PGA Tour: Valero Texas Open: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 04 Apr 2019, 2:29 pm

1).This year's last stop before The Masters is in the San Antonio area for the Valero Texas Open. The winner at TPC San Antonio takes the final Masters invitation, if not otherwise exempt, adding potentially to the field of, apparently, 86 golfers heading to Augusta.
The last time "Texas" was in this position was in 2013, when Martin Laird conjured up a final round 63 to win by one stroke from McIlroy, with Furyk, Horschel and Hoffman T3, and Harrington & David Lynn close behind.
Hopefully the European run of four consecutive PGA Tour strokeplay winners will be extended, though seriously doubt that Martin Laird will be the man to do it.

2).Kevin Kisner won last week's MatchPlay survival-of-the-fittest at Pete Dye's Austin CC and, as noted a few days ago, Kisner is a Pete Dye course specialist, having runnered up at The Players, Harbour Town, New Orleans (with Scott Brown) and last year at the MatchPlay. Worth keeping an eye on Kis at the Heritage and Zurich Team tournaments then, (whether you find him charismatic or not!).
Kisner is one of those players who, like Luke Donald and Jim Furyk, will almost always lose to the big hitter who keeps it straight off the tee and putts reasonably well, but drives the ball well enough and has a great short game. Attributes to help him win at Sea Island & Colonial.

3).And then there's the welcome return to the Winners Enclosure for Graeme McDowell, also a Harbour Town winner - and if Kisner is a Pete Dye-course specialist, McDool likes to be beside the seaside, all four of his wins coming oceanside, at Pebble, Harbour Town, Mayakoba and now Punta Cana.

4).Plus he helped GB&I win the Walker Cup at Sea Island, Georgia, on a pretty decent team which included Donald, Michael Hoey, Marc Warren & Nick Dougherty. Playing against Lucas Glover, DJ Trahan and Bryce Molder (beat McDowell twice in singles).
McDowell's avowed objective this year is to qualify for The Open at Portrush, just a few days before he turns 40. This is a decent stepping stone, but wouldn't it be appropriate to offer him a special invitation? He's regained the competitiveness which has been awol for years and hopefully can train on from here.

5).TPC San Antonio has rewarded its share of course specialists over the years, but most of the veterans in that category are either in abysmal form (Spieth, Hoffman, Walker, Steele) or injured (Kevin Chappell). But Badds and Billy Horschel have fine course records without winning, and you'd think the course would fit Lucas like a Glover.

6).Laird is back, and so are Luke Donald and McDowell. Freddie Jac played well here in the tournament's early days and now appears healthy, if not exactly match-fit.
Joost Luiten was rewarded for travelling to Austin last week as first alternate for the MatchPlay with the consolation prize of a place at the Valero.
And Lucas Bjerregard and Martin Kaymer are also here.

7).Despite the presence of highly ranked pros like Finau, Fowler, Kuchar and Spieth, I'm hoping the winner comes from this group of three: Horschel, Kokrak & Badds. Sentimental fingers crossed for Furyk, so close to getting into The Masters.

8).That's about it; still waiting for The Masters field to thin out even more (O'Meara reportedly standing aside is a good start) - there seem to be 86 runners, which is just the sort of size of field the Hooties love, and has Masters-field critics shaking their heads.

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Post by Roller_Coaster on Thu 04 Apr 2019, 2:56 pm

Always thought McDool was over-rated as a player and up there with the best of the Todd Hamilton's etc. But still it's nice to see him and Luuuuuuke having somewhat of a renaissance, if only for demi geographical reasons of support. Hope last week isn't a one and done and hope he makes the Open, somehow.

Spieth in this week for homecoming reasons or just to have another week at the metaphorical coal face searching for his lost diamond?




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Post by McLaren on Thu 04 Apr 2019, 4:08 pm

Is it this week that the mixed event is being played, with senior men, women and a duffers tour all playing the same course but from different tees?


On G-mac and Portrush, do the R&A ever offer invitations to the Open? I wouldn't really care if they did give him one but would it really be in keeping with trying to assemble elite fields for the best tournaments. Not that anyone really tries anyway. Only 86 players at Augusta is a joke.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 04 Apr 2019, 5:13 pm

Roller_Coaster wrote:Always thought McDool was over-rated as a player and up there with the best of the Todd Hamilton's etc. But still it's nice to see him and Luuuuuuke having somewhat of a renaissance, if only for demi geographical reasons of support. Hope last week isn't a one and done and hope he makes the Open, somehow.

Spieth in this week for homecoming reasons or just to have another week at the metaphorical coal face searching for his lost diamond?




