PGA Tour: John Deere Tractor Boys: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 10 Aug 2016, 3:40 pm

1).A surprisingly good field last week, for The Travelers Championship in Hartford, but a real shocker this week in the Quad Cities (of Iowa/Illinois) for the John Deere Classic. Disappointing.

2).Some thoughts after two days, and walking 78 holes, at The Travelers. Great weather Thursday & Friday, small crowds Thursday, but obviously Connecticut works a 4-day week as Friday it was packed:

Unless you're playing well, Tour Golf is a grind; perhaps there's much more on the line (FedEx status, Ryder Cup pts, having a card for next year, you name it) in August than the previous mid-June date but there was not much joie de vivre out there for most of the guys we followed.

3).We followed Lowry for 14 Friday holes, until he pretty much bagged his round. Loved watching his driving and iron-play, but his short game was only so-so and putting (a 15-footer apart) was miserable as we saw him turn an easy 67 into a 71 and an early flight home. Fun to follow though.
Also followed Leishman for most of his round; as for Lowry, plays lots of shots, works his ball and really spanks his drives - great to see that ball-striking, but doesn't "give" the spectators much.

4).Had never watched more than a hole or two of any of Luke Donald, Branden Grace or JB Holmes and they were grouped together.
All missed the cut and, apart from some fun between Grace and Donald at the start of their round, they were not great to watch. Grace seemed to be going through the motions and no idea why JB bothered to turn up; perhaps DLIII had told him, "Play your way into the Ryder Cup automatic places or you're not going, cos I'm not picking you."? Luke played well enough tee-to-green but his short game was shockingly poor, chipping, putting, you name it. Plus, not sure he gets on well with his caddie so wouldn't be surprised to see another change there.

5).Watched a few holes of DeChambeau who hits it surprisingly long, but he wasn't playing well and seems a bit too self-absorbed to be entertaining. DeChambeau has exhausted all his free passes so had to enter Monday Qualifying for this week's John Deere Classic and he came up short. Presumably he'll try again next Monday in Greensboro. Good result there or it's the web.com Finals for Bryson baby.
Missed Tyrrell Hatton and only saw a few shots from Rahm and Kjeldsen.
Best group to follow was (don't laugh) Rickie Barnes, Carlos Ortiz and Martin Laird - all playing well and seeming to be enjoying themselves. Was also impressed by the few shots I saw Russell Henley hit. Plays fast and a great putter too.

6).Stupidest story of the week:
A PGA Tour official told us he was called in by James Hahn who wanted relief from his lie in a bunker, complaining it had been poorly raked. Idiot. Plus he's glacially slow.
Saddest story of the week:
Found meself walking behind Steve Foley and overhearing him say, "Whatever happens, he should be proud of the career he's had," to Kandi Mahan about Hunner. Hunner is rightly very popular in the Hartford community as is Harrington and it was great to see them both pitch to tap-in distance on their final hole to make the cut. They were grouped w/Cejka who grinds every shot but plays fast (lightning compared to Padraig of course). I bet he could tell some stories.

7).TPC River Highlands had a facelift since last summer and the place looked a picture. Some silly architectural cosmetics which I don't much care for, but surprised they didn't lengthen the few holes where there might be room. The course is almost completely enclosed by a McMansion-type, housing development, and space is very limited, but even so . . . . .. It plays 6,800 yards and at least three Par-4 tee-shots are so much downhill that it plays even shorter than its yardage. The only real defence is any wind and smallish greens so Furyk's 58, whilst remarkable, was not as surprising as if it had been shot at most other Tour courses. Well done to him though.

8).Not much to say about this week's stop at TPC Deere Run, site of Goydos's 59. There's a good chance of Friday's play being disrupted by storms and it's a little surprising that the Tour has not reduced the field size from 156 to 144. Saturday and Sunday could easily be the setting for more very low scoring.
With the Tour deserting most of the northern tier of the country, Tour Pros who have roots in the Mid-West and North-East tend to be very supportive/possessive of their home tournaments and the likes of Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly (second week running for Jerry) have gone out of their way to show commitment to the Quad Cities event. Spieth won here in 2013 & 2015 but he's staying home which is a shame.

