PGA Tour: Four Weeks Left Before the Play-Offs: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 25 Jul 2018, 4:00 pm

1).That's right, just four weeks remain of the 2017/2018 season:
RBC Canadian Open
WGC-Bridgestone & Barracuda Championship (opposite field event in Reno)
PGA Championship
Wyndham Championship, in Greensboro, NC

2).The pros are in Ontario, just outside Toronto, where the Nicklaus-design Glen Abbey hosts for about the 30th time. It's a par 72 lay-out but, with the 13th, 16th and 18th being Par-5's, the leaderboard can be volatile over the final few holes.
The Canadian presence is relatively strong, 21 golfers even without Graham DeLaet who is undergoing microdiscectomy, again. He's been out since October and will apparently miss another six to twelve months.

3).Apart from the bleeding obvious, a few other things are at stake this week:
*It's the final week to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone - the winner gets in, plus anyone in the owgr Top 50 who is not already qualified.
*And the winner also gets a trip to Bellerive, in St.Louis, for the PGA Championship.
*The Top 100 in the world rankings will also typically be invited to the PGA.
*Lastly, the top 70 in the PGA Championship "special money list" - from last year's Bridgestone thru this week. This is also the ranking from which "alternates" are chosen for the PGA.

4).The US Ryder Cup Team qualification ends at the PGA and last week saw Webb Simpson move ahead of DeChambeau to the 8th and last automatic qualifying position. DeChambeau is spinning his wheels this week in Germany, a somewhat bizarre scheduling move at the best of times but especially so for someone who withdrew from a tournament two weeks ago due to injury. Doubtless this is all scientifically calibrated though - hopefully he won't forget to pack his compass.

5).Thomas Bjorn must have had mixed feelings watching his horses come down the straight at Carnoustie: Molinari was leading the way, obviously, with Rose & Rory just a couple of lengths behind.
Not much need to worry about Fleetwood or Noren presumably, but several others had a dismal Open, continuing a largely lack-lustre summer from many leading Europeans.
Stenson's fitness seems to be a recurring issue as is Rahm's temperament. Sergio's in a funk, and even the usually consistent Casey, Poulter and Cabrera-Bello are struggling.

Kaymer seems to have played (or not) himself out of contention, Hatton hasn't caught fire and Fitzpatrick's struggles continue.

6).On the brighter side, Knox and Pepperell are in a rich vein of form, but is it too little, too late for both? In Bjorn's favour, possibly, is that Europeans have an extra three weeks to strut their stuff, compared to their American counterparts. Not sure if that's a mixed blessing though!

7).Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell have been RBC "ambassadors" for much of their distinguished careers, but Donald is out for the season with long-standing injury problems and McDowell is well off the pace necessary to keep his PGA Tour card.
It's almost two years since McDool last finished inside a Tour top ten and he's slipped to 151st in FedEx points. He has no apparent safety net available to him other than Past Champion status and any sponsor invitations - and he certainly seems popular with sponsors and tournament directors. Without a Tour cut made for almost three months, these would be desperate times for most pros, but not really clear what McDool's motivation is these days. Fingers crossed he has some good results in his final three opportunities and, failing that, has a Plan B up his sleeve.

8).Apart from McDowell, Seamus Power is the only European on the threshold of earning/retaining his Tour card, but perhaps the 400+ FedEx points that Martin Laird has accumulated may no longer be sufficient for him - he's had some good finishes at Glen Abbey so perhaps he can make absolutely sure this week.

9).Sergio has slipped ignominiously to 132nd in FedEx Points so will be in Europe or the nursery during the Play-Offs unless he can finally flash some form. Can't see that he's played a Tour event in Canada for almost twenty years. And Tommy Fleetwood has never played there - no idea why he's added this to his busy schedule, but no doubt there are some financial inducements.
Shane Lowry will also be in the house, with a new caddie, but Shane's PGA Tour career is withering. He feasted at the Bridgestone buffet three years ago, but he's not qualified to return there this year, and will only be in the PGA field on a wing and a prayer.

10).The future of the Glen Abbey complex seems perennially to be in doubt; it's permitted for housing development and the Canadian Open next year will certainly be in nearby Hamilton, on an earlier date, pre-US Open.
No Canadian-born golfer has won their home Championship for a century and Adam Hadwin must be the best bet this year.
But this is a quasi-home event for the Dustin Johnson family with father-in-law Wayne Gretzky having grown his legend not too far away. DJ has two runner-up results here and perhaps this will be the venue for his third win of the year.
Hunter Mahan left a winning position here a few years ago upon receiving the call that his wife had gone into labour - his career has floundered for a few years now but he played well for three rounds at the Barbasol hitting 51 greens in his first 54 holes. Only stumbles on back nine Par-5's held him back and perhaps this will be another week for him to confirm he's not done yet.
Otherwise, I'd expect Kuchar to build on his good record here, but my shillings each way will be invested in Finau, Laird & Snedeker.

