PGA Tour: THE PLAYERS Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 11 May 2016, 4:23 pm

1).THE PLAYERS? Well, that's what they call it, capital letters included; perhaps to convince Commish Timmy that it's really a Major? But lots of American touring pros regard it at least as a small "m" major so let's treat it as such here.

2).We're all familiar with the TPC Sawgrass course, warts 'n all. It is tweaked every year but is receiving a face lift after this year's tournament, the most obvious change being to rework the 12th hole from a short dog-leg left Par-4 to a driveable Par-4. Not sure why they would do that but driveable Par-4's are fashionable, anything to favour length over finesse, and Sawgrass doesn't have a reachable Par-4 as things currently stand.

3).An interesting take on length over finesse was brought up by Faldo during last week's broadcast from Quail Hollow - the amount of money/tournaments won by the longest guys on Tour compared to the straightest. Can't remember the exact numbers he used but here's what he was looking at in terms of 2014/15 stats:

4).Long:
318 yds: Dustin Johnson: Won $5.5M and one tournament
315 yds: Bubba Watson: Won $6.9M and two tournaments (plus one this season)
314 yds: Jason Day: Won $9.4M and five tournaments (plus two)
312 yds: Adam Scott: Won $1.3M, no wins (but two this year)
310 yds: JB Holmes: Won $4.0M, one win

5).Straight:
First five, you can find the stats, imagine the arithmetic: Molinari, Toms, Reavie, Leonard, Bohn.
One winner in the top ten was Zach Johnson (8th in %age of fairways hit), and that was at St.Andrews where any poster knows he should have gone round in 4 x 59's.
Only other winners among the straightest 48 were Ryan Moore (in Malaysia) and Furyk (Harbour Town).

6).It's a sign of the genius of Pete Dye, then, that TPC Sawgrass rewards all golfers if they're good enough with recent winners including long-ballers such as Norman, Couples, Scott, Mickelson, Love, Woods, Garcia and even Fowler. And shorties like Tim Clark and Fred Funk.
Having said which, don't invest your life savings on:
DJ: 6 appearances, no top 30 finishes, only one round in the 60's.
or:
Bubba: 8 trips, nothing better than T37 and only five rounds in the 60's.

7).But, who really knows??!! Two weeks ago Brian Stuard surprised us (and him?), whilst James Hahn came in to Quail Hollow on a roll - eight consecutive missed cuts.
With those thoughts in mind, has there ever been a more surprising winner of The Players than Craig Perks? He won't be troubling us this week, unless he's droning on in the Golf Channel commentary box, but his win was a shocker.

8).Ryder Cup wannabes, from both sides of the Atlantic, have pretty much been treading water since the Masters, but that will doubtless change as big tournaments are in prospect on both Tours.
The Players is seldom kind to European golfers who haven't embraced the PGA Tour, though one could say that Kaymer's win two years ago was an exception. (I see Kaymer has said he's finished after this week with his 2016 US commitments except for Majors, next season tba.)
But Sergio has a fantastic record here, Stenson's a winner, Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington and Martin Laird have all runnered up, and I fancy Molinari to have a good week now that he's showing some form.

9).Rory has never seemed to care for Sawgrass but perhaps he's getting the hang of it. Missed the cut on his first three visits, Top Ten finishes the next three. The impartial observer in me hopes for another Top Ten!
Whilst Justin Rose's "ball-striking" was terrific at Quail Hollow, only to see his putter desert him. This week will be warm and the greens could get baked out so a dodgy putting stroke won't help one bit.
Lowry and Willett missed the cut last year on their Players debut, but Russell Knox earned a top twenty finish and local knowledge will hopefully help him contend this year.
And it'll be interesting to see how Fitzpatrick and Sullivan play on their debut.

10).There seems to be a school (OK, NBC's Johnny Miller/Mark Rolfing) of thought that Jordan Spieth will have a hard time getting over his Augusta setback. Don't see it myself, think he's that good he'll be back in the winning saddle soon, perhaps in Texas the next week or two.
But just as Spieth seems to have a perfect game for Sawgrass, so does Danny Willett. He's been enjoying some time off - though probably not enough to warrant the Beef-like inference of golfchannel.com's headline: "Lots of drinking" post-Masters.
But is this the year that the Casey/Donald/Howell/Poulter/Rose/Westwood generation of English golfers, despite the continued excellence of some of them, is finally shoved aside by the twenty-somethings?
Danny Willett is certainly leading by example, and I like this quote from Golf Digest:
"I've got my own set of expectations of what I want to do for myself, so I'm not really too fussed about what everybody else thinks. If I do my bit, and what I've done over the last 18 months, two years, then it's proved to myself that I can do some pretty special things."  
Pretty special so far.

