05 May 2016, 3:34 pm

Rory putting like a drain.
But looks like Casey's come to bat - assume his target is owgr Top 15 and Olympic status. Then he'll probably withdraw.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 05 May 2016, 4:44 pm

I wonder which Tour golfer will try to emulate this:

https://twitter.com/LETgolf/status/728210564531507200


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Post by Davie on Thu 05 May 2016, 8:13 pm

Lowry!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 05 May 2016, 8:24 pm

Looks like much better scoring this afternoon than earlier today.
Hope tomorrow's afternoon conditions are similarly favourable.

Slow start for Adam Scott; strange that he's still using Steve Williams given the success he enjoyed earlier in the year with David Clark - what's he won with Williams lately?

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Post by McLaren on Thu 05 May 2016, 9:14 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:I wonder which Tour golfer will try to emulate this:

https://twitter.com/LETgolf/status/728210564531507200


Super probably just ripped his todger off.
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Post by MontysMerkin on Fri 06 May 2016, 8:45 am

Why don't they make Olympic golf amateur only?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 06 May 2016, 1:02 pm

Poor start yesterday for Luke Donald, short but not sweet.
Average driving distance 17 yds behind the field's average, but only hit four fairways. No birdies and that leaves him in a hole - probably about 68 needed today.

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Post by beninho on Fri 06 May 2016, 1:21 pm

MontysMerkin wrote:Why don't they make Olympic golf amateur only?

is any sport amateur only at the olympics? Even the boxers are only in name.

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Post by MontysMerkin on Fri 06 May 2016, 1:41 pm

beninho wrote:
MontysMerkin wrote:Why don't they make Olympic golf amateur only?

is any sport amateur only at the olympics? Even the boxers are only in name.
Why, how many pro boxers have there been? (I know the rules are changing this year...)
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Post by McLaren on Fri 06 May 2016, 2:08 pm

In golf, I assume like many US college sports, the top amateurs basically live the life of a PGAT pro in terms of coaching, time dedicated to game, workouts etc.

In fact I often wonder if it is an easier life being a college golfer compared to those trying to scrape a living on the feeder tours.
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Post by MontysMerkin on Fri 06 May 2016, 2:26 pm

I was just wondering if it would encourage take up of team places. Seems reasonable not to expect multi millionaires to slum it round the olympic village...
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Post by golfermartin on Fri 06 May 2016, 2:42 pm

The multi millionaire tennis players seem to be happy to "slum it round the Olympic village"

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Post by MontysMerkin on Fri 06 May 2016, 2:57 pm

golfermartin wrote:The multi millionaire tennis players seem to be happy to "slum it round the Olympic village"
Yeah but they're tennis players. It's not even a real sport, more like a pastime... Whistle
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Post by Shotrock on Fri 06 May 2016, 3:03 pm

Mac - I think you are on target in that it's a heck of a lot easier being a funded collegiate golfer than scraping by on the lesser (US) tours. Plus, you might even get an education! (I have a good friend whose son golfs for Princeton and, of course, Kwini and I know of Derek Bard, who plays for the University of Virginia. Both excellent schools.)

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Post by super_realist on Fri 06 May 2016, 4:08 pm

You're probably not far off there Mac. There doesn't seem to be such a thing as a genuinely "amateur" top amateur, they, as far as I can tell, are all hugely cosseted and privileged players with sponsorships, and national bodies supporting their every move. Undoubtedly it's far more difficult to try and play on the Europro or fringes of the Challenge Tour and make a living.

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Post by Shotrock on Fri 06 May 2016, 4:13 pm

FIGJAM coming on strong at the moment ... meanwhile, I'm looking for Rory to have a good day today and contend come Sunday.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 06 May 2016, 6:28 pm

9th and 18th holes, both tricky Par-4's, giving Wells Fargo golfers fits. Including St.Luke and Martin Laird who both bogeyed to put them right on the cut precipice.

Phigjam bogeyed it too - he has an amazing record at Q.Hollow. Now played 13, with 13 cuts made, and 10 x Top 12 finishes so far, never out of the top 35.

But Zak Blair didn't reach the 18th - he whacked himself round the head with his putter and putted out with it before realizing he'd bent it. DQ for playing with a non-conforming club.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 06 May 2016, 8:24 pm

That's better Rory: Birdie, 3-putt horlicks, eagle (chip in?), birdie. Keep it going.

Poulter struggling, and poor starts for Donaldson, Ireland and my Grumps fantasy crew.

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Post by GPB on Fri 06 May 2016, 9:05 pm

Stenson missing his first cut in 35 PGATour starts (many of those were no cut events)

Dustin Johnson and JB Holmes are the current leaders with 17 cuts made.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 06 May 2016, 10:33 pm

Confirmation, if any were needed, that The Players will be Tont-less.

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Post by GPB on Fri 06 May 2016, 11:05 pm

And no K.T. Kim either.

edit:

Also exempt and not playing

Lee Westwood
Thongchai Jaidee
Jeff Maggert

Edit:  Oopps. Maggert did not win Sr TPC, Langer did.  and Langer is in the field.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 06 May 2016, 11:27 pm

Nor John Daly.
Incredible to see the Schwab Cup leader plum last in Houston.

Disappointing finish from Rory; hope that really p1sses him off and he's at his best Saturday - 6 years since my exclusive 606 interview with him on the QH putting green!

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Post by GPB on Fri 06 May 2016, 11:43 pm

Few other no shows in Jacksonville

Pat Perez  - Medical
Tim Clark - Medical
Ryo Ishikawa - Medical
Rory Sabbatini - ???
Stewart Cink - Family Medical
Charl Schwartzel - ???
Sang Moon Bae - Military
John Peterson - Medical
Darren Clarke - ???
Nick Watney - Medical

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Post by GPB on Sat 07 May 2016, 12:44 am

Trivia Question:

What African Country is 2nd only to South Africa in number of Golf Courses.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 07 May 2016, 12:59 am

Dunno.
Zimbabwe?
Certainly next in top golfers.
Or possibly Namibia.

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Post by GPB on Sat 07 May 2016, 1:59 am

Answer to Trivia Question:
Kenya
 

according to an article at the USGA

Spoiler:
http://www.usga.org/articles/2016/03/the-usga-course-rating-system-comes-to-kenya.html#

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Post by McLaren on Sat 07 May 2016, 2:05 am

Central African Republic.
McLaren
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