9).As quizzed on last week's thread, six golfers are in danger of missing the Play-Offs for the first time ever: Perez, Overton, Poults and Watney are all injured, Sabbatini's been taking a sabbatical but is here this week (and in the Czech event next week, what's up with that?) as is Mahan. Only 16 Play-Off ever-presents left.

10).Will leave with two parting images from The Travelers as we left the course:
Thursday: Luke Donald and his caddie, alone on the range, as Luke hit shots, caddie videoed them, Luke analyzed 'em. It didn't do any good, regressed from a Round 1 to a Round 2 72. Take a break, Luke, You look fried. Paralysis by analysis.
Friday: Alone on the range. You-know-who was parked in his office beating balls in the twilight. Vijay Singh who shows the young ones a thing or two every time he plays.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 12:02 pm

Thanks for the summary of your time at the Travelers, an interesting read. I agree that Donald is fried, hard to see how he can return to anywhere near his former glory.

Any reason why it is a sad story that Hunter does have a career to be proud of. Maybe didn't reach the very top but had some good wins and qualified for some team events.



A thought about the Nike withdrawal, we should be looking out to see if any Nike players will ditch Nike clubs this week. When will they start switching over.
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Post by MustPuttBetter on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 12:04 pm

Kwini, I saw a story today that Erik Compton has been DQ'd for missing the Pro Am.
He wasn't meant to be in it and 2 people withdrew late. Harsh.
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Post by McLaren on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 12:11 pm

Didn't Furyk get DQ'd for missing a pro-am once?
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Post by MustPuttBetter on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 12:26 pm

Yeah but he overslept. Compton was miles away thinking he wasn't even in it
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Post by wiretapper on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 1:04 pm

You really spoil us with your articles Kwini OK

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 1:04 pm

MPB,
That's correct about Compton, I actually posted a note about it on Grumpers' fantasy thread as a couple had picked him.
Ridiculous in my opinion by the PGA Tour; they've got a feeble enough field as it is without getting rid of a mid-ranked player who's the Tour's medical story of the century, any century.
That leaves him just one tournament to earn his ticket for 16/17. Harsh.


Mac,
Sad was my word! I think Mahan is a good guy, but I'm sure some won't be sorry to see his decline.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 1:08 pm

Kwini

Sorry I wasn't very clear. I meant why do you think that mention of Hunter having had a good career was sad? I see it as a positive that he has a good career to look back on.
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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 1:13 pm

What's a Quad City when it's at home?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 1:29 pm

Cheers wire,


Mac,
He's only 34 for goodness sake! It was almost as if his coach and guru was writing his obituary.
I know everything is relative, but his earnings have plummetted the past few years - hope he's put some cash aside as this season is a very rainy day for his family.
I know he's probably insulated by endorsement income, but it must be tough to adjust one's lifestyle from years of $3M+ on-course earnings to $1.6M last year and then $230K so far this. His basic expense obligations, travel, caddie, mortgage, everything don't go away just because the swing's gone haywire. Hope he takes heart from last week's cut and can turn it around.


ray,
There are four towns pretty much straddling the Mississippi, Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, Moline and Rock Island in Illinois that market themselves as a Quad City metro area.
Not sure that the Five Towns of the Potteries is an accurate comparison, but something like that - I'll have to re-read some of my Arnold Bennett.
Anyway, there are also Tri-Cities dotted about the landscape.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 1:40 pm

The John Deere boys are tractoring their way around TPC Deere Run now.
The John Deere Classic is not only competing for players with The Olympics, but also the Senior US Open a web.com event not far away in Missouri and the fact that it's not a Ryder Cup points-counting event for the Europeans - I hope the tournament extracted some promises from the PGA Tour about players committing for their old July date next year.

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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 6:59 pm

Cheers Kwini - i understand the potteries comparison

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Post by GPB on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 8:36 pm

Billy Mayfair turned 50 a few days ago and making his PGATour Champions debut this week at the US Senior Open.

Scioto Country Club, where Jack Nicklaus learned to play golf, and Bobby Jones won the 1926 US Open.

