PGA Tour: All Change for Bridgestone, Barracuda: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 02 Aug 2018, 4:16 pm

1).Almost everything about the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and Barracuda Championship is destined to change for the 2018/2019 season, with both sponsors currently assumed to be leaving the PGA Tour after this week. And the replacement events will be held a week earlier, immediately following the 2019 Open Championship.
The WGC morphs to FedEx sponsorship in Memphis and Barracuda not yet having signed up for another year, so apparently the tournament will be played as the Reno Tahoe Open.
Bridgestone will continue to sponsor a Champions Tour stop at Firestone.

2).As noted by robo earlier, the 2019 RBC Canadian Open moves to the old "Memphis" slot, immediately prior to the US Open, and hopefully our friends north of the border will be looking to somewhat geographically align the future host course with the USGA venue, perhaps good news for golf lovers in British Columbia, but that's in the future. Next year's action will be in Hamilton, Ontario, prior to the Major at Pebble Beach.

3).Well done to Dustin Johnson for winning the Gretzky Open; that's 3 wins this season, 10 in the past 2 1/2 years after "only" 9 in the previous 8. Is DJ peaking, or is he just warming up?

4).Lots on last week's thread about Dustin perhaps being an under-achiever due to his lack of Major wins. I'd say it's too early to judge, but the next one will certainly be overdue! Perhaps he'll be looking with anticipation at Pebble Beach next year where he's already won twice, blew a great chance when McDowell won in 2010 and rather sleepwalked in behind the Wizard this year to runner up. Overall, DJ's Pebble Beach record includes:
2 x wins
2 x 2nd
1 x 3rd
1 x 4th
1 x 5th
1 x 7th
1 x 8th.

5).More silverware on Miguel Angel's shelf this week, 17 years to the day after Ian Stanley won his Senior Open. Stanley died last weekend, announced on the same day as Bruce Lietzke's death and just a few days before the announcement that Jarrod Lyle's health problems seem to be on the 72nd green of his life.

6).Lietzke would superficially be labelled an under-achiever, but he'd have none of that; he'd miss Majors if necessary to follow his son's baseball team, come back out to play when it suited his family's schedule.
He didn't follow his mate Bill Rogers into full retirement, but was the best part-timer out there. Later he'd inspire local youngsters like Chris Stroud & Andrew Landry, both recent winners.
8 of his 13 wins were in four events, not because they suited his game necessarily, they suited his schedule. He only played the Open Championship 3 times, the US Open just 11. Not totally dissimilar to his friend Wayne Levi who never played The Open, but still found a way to win 12 times. Two Ryder Cup Teams between them.

7).Tiger Woods has won at Firestone 8 times and is rubbing his hands at one last try (didn't have to be that way, Tiger, sure you could have ensured the tournament stayed at Firestone if you'd've sponsored it). It'll be a good test for his driver which has probably been the dodgiest club in his bag this year.
Disappointing that Rose has w/d'd, especially with the Ryder Cup just a few weeks away. Sounds like he'll play the PGA, but he'll doubtless follow his usual pattern and miss at least one Play-Off event. Get fit, Justin, none of this 2016 nonsense.

8).Only this week and next for Furyk's Ryder Cup Team to welcome its first eight members. The 7th (Fowler) and 8th (Simpson) placed players, especially, are vulnerable, especially with US media types anointing Mickelson and Woods with "Captain's Picks" whatever Furyk thinks. Only two places left then, with Bryson DeC in 9th and Kuchar in 11th - not sure that either of them can unequivocally be termed as certain picks, with Kooch in lousy recent form despite his efforts at Carnoustie, his only top ten finish since Houston.

9).Firestone, home of the WGC-Bridgestone, looks on TV like the most boring course on Tour, though most Pros seem to feel it's a great test (back-handed compliment?).
But Montreux GC, site of the Barracuda, is most definitely not boring, and is one of the year's most scenic venues. The tournament is contested with "modified" Stableford scoring. Most of North America has been hot this summer (warmest month, any month, on record here on the West Coast of New England) and parts of the West have been ablaze, so it'll be hot in Reno.

