PGA Tour: Is the "Honda" the First Loser of the Tour's new Calendar?: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:52 am

First topic message reminder :

1)."Loser" rather than "casualty" as there is no expectation that "The Honda Classic" is for the chopping block but tournament guru Ken Kennerly certainly thinks so:
"Somebody's got to get hurt. Unfortunately, if you look at the one most affected, it's the Honda Classic." so far anyway.

2).And the owgr pts earned by the winner has declined this year:
2010: Villegas (remember him?) won 50 pts.
2011: Sabbatini: 54
2012: McIlroy: 50
2013: Thompson: 56
2014: Henley: 60
2015: Harrington: 60
2016: Scott: 58
2017: Fowler: 54
2018: Thomas: 52
2019: tba: 48 (at most)

3).The Honda used to be a poor relation of the "Florida Swing", behind The Players, Bay Hill and Doral. But the Honda moved to PGA National's water park, and The Players moved to May leaving Innisbrook's Valspar as low event on the totem pole. Then Doral became a victim of NAFTA, and now The Players is back.
They may be the first "loser" of the new Tour schedule, but we know they won't be the last.
It looks as if Phil will skip The Players; will he be the only top player? And who will give the WGC: MatchPlay a miss?

4).What did everyone make of Dustin Johnson's laconic dominance in Mexico? When he's in such form and spreadeagling the field, it's almost like watching golf in slow motion; no histrionics, no seismic fist-pumps, just having his way with the course. And he plays quickly (unless he's stuck behind a tree), often before the TV director has time to finish showing the previous shot.  
I love it, but can understand TV Networks and sponsors aren't delirious about it - he makes it all look like the walk in the park that it is. Whereas Tiger always wanted galleries and viewers to know that it was a walk in the park and millions loved that.
WGC wins to date:
18: Woods!
6:  Johnson
3:  Ogilvy & Mickelson

5).Well played Rory, another Top Five finish and starting to hole some important putts.

6).And well played Martin Trainer (about whom I know nothing) for winning in Puerto Rico.
Last week we offered up some names of established pros who are having lousy seasons and Daniel Berger and Charl Schwartzel took advantage of playing in Puerto Rico by finishing T2 and T6 respectively.
Schniederjans made the cut but not much else, while Chris Kirk contrived to take the weekend off. Once a PGA Tour pro starts to string together poor results, it's tough to come back from and a handful virtually disappear, due to form or injury (past Honda champs Donald & Villegas for instance), every year.

7).So, who's playing this week? Only 3 x Top Twenty pros, Thomas (who's in terrific form despite his lack of recent wins), Koepka and Fowler for a start. Most leading Europeans are skipping Honda, though Matt Wallace, Knox (decent record here), McDowell (ditto), Noren and Sergio are playing.

8).I like Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Adam Scott against the field this week, but am really interested to see how Matt Wallace goes and Russell Knox must be good e.w. value.


PS: Haven't seen any reaction to Hoylake getting the 2022 Open - very interesting choice I reckon. Will Turnberry "get" 2023, when you'd think Muirfield is due?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:12 am

Ha, Interesting.
I see your buddy GGIII is starting to stitch together some decent rounds - speaking of father / son of the CC era.
Also, I mentioned earlier, did you see the Feherty/Couples double-header - thought it was great TV. Fascinating stuff.

Not sure about Bay Hill this week, would think the early starters tomorrow might have a little disadvantage - temps forecast to be not much above freezing. Hoping that Lucas Glover continues his good form.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:01 pm

Nice update on Justin Rose's caddie, Mark Fulcher, in this pgatour.com piece:

https://www.pgatour.com/news/2019/03/06/justin-rose-caddie-mark-fulcher-grateful-successful-heart-surgery.html



Sounds as if there's one golfing man who'll have to be playing to the rules these next few weeks . . . . .

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:46 am

Rafa C-B off to a terrific start at Bay Hill, a 3-stroke lead with 2 holes to play on a morning that looks tricky for scoring.

Lowry, Fitz & McDool playing well, plus Fanny with his new sticks.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:47 am

Well done to McDowell - just the start (-4) he needs.
Sick note from Jason Day - w/d after 6 holes and questionable for The Players with some sort of back problem.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:41 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Well done to McDowell - just the start (-4) he needs.
Sick note from Jason Day - w/d after 6 holes and questionable for The Players with some sort of back problem.
Did I hear earlier on Sky that he had torn a couple of discs in his back?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:54 am

I'm never wrong wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:Well done to McDowell - just the start (-4) he needs.
Sick note from Jason Day - w/d after 6 holes and questionable for The Players with some sort of back problem.
Did I hear earlier on Sky that he had torn a couple of discs in his back?