Never really sure about McDowell, and certainly has seemed unmotivated recently - I followed him for a while at Hartford last year and he seemed more interested in yukking it up with a couple of celebs (in their own mind) in the gallery.
But he's had some strong Ryder Cup performances and is definitely a Top 50 player at his best.

Think Spieth is playing another "additional" event, which is suitably convenient for him. He needs to pull the rip-cord - no Top Tens since Carnoustie's collapse.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 04 Apr 2019, 5:16 pm

Mac,
Re The Open; I'm not sure if they've handed out Special Invitations in the past, they've certainly adjusted the entry criteria, most recently to accommodate Tom Watson following his near-miss ten years ago.
Given that, without Clarke, McDowell & Rory it's highly unlikely Portrush would have got the nod, you'd think they might throw the dog a bone.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 04 Apr 2019, 6:59 pm

Is Grayson Murray confirming himself as the latest tool on the PGA Tour - terrible season in progress and it looks as if he walked off halfway through the 9th after hacking it around in the bushes.
He's complaining of a back injury but more likely his head is up his arse.

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Post by GPB on Thu 04 Apr 2019, 7:34 pm

FWIW, Spieth played the Texas Open in 2015, so this tournament would not qualify as an "New" event.

Spieth said in a NoLayingUp podcast that he is going to play Hilton Head, for four events in a row. Which would qualify as he has not played it since 2014.

Not sure if it is going to be broadcast across the pond, but at 30 of the World best Women Amateurs are going to play Augusta National on Saturday. I am interest, from a curiosity standpoint, how the women (mostly young women and teenagers) play ANGC. Where they set up the tees, and hole locations.

kwinigolfer wrote:Hopefully the European run of four consecutive PGA Tour strokeplay winners will be extended, though seriously doubt that Martin Laird will be the man to do it.

kwinigolfer wrote:I'm hoping the winner comes from this group of three: Horschel, Kokrak & Badds. Sentimental fingers crossed for Furyk, so close to getting into The Masters

Whistle Doh

I "hope" you are prepared for disappointment.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 04 Apr 2019, 8:11 pm

GPB,
Just because I "hope" something, certainly doesn't mean it will happen.

Is that right about Spieth? I had thought a 3-year absence was the criteria, but regardless . . . . .

What do you think about the Hooties doing their Women's Amateur stunt to coincide/conflict with the Dinah Shore?
It looks to me like Page 1 of the Tim Finchem play-book, but I see Mike Whan is taking a more positive view of the stupidity. And some ladies with a Ridley (pity his first name is Jimmy) invite are playing in the ANA - good for them.


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Post by GPB on Thu 04 Apr 2019, 9:08 pm

Its a 4 year absence, he has played three "new" events this year (Vegas, Mayakoba, and Farmers)  HH will make it 4 new events

As far as the ANWA  (Augusta National Womens Amateur) goes, I think there are far more positives than negatives.

As far as the conflict, absolutely no one is mentioning that the US Women's Amateur and the British Women's Open overlaps, and has overlapped for years.   And I have never seen any whining about that.

The "Dinah" only invites 4-5 amateurs whereas the ANWA invited 60 amateurs.

Some LPGAers, media, and bloggers are only focusing on what ANGC did wrong, rather than looking at the exposure that ANGC is giving to the womens game.

Its not like the Dinah have a long relationship with this date, the week before the Masters.  For years, it was played two weeks before the Masters, in competition with the Players Championship before the Players went to May.

IMO, I think the glass is more full than empty with respect to the ANWA.  The negative criticism is astonishing to me.  Its almost as if they rather see ANGC do nothing to end their long history of misogyny rather than run this championship.

As I told Martin Kaufman on twitter, "A journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step".  Could ANGC done this better?  Sure, but they got it Mostly right, IMO.

PS GO SMYLIE

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Post by super_realist on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 7:37 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Is Grayson Murray confirming himself as the latest tool on the PGA Tour - terrible season in progress and it looks as if he walked off halfway through the 9th after hacking it around in the bushes.
He's complaining of a back injury but more likely his head is up his arse.

I think that had been confirmed a long time ago Kwini. Grade A Plank.

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Post by super_realist on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 7:42 am

McLaren wrote:Is it this week that the mixed event is being played, with senior men, women and a duffers tour all playing the same course but from different tees?


On G-mac and Portrush, do the R&A ever offer invitations to the Open?  I wouldn't really care if they did give him one but would it really be in keeping with trying to assemble elite fields for the best tournaments.  Not that anyone really tries anyway. Only 86 players at Augusta is a joke.

Completely agree Mac (for a change).