Mansfield's Greg Owen was on fire as he earned his second runner-up finish of the season here last year, but bizarrely still managed to lose his card and seems to have left the Tours, possibly injured but who knows?
Power, Lowry, McDowell and Laird (something of a course specialist) all need good weeks, but you've heard all that before.

10).Jarrod Lyle seems to have left the Tour but his personality, character and courage have left an indelible mark. Only time I followed him he had everyone in stitches, but seems he is the guy who'd light up any room, even in the depths of his struggles.
This week's pgatour.com piece goes on a bit, but nicely captures the sentiments of his friends and fellow pros, Adam Scott for instance reflecting:
"He has been through it all. His positivity and general demeanour have been so good and so infectious on others; it's a good way to think of how I should live my life."

Hope that is premature as an epitaph, but it would be a good one.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Thu 02 Aug 2018, 4:47 pm

Cheers Kwini, always liked this tournament even though as you mention the course is a bit boring. All eye's on Tiger as he tries to continue the most unlikely of comebacks in sports history.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 02 Aug 2018, 8:24 pm

Fantastic scoring at Firestone, par looks to be about 68 - not the Firestone we're used to, though sure Matsuyama & Olazabal would disagree.
Poults off to a great start, almost everyone joining in the fun except Bryson Bunsen.


Decent starts from Power & Laird in Reno.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu 02 Aug 2018, 8:56 pm

Michelson advertising dress shirts with "moves" https://www.si.com/golf/2018/08/02/phil-mickelson-dancing-commercial-video

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Post by Be_the_ball on Thu 02 Aug 2018, 10:00 pm

Why INW, what did you do that to me? How can it be unseen? Crying or Very sad

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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu 02 Aug 2018, 10:35 pm

Be_the_ball wrote:Why INW, what did you do that to me? How can it be unseen? Crying or Very sad
Sky commentators said exactly the same thing. They also said that no other golfer - with the exception of Woods - would dare to take the mickey out of him.

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Post by NedB-H on Thu 02 Aug 2018, 10:40 pm

I can’t decide whether that Mickelson thing is fantastic or horrendous. Think he might be having a midlife crisis this summer.

Every year when this tournament comes around I tell myself I must not have paid enough attention previously; that there must be more nuance to the course than meets the eye; that it’s actually a more interesting challenge once you understand the intricacies. And every year I start watching and think no, it really is bloody boring. Can’t wait til they move next year.

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Post by pedro on Thu 02 Aug 2018, 11:01 pm

Ned, I agree. But the players seem to like it. Maybe because it’s straight forward, up and down, no doglegs, almost no water, and always in good condition. So just booooring.

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Post by pedro on Thu 02 Aug 2018, 11:08 pm

Be_the_ball wrote:Why INW, what did you do that to me? How can it be unseen? Crying or Very sad
Phil just doesn’t give a sh!t anymore does he?
Or maybe he needs the money for the Woods showdown. Or to pay his bookie.

Though, always refreshing to see a golfer take the p!ss out of himself.

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Post by Roller_Coaster on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 9:00 am

That Phil thing.

Is.

Brilliant.

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Post by LadyPutt on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 12:27 pm

I'm never wrong wrote:Michelson advertising dress shirts with "moves"  https://www.si.com/golf/2018/08/02/phil-mickelson-dancing-commercial-video
I can't view it.  censored  Every time I click on it, then click on the Continue box in the Privacy thing, it just keeps going back to the same page! Any other link or way round it?
LadyPutt
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Post by JAS on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 12:40 pm

Just either google or youtube “Mickelson Dance” Ladyputt

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Post by Be_the_ball on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 1:03 pm

LadyP be careful, what's seen cannot be unseen  picard

https://youtu.be/45xF1C76I88

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Post by GPB on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 1:16 pm

Presumably, Stenson, playing as a single kept the Stop Watch Gestapo yesterday.

Sergio didn't do much to help his FEX chances. Shot Even Par. T46.

Jordan Spieth has got himself into a bit of a pickle with the "New Event" policy. This is event #19 for JS and he has not played his alternate event. If he gets to the Tour Championship (and Ryder Cup) that will be 25 events which would exempt him from playing a new event.