Scioto CC is one of four courses (all designed by Donald Ross) to host the USOpen, USAmateur, PGA, and Ryder Cup.

Hazeltine makes it a fivesome in a couple months, but it is designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 8:41 pm

3 1/2 hour delay at the JDC and, with storms in the forecast for the next 24 hours, that means the tournament will be backed up as bad as Tarka's toilet by Friday evening.

But cream at the top, with Moore and Zach tied with Patrick Rodgers for the lead, all coming off decent weeks at Hartford.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 8:43 pm

GPB,
Don't remember seeing Scioto before - love the look.

And: Good luck to Billy, team-mates Jim Carter and ASU recruit - he didn't end up going there - Brandt Jobe having the occasional good week on the Champo.

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Post by GPB on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 8:53 pm

Dale Douglas won the 1986 US Senior Open at Scioto. I remember him winning but do not have any recollection of the course.

That exempted Douglas into the 1987 US Open at Olympic and I remember him playing very well (T31)

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Post by Be_the_ball on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 10:16 pm

Great write up as per usual kwini, i love going to tour events too. Great to see them up close and see how they manage themselves, their game and the crowd.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 10:35 pm

I think Scioto was the golden bear's home course as a youth.
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Post by Be_the_ball on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 10:43 pm

My cousin Vinny was a member there too...

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Post by GPB on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 10:54 pm

McLaren wrote:I think Scioto was the golden bear's home course as a youth.

Yes, as I pointed out in my earlier Scioto post.

GPB wrote:Scioto Country Club, where Jack Nicklaus learned to play golf, and Bobby Jones won the 1926 US Open.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 11:08 pm

Sorry. Doh


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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 11:20 pm

Hi B-t-b,
Often much more interesting to watch the lesser-known players, better inter-reaction with the gallery and you see so much more. Love it!
Was disappointed w/Shane though, seemed more interested in his buddies who were following him, getting water and, as he would say, "having the craic".

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Post by Be_the_ball on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 11:40 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Hi B-t-b,
Often much more interesting to watch the lesser-known players, better inter-reaction with the gallery and you see so much more. Love it!
Was disappointed w/Shane though, seemed more interested in his buddies who were following him, getting water and, as he would say, "having the craic".

Yeah, i don't think his head's been right since the US Open... he'd better snap out of it soon.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 11:53 pm

@PGAtour wrote:
Zach Johnson's last 21 rounds at TPC Deere Run:
65
65
66
68
66
64
69
67
63
68
67
66
64
65
66
65
68
65
67
69
66

Not bad.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 11:53 am

None of Round 1's afternoon wave completed their JDC rounds Thursday and play is scheduled to resume at 7.00 a.m. CDT Friday.
Good luck with that, the radar looks like a p1ssed off artist has thrown all his oranges, yellows and reds at the canvas - there'll be a lot of catching up to do when the Tour finally gets these guys back out on the course.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 1:25 pm

Start times for resumption of JDC play pushed back at least three hours. EDIT: Make that FIVE hours.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 6:19 pm

Action at last, and Andrew Loupe in the lead.
As he was for the first round at Hartford - then he imploded and missed the cut. Worth watching how the next few hours go for him.

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Post by robopz on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 9:56 pm

Looks like Wesley Bryan is making a serious run at duplicating what Jason Gore did back in 2005. Getting a 3-win battlefield promotion from the Web.com Tour... and then winning a PGA Tour event the same year.  Bryan is currently T3, minus-7, 1-shot back after 4 holes of his 2nd round as I write this.

Gore did it in his 4th start on the PGAT after his promotion... winning the 84 Lumber Classic. This is Bryan's 1st start since his battlefield promotion (but 3rd PGA Tour start of the season as he got Sponsor Exemptions into Memphis and the Quicken Loans). Bryan did not even have a finish in any OWGR rated event prior his first start on the Web-Com Tour this year. http://www.owgr.com/en/Ranking/PlayerProfile.aspx?playerID=21236

Those of you who aren't familiar with Bryan..... he's one of the Bryan Brothers who were somewhat of a internet sensation over here in the states for their trick shots... Turns out at least one of them has serious game (and his brother is caddying for him) Here's just video of them... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcOeGVDUnkk

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 10:26 pm

Gamecocks!!!!!!!!!!! They have a number of up-and-coming young pros . . . . . . .