As much as I like the Masters as a viewing spectacle (one of the few golf competitions worth watching) it does seem absurd that there isn't at least 120 people in it like the rest of the majors.
The clue is in the name "major", therefore it shouldn't be subject to "invitation" and sycophantic lifetime exemptions for has-beens like Lyle, Woosnam, O' Meara etc.


I know it's "their event" and "they can do what they like" but it's about time it was a bigger field.

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Post by Shotrock on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 1:26 pm


Also agree. But The US Masters has become such a coveted event for the professionals (and the viewing public) that the green-coated boys could just about do anything they want at this point.

Would be great if someone ponied up the money for an extraordinarily lucrative event that same weekend. Maybe Jeff Bezos' wife could fund it?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 1:55 pm

She's already got the McKenzie Tour in Canada . . . . . . Run

Hey, Sr,
I am hoping to go to Oak Hill for the Senior PGA and noticed that Mark Tucker is in the field. Do you remember him? His Dad, Gene, used to teach (at Maple Crest!) and Mark was a prodigy in the years between Wayne & Moira/Julie Brand. Went to Furman and disappeared. But now at Cazenovia apparently. What goes around comes around!

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Post by Shotrock on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 1:58 pm

I know Mark! He was also a bartender for a number of winters at the Utica Curling Club. If you run into him please mention my name and let him know he always has a course to play when his travels take him to Philadelphia. I wish him luck on the course.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 2:23 pm

thumbsup

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Post by GPB on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 4:57 pm

Masters invites the Top 12 finishers from the previous years tournament.  That's how Charley Hoffman got his invite this year.

They used to invite the Top 24, which was reduced to the Top 16.

If the Top 24 criteria was still the criteria, these 3 players would have been added to the field

Russell Henley  (T15th last year)
Bernd Weisberger and Adam Hadwin (T24th last year)

I know we have had this argument for the past few years, but I honestly don't know of player that is NOT playing this week that has a realistic chance to win the Masters.  Part of the "Masters Aura" is actually earning the invitation.  I see players every December tweeting a picture of their Masters invite, especially if it is their first one.

The Masters wants to start everyone on the #1 tee, while not starting at Dawn.  The shortened field gives them flexibility in case of inclement weather (a real possibility in the Spring time in the Southern USA)


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Post by GPB on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 5:08 pm

Anyone interested in some golf history regarding ANGC

https://www.newyorker.com/sports/sporting-scene/the-woman-who-invented-augusta-national

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Post by Shotrock on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 7:23 pm

Thanks for sharing ... Great story.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 8:52 pm

Spieth tied for the lead. Timely to say one swallow doesn't make a spring, but he's got to start somewhere.

More good work from McDowell and an impressive recovery by Harrington after double-bogeying the first Par-5. Ooh, missed Joost Luiten's good round - that'll pay his expenses if nothing else.
Not good enough from Luuuke, and Bjerregard gets an early flight to ANGC.

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Post by NedB-H on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 10:04 pm

Does the European winning streak continue if the winner is a pretend Slovakian...?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 10:26 pm

NedB-H wrote:Does the European winning streak continue if the winner is a pretend Slovakian...?

Of course!!!

Trouble is that, like so many in their forties, he's playing well for 45 or so holes, but has trouble finishing it off.

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Post by NedB-H on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 11:30 pm

I thought I’d seen Rory Mk I show up on a fair few leaderboards this season, but he’s won barely anything in FedEx points and is in danger of losing his card. Proves your point completely Kwini.
Is Si Woo Kim the most mercurial golfer in the world right now? Looked like he didn’t know which direction his ball was going in at the matchplay last week. Now acing par threes and four clear of the field.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 06 Apr 2019, 5:42 pm

80 golfers made the cut in Texas which means we'll see some MDF's after 54 holes - Martin Kaymer the European most in jeopardy as all players are now on the course.

And this week's winner gets a ticket to Augusta if not otherwise exempt, which leader Si Woo Kim is. McDowell the best placed European but he's 5 shots back early in Round 3.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 06 Apr 2019, 11:19 pm

Corey Conners (obviously) the best placed golfer not yet exempt into The Masters, and he'll have a great chance to put that right on Sunday, weather permitting.

And what weather will he find in Augusta? This is what they're suggesting:

https://weather.com/weather/tenday/l/USGA0032:1:US


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Post by GPB on Sat 06 Apr 2019, 11:38 pm

Sabbatini best placed European to keep the streak of European stroke play wins alive.

If you didn't see the final round of the Augusta Women's Amateur, you missed a good showdown.