But at #41 in FEX (and the way he is playing), he is NO lock for the Tour Championship.

But the Wyndham does qualify as new event for him, but that would mean he could be playing 6 straight weeks and 7 of 8 weeks leading into the Ryder Cup (I suspect he is a lock for Wildcard if he misses qualifying).

According to Robo, players who fail to adhere to the new event policy are subject to a MAJOR penalty which would $20k fine (trivial for Spieth and all the elite players) and a suspension from the Tour.

And it would be bad optics for an image conscious "golden boy" Jordan Spieth.

Seems like we see players every August treading the fine line of playing enough events. With the real possibility of

* Getting Sick
* Having a minor injury
* Family sickness
* Death of Relative/friend

I just don't see why players get themselves into these predicaments.

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Post by NedB-H on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 1:37 pm

Cheers for that GPB. Will be an interesting one to see if Jordan’s at Wyndham next week, poor day for him yesterday. And if it does go wrong for him it will be interesting to see what the Tour do. Doubt they’d want to damage an image that is good for them as well as Jordan; but they’ll be under pressure from the rank and file to uphold their own rules.

I might be in the minority but for me Sergio is on the outside looking in, and needs some good results in the next two months to make the Ryder Cup team.

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Post by GPB on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 2:19 pm

Robert Allenby writes about his relationship with Jarrod Lyle.  

Warning: Its a tear-jerker.

https://www.playersvoice.com.au/robert-allenby-my-hero-jarrod-lyle/

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 2:39 pm

Always thought that's why Allenby melted down @ Mayakoba when he should've won, and then got stuffed in the play-off. Huh.


Some fine golfing names with donations on the GoFund Me page for JL's girls' education fund.


Average score @ Firestone yesterday was a shade over 68 - is Firestone losing its mojo as a tough course?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 3:52 pm

GPB,
Is your ever-present Stenson snark retribution for Spieth being put on the Carnoustie clock. Just three years after he was on the clock at St.Andrews!

Plenty more low scoring this morning. How low can they go?

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Post by GPB on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 4:31 pm

I have been snarking on Stenson's slowplay for more than a couple of weeks,

Spieth first played Carnoustie a couple of weeks ago.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 7:11 pm

Nice looking leaderboards at Bridgestone & Barracuda (Lowry in second place early in Round 2).

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Post by I'm never wrong on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 8:56 pm

Stanley 4 putts to go from -11 to -9. Three putts from no distance. Doesn’t help me in Grumps Comp

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 03 Aug 2018, 9:46 pm

Stanley went thru a period four years ago where he couldn't hole a putt; watched him for ten minutes on the putting green and he couldn't sink three-footers. Amazing that he's overcome whatever ailed him really, was quite painful to watch. Hope he's not going down that hole again.
Lucas Glover at one time even worse.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 04 Aug 2018, 12:45 am

PGA Championship tee-times:

https://www.pga.com/events/pgachampionship/tee-times

A bit gratuitous having Rory, Thomas & Woods in the same threesome I would've thought?

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Post by GPB on Sat 04 Aug 2018, 2:41 pm

A bit gratuitous having Rory, Thomas & Woods in the same threesome I would've thought?

The PGA Championship typically pairs past champs together.

Other PGA Champ pairings:

Yang-Dufner-Micheel
Mickelson-Day-Bradley
Harrington-Walker-Singh
Kaymer-Love-Beem

How did Westwood qualify?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 04 Aug 2018, 3:17 pm

Think he was 110th at the cut-off (July 13th), plus his RC exemption; Andy Sullivan the same.


The thing about grouping JT, Rors & Tont together is: Why put all your eggs in one basket? (PGA being a bit mean to Duf & Kaymer.)
Although it frees the fans up elsewhere on the course to watch other distinguished groups with far fewer people to get in the way.

Rory reckoned such groupings are detrimental to the play of all in the group, what with all the distractions.

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Post by GPB on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 12:47 am

Report: Troy Merritt undergoes emergency surgery for blood clot

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/report-troy-merritt-undergoes-emergency-surgery-for-blood-clot

Excellent round from Justin Thomas.