Really enjoying the Senior Open and Scioto; see it's at Salem CC next year and that's about the hardest course (for a hacking amateur) that I've walked. The Bruce Fleisher connection continues - think I'll go to a couple of days of that.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 11:23 pm

Gotta agree kwini, really enjoying the Seniors, is that a bad reflection on the "main" tour? Dunno? But entertaining all the same....

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Post by GPB on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 1:04 am

robopz wrote:

Those of you who aren't familiar with Bryan..... he's one of the Bryan Brothers who were somewhat of a internet sensation over here in the states for their trick shots...   Turns out at least one of them has serious game (and his brother is caddying for him)  Here's just video of them... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcOeGVDUnkk

I don't think George (his brother) is caddying for him today.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 1:53 am

Ryan Succop (unfortunate name I know, but he's making a lot of money) has caddied for Bryan occasionally - imagine he's in training camp now though.

Even with all the delays, there's a very good chance Rounds 2 & 3 will be completed Saturday - good forecast for the weekend, but conditions will be perfect for low scoring.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 2:08 am

Not a bad field for Greensboro next week, Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed buzzing back from Rio, medals or not, as they try to secure Ryder Cup places.

Donald, Laird and McDowell also on duty, as are Rafa and Rahm.

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Post by GPB on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 3:09 am

Double post....deleted


Last edited by GPB on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 3:10 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by GPB on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 3:10 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Not a bad field for Greensboro next week, Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed buzzing back from Rio, medals or not, as they try to secure Ryder Cup places.

Donald, Laird and McDowell also on duty, as are Rafa and Rahm.

GMac's wife is very preggers, wouldn't be surprised if he WDs early in the week.

(I don't think she has delivered it yet)

Shane Lowry is playing Wyndham (and I think Denmark) to earn as many RC points as he can.

Other Olympians at Wyndham are Danny Lee and the Canadians.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 12:33 pm

Round 2 play should resume shortly at the JDC.

And, weather permitting Round 3 will get going at the Senior US Open at Scioto.
Curiosity:
In recent years, two British golfers have won FIVE Senior Majors (which are contested over four rounds) between them, but no run-of-the-mill 54-hole tournaments.
You probably know who they are, but why would this be? I suspect it's because fairways-and-greens is more of a mantra for British golfers, instead of grip-it-and-rip-it and let the putter take care of business.
Strange.

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Post by GPB on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 1:15 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Round 2 play should resume shortly at the JDC.

And, weather permitting Round 3 will get going at the Senior US Open at Scioto.
Curiosity:
In recent years, two British golfers have won FIVE Senior Majors (which are contested over four rounds) between them, but no run-of-the-mill 54-hole tournaments.
You probably know who they are, but why would this be? I suspect it's because fairways-and-greens is more of a mantra for British golfers, instead of grip-it-and-rip-it and let the putter take care of business.
Strange.

Wouldn't you say that fairways-and-greens is Langer's strategy? IIRC, he does pretty well in 54 hole tournaments.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 1:28 pm

Definitely agree, GPB, and thought of Langer when I made the post - but he wins about the same proportion of 72-holers as he does 54-holers, because he's so damn good.

Are you close to this week's web.commer? Decent start by Gonzo and hopefully he can kick on over the weekend. When the "weather" has moved out.

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Post by GPB on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 2:13 pm

No where close to Kansas City, in fact I have never been to Kansas City. I live in the SE part of Missouri. (Missouri is a big state)


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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 2:23 pm

Oh, Must be my mistake. pgatour.com states they're in Springfield . . . . . .

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Post by GPB on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 2:34 pm

No, it is my mistake, I saw Overland Park, KS which is where the Webbies were last week. Overland Park is in the suburbs of Kansas City.

They are in Springfield MO, but still on the other side of the state. I have been to Springfield but it is still quite hike across the State.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 2:52 pm

Close to Payne Stewart country then. And Rush Limbaugh land . . . . . . . SEMU and all that.