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Post by McLaren on Wed 11 May 2016, 5:19 pm

Kwini

A lot of talk about Spieth trying to make unnecessary changes to his swing, trying to get back to his slightly held open impact position of last summer.

You could see at the Masters that whatever he was trying to do it wasn't comfortable for him.

The golf channel compared how long he stood over the ball between the end of his pre shot routine and pulling the trigger from last season to this season. I think he went from about 18 seconds to 27secs.

Whatever the exact numbers it brings back memories of the phase garcia went through with all the waggles when he couldn't pull the trigger.


Like you stats on the what sort of winner racks up the big cheques more often.



As for the English golfers you have to wonder what the Careers of Donald and Westwood would have been if they had finished a major off in their late 20's like Willett has done?

Westwood has definitely stepped aside this week and hasn't even bothered to turn up. It is like he has a whole lot of these big events left in his career and can afford to miss a few. picard
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Post by navyblueshorts on Wed 11 May 2016, 5:23 pm

Good read as usual Kwini. Re. points 4/5 and the distance over accuracy thing, dare one suggest that clearly there isn't much real punishment anywhere if you're offline with a driver? Either that, or the long bombers are also unreal with 'recovery' shots - probably the case if they've always bombed it with the naturally smaller targets they're trying to hit.


Mac

Re. Westwood, I suggest to you he has more important things in his life just now. It's not like he needs the money is it?
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Post by McLaren on Wed 11 May 2016, 6:04 pm

Navy

Lee could do with some wins that aren't just chubby run Asian folly's on his CV. He should get himself along, as even next season he might not be eligible.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 11 May 2016, 6:34 pm

Having said which, second place at Augusta has bought him some time. Agree w/navy on this.


navy,
That certainly applies to a good 50% of the courses the PGA Tour plays, Riviera a rare example of a course which suits long hitters and rewards short/straight ones alike.
More worrying for those who like their golf to be multi-dimensional is that many web.com courses are set up the same way and that mitigates against shorter hitters who don't have an absolutely magical short game.

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Post by Shotrock on Wed 11 May 2016, 7:41 pm

I was working out last night and some of the talking heads on the golfing channel were predicting a Rory win. They were anticipating ultra fast greens this weekend and the high approach shot that Rory can play could well be rewarded. And don't forget Sergio always seems to place highly here!

I seem to recall that dour Scot Colin M. referred to this as a 5th major.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 11 May 2016, 7:46 pm

Hi Sr,
Glad to see you noted my points 8). and 9). about Sergio and Rory. Wouldn't have minded seeing Sergio playing in the past fortnight however.

Colin Montgomerie will say anything to make friends, wonder what he says about it when he's asked about tournaments he's actually won - and you know that he'll morph Senior majors into majors, that'll put the Players down to about 12th in his very large book.

Off to the MV on Friday, always look forward to that . . . . . .

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Post by Shotrock on Wed 11 May 2016, 7:55 pm

C'mon Kwin, let's not doubt Colin for a minute. I'm certain he meant it!

Enjoy the MV!

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Post by navyblueshorts on Thu 12 May 2016, 8:46 am

McLaren wrote:Navy

Lee could do with some wins that aren't just chubby run Asian folly's on his CV.  He should get himself along, as even next season he might not be eligible.
Why? Why should he bother now? As I said, he doesn't need the money, he has more important things to be doing and why bother setting himself up for the internet dullards who constantly carp on about his lack of a Major title?
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Post by McLaren on Thu 12 May 2016, 11:08 am

Navy

What else is he going to be doing?
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Post by MontysMerkin on Thu 12 May 2016, 11:14 am

Hot tub full of busty blonde beauties would be my bet.
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Post by pedro on Thu 12 May 2016, 11:21 am

MontysMerkin wrote:Hot tub full of busty blonde beauties would be my bet.
Westwood in a hot tub won't leave much room for other busty blondes than himself. Maybe a sad skinny b!tch but that's it.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 12 May 2016, 11:23 am

Can he not fit in 18 holes and a tug in a hot tub?
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Post by MontysMerkin on Thu 12 May 2016, 11:28 am

pedro wrote:
MontysMerkin wrote:Hot tub full of busty blonde beauties would be my bet.
Westwood in a hot tub won't leave much room for other busty blondes than himself. Maybe a sad skinny b!tch but that's it.
If you've got the money he's got I would think this would be a minor problem to overcome.
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Post by Roller_Coaster on Thu 12 May 2016, 11:40 am

MontysMerkin wrote:
pedro wrote:
MontysMerkin wrote:Hot tub full of busty blonde beauties would be my bet.
Westwood in a hot tub won't leave much room for other busty blondes than himself. Maybe a sad skinny b!tch but that's it.
If you've got the money he's got I would think this would be a minor problem to overcome.