None of the US Potential RC picks are showing Furyk that they deserve to be on the team.  After 54 holes, the projected standings stay the same through  the first 12 spots with Finau nudging past Kisner for the 13th spot and Kyle Stanley going from 19th to 17th.

It looks like Poults is going to pass Casey for the 8th spot on the EuroTeam.  Poulter needs a 2 way T5 or better to have a chance at passing Casey this week.

Edit:  Westwood WDs from the PGA Championship.  Replaced by Jason Kokrak.  Next alternate is Chris Kirk.

2nd Edit: Poulter needs at least a Two-way T5 or better. Not 4th.


Last edited by GPB on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 1:28 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by NedB-H on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 1:08 am

Wonder if that’s the last we’ll see of Westwood in the Majors. Feels like a career in terminal wind-down mode now. Oddly he’s not missed a cut since the 2014 Open in the Majors; 14 consecutive cuts made since then plus two non-appearances where he didn’t qualify for Augusta or Shinnecock this year.

Would imagine Chris Kirk will get in as there’s a spot reserved for the Bridgestone winner; I don’t see anyone not already qualified in contention there. Merritt may free up another alternate spot as well; wonder if there are any potential John Dalys waiting to win the whole thing.

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Post by super_realist on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 9:04 am

I see there is someone/something called Barracuda Winner playing in the PGA. Sounds like a fishing lure.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 3:54 pm

Or a Heart tune.


King Charl going crazy at Firestone; if I say "59 watch" that'll put the mockers on him, so I won't.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 4:11 pm

I fancy Rory today, he's due a blistering round on the greens.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 6:45 pm

Let's hope so!

Meanwhile, DJ is racing through beaten horses.

Shane & Seamus have a big day ahead of them today, Lowry in particular putted like a drain to start Saturday's round, but his 54th hole eagle keeps him in touch.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 9:48 pm

Awww Rory, can't be missing greens from 81 yards. Frustrating round so far, he's so much better than this.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 10:06 pm

Boring, boring tournament, boring, boring Firestone.
Hope Barracuda is more interesting.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 10:13 pm

Yes indeed Kwini, the Sunday sizzle has turned into the Sunday fizzle Rolling Eyes
Yawn Headscratch

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Post by Be_the_ball on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 10:41 pm

Thomas never under pressure, easy in the end. I'd have liked to have seen Rory mount a decent charge. Just not looking on it today.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 10:49 pm

Be_the_ball wrote:Thomas never under pressure, easy in the end. I'd have liked to have seen Rory mount a decent charge. Just not looking on it today.

Only Stanley of the final five groups under par, apart from Thomas; walk in the park. Fine performance but what a blah afternoon.

Meanwhile, looks like no-one told Shane that double-bogeys are catastrophic in Reno. Is the change of caddie working? Still mental errors creeping in.

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Post by pedro on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 11:19 pm

Nice win for JT. Dodgy driving on the front 9 but great scrambling.

As usual Rory’s wedge game didn’t do any good for him, and the driver left him early. Disappointing Sunday for him once again.

Poulter, hmmm, would like to see him in the RC but he disappointed today when he had to deliver.

Thunderbear closing in on the RC, either as an automatic qualifier or a pick.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 05 Aug 2018, 11:27 pm

Rory's stats today and for the week:

Driving accuracy: 21.4% (41% for the week)
Greens in regulation: 38.9% (58.3% for the week)
Strokes gained putting: 0.864 (1.1 for the week)

We/he know/s he's always going to hit it far enough, even if he uses 3-wood every tee shot. But you can't keep on missing fairways and you certainly can't keep missing greens, even if you putt lights out.

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Post by pedro on Mon 06 Aug 2018, 12:59 am

Maybe he should do like Stenson. Leave the driver in the bag.
On some of the holes Rory was so long off the tee it didn’t even leave him a full wedge in. Came across a bit odd imo, especially when your wedge game is struggling.