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Post by GPB on Wed 25 Jul 2018, 5:54 pm

As a post-script to something said in the John Deere thread

wire tapper wrote:I think Molinari was mental to play here.

Seems like it worked out for him!

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Post by GPB on Wed 25 Jul 2018, 6:13 pm

Besides Knox and Pepperell, Olesen is another player whose form seems to be better than the Wildcard frontrunners (Stenson, Poulter, Sergio, RCB)

Got to be some (internal) pressure for Bjorn to pick his Danish protege if his form continues to be good.

Two years ago, Clarke completely whiffied with his one his wild cards by picking Westwood who went winless at Hazeltine. Most posters here staunchly defended the "career achievement" pick, but I thought Clarke should have pick Knox.

Unless they find some form in the next couple weeks, I don't think Garcia and RCB should be picked.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 25 Jul 2018, 6:43 pm

The Euro RC qualifying period concludes with the Made In Denmark tournament, a perfect place for Thunderbear to stake his claim.

Sergio has stood himself down once before - hopefully it won't come to that but if he doesn't have his head in the game then I'd imagine he'll tell Thomas that he'll VC again.

Either way, he won't text imploring for a "pick".


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Post by pedro on Thu 26 Jul 2018, 12:44 am

I don’t think Bjorn will pick Thunderbear unless he’s 110% sure and feels he can justify it. The same about picking a Frenchman.

It’s not like these picks are spontaneous and taken overnight after some heavy drinking - unless maybe in the Clarke-Westwood case...

With that being said Olesens form curve is trending upwards and he does have some good results in matchplay (World Cup winner, Golfsixes winner) whatever that’s worth. A few more good results over the summer will definitely bring Olesen in the mix.

And didn’t he ride the buggy with TB during the last RC? So he’s already got the taste of it.

But personally I do hope Stenson and Garcia get their acts together as we could need their experience.

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Post by super_realist on Thu 26 Jul 2018, 8:00 am

Golf season is flying by, sadly.

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Post by wiretapper on Thu 26 Jul 2018, 10:32 am

GPB wrote:As a post-script to something said in the John Deere thread

wire tapper wrote:I think Molinari was mental to play here.

Seems like it worked out for him!

wiretapper wrote:
wiretapper wrote:I think Molinari was mental to play here.

His tour status is secure so didn't need to play and now with travelling and jet-lag most of Monday will be a write-off giving him two days to prepare for an Open Championship he has a realistic chance of winning.

Denis Pugh was playing down the lack of prep time on the TV last night but I think it an opportunity lost (watch him cruise to victory now Laugh )

Nailed it OK

Beat you to it GPB thumbsup

And I'm more than happy to admit I got that one complete and utterly wrong Laugh

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 26 Jul 2018, 5:58 pm

Nice to see decent rounds from Casey and, especially Poulter (6 under par, 66) today.

And a good (four under, 68) start from Seamus Power - 3 more 68's will assure him of a PGA Tour card for 2018/19.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 27 Jul 2018, 2:03 am

A nice little eagle, birdie, birdie, eagle burst from Tommy Fleetwood this evening before rain stopped play. Hopefully he'll be similarly inspired Friday.
McDowell & Sergio also off to a nice start.

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Post by beninho on Fri 27 Jul 2018, 10:52 am

Weird that this time next year Major season will be over. Shut down by mid summer.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 27 Jul 2018, 12:54 pm

beninho wrote:Weird that this time next year Major season will be over. Shut down by mid summer.


And all the North American WGC's crammed in there as well, pretty much the entire US/Mexico season stuffed into a 3-month period.

Tommy Fleetwood finished his round this morning, birdieing his final hole, which means he played the Par-5's in 7-under par, three eagles and one bird.

Good finishes also from McDowell & Garcia, both signing for 67's, Sergio despite losing more than a stroke to the field on the greens.

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Post by GPB on Fri 27 Jul 2018, 8:44 pm

Sergio will be lucky if he makes the cut. Hoping Bjorn is not paying attention.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 12:15 am

Sergio joins Kuchar in making an early trip to Akron. Hope Furyk's not watching.