"Hi is that Mega Hot Tobs of Florida? One XL hot tub please."

"Certainly Mr Westwood, should be there by Saturday Morning - you won't be playing the weekend will you?"

"Actually, Thursday morning would be better, CBA this week!"

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 12 May 2016, 11:54 am

It's going to be hot this week, and not just in lw1's hot tub.
Sawgrass temps will approach 90F each day with light breezes and just the chance of a storm on Friday - the TPC course could probably use a bit of a soaking, very dry recently and those brown things we see on Sunday will be the greens. Hope the Tour staff are sensible.

Molinari will be the first European in action, followed by Fitzpatrick & Freddie Jac, then Casey & Lowry.

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Post by navyblueshorts on Thu 12 May 2016, 11:58 am

McLaren wrote:Navy

What else is he going to be doing?
Oh, I dunno. Seeing his kids maybe?
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Post by pedro on Thu 12 May 2016, 12:50 pm

He has got a new gf hasn't he?

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Post by Roller_Coaster on Thu 12 May 2016, 1:41 pm

and hot tub, from tomorrow.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 12 May 2016, 1:52 pm

Rory's 2013 - 2015 record on the front nine at The Players is +12. His back nine record is -36. According to GC.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 12 May 2016, 3:52 pm

Very (ridiculously?) low scoring at The Players, even par rounds look like they'll be out with the washing.

Justin Rose among early leaders, which makes one wonder what the hell he's putting with, given his sputtering final round last Sunday.
Stenson missing out so far - +3 following last week's first missed cut for two years. What's going on there Henrik?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 12 May 2016, 4:22 pm

Short and crooked from Lukey: one fairway hit on the front nine, two birds but two sixes. Very poor.

But erstwhile teammates Franny & Rosey leading the way.

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Post by navyblueshorts on Thu 12 May 2016, 5:04 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Very (ridiculously?) low scoring at The Players, even par rounds look like they'll be out with the washing.

Justin Rose among early leaders, which makes one wonder what the hell he's putting with, given his sputtering final round last Sunday.
Stenson missing out so far - +3 following last week's first missed cut for two years. What's going on there Henrik?
Ah, but it's not the back 9 on Sunday while in contention...
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 12 May 2016, 6:33 pm

Turns out the secret to Justin Rose's round might have been excellent iron play - he hit 18 of 18 greens today, 18 birdie chances, at least!

Looks like Jason Day has just tied the course record with a sporty 63. Beating Stenson, for instance, by 14 strokes.

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Post by pedro on Thu 12 May 2016, 7:42 pm

Much can be said about the Mauritius event, but at least they have Thitiphun...

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 12 May 2016, 8:12 pm

Afternoon wave scoring not as sh1t hot as this morning's, Rory & Sergio stuck on level par.

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Post by Davie on Thu 12 May 2016, 8:37 pm

navyblueshorts wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:Very (ridiculously?) low scoring at The Players, even par rounds look like they'll be out with the washing.

Justin Rose among early leaders, which makes one wonder what the hell he's putting with, given his sputtering final round last Sunday.
Stenson missing out so far - +3 following last week's first missed cut for two years. What's going on there Henrik?
Ah, but it's not the back 9 on Sunday while in contention...

That's a bit harsh and based only on very recent form. Take it over the last 5 years and you had to pick someone to putt for your mortgage, Rosey must surely be right up there. Not based on any stats, just a gut feeling

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 12 May 2016, 8:50 pm

That's the way we think of him Davie, perhaps because he's been so good in high pressure situations.
But, week in, week out, Rose has not been so good and goes through some pretty dry spells. Over the past six years he's never been better than 96th (out of about 200+) in the primary PGA Tour putting stat.
Hopefully the putter will behave this week.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 12 May 2016, 9:59 pm

Dark times for McIlroy are we down to a big 2, or does spieths chunk on the 12th at the masters make it a big 1. Day certainly in a league of his own today.


I am always surprised how little stick I get on here for doubting that Day was the real deal and continuing with that line up until very recently.
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Post by pedro on Thu 12 May 2016, 10:08 pm

Well, most of us doubted on Fowler, so you won't see us throw stones..

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Post by McLaren on Thu 12 May 2016, 10:17 pm

Fowler was a flash in the pan. He has choked a couple of times this season already. Whistle
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 12 May 2016, 10:26 pm

Neither is getting close to Rory's CV - let's see if they ever do.

Afternoon scores definitely higher, but par still looks to be about 71 today.

