PGA Tour: Wells Fargo Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

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

First topic message reminder :

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 super_realist on Sat 07 May 2016, 7:25 am

Morocco?

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer on Sat 07 May 2016, 11:44 am

GPB has already posted the answer using the spoiler format and added a supporting article.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 07 May 2016, 12:39 pm

Cool morning at Quail Hollow but should be great conditions for scoring; temps rising from 40's to 80's by afternoon, only wrinkle being that breeze picks up as well.
Any, wouldn't be surprised to see one or two low scores among back markers; think I'd follow Ernie Els and Adam Scott for a few holes.
Obviously loads to play for among the leaders, including you Rory, and Casey.
But lots too for Poulter and Donald (and Molinari), none of whom are exempt for Oakmont & Troon and need good results to earn qualification.

Quail Hollow looking much better this year than last and should be a picture for next year's PGA. Think I'll take myself there!

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Post by McLaren on Sat 07 May 2016, 3:00 pm

Something to consider.

Rory has only been the player his fans(including me) and the media wish he was for a very limited amount of time.

Aug-sept 2012 and Jul-Aug 2014.

In in the middle of that a terrible 2013 and then after that a well below average 2015 and shaky beginning to 2016.


If he keeps peaking once every two summers I am sure he will have great career but I would love to see him start winning/competing (especially majors) on more consistent basis.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 07 May 2016, 3:33 pm

Can't see how you rate a US Open title plus a WGC title as being below average, but your standards are always very high Mac. Especially when you're grinding an axe.

Agree about the shaky start to 2016 however.

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Post by GPB on Sat 07 May 2016, 4:37 pm

According to an Arron Oberholser tweet, Sean O'Hair won the 2009 Wells Fargo Champ without making a single putt over 10' long.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 07 May 2016, 6:11 pm

Wow!
I think someone quite recently did something very similar, can't think who. Just goes to show what a player O'Hair was.

No-one making much of a run at Quail Hollow, Team Europe putting up a pathetic show, no-one under par.

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Post by McLaren on Sat 07 May 2016, 6:15 pm

Did Rory win the 2015 US open? I missed that.


I don't have an axe to grind, it just seems Rory hasn't really done it in the majors other than two very hot summers, in golfer terms not weather.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 07 May 2016, 6:55 pm

2011. You don't seem to rate that but it was a pretty dominating performance.
Unlike today's.
Europe currently +36 today. Abysmal "effort".

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Post by Davie on Sat 07 May 2016, 8:47 pm

For once I agree with Mac even though he can be a little disingenuous at times with his comments. But Rory definitely blows more cold than hot for a guy of his obvious talents. Is he really a little "overrated" in the real sense of the word rather than the current usage of it?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 07 May 2016, 9:40 pm

Tough to say isn't it?
Certainly the best record of any 20-something over the past 25 years, tough to find anything below average about that.
Frustrating sometimes though. He doesn't have Woods's obsession with performance, week in, week out and perhaps that's the standard he's being judged against?


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Post by GPB on Sun 08 May 2016, 12:00 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Tough to say isn't it?
Certainly the best record of any 20-something over the past 25 years, tough to find anything below average about that.
Frustrating sometimes though. He doesn't have Woods's obsession with performance, week in, week out and perhaps that's the standard he's being judged against?



"...Certainly the best record of any 20-something over the past 25 years..."

Say what?  Seems like I remember a guy winning 10 majors and 46 PGATournaments in his 20's.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 08 May 2016, 1:07 am

GPB,
You're spot on. What happened to my Woods reference? Clearly meant to be "other than Woods".

Which makes the point in my second sentence.

Will Rickie win for DLIII tomorrow? He looked pretty strong coming down the green-ish mile and would be tough to bet against him.


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Post by GPB on Sun 08 May 2016, 1:12 am

No majors, but Phil did win 16 times in his 20's

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 08 May 2016, 12:25 pm

Rory has won at least 17 times, most on the PGA Tour.

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Post by McLaren on Sun 08 May 2016, 12:35 pm

The thing about Rory is that he frustrates his fans. As a Rory fan you spend a lot of time thinking he should be doing better.

Take Friday at quail hollow as an example, he is about to get back into contention and then for not apparent reason fires two bogeys to finish.

And be average, I mean average for someone constantly talked about as the best player in the game. For a guy that should be properly competing in the majors 2015 was below par (injury or not) and he kept shooting himself in the foot at augusta this year.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 08 May 2016, 12:44 pm

Lose a bet Mac?

Quail Hollow should play firm and fast today. One or two Saturday pin positions looked pretty borderline given the speed of the greens - hopefully those for Round 4 will be a little fairer, especially considering a likely consistent breeze.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 08 May 2016, 5:03 pm

Scoring good today.
And Phil looks like he's on a mission. Too little too late to make up for that horlicks on 18 yesterday?