Bubba & Brooksy joining Kooch down the road.

Wasted week for Laird & Power and they'll join Harrington, Lowry & McDool in Reno next Thursday.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 8:01 am

Cheer Kwini, folks OK

Shane has his brother Alan on the bag this week having parted company with Dermot Byrne. Initially I thought thats it he's given up. It was like he was giving his brother Alan the experience of being inside the ropes for the last few weeks of his PGA Tour career, something to tell the grandkids and all that. He then goes and shoots a 67 Shocked

For me it goes against all logic to have dietitian's, swing coaches, short game coaches, mental coaches, putting coaches, physios etc looking for improvement in all aspects of your game, then your mate/brother/dad on the bag, but so far he's proving me wrong.

Good chat here, Lawrie's comments interesting I found.

https://youtu.be/hb7R0ahIc_k28.07.2018 Headscratch

Fwiw, Seamus Power is such an expert at being on the bubble he should hire a mental coach and get him to convince him that his real fear is winning his 18th Major.  Headscratch

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Post by super_realist on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 9:13 am

Is Shane's brother as big a gutlord as he is?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 12:04 pm

B_t_b,
Power is close to the end of his Tour tether after two years, as you say, of being on the bubble. Perhaps that's as good as it's going to get for him until he can learn to string four (or two) decent rounds together.

Hope Lowry keeps this up, but he needs a top finish here, 2 more 67's would help, but realistically he needs something even better than that with only "opposite field" points on offer next week and just Greensboro remaining after that. Playing w/Fleetwood today, maybe he can learn something.

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Post by GPB on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 4:47 pm

One of my favorite players from the 1980's, Bruce Lietzke has passed away from Brain Cancer.

Incidentally, he won the Canadian Open twice in his career.

https://twitter.com/golf_strange/status/1023213683655299078

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Post by Be_the_ball on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 4:52 pm

It's got to be all psychological with Power Kwini, no one can be consistently on the bubble like he is without it being so. If he forgot about looking at Leaderboards and FedEx PTS he might have stood a chance. Or spoken to a Bob Rotella type to get him away from focusing on cuts and PTS.

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Post by GPB on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 5:07 pm

Be_the_ball wrote:It's got to be all psychological with Power Kwini, no one can be consistently on the bubble like he is without it being so. If he forgot about looking at Leaderboards and FedEx PTS he might have stood a chance. Or spoken to a Bob Rotella type to get him away from focusing on cuts and PTS.

I have seen nothing in Power that would suggest that he is better than a player that is on the FEX bubble. There are 30-40 players just like him on tour.


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Post by Be_the_ball on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 5:30 pm

My point GPB is he tends to get himself into decent positions then gets a nose bleed. I'm not saying Rotella could turn him into Rory, I'm saying I think he could be a decent journeyman or maybe like Laird at a stretch. But probably will be like Greg Owen or Brian Davis. You can't deny he gets himself into good positions on the LB, then throws in a bad round.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 5:43 pm

GPB wrote:One of my favorite players from the 1980's, Bruce Lietzke has passed away from Brain Cancer.

Incidentally, he won the Canadian Open twice in his career.

https://twitter.com/golf_strange/status/1023213683655299078


Bad news for Lietzke - he was the only member of the 1981 Ryder Cup team w/o a Major. Saw him beat Watson in sudden death @ Preston Trail. Wasn't he related somehow to Jerry Pate? Married his sister or something??


I agree about Power, he needs another gear to separate himself from the rank and file or this bubble boy career will be his destiny.


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Post by GPB on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 6:32 pm

I think Leaky's wife and Pate's wife are sisters.

My point GPB is he tends to get himself into decent positions then gets a nose bleed.

There are 30-40 other pros that are just like that. You notice with Power because you follow him closely. Have you been following Matt Jones? He melts like chocolate on a Florida sidewalk every time he gets near the lead for the last few years.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 7:20 pm

Matt Jones is in a class of his own; plays super in Australia but putts like he's blindfold whenever in contention here, at least since his win. Has been 126th twice, 127th once, was 152nd last year (so just missing out on conditional status) and will be about that this year.

Better (67) from McDowell today, could use another 67 or better Sunday.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 8:17 pm

GPB wrote:I think Leaky's wife and Pate's wife are sisters.

My point GPB is he tends to get himself into decent positions then gets a nose bleed.

