PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

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PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 01 Feb 2017, 6:42 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).It is not that long ago that many tournaments featured "party" holes, usually Par-3's with plenty of seating and plenty of nearby bars; the Greater Greensboro Open had one such example when the tournament was held at Forest Oaks.
The old Buick Open outside Detroit, had another, Warwick Hills' 17th which attracted John Daly for one: "This is a great tournament to play in, it's a beer drinkers' tournament."
Even "Doral" was something of a social scene until ticket prices multiplied and the (new) brand trumped the tournament and the WGC took its act to Mexico. Kinda ironic that.

2).It was never clear the extent to which the PGA Tour embraced the cocktail party atmospheres, but any negative sentiments were proved moot when the GGO was relocated and the Detroit market was abandoned.
But however the Tour viewed those venues, the Phoenix Open's Par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale just grew and grew, to the stadium-come-ampitheatre it has now become. Apparently loved by most, especially the TV coverage, it is now pretty much a one-off in Tour golf and will have doubtless expanded even more this year, 20,000 rowdies there? 30,000?? The city of Phoenix's name was suggested by a 19th century English settler because it reminded him of an earlier civilization - perhaps he had the 16th in mind?

3).Like it or loathe it, it's come to be the trademark of this week's event, aptly sponsored by "Waste Management", and the crowds attending will doubtless be in the hundreds of thousands. Players will toss paraphernalia to the crowd and some may wear a shirt specially for the occasion - as Arizona native Billy Mayfair did in 2009 when the Arizona Cardinals somehow squeezed thru extreme vetting to reach the Super Bowl and laugh-a-minute Billy changed in to a Cardinals shirt for the occasion, to hoots and hollers from the "patrons".

4).The Phoenix area is also the home of Arizona State University, which has enjoyed strong golf programmes for many years, with alumni including Mickelson and Mayfair, Pat Perez and Paul Casey, Johansson and Nordqvist, plus a pair of Spaniards, Alejandro Canizares and Azahara Munoz. Oh, and Jon Rahm.

5).Rahm received an invite to the 2015 tournament, just his second Tour event, and served notice to the golfing world by finishing 5th. He followed up last year with a 3rd at Congressional and a T2 in Canada, and now it's no surprise to watch him break through with a win in San Diego.
I followed Rahm for a few holes last year and he's an imposing figure, seemingly taller than the 6 ft 2 the Tour guide lists him at, and Greg Norman-type shoulders. In his 17 Tour appearances to date, as amateur and pro, he's only missed two cuts and he could find himself the crowd favourite in his Spieth & Fowler group on Thursday and Friday.
Spieth fluked his way into a play-off on his way to winning his first Tour title, and Rahm won't hole many 60-foot, septuple breaking putts to win many titles. But he's arrived, and European Tour objective #1 must be to get him in the ET fold for future Ryder Cup Teams - about ten or eleven of them.

6).Rahm will also now, most likely, qualify for all this year's WGC's and Majors, and certainly he'll have received the BillyPayne-o-gram beckoning him to Augusta in April. Coming up fast are some deadlines for upcoming WGC's as well as The Masters:
WGC Mexico:
Feb 20th: Top Ten in R2D (Currently those in the Top Ten not already qualified are: Fleetwood, Brazel, Larrazabal, Van Zyl, Storm, Dodt, Aiken, Lagergren).
Feb 27th: Top Ten in FedEx (As of now: Perez, Steele, Hughes, Rahm, Swafford, HowellIII, Pampling, Gribble).
Feb 20 AND 27th: Top 50 in owgr:

WGC MatchPlay:
March 13th: Top 64 in owgr.

WGC Bridgestone:
Feb 19th: Winner of Dimension Data tournament on the Sunshine Tour - no idea why they receive that sweetheart deal; plus other tournament winners with stipulated strength of field.

7).Masters:
Top 50 in owgr as at March 27th
PGA Tournament winners through "Houston" on April 2nd - (haven't seen anything published on likely Houston sponsor recently . . . . . . . now that Shell is pulling out).
And, presumably, the Ishikawa invitation.

8).Lots to be playing for then.
A strong field in "Phoenix" with last year's play-off winner, Matsuyama, and Spieth leading the way.
I don't feel sorry for Rickie Fowler very often, but last year he was followed by his grandfather & father who had never seen him win. Unfortunately Rickie snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by putting balls in the water on the short Par-4 17th, once in "regulation", once in overtime. Coming in on the crest of a wave having won in Abu Dhabi, he must have felt borderline invincible. Down to earth in a hurry and his golf seemed to suffer the rest of the year. Until the Ryder Cup unfortunately.