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Post by GPB on Sun 08 May 2016, 5:14 pm

PGATour budgeted a 4 hr 30 min round for the final group today.

IMO, Some of the greens yesterday were nearly unplayable.  Heard some comments that the greens were stimping at 15 yesterday.

Way too fast IMO.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 08 May 2016, 6:08 pm

Agree about the greens GPB. Kostis thought they were as fast as ay he'd seen on Tour.
If ShotLink is to be believed, Phil hit his first putt on #8, from 23 feet, 46 ft. 3-putt which looks to have stalled his momentum. As it would.
Rory going nicely . . . . .

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Post by McLaren on Sun 08 May 2016, 7:00 pm

If Rory shoots a 65 or something my comments above will look pretty good. picard
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 08 May 2016, 7:33 pm

Hopefully he'll do better than 65.
Why can't you accept that when a guy's been off for three weeks, had a frolic in Barbados with his bird, and says he's only played 18 holes since The Masters and has lots of rust to work out of his game, he might take a round or five to get his swing and touch back?
You'd prefer he was a machine, obsessed with winning and only taking time out from his workouts to have his Perkins waitresses like his eggs - over easy.

Nice eagle 2 for Francesco; could quite fancy him next week.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 08 May 2016, 10:12 pm

Justin Rose got into position to win this thing but his putting is letting him down. Big time.
Very similar to the beginning of last year - good enough on medium lengthers but no confidence on short putts.
Disappointing.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 09 May 2016, 12:05 am

Not so good for Europe on the European Tour, and disappointing 3rd place for Rustin Jose, but Jesper Parnevik breaks through on the Champions Tour, taking the Houston title won by Ian Woosie last year. Big win for Jesper and no reason why he shouldn't kick on and become a force among the Champions.

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Post by GPB on Mon 09 May 2016, 2:06 am

I wonder why Jesper has never been on the sidelines of a recent Euro Ryder Cup team.

The ET RC Captain pipeline is predominantly GB&I.  With a spoonful of Spanish and a teaspoon of Danish Influence.

I can't remember any Swedes, French or Italians.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 09 May 2016, 8:29 am

GPB,
I doubt if Jesper has been a European Tour member during the last decade . . . . . .
Other Swedish golfers have been among VC's. I'm a bit surprised that Robert Karlsson has not apparently been in the mix, far better European Tour record than Parnevik.

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Post by raycastleunited on Mon 09 May 2016, 11:07 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Justin Rose got into position to win this thing but his putting is letting him down. Big time.
Very similar to the beginning of last year - good enough on medium lengthers but no confidence on short putts.
Disappointing.

Kwini you've mentioned Justin's poor putting letting him down a number of times over the last couple of years. I've never been observant enough to notice it before, but wow, yesterday it was dreadful. Tentative nervy dribbles. He looked terrified where other players confidently rattle the ball into the cup. Castro looked all over the place in the last few holes but still kept it together to hole out on 18 (twice) - something that Rose looked incapable of.

Looks to me more of a confidence thing than technique. He needs to abandon the claw grip, practice rolling in 6 footers, and then the results will come flooding in, because tee to green he is so solid and he's driving it beautifully.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 09 May 2016, 11:42 am

ray,
Agree about "confidence"; some of Rose's misses yesterday were tough putts, sidehill breakers, but he didn't seem to know whether to rattle them into the back of the hole a la Fowler, or baby them dead weight. Mostly he seemed caught between the two and then it affected the more straightforward ones too.

But the rest of his game looks as good as it ever has so hopefully he'll get his putting sorted soon.

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Post by McLaren on Mon 09 May 2016, 11:45 am

Rose is 188th for putting inside 10ft and 145th on strokes gained putting.

http://www.pgatour.com/players/player.22405.justin-rose.html/statistics


And the rest of his putting stats are just as bad.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 09 May 2016, 1:19 pm

GPB has mentioned that KT Kim and several long-time injured golfers are absent from the Players field.
No doubt there are also some others missing - I can't find Jaidee or Westwood in the published field for instance. Not seen any reason why.
EDIT: No Schwartzel either.

fyi, First "alternates" are Baddeley, Glover and Loupe.

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Post by GPB on Mon 09 May 2016, 1:34 pm

Kaufman and Pettersen are part of Players field, however they are fighting injuries.

So Baddeley and Glover might get 11th exemptions.

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Post by pedro on Mon 09 May 2016, 1:40 pm

GPB wrote:Kaufman and Pettersen are part of Players field, however they are fighting injuries.