There are 30-40 other pros that are just like that.  You notice with Power because you follow him closely.  Have you been following Matt Jones?  He melts like chocolate on a Florida sidewalk every time he gets near the lead for the last few years.
Laugh Laugh
I know what you mean.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 11:04 pm

Good day in Canada for Ireland, North & South.
McDowell (T21 with a 67 today) and Lowry (T13 with a 68) both need more of the same before heading west for Reno. A bit late for both to spring to life.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Sat 28 Jul 2018, 11:26 pm

The thoughts of competing in the Jakarta 4 ball have finally dawned picard

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 29 Jul 2018, 12:39 am

Be_the_ball wrote:The thoughts of competing in the Jakarta 4 ball have finally dawned picard

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 29 Jul 2018, 6:14 pm

Halfway through Round 4 in Canada with the leaders headed out shortly.
Just an anomalous snapshot perhaps, and it would take a miracle for them to reach contention for the lead, but GB&I have four currently in the Top Ten:
McDowell (T5)
Poults, Lowry & Tommy all T10.


Four way tie for the overnight lead with the same last two Round 3 pairs out together except juxtaposed, with Kim and Tway going out before DJ & Ben An (looks like he's starting to hit the Kiradech diet).
DJ & An finished a par 5 and a half ahead of slow Kim yesterday - can't think it helps him to have to potentially have to wait on every Whee shot. No excuse if #1 doesn't win, but just a thought.

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Post by super_realist on Sun 29 Jul 2018, 6:30 pm

Went along to the Seniors Open today. Monty is morphing into Laura Davies.

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Post by navyblueshorts on Sun 29 Jul 2018, 6:57 pm

super_realist wrote:Went along to the Seniors Open today. Monty is morphing into Laura Davies.
Come on! Don't insult Laura like that...
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 29 Jul 2018, 8:22 pm

Tommy -15 on the 14 Par-5's he's played so far . . . . . .

Lowry & McDowell have rather wasted their fast starts. Too bad.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 30 Jul 2018, 12:47 am

DJ's just the best. On the PGA Tour at any rate.

Another super finish for Fleetwood, and for Poulter too. And Lowry but he needs much more; maybe next week?

McDowell missed a couple of tiddlers that should have brought him a Top ten finish, more pressure next week. But in Reno rather than Akron where, no doubt, he feels he should be.

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Post by pedro on Mon 30 Jul 2018, 1:35 pm

Speaking of ridicolous tournament names. This one is pretty good too:
"Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper"

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Post by GPB on Mon 30 Jul 2018, 6:31 pm

One more win for DJ and he achieves "Lifetime Membership" A pretty big deal as only Woods, Mickelson, Singh, Love have achieved that status while still active since Hale Irwin in 1994. Norman got to 20 wins when they grandfathered his Open Championships back in 2002, but he really wasn't active.

Lifetime Membership would also mean DJ doesn't have to fulfill the "New Event" obligation as Lifetime Members are exempt.

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Post by NedB-H on Mon 30 Jul 2018, 11:49 pm

I remember a few weeks back John Peterson saying that he was walking away from golf to do real estate if he missed his medical exemption terms. Ended up missing out by a shot, clearly had a rethink on the career change cos he has a sponsor exemption for Reno.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 12:49 am

Peterson would be crazy to walk away from his golf career unless he has a guaranteed income and has family commitments - been thru too much to throw it all away.

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Post by beninho on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 8:04 am

Is dustin johnson the best player to be an underachiever? Now I doubt he would swap his career for many others but all those wins and only one major. Ig golf careers are based on major success primarily, he is behind Cabrera, Kaymer Daly. ,

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Post by pedro on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 11:52 am

Remember that DJ has a handful of WGCs and a couple of playoff events. 11 of his 19 wins are 66+ point events. Not bad imo. Lee Westwood and Monty have, well, 0.

Yes DJ should probably have won more majors, but the same can be said about his contemporary underachievers Day, Scott, Rory. Maybe there has just been too many competing underchievers in the past decade?

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Post by raycastleunited on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 1:13 pm

I think the thing with Dustin is that he has let several majors slip through his fingers.

He's had a great career so far, with more to come (including more majors I think), but you can't help think about Whistling Straights and Chambers Bay.

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Post by pedro on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 1:36 pm

You might as well say that Lowry should have won at the 2016 US Open at Oakmont when he blew a 4 shot lead.

I think the thing you can say is, that if you keep yourself in the mix often enough one day it will come your way.

I can only think of one player who is (were) an outstanding closer, Woods. All other big players have had one or more majors slip away from them, before or after winning their first: Spieth, Scott, Rory, Garcia, Phil, Norman etc. Plus of course non major winners Westy and Monty.

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Post by GPB on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 1:36 pm

IMO, Fred Couples is a bigger under-achiever than any of the current under-achiever.

Hard to believe that his resume is about the same as Corey Pavin.

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Post by NedB-H on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 1:48 pm

Did someone call McIlroy an “underachiever” there? Guy has four majors and ten other tour wins before his 30th birthday, he’s hardly underachieved so far. Maybe wasted talent if he never wins again...

I think DJ aligns closest with Norman, or maybe Tom Kite; consistent winner, consistent major challenger, got the major on the resume but probably should have won a few more. Good shout on Couples as someone who should have done more across the board though.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 1:53 pm

One interesting/surprising thing about DJ is that, although he's won a tournament every year he's been on Tour, he's only become a prolific winner these past three years:
9 wins in his first 8 years.
10 wins (and counting?) the past three years. Gretzky effect? (Wayne or Paulina.)

Hope the best is yet to come.

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Post by wiretapper on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 2:06 pm

DJ has been marvellous over the past few years. Should he have won more majors? Probably yes, two in particular spring to mind - but he is definitely not alone in that category and while others have noticeable rise and falls in form, he hasn't.

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Post by GPB on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 2:28 pm

The end is near for Jarrod Lyle. Heart-breaking for his friends and family

Spoiler:
PGA Tour: Four Weeks Left Before the Play-Offs: Notes from the Ballwasher DjbyrVvUYAg3_po

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Post by pedro on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 2:35 pm

NedB-H wrote:Did someone call McIlroy an “underachiever” there? Guy has four majors and ten other tour wins before his 30th birthday, he’s hardly underachieved so far. Maybe wasted talent if he never wins again...
Potato tomato? No majors in 4 years, yet tons of backdoor top 10s. Plus only one win in nearly 2 years. Don't know what you would call it, but for sure we can agree that he hasn't capitalised nearly enough on his immense talent. They guy's 29, and has hardly done anything since almost out of the blue winning the FedEx cup in 2016 (and again out of the blue the API ealier this year). If he doesn't step on it he'll go down in history as a nearly-man. Maybe the expectations are high but that's also why you easily underachieve.

Edit: Really sad news about Jarrod Lyle.

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Post by McLaren on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 2:43 pm

Has Deshampoo jumped the shark?
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Post by raycastleunited on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 2:48 pm

pedro wrote:
I think the thing you can say is, that if you keep yourself in the mix often enough one day it will come your way.

As far as Dustin's record is concerned, there's being in the mix (leading the 2010 US Open at Pebble after 54 holes, being a shot off the lead on the back 9 on Sunday at the 2011 Open), and then there's letting it slip (3 putts from 12 feet on the 18th green).

I think Sergio will go down as an under achiever. I'm not sure he will win another major, so one Masters is a poor return for someone who has so consistently kept himself in the mix.

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Post by robopz on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 2:49 pm

pedro wrote:
NedB-H wrote:Did someone call McIlroy an “underachiever” there? Guy has four majors and ten other tour wins before his 30th birthday, he’s hardly underachieved so far. Maybe wasted talent if he never wins again...
Potato tomato? No majors in 4 years, yet tons of backdoor top 10s. Plus only one win in nearly 2 years. Don't know what you would call it, but for sure we can agree that he hasn't capitalised nearly enough on his immense talent. They guy's 29, and has hardly done anything since almost out of the blue winning the FedEx cup in 2016 (and again out of the blue the API ealier this year). If he doesn't step on it he'll go down in history as a nearly-man. Maybe the expectations are high but that's also why you easily underachieve.
I'll go with toMAHto. None of us sitting on our comfy couches at home really have a clue what's going on with that guy.

But I remember the discussion back in 2015 when Rory had that ankle injury. At the time Rory chose not to have the ruptured ligament repaired and reattached. There were doctors at the time discussing the risk in that decision and in how the ankle would never have the same stability that it had before unless he went for the Full Repair. And the result of that would be that his swing would change because his footwork could never be exactly the same with that particular missing ligament. Not might, bit WOULD. It was just a matter of how much.

Fast forward what's happened since, the back injuries, the rib injuries... Could it all be related? None of us have any way of knowing, but I know this much. Despite a few flashes of that brilliant player here in there, Rory has just flat not been the same player since that injury in 2015. And I don't think it's entirely a coincidence.

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Post by wiretapper on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 2:49 pm

Very sad about Jarrod Sad

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