PGA Tour: AT&T Pebble Beach: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 06 Feb 2019, 7:14 pm

1).The Tour moves from desert showers in Phoenix to distinctly unpleasant weather on the (normally) gorgeous Monterey Peninsula for the "AT&T Pebble Bach Pro-Am".
Daily forecast from the Weather Channel suggests this might not be a 72-hole tournament:
Approx 4 inches of rain already this month, temps not likely to reach much more than 55F (13C?) all week.
Thursday: Dry,
Friday: Rain (about 3/4 inch), windy - up to 25 mph
Saturday: Morning showers,
Sunday: More rain, cooler, breezy.
Monday: Looks fine! Still cool, but dry and if they're going to play 72 holes you'd think there'll be Monday TV golf to enjoy.

2).Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson are the Tour's leading exponent of 54-hole finishes; they have 3 x 54-hole wins apiece. Can't find anyone else with more than one. And Dustin & Phil each have one of those 54-hole jobs at Pebble Beach.

3).Last week was all about Rickie Fowler losing the Phoenix Open and recovering just in time to take advantage of Branden Grace's vertigo to pull himself together, birdieing two of the final four holes, and win a hugely popular two-shot victory. Dismal final rounds from Kuchar & Justin Thomas who looked at the start of play to be the likeliest challengers. Surprising.

4).Good results also for Knox (T10) and Hatton (T15).
Apropos of comments in last week's notes, Hatton's putting together a sensible double-dipping schedule and seems to be making sure he's ready to compete when he plays. Quite impressed, but he still has to win over the US Network commentators!

5).Talking of which, it was bye bye Johnny Miller last week and welcome to the NBC booth to Paul Azinger. And Zinger kicked off his tenure with a perceptive comment when Grace was closing in on the hapless Fowler, words to the effect of:
"Just wait until Grace sees the leaderboard and realises he's not the posse anymore but the leader. It's a whole different mindset from playing aggressively as the chaser."
Lo and behold, Grace missed his last four fairways, including a water ball on #17 and played the final five holes +1.
I was surprised because Grace won handsomely when taking the lead at Harbour Town three years ago, but Azinger got this one spot on.

6).We start to see the first changes to the revamped Tour schedule in a fortnight when the caravan takes a detour into Mexico on its way to Florida rather than the Los Angeles/Honda/Mexico itinerary last year.
So:
Feb 7th: Pebble Beach
Feb 14th: Riviera
Feb 21st: WGC: Mexico . . . . . . and Puerto Rico (hadn't realised that was back on the calendar).
Feb 28th: Honda
March 7th: Bay Hill
March 14th: The Players
etc, etc.

7).So I'm interested in views as to how ready TPC Sawgrass is going to be for The Players in mid-March when one of the reasons for shifting it to May was weather and course conditioning in late March, which is when Sawgrass used to entertain us. Bay Hill is also earlier.
It looks as if the Tour is rolling the meteorological dice a little.

8).So, crappy weather for Pebble Beach. Tommy Fleetwood seems to be embracing it, reminiscing about some miserable Dunhill weather and remarking that golf is an outdoors sport.
The ball will not fly as far as the pros are used to and one imagines the courses will be somewhat saturated. Eleven golfers have already withdrawn - hopefully the conditions will be better than they anticipated.
One of those withdrawals is Schwartzel, as mentioned last week. His form has been awful for the past nine months, no top 30's since a purple patch of Top Tens last May. I'm struggling to imagine what safety net he has for his Tour card if this doesn't improve sometime soon. Anyone know what's going on?

9).Last week we suggested Mickelson, Matsuyama & Fowler against the field, so one out of three came through.
This week, you'd think the horses for courses would be DJ, Phil and Jason Day, but the weather can put the mockers on the form book in a hurry. Plus: With dodgy conditions the luck of the draw caused by playing eighteen holes each at three different courses can also be a factor.
But some guys seem to play well here, Senedeker & Spieth for instance, Walker & Watney. Shane Lowry's playing and we know he has form in the rain!