So Baddeley and Glover might get 11th exemptions.
Didn't know women were allowed?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 09 May 2016, 1:59 pm

These Players qualifiers seem to be missing, for a variety of reasons:
Bae
Cink
Clark
Clarke
Ishikawa
Jaidee
Perez
Peterson
Sabbatini
Schwartzel
Watney
Westwood
Woods

No doubt have missed one or two.
But doesn't that seem an unusual number of qualifiers to spend their week elsewhere?

EDIT: Plus GPB's reminder about KT Kim. So, 14 in all and confirmed by Rob Bolton.


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Post by GPB on Mon 09 May 2016, 2:20 pm

pedro wrote:
GPB wrote:Kaufman and Pettersen are part of Players field, however they are fighting injuries.

So Baddeley and Glover might get 11th exemptions.
Didn't know women were allowed?

So I misspelled Pettersson.   Rolling Eyes

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Post by raycastleunited on Mon 09 May 2016, 3:02 pm

On the back 9, Rose missed putts on 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. I'm not saying he should have made all 6 but an average putter would have made 3 of them (enough to win!) and Speith or Day would probably have rolled in 4 or 5.

Maybe he should get some help from his mate Poulter, he would be great on Rose's bag, and his best chance of competing in the big events this year.

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Post by Shotrock on Mon 09 May 2016, 3:20 pm

Fine final day for both FIGJAM and Rory ... and I really look forward to next year's PGA Championship. Some course.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 09 May 2016, 4:13 pm

Shotrock,
You'd love Quail Hollow, looks an old-fashioned golf-course but is very demanding, not just around the greens, but off the tee as well. And I always prattle on about the 14th being my favourite short par-4 on Tour.
But I'm curious to know what front-nine changes they're making. Can't believe they'd fiddle with the greens again, they'll never mature enough in time for the PGA (which I'm hoping to go to).

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Post by GPB on Mon 09 May 2016, 5:23 pm

They are combining holes 1 and 2 into a longer par 4 (for the PGA) and making hole #5 into a par 3 and par 4.

And changing the mini verde greens into another modern bermuda hybrid...Champions Bermuda, I presume.

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Post by McLaren on Mon 09 May 2016, 6:03 pm

What is the point in the changes?

Seems a pretty disastrous thing to try.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 09 May 2016, 6:11 pm

They'll put a Drumpf cap on the Mona Lisa next.
But thanks for the info - very sad, and it'll make for (even) slower play on the first hole, plus the prospect of hard (firm as well as fast) greens. Can't imagine where they can put the new green on #5 without cutting down some of the trees which make it a challenging tee-shot on the existing par-5.

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Post by McLaren on Mon 09 May 2016, 7:15 pm

Kwini

Apparently one of the greens is going off to the side in the woods. Have they even started the work yet?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 09 May 2016, 7:18 pm

Reportedly they started work as soon as the leaders were through nine holes on Sunday - obviously couldn't wait to get started ripping up a masterpiece.
No word of any further Players defections. Yet.

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Post by McLaren on Mon 09 May 2016, 7:26 pm

Masterpiece or not the course was clearly perfect for pro tournament play, why take the risk of turning it into something that isn't.

Have there been complaints over the years about the front nine?

Why not make the changes years ago when the event was first awarded?

Why award the event if you "need" to rip up the front nine?

Golfs rulers are a weird bunch.
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Post by Shotrock on Mon 09 May 2016, 7:31 pm

Could not agree with you more Mac. I'll never understand the (alpha-male wanna-be golfer turned committee head??) need to change what's clearly working.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 09 May 2016, 7:49 pm

Sounds like you're talking about Drumpf again . . . . . . perhaps he's also a QH Committee member?
"Let's Make Quail Hollow Great Again"

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Post by McLaren on Mon 09 May 2016, 8:13 pm

Someone should build a wall to stop the bulldozers getting at it.
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Post by McLaren on Mon 09 May 2016, 8:30 pm

This article is titled "Why it took one man seven months to finish a round of golf"

http://www.golfdigest.com/story/why-it-took-one-man-seven-months-to-finish-a-round-of-golf?mbid=social_twitter

I thought it was going to be about someone trying to copy Jordan Spieth's pre-shot routine.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 09 May 2016, 8:48 pm

Players Tee-Times:

http://www.pgatour.com/competition/2016/the-players-championship/tee-times.html

Spieth with Day and Grace.
Rory with Bubba & DJ
Fowler with Scott & Kuchar
Stenson with Kaymer & Phil
Willett with Justin Rose & Sneedeker
etc.

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Post by sirbenson on Mon 09 May 2016, 10:08 pm

Paddy and Goose in the same group, what a coincidence!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 09 May 2016, 10:25 pm

Having rabbitted on about how calculating/fixed these times always seem to be, one top American who clearly gets no love, and likely never will, is Kevin Na. First out on Friday.
Whilst one European who gets "featured" tee times even when he's got a terrible record is McDool - out with Matsuyama and Oosthuizen!

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