A tear between his L4 & L5 vertebrae according to the GC, but there's always something with Day . . . . . . . never quite sure about the veracity of his medical complaints.

Some sceptics on here about Matt Wallace, but he had another decent tournament last week and off to a good start again today. super's shout about him as a live outsider for Augusta may prove prescient.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:31 pm

Bad day Thursday for curmudgeonly but strangely iconic sports writer Dan Jenkins, who apparently never quite got over the fact that Fort Worth was not yet the capital of the United States and, worse still, that Ben Hogan was not president.

More good weather for Orlando's Bay Hill, downright hot by Sunday (we can only dream).
The cut likely to be about +3 (EDIT! More like -+1 or +2 if scoring carries on like this!!) and most of the Europeans are in good shape to play the weekend - not course specialist Henrik Stenson though who scuffed together a miserable-looking 77 in Round 1. Not very good, Henrik; you may want to give Gareth Lord a shout when he's finished with Rose.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:13 am

Hadn't spotted this:
Top three finishers this week, not otherwise exempt, will qualify for this Year's Open Championship at Portrush - provided they finish in the top 10.

All the Americans that bellyache about qualifying spots available for respective "Opens" would do well to look at all the PGA Tour events that offer (rightly or wrongly) a free pass to The Open. As the leaderboard currently stands, McDowell would earn one of those spots.

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Post by Shotrock on Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:28 am

Kwin - Never heard of any Americans "bellyache" about Open Championship spots (I'm not all the plugged into things I suppose), but I must admit that the three deep in select PGA tour event to earn admission seems a bit wacky. I am assuming they do the same for European Tour events? C'est la vie.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:39 am

Shotrock wrote:Kwin - Never heard of any Americans "bellyache" about Open Championship spots (I'm not all the plugged into things I suppose), but I must admit that the three deep in select PGA tour event to earn admission seems a bit wacky. I am assuming they do the same for European Tour events? C'est la vie.


They do to a certain extent, but only in conjunction with other Tours until after the US Open - I'm just trying to highlight the myriad of opportunities for qualification beyond just the sectional/local qualifying events. Which guys like Kraft, Murray and one or two others have beefed about when they see the European sectional qualifier for US Open action.


Scoring at Bay Hill looks a little better in warmer temps this morning; too bad Rory and Thunderbear haven't got the memo. Yet.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:22 am

Eddie Pepp on fire! -5 for his first nine holes.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:20 am

Impressive from Fleetwood - takes the lead and, at the moment anyway, with a slightly negative strokes-gained-putting stat. Two eagles helped.

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Post by GPB on Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:01 am

Seems strange to me that the Open offers an exemption who might finish 10th at Bay Hill (and a couple other PGATour events), while a 2nd place in the Players or Masters or PGA or US Open does not earn an exemption*.

Assuming that the R&A have good reason for doing that, I would rather not see the exemptions go to an Invitational (like the API) but a tournament with a full field 156 players. Like Wells Fargo or Nelson.

*Chances are pretty good that 2nd place in the Players, the Masters, and the PGA will get a player into the Top 50 which would exempt that player in the Open. 2nd place in the US Open would not get that benefit as the Top 50 deadline is in May.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:14 am

GPB wrote:Seems strange to me that the Open offers an exemption who might finish 10th at Bay Hill (and a couple other PGATour events), while a 2nd place in the Players or Masters or PGA or US Open does not earn an exemption*.
Just looked at The Masters site and a top four finish in any other Major gets an exemption. Yet the Us Open, PGA Championship and The Open don't seem to reciprocate.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:22 am

I agree GPB,
Further feeding largesse into an "Invitational" is surely just feathering the opportunity nests of a favoured few.

I'd much rather revert to the old-fashioned qualifying of decades gone by - perhaps opening owgr access a little though.

5 x Europeans in the top ten early in the afternoon wave.


Inw,
There might be a thought that The Masters field is so restrictive that it would be redundant as the top 4 will likely already be exempt . . . . . . . . .

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Post by GPB on Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:07 am

317 Stroke Play events on the PGATour with 36 hole cuts from January 2010 through Nov 2018.

Here is a frequency table of the difference between the 36 hole leader and the cut number.

Includes the Majors, and the first two Playoff events. It does not include the Reno Tahoe (Stableford) nor does it include Pebble Beach and the Palm Springs events (54 hole cuts)

6 … 1
7 … 15
8 … 53
9 … 85
10 … 62
11 … 52
12 … 26
13 … 13
14 … 6
15 … 2
16 … 2

Anomalies explained

The six shot cut was the 2016 Travelers where there was a 6 way tie for the lead.