9).Europeans in the field include Harrington, Johnston, Knox, Laird, Lowry, Molinari (hole in one on the 16th a couple of years ago), plus Jon Rahm of course. And Luke Donald with his first start of the year.
Luke has only registered 2 x Top Ten Tour finishes in the past 18 months. Doesn't this look like a sh1t or bust kind of year for him? He's not likely to be content with being an also-ran week after week - he'll be 40 this year, his family is growing up and I can't imagine him hanging about with Top 30 finishes, on a good week, for much longer. A win could revitalize him obviously, but his skill-set is becoming outdated unless he's absolutely on top of his game. Which he hasn't been for a few years.

10).Past Waste Management Champion Tiger Woods is taking his talents overseas this week, to Dubai, his choice of desert du jour.
A news release about his travels caught my eye - he flew "commercial", apparently for the first time, in his reckoning, for ten years. It's not clear what has grounded TWA, perhaps he's downsizing?
And was interested to see punters in Dubai were clamouring for his autograph; reportedly in similar numbers to a visiting Brian Lara.
Don't know if there are any stadium holes at the Dubai venue, but Woods will be playing a different type of course after Torrey Pines (which looked great), and imagine he must be formulating ideas of which courses to play this season, whether his regular schedule lends itself to his new swing, his mended(?) body. Something to look for over the coming months.

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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by Davie on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 8:06 pm

It was a redneck crowd. What do you expect. They probably though Hideki was a muslim, right?

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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by Davie on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 8:06 pm

It was a redneck crowd. What do you expect. They probably though Hideki was a muslim, right?

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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by Shotrock on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 9:37 pm

Davie - Having been to that event in the past, I would not classify it as a redneck crowd (although I'm sure there were plenty there) ... the common element would be inebriated.

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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by pedro on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 10:40 pm

Hideki did single out spectators a couple of times during the playoff. Glad to see him come through - slthough he's hardly a showman.

I also have to admit that I never liked Webb Simpson, mainly because of his slick appearance, religious hooha and his broom putter. But I did warm a bit to him last night: he plays very fast and seemed much more relaxed and at ease than in the past.

Can not see DJ not producing a good result at Pebble Beach. He had a backdoor top3 in Abu 2million Dhabi and struggled a bit at Torrey. But Pebble Beach should be right up his alley.

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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by pedro on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 10:44 pm

Shotrock wrote:Davie - Having been to that event in the past, I would not classify it as a redneck crowd (although I'm sure there were plenty there) ... the common element would be inebriated.
As I could see there were plenty of college student jock types, at least around 16, and then normal fat people with big cups. But I didn't spot too many rednecks tbh.

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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by MontysMerkin on Tue 07 Feb 2017, 9:04 am

I thought the baying crowd did well all things considered. No one was shot, stabbed or beaten, no pussies grabbed, no one dodged a tax bill and all that happened is that they booed a foreigner. Good times.
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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 07 Feb 2017, 1:33 pm

Surprised to see Steven Bowditch still listed in this week's Pebble Beach field; like Bowdo, Pebble Beach is getting a right soaking this week. Would have thought the Tour would have pulled his "licence" by now.
He's not among Rob Bolton's "Power Rankings"; perhaps he'll be among the "Sleepers"?

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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 07 Feb 2017, 9:27 pm

USGA announce increase in US Open prize money to $12M, winner's share $2.16M. According to Golf Channel.

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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by Be_the_ball on Tue 07 Feb 2017, 9:56 pm

Not bad for a weekends work Shocked

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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by GPB on Wed 08 Feb 2017, 4:31 am

kwinigolfer wrote:
One European we haven't seen for five months is Freddie Jac. He finished 4th at Pebble last year, but not in next week's field; hope he's OK.

According to Rob Bolton, he had surgery on one of his hands. Supposed to return at Honda.

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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 08 Feb 2017, 11:38 am

Aaah, Thanks GPB, hadn't seen that. Freddie's fun to follow, quite the shot-maker when he has to be.

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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 08 Feb 2017, 2:07 pm

I can't stand the editorial opinionizing of the Golf Channel web-site, but they have a couple of good writers, and this is a super piece about Patrick Cantlay's travails:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/ryan-lavner/three-years-later-cantlay-returns-injury-tragedy

Well worth the read.

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Re: PGA Tour: Stadium Golf: Notes from the Ballwasher

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