Next Sunday, every golfer would give their left nut to have the back nine that Jennifer Kupcho had. After getting a migraine on #8, and it ending on #11, she had some high quality shots.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Apr 2019, 12:57 am

One or two don't have their "left nut".


Nice coincidence for Kuchar (having another good week) watchers:
Article by John Feinstein titled:
"Which is it:
Matt Kuchar:
Mr. Nice Guy
or
El Cheapo?"

Bet they wish they could add a "stop press" . . . . . . .

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Post by I'm never wrong on Sun 07 Apr 2019, 7:24 am

GPB - I did watch the final few holes. Good golf. Good crowds as well.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Apr 2019, 11:56 am

A nice tournament brewing in San Antonio, but very likely a delayed start with waves of thunderstorms cruising through. Must be even money on a Monday finish - for the leaders anyway.

That won't bother Capt Harrington who bogeyed his final hole to ensure he was an MDF and on his bike.
As said elsewhere, Sabbatini the best chance for another "European" winner, but that's a long shot (for better or worse).

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Apr 2019, 3:03 pm

One hour delay announced at TPC San Antonio - imagine there'll be a further delay coming soon.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Apr 2019, 4:45 pm

Now looking like a 2-hour delay. No Kevin Na in the field so they could just still squeeze it in.
Having said which, McDowell is opening the batting and he takes his time too.

EDIT: And that's it - there should be no more weather interruptions so a two-hour delay it is. Not sure that the finale will be televised though, as Golf Channel is committed to the LPGA ANA Major Championship.
We'll have to see, but sunset locally is at approx 8.00 p.m., so daylight shouldn't be an issue.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Apr 2019, 9:27 pm

Take his time or not, but McDowell has a fine round going; -5 after 14 and another bird or two will be invaluable in his chase for a Portrush tee-time. Still a long way to go but showing terrific form and another good course coming up for him at Harbour Town.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Sun 07 Apr 2019, 9:48 pm

Lots of players tied with GMac. (8th). If they all finish as they are now, will they all be able to play in the next PGA tournament? Ie is there a limit on numbers for those finishing in the top 10?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Apr 2019, 10:53 pm

No!
But: The Top Ten exemption is hit and miss, to say the least. Obviously it doesn't apply for Augusta, and it won't apply for Harbour Town either, as that's an "invitational". So they get into the team event in NOLA which might not necessarily be their event of choice.
McDool is in Harbour Town though, as a Past Champion.

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Post by GPB on Sun 07 Apr 2019, 11:00 pm

Rob Bolton just tweeted that Top 10s this week will not get exempt until Quail Hollow.

Even if GMAC was not a former champ at Harbour Town, he would get in via his win at Punta Cana last week.

edited to add bolton's tweet

https://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf/status/1115005884436844544

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Apr 2019, 11:17 pm

Is that right from Rob?
I thought they got into the Zurich. And: If not, why not??!!

Having said which, almost all will be OK into Harbour Town anyway. Should they want to play the Luke Donald annuity.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Sun 07 Apr 2019, 11:32 pm

Thanks all.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 07 Apr 2019, 11:58 pm

This has turned into a terrific tournament. Love it!

Also good to see the course maturing, looks better than last week's Austin CC now.

Hope Conners wins - had him as my one and done in the DR last week and he missed the cut by 1!

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Post by GPB on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 12:42 am

The priority rules are a little different for the Zurich because of the team aspect.

For Corey Conners

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 1:02 am

Two great days for Oh Canada:

Corey Conners

and:

The celebrations for Bob Cole's last game as play-by-play man for HNIC. At 85! Fantastic!!

Oh Canada!!!

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Post by McLaren on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 10:19 am

Looked to me like the drive chip putt might have had a stronger field strength than the Masters will.
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PGA Tour: Valero Texas Open: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: Valero Texas Open: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by Shotrock on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 2:14 pm

Kwin - You evidently did not watch the men's world curling championship game yesterday evening. Sweden soundly defeated Canada (playing on home ice) 7 - 2.


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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 2:28 pm

super_realist wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:Is Grayson Murray confirming himself as the latest tool on the PGA Tour - terrible season in progress and it looks as if he walked off halfway through the 9th after hacking it around in the bushes.
He's complaining of a back injury but more likely his head is up his arse.

I think that had been confirmed a long time ago Kwini. Grade A Plank.

Well, that's that then.
Murray taking a 6 month breather "to focus on getting a healthy back and healthy mind".
Would have thought the back will be the easy part.
Undoubted talent but what a wally.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 2:33 pm

Shotrock wrote:Kwin - You evidently did not watch the men's world curling championship game yesterday evening. Sweden soundly