10).No doubt one or two of the better players are competing in order to see the course before June's US Open, a dress rehearsal if you like. But the best laid plans could become undone. Just hoping we can see some decent golf amongst the pandering to faux celebrities.
And there is also qualifying for the WGC: Mexico on the line:
Top 50 in the owgr as at next Monday (or Tuesday if it comes to that).
Top 10 in Race 2 Dubai.
(There is another owgr cut off, plus a FedEx qualification, after Riviera.)

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 06 Feb 2019, 9:23 pm

A couple more no-shows announced today, think that's 13 in all. Latest casualty is Patrick Cantlay; the "Strength of Field" diminishing by the minute.

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Post by pedro on Wed 06 Feb 2019, 9:26 pm

https://www.golfchannel.com/news/brooks-koepka-no-one-has-balls-penalize-slow-play

BK: +1

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 1:52 pm

Agree pedro, Good for Koepka, spot on.


Here's something different:

https://www.golfchannel.com/news/rocco-mediate-details-struggles-alcohol-during-career

Back in the 606 days, one of our regular posters who lived in the Ponte Vedra Beach area reckoned that Mediate was one of the least likeable of the pros who lived there, practiced there or just played the Players.
Now he's come up with this revelation which I can't think is a revelation at all. A bit like Garrigus's claims that he used to do joints in the port-a-loos on course.

As for drinking being a daily ritual, that hardly makes you an alcoholic. Does it? I must have a couple of drinks a day on at least 360 days a year, possibly more. But maybe he had a deeper issue that will reveal itself in chapter two?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 7:29 pm

Obviously another tournament to stir the emotion . . . . . . . .

Regardless - is this any way to defend your title? Ted Potter won nicely last year, currently (after 9 holes) two shots adrift of the field in 156th, and last, position.

Cool temps, soggy fairways, but no wind, are not endangering birdies or eagles. Scoring low!

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Post by McLaren on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 7:48 pm

Good write up kwini. thumbsup

On Miller and his comments on Grace, another classic as retold by Carter on the beeb golf podcast went something along the lines of "he is the butter and Tiger is the sun" , when Tiger was 5 back going into the Sunday of the bay hill against O'Hair. Needless to say but tiger reeled him in and Johnny was no doubt chuffed by his own prediction.
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Post by McLaren on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 7:50 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Obviously another tournament to stir the emotion . . . . . . . .

I guess california is a bit clean when it comes to human rights violations but who could be provocated into hacking up a few greens?
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Post by Davie on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 8:32 pm

provocated?

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Post by super_realist on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 8:34 pm

Davie wrote:provocated?

Must be like misunderstimated. The poor lamb had a poor education.

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Post by pedro on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 8:44 pm

Misundereducated. With an accent.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 1:45 am

You guys are strangely fascinated with my autocomplete.
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Post by super_realist on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 8:02 am

McLaren wrote:You guys are strangely fascinated with my autocomplete.

Stop blaming it on autocomplete Mac, autocomplete doesn't put in words that don't even exist, that's the point.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 9:59 am

Super by that logic my autocorrect and spellchecker should have picked it up.
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Post by Davie on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 10:37 am

My autocorrect and spellchecker does pick it up - no such word

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Post by McLaren on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 10:43 am

Why not comment on kwini's excellent write-up?
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Post by Davie on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 10:47 am

And what exactly did California and human rights violations have to do with Kwini's write up?

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Post by McLaren on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 12:40 pm

If you can't follow that thread of these conversation then why not start another? I'll help you.

What point in kwini's write up interested you the most and why?
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Post by robopz on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 1:18 pm

Last week Dustin Johnson won in Saudi Arabia to notch his 20th combined win on the PGA and European Tours. Through the first round this week Dustin is T9 in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, 2 strokes off the lead. Should DJ win this week, he would become the 38th player in PGA Tour history to reach 20 wins on just the PGA Tour... The graph below shows the other 37 players to accomplish the 20-win benchmark (Along with their total wins). The players are placed in the 30 year periods in which they won the most...