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Post by puligny on Thu 12 May 2016, 10:49 pm

Great write up Kwini - many thanks.
How will Rickie know which shoes to wear tomorrow?
Why is Rory wearing yoga pants? He's not on it with the short irons is he!
Petterson and short putter look made for each other!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 12 May 2016, 11:26 pm

Hi puligny,
Haven't been watching but following on-line.
This is turning into a fiasco for Rory & Sergio n'est ce pas? Bl00dy rubbish. And they'll probably both go and shoot lights out tomorrow morning. Fingers Crossed Fingers Crossed

Must be something about the afternoon conditions that suits a different type of golfer than the morning action.

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Post by Shotrock on Fri 13 May 2016, 1:42 am

Looks like the talking heads were a bit off on the Sergio/Rory call. But, it's early of course.

Heck of a start for Jason all day.


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Post by beninho on Fri 13 May 2016, 9:54 am

If it wasnt about the money and world ranking points, You would pick Mauritius over Sawgrass any day. Flicked the coverage on TV yesterday, the with looked up and said, is that Sawgrass? Think i'll keep her...

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Post by navyblueshorts on Fri 13 May 2016, 10:16 am

Davie wrote:
navyblueshorts wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:Very (ridiculously?) low scoring at The Players, even par rounds look like they'll be out with the washing.

Justin Rose among early leaders, which makes one wonder what the hell he's putting with, given his sputtering final round last Sunday.
Stenson missing out so far - +3 following last week's first missed cut for two years. What's going on there Henrik?
Ah, but it's not the back 9 on Sunday while in contention...

That's a bit harsh and based only on very recent form. Take it over the last 5 years and you had to pick someone to putt for your mortgage, Rosey must surely be right up there. Not based on any stats, just a gut feeling
Probably is a bit harsh. He's clearly good or he wouldn't have the record he has. I don't think I'd pick Rose to putt for my life (or mortgage) though!
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 13 May 2016, 10:28 am

navy,
Regarding Rose's putting, my comments yesterday still apply, his stats don't lie! When he's good, he's very very good, when he's bad, not so much.

Another warm one at Sawgrass today, chance of rain later. Cut line probably about -2.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 13 May 2016, 10:53 am

What are your thoughts on Rory's joggers?

Rory in yoga pants:
PGA Tour: THE PLAYERS Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher Roryjoggers

I think they look better than Fowler's effort, and might even be tempted to wear them instead of traditional golf trousers.
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Post by beninho on Fri 13 May 2016, 10:58 am

They look allright. Think the days of dress codes and restrictions on what you can or cannot wear are being challenged. Collared shirts, long socks etc.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 13 May 2016, 10:59 am

lee not with his kids by the way. He is practicing at Renaissance.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BFV06JOxAxS/
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Post by McLaren on Fri 13 May 2016, 11:25 am

Just watched a video of Adam Scott's 8 on 18 yesterday. 1st into the water, 3rd miles over the back of the green and rolled down a path, 4th played back towards the hole but run through the green and into the pond, 6th a long putt that went about 15 foot by, 7th missed putt and then 8 into the hole.

He probably won't be around for the weekend.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 13 May 2016, 11:59 am

More trouble over the back of the green than in front of it?
Shocking. . . . . . . .
Adam will be around for the weekend if he plays 18 holes Friday like he played 17 holes Thursday.

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PGA Tour: THE PLAYERS Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: THE PLAYERS Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by McLaren on Fri 13 May 2016, 12:10 pm

He only got penalty strokes in front of the green. raspberry
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PGA Tour: THE PLAYERS Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: THE PLAYERS Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 13 May 2016, 12:59 pm

Because he was in such difficulty behind the green . . . . . .

Huge advantage to yesterday's morning wave with only Boo Weekley of the 13 golfers making 66 or better teeing off in the p.m.
Only five of the leading 23 played in the afternoon.

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PGA Tour: THE PLAYERS Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: THE PLAYERS Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by McLaren on Fri 13 May 2016, 2:10 pm

kwini

Go check the thread about going long, don't want to drag this one off topic.
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PGA Tour: THE PLAYERS Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: THE PLAYERS Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 13 May 2016, 3:25 pm

Rory -5 after 6 holes; lots of good scores out there, a bit like yesterday morning. So perhaps the "waves" will even out and we'll have a proper tournament.
Cut-line looking as if it could go to -3 if conditions don't firm up a bit.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 13 May 2016, 3:37 pm

Chip in - EAGLE!
Seven under par after 7 holes - don't stop now Rory!!

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Post by McLaren on Fri 13 May 2016, 3:39 pm

I must have wound Rory up by questioning his big 3 status. Lets hope he can maintain the form and end the day in the top 5.
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Post by Shotrock on Fri 13 May 2016, 3:49 pm

I get Rory going 7 under fast .... but Colt Knost?

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