Two 15 shot cut differential,

2016 Barbasol, Jhonny Vegas had a 6 shot lead after shooting 60 in Rd2
2015, D-Bank, where there is only 100 players in the field

Two 16 shot cut differential

2014 API where Adam Scott had a 7 shot lead after 36 holes
2017 Houston where Sung Kang had a 6 shot lead after 36 holes

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:11 pm

Interesting that none of those with the big leads brought home the goods.

The last few years seem to have been full of tournaments where Europeans did well for 18 or 36 holes, but couldn't sustain the challenge. Can Wallace and Pepp and Tommy and Rafa and Fitz and the rest succeed where so few before them have.

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Post by GPB on Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:35 am

Some consolation prizes for Fitz and Wallace in case they don't win tomorrow, STM, Special Temporary Membership which is at 266 Faux FEX pts

Wallace has 71 faux pts towards PGATour STM, needs a solo third or better.
Fitzy has 39 faux pts, needs a two way T2nd or better.

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Post by McLaren on Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:49 pm

What is it about Bay Hill this year that has led to so many GB&I players in contention?
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Post by super_realist on Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:12 am

McLaren wrote:What is it about Bay Hill this year that has led to so many GB&I players in contention?

Maybe they're just better than GPB gives them credit for. Wink

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Post by McLaren on Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:05 am

A European tour event has broken out at Bay Hill. I bet a Yank manages to win this. Wink
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Post by GPB on Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:53 pm

super_realist wrote:
McLaren wrote:What is it about Bay Hill this year that has led to so many GB&I players in contention?

Maybe they're just better than GPB gives them credit for. Wink

One Event certainly makes a trend.

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Post by navyblueshorts on Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:07 pm

Well played, Francesco! Heck of a final round.
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Post by navyblueshorts on Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:08 pm

GPB wrote:
super_realist wrote:
McLaren wrote:What is it about Bay Hill this year that has led to so many GB&I players in contention?

Maybe they're just better than GPB gives them credit for. Wink

One Event certainly makes a trend.
Certainly easier when the big US names skip the event. Wonder why? Oh, Palmer no longer with us.
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Post by pedro on Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:18 pm

Playing a tournament only because you can lick Jacks or Arnies a**es afterwards is as daft yank as it can be. If the purse(!) of the API isn't kept at the absurd high level as it is now the tournament will undoubtedly suffer the same faith as the Byron Nelson.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:46 am

pedro wrote: If the purse(!) of the API isn't........

Yahoo Yahoo Yahoo Yahoo

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Post by Shotrock on Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:42 am

That was some display of Sunday golf from Molinari. Keeps that up and he could be the only person to ever win and caddy at Augusta. Rory gets his putting sorted out and he'll be unstoppable.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:56 am

Time for the PGA to kick Whistling Straits, Bethpage, Hazeltine, Olympic and Congressional into touch and play the Ryder Cup on a true American course.
Like Bay Hill.

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Post by Roller_Coaster on Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:39 pm

Shotrock wrote:That was some display of Sunday golf from Molinari. Keeps that up and he could be the only person to ever win and caddy at Augusta. Rory gets his putting sorted out and he'll be unstoppable.

And what an irresistible force versus an unmoveable object that would be for the season, were both things to occur. Let's (on this side of the pond, at least) hope it happens!

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Post by Roller_Coaster on Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:40 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Time for the PGA to kick Whistling Straits, Bethpage, Hazeltine, Olympic and Congressional into touch and play the Ryder Cup on a true American course.
Like Bay Hill.

Ha ha.

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Post by Shotrock on Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:55 am

Roller - I'm thinking it will happen this year. Perhaps Augusta, and he'll get that major sweep. He's become almost FIGJAM like in his positive approach and demeanor (of late). I saw him up close last year at Aronimink and for a person of that stature to hit a ball so long and so consistently was really amazing.

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Post by McLaren on Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:04 am

McIlroy's putting might not be all that great but his strategy is pretty poor as well.  Watch some of the API on Sunday and his approach to the par 5's was pretty perplexing.  On the first one I saw him play Matty Fitz was miles behind from the tee and had a hybrid/wood and nicely used the hard conditions to shape a ball that took the contours of the green to roll closer.

Rory however took dead aim on the only line over a bunker with no green to work with, didn't use any of the terrain to his advantage and flared his shot into a terrible spot short side.

Also his crap wedge play doesn't help.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:48 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Bad day Thursday for curmudgeonly but strangely iconic sports writer Dan Jenkins, who apparently never quite got over the fact that Fort Worth was not yet the capital of the United States and, worse still, that Ben Hogan was not president.


Didn't realise when I wrote this last week that Dan Jenkins has a piece in April's Golf Digest about a competition to determine the greatest of all time.
A field of 72 with the usual snarky comments about blokes he doesn't like, mainly non-Americans (but Woods gets the business too) of course, and it comes down to Woods & Hogan on the 72nd hole. And inevitably Hogan wins.
What did I tell ya?

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