PGA Tour: AT&T Pebble Beach: Notes from the Ballwasher E1a9cbe5651dd1d01d050a945ffbe51bad7078b30661603c372b48b21a82ca0e

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Post by McLaren on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 1:50 pm

20 wins on the pgat has always felt like the amount needed for a player to be considered "World class".
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Post by robopz on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 1:51 pm

Kwini... Regarding upcoming PGA Tour schedule. I'm expecting most all the events going into the Masters to at least slightly suffer on their field strengths compared to last year. Biggest exceptions are Valspar which will probably take a much bigger hit, and Valero Texas Open which might actually gain some field strength

Good chance the WGC's have a lot of fallout as well. I think the days of pretty much everybody who can qualify will be there are past.

The match-play field has been losing a few top level players for years, Mexico has not been getting the field that it got it Doral... And later in the year my guess is moving the WGC venue and scheduling from Firestone to Memphis will negatively affect that one as well.

After the Masters... Some of the "regular" events may actually pick up a little strength from last year. The dual tour Euros won't need to make the trip back in May for the BMW PGA, so I suspect a few of them will pick up an extra event or two here.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 1:56 pm

Thanks robo,

Plus: DJ going for a win for the 12th consecutive year. Interesting point by princedrac that he's won more 40% of his tournaments and owgr points in Q1.


Any thoughts/scuttlebutt on Schwartzel? Or early news on TPC Sawgrass being in good nick for the Mid-March Players?


Just saw your latest post - pretty much agree with all, interesting thought on dual Tour guys.

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Post by robopz on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 2:12 pm

McLaren wrote:20 wins on the pgat has always felt like the amount needed for a player to be considered "World class".
generally I agree with you, but from about mid 1980's on, that might need a little rethinking by all of us.

4 main things work to keep PGA Tour win totals down these days... 1) ever increasing depth of competition resulting in a relatively set number of wins shared among more players... 2) equalizing effect of modern equipment, 3) players splitting time on multiple tours... 4) more "bunching" of the top players in common events

Just a few examples of #3... Seve, Price, Els, Locke, Faldo... All very likely to have been 20 plus PGAT winners had they not "split duties". Rory might already be there as well... #1, 2 & 4 are harder quantify, but the trend of overall winning totals and number of prolific winners going down isn't just happenstance IMO.  And I see it likely the trend continues in the future as well

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Post by McLaren on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 2:20 pm

Robo

Yeh I agree with that. In fact I think there wad chat on here a while back about 10 wins being the new 20. Maybe the gap isn't that extreme but 10-15 wins at the moment would probably mean you are one of the generations very best.
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Post by robopz on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 2:25 pm

Kwini, I got nothing on Charl.

As for TPC... I generally agree with your comments in regards to weather risks and such, but from everything I'm hearing so far the course is apparently in fantastic shape. And as far as the course conditions in weather... TPC has had a lot of work on it since it last played in March. Deep sand caps to every FW should keep the place from turning to muck like it occasionally did back in the old days. Other thing is, they rarely got Sawgrass running really hard and fast in May either. So if they get a lot of March rain, softer conditions might not be the advantage it is most places. There's some long hard holes there on greens that are already hard to hit, and deeper, thicker rye roughs are no picnic when it's wet.

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Post by robopz on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 2:31 pm

McLaren wrote:Robo

Yeh I agree with that. In fact I think there wad chat on here a while back about 10 wins being the new 20. Maybe the gap isn't that extreme but 10-15 wins at the moment would probably mean you are one of the generations very best.
 YEP... I've done some graphs and posted on what are reasonable expected win rates these days... Whatever they are, they are just NOT the old days on Tour of several winning 50+ times in each generation...

Below this I'm going to try to post some graphs on various win rates with some "era" breaks...

PGA Tour: AT&T Pebble Beach: Notes from the Ballwasher 20-is-10
PGA Tour: AT&T Pebble Beach: Notes from the Ballwasher Most-w10

PGA Tour: AT&T Pebble Beach: Notes from the Ballwasher Most-p10

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Post by McLaren on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 2:38 pm

Thanks for posting those robo. Might need to look at it a bit more to work out what has changed.
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Post by robopz on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 2:48 pm

McLaren wrote:Thanks for posting those robo. Might need to look at it a bit more to work out what has changed.
I added a 3rd... So refresh if there's not three total graphs in the single post above. The last one I added is probably the best overall picture but the history of "prolific" PGA Tour winners.


Last edited by robopz on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 2:49 pm

Whichever way you look at it, Jack & Tiger are preeminent, in any era.
Very interesting robo, thanks.
The achievements of Phil & Vijay also not to be diminished.

Thanks for the Charl/Players (he was runner up there last year!) update.

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Post by robopz on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 2:56 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Whichever way you look at it, Jack & Tiger are preeminent, in any era.
Very interesting robo, thanks.
The achievements of Phil & Vijay also not to be diminished.
Yep, I'm not saying Phil and Vijay are underrated, I guess it depends on who you ask... But in terms of total PGA Tour wins, only 3 players stand taller than those guys from the 70's forward.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 3:48 pm

Thanks, saw the third one.


Does anyone have any idea how the average events played per year has trended over the periods in the charts above?
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Post by robopz on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 4:13 pm

McLaren wrote:Thanks, saw the third one.


Does anyone have any idea how the average events played per year has trended over the periods in the charts above?
PGA Tour records are VERY incomplete prior to 1960, so it's almost impossible to tell so I'm not even gonna try before then... Basically we have a "pretty good" record of who cashed going back to 1916... but we have scant information on who would have MC'd, WD'd, DQ'd or made a cut but did not cash. Thus no way to do "events played" even remotely accurately before then...

So looking from 1960 forward in 5 year increments... of JUST the top-25 money leaders (which would also capture the majority of winners) ... here are the average PGAT events played...  Again... I would give 1960 & 1965 about 75-85% complete, 1970 about 95% complete, and probably close to if not 100% thereafter

1960 - 25.8
1965 - 23.2
1970 - 24.4
1975 - 23.7
1980 - 26.3
1985 - 25.1
1990 - 24.9
1995 - 25.1
2000 - 25.0
2005 - 24.4
2010 - 22.6
2015 - 24.2
2018 - 22.6

PS... The WIN totals in the earlier charts are OFFICIAL as of today... but the event averages above may not include all those same events. For instance the Open Championships played prior to 1997 would NOT be included in the above totals as they were not deemed official events.  Also, there are numerous events in the 60's and before (and a few in the 70's) that were "unofficial when played", but were retroactively "officialized" in a late 1980's record clean up... I'm not going to go in and reclassify all those for each player... but I would probably add between 1.4 to 1.8 to the 1960 and 1965 averages for that reason... And I would probably add between .5 to .8 of an event to the averages for 1970-1995

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Post by McLaren on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 5:14 pm

Thanks didn't expect such a thorough response.

The thought I had was whether players of the last 10-15 years played noticeably fewer events, which might have accounted for the slightly lower number of wins amongst the top players. But having seen what you have just posted this doesn't seem to be the case.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 5:46 pm

I don't know if anyone read this month's GD Undercover Tour Pro ("one of the very few guys over age 45 who plays a full Tour schedule). Not Phil, but could possibly be Brian Gay - interesting though because he laments (but as he says not "whining") the extended Tour season and the by-product which is thus the increased physicality of the Tour.

Interesting read if you get the chance, but tangentially (is that a word) apropos of the number of tournaments pros can be expected to play.

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Post by robopz on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 6:13 pm

McLaren wrote:The thought I had was whether players of the last 10-15 years played noticeably fewer events, which might have accounted for the slightly lower number of wins amongst the top players. But having seen what you have just posted this doesn't seem to be the case.
I think the lower event avgs of late probably have more to do with how many of the dual tour Euros happen to be in the top 25.  But among a larger sample of the full time guys, you'd probably see less variance. Few of them play as limited the schedule as Jason Day or Tiger Woods.  For example, last year the top-25 money guys avg. 22.6 events, #26-175 avg just over 25.

And by the way... The Baseline Tour player event average they have been using when calculating major medical starts has been 26 for close to 20 years. I don't know who they use or exclude in coming up with that number.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 7:23 pm

Phil's playing some un-Phil-like golf.
Yesterday he hit every fairway, missed one green.
Thru 13 holes today, he's only hit half his fairways but again just missed one green in reg.

Casey playing well after a Top Ten here last year, currently 6-under-par for his first nine holes today.

And: Defending Champ Ted Potter is last, very unwizard-like.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 9:59 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:but tangentially (is that a word)

Not sure but no doubt our regular susie dents will let you know.


But yeh I'll check out the undecover pro article. There is usually something worth reading in it.


What's the pebble chat in terms of changes for the upcoming open and how it might play differently from the last time it hosted the open?
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Post by super_realist on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 8:52 am

McLaren wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:but tangentially (is that a word)

Not sure but no doubt our regular susie dents will let you know.


But yeh I'll check out the undecover pro article. There is usually something worth reading in it.


What's the pebble chat in terms of changes for the upcoming open and how it might play differently from the last time it hosted the open?

There's nothing wrong with the odd wrong spelling or grammar error, but your posts are absolutely littered with them and to such an extent that I really question how you could have achieved an MSc whilst writing so terribly. Didn't your tutors ever pick you up for it?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 2:40 pm

Good job by the Tour in bringing forward tee times for Friday. Still fifty-odd players out there, and they'll complete their round this morning with a 7.00 a.m. (PST) start, weather permitting, and an 8.00-ish start for Round 3.
Still showers in the forecast for the next 36 hours though, but they might, just might, get this in.
Good work from Casey with a share of the lead, Rafa's playing well, and Tommy Fleetwood is back in the tournament.

Could be an interesting day.

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Post by GPB on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 8:41 pm

Here is a Golf Central Report on the USGA early prep for the US Open

https://twitter.com/GolfCentral/status/1093313131542077443


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Post by super_realist on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 8:17 am

Looks like the USA's Paul Casey could win today.

Good win on the Eurotour for David Law too. Used to see him a lot down at Paul Lawrie's range struggling along on crappy tours making no money and seemingly living the pipe dream that so many half decent Scots do in golf, sadly he had a stillborn child but managed to move on and succeed on the Challenge Tour last season and wins on what can only be about his 3rd or 4th European start. Great effort. Not exactly a quality field. Shame the BBC can't even be arsed to mention it.

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Post by Diggers on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 9:53 am

The results been on their website for a few hours, they’ll probably put a brief report up at some point today, for the 8 people who are vaguely interested. What more is actually needed? Headline can read, “Unknown golfer beats other bang average golfers to win crap tournament.”

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Post by Diggers on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 10:45 am

And there is now a report up of his win...hallelujah! Apparently, first prize is 820k, really? Seems massively excessive.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 12:04 pm

I thought the ET website was showing around 150,000 Euros. Total Prize Purse (NB Super Very Happy ) was a million.

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Post by Diggers on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 12:20 pm

They’ve amended the article, must have realised they’d made a mistake. 150k seems about right I suppose.

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Post by Plunky on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 12:45 pm

We watched some of that event.  It was men and women playing in alternate groups for separate but equal prize money.  The tee positions were interesting -- don't know the difference in total distance between the men and women but they definitely played off the same tees on some holes.  I think James Nitties broke a record with 9 birdies in a row in the event.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 12:48 pm

Yup, Well done David Law.
Unfortunately not enough money/status in the event to qualify him for a WGC but it appears these guys will be the top ten of the R2D list to qualify for WGC: Mexico:
Lowry, Sterne, DeChambeau, Oosthuizen, Wallace, Lipsky, Rai, Luiten, Li Haotong, Poulter.

Nice comebacks for Shane, Sterne, and Luiten after a year or so in the golfing doldrums, injuries and the like.


Big chance for Casey later on today . . . . . Cool and rainy at Pebble Beach right now - there could possibly be a short delay but it looks as if they'll get this in. Chapeau!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 3:34 pm

One hour delay at Pebble Beach, possibly more if the radar is anything to go by.
Then the spectre of six-hour rounds. Enough to test Paul Casey's patience, or setting up nicely for him. Not sure meself, but it should all make for golf well into our New England evening.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 7:55 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 4:58 pm

Just underway. Which is more than you can say about Sarri's Chelsea.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 8:14 pm

Hadn't realised they'd had a hailstorm; haven't seen one of them at a Tour event since Kuchar's Turning Stone win, about ten years ago.

But some things seem never to change - Bernhard Langer has a 5-shot lead in the Champions event with seven holes to play. A bit late for Groundhog Day but it certainly feels like it.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 11 Feb 2019, 12:39 am

Come on Casey . . . . . . . . . .

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