Comments re Gonzo still apply - maintaining his T5 position would at least get him into the web.com Finals. Small consolation but the closest he's likely to get to returning to the PGA Tour for another year.

Interesting that, among others, Camilo, de Jonge and Timmy Wilkinson all eschewed the Olympics to fight for their Tour cards via Top 125. All missed last week's cut, and Fatty de Jonge is a goner again this week, Timmy almost certain to join him and Camilo with it all to do. Futile gestures.

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Post by robopz on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 2:59 pm

Kwini... futile gestures maybe... but it's what they had to do.... Golf is hard... especially when the difference between a perennial $ million maker vs a guy losing status is so small... often the difference in just one good week...

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Post by McLaren on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 3:01 pm

Super, heptathlon best for 800m is 2.01.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heptathlon#Women.27s_world_records_compared_to_heptathlon_bests
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 3:22 pm

robo,
I understand that, but it's just another reason why golf needs to look at its schedule - or the way the Olympics run its Golf competition. Otherwise, it's unfair on the players, and unfair on the nations.

In other sports, when the Olympics gets in the way of the day job, football for instance, countries either don't field a team or modify (i.e. water down) the criteria for selection.

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Post by robopz on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 3:54 pm

Kwini... I guess I missed the point.  I thought it was about the players.

But sure... on one hand it would be better to not have a competing event... but on the other you have a PGAT membership with lots of lower rung exempt players who don't get near an equal number of starts to retain their PGAT status as the "cream" does... and taking away one more of the events  they're sure to get into like the Deere really hurts.  so.... don't really have a problem with alternate events for the "have not's".

And let's get real here... the PGAT is taking some heat over this... but the ONLY reason there's not a competing event on the ET this week as well is because they don't have a sponsor... but  if they did... you could bet your bottom dollar the Ahmad Tea Uzbekistan Open or something similar would be playing this week...

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Post by GPB on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 4:13 pm

Kwini, do you think that the PGAT should not be playing this week? The Quad Cities tournament has been around for 45 years and people think it should skip a year because the Oympics is being played?

I have farmer friends who go up nearly every year to play in the Pro-Am. The JDC charities depend on the money raised by that tournament.

and FTR, Tim Wilkinsin wasn't even close to qualifying for the Olympics.

He is ranked #375 and there are three Kiwis in the Top 200. Had Wilkinsin been qualified for the Olympics (and ranked about #150) chances are he would not be in FEX trouble.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 4:44 pm

robo,

Think it's a shame the JDC had to be played the same week, no need for an event to clash with the Olympics - unless the Tours considered the Olympics second fiddle. The whole thing has been compromised with Quad Cities and the nations being short-changed.


GPB,
I wrote this and then realised I hadn't "sent" it!
But that's what I think; no reason whatsoever why the JDC should have been sacrificed, they should have had their old date back, or something adjacent. I LOVE the JDC, one of my fave community tournaments. Personally, I would have cancelled the Bridgestone or moved the Play-Offs back a week. Better choices than to compromise the quality of two events.
Wilkinson was in much better sahape to qualify following his excellent finishes in Charlotte & Dallas - and before Ryan Fox woke up.

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Post by GPB on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 4:58 pm

The last thing the PGATour wants to do is give the sponsors and the players to b*tch about.

The Tour works for the players and not for the Olympics or the IGF

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Post by robopz on Sat 13 Aug 2016, 5:05 pm

Kwini... guess I don't see how any nations got short changed. IMO the 4/2 max per country scheme doesn't short change anybody... if it does, it short changes the "golf rich" countries. So I don't know why some people get so bent out of shape because the USA has 4 qualifiers... while I'm not bent out of shape that to allow other countries in... roughly 25 higher ranked OWGR top-60 USA players DON'T qualify for the Olympic field of 60.

In fact since there is no "floor" of qualification (like swimming has minimum "Olympic Selection Times")... more players from more countries qualify to play in the golf than they do in a lot of other events. But I suppose if Golf wanted to... they could add another 20 players from countries not otherwise represented in the 60 they have now... that is if people think adding some 1300th ranked player from Slovenia adds value to the field.

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