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Post by GPB on Mon 06 Aug 2018, 1:11 am

Is Thorbjorn higher on the Ryder Cup Wildcard pecking order than Sergio and Henrik?

He is just barely out of the Top 4 of the Euro Pts list.

On the World Point list, Casey is #8, Poulter is #9, Fitz and Oleson are practically tied at #10 and Sergio and Knox are practically tied for #12.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 06 Aug 2018, 2:24 am

Big thing for Thunderbear is the final qualifying event will be the Made In Denmark event . . . . . . you'd think he'll have some sort of home advantage there. Plus he's entered into the Sweden Nordea event.
Hatton also slipping, needs a strong PGA. Doubt he or Fitz would get a "pick".

If left with no other options, Bjorn will go with established veterans, but he'd have to be sure they're fit.

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Post by pedro on Mon 06 Aug 2018, 8:31 am

At least Thunderbear is in form, unlike many others on the bubble. Good results since May.
But agreed, I wouldn’t want to leave Stenson and Garcia out.

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Post by GPB on Mon 06 Aug 2018, 3:35 pm

My calculations of the RC standings for Europe was wrong. I hadn't realize that points earned this summer at 1.5x (both Euro and World) rather than 1x.

Olesen is #5 in the Euro Points Standings and #9 in the World Points Standings. Just one outside the automatic qualifying spots.

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Post by pedro on Mon 06 Aug 2018, 3:41 pm

As of today my picks would be Olesen, Poulter, Stenson and Garcia.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 06 Aug 2018, 4:12 pm

I followed Willie McGirt for 18 holes at Hartford, and this week he secured his spot in the FedEx Play-Offs by finishing 6th at the Barracuda Championship in Reno.
Now he's announced he'll undergo hip surgery at season's end and be out for a year. He'll be 40 when he returns, so sounds like a tough decision to have to make.

He won't be receiving a Furyk wildcard for Paris, and you'd think Kyle Stanley did most to advance his cause at the Bridgestone.

Johnson, Koepka, Thomas, Reed, Bubba and Spieth look certain to be in the first eight qualifying places by this coming Sunday.
The next few places look like this:

7th: Fowler - 4,724 pts
8th: Simpson - 4,365

9th: BDeC - 4,316
10th: Phil - 4,208
11th: Schauffele - 3,851
12th: Kuchar - 3,844

13th: Finau - 3,462
14th: Stanley - 3,434

And then there's the inevitable:
20th: Tiger - 2,415

Poisoned chalice for Furyk - four "picks" are handy, but not when the media will crucify him if he leaves Mickelson & Woods out.

With Bryson Bunsen and Schauffele in a funk last week, Simpson, Fowler & Kuchar missed a yuuge opportunity to boost their claims, especially with double points this week for the PGA winner, but none took their chance. Reckon each has to play his way in.



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Post by GPB on Mon 06 Aug 2018, 4:13 pm

I can see Bjorn riding his big guns hard for the first four sessions.

Wouldn't be surprised to see two of his players riding the pine until Sunday (or only play one match)

Hatton for sure, and Olesen and Fitz if they get picked.

I can see Tyrrell getting the Van de Velde, Coltart, Sandelin treatment. Doesn't play until Sunday.


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Post by pedro on Mon 06 Aug 2018, 4:23 pm

At least one match for all before Sunday. Don’t think you’ll see anyone benched until Sunday.

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Post by GPB on Mon 06 Aug 2018, 5:07 pm

deleted double post

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Post by GPB on Mon 06 Aug 2018, 5:51 pm

almost 3800 pts (2x) goes to the winner this week, so theoretically down to 77th spot in the US standings. can get the 8th spot should they win the PGA

Its 1.5x pts for the rest of the US finishers, so TW needs to win to qualify on merit.

Right now, the 4 picks are going to be Phil, Tiger BdC, and Kuchar.

That is not my ideal four picks. I would take Finau over Woods.

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Post by super_realist on Mon 06 Aug 2018, 6:03 pm

pedro wrote:As of today my picks would be Olesen, Poulter, Stenson and Garcia.

Can't really argue about that. Hatton's form is a bit of a question mark, but apart from that looking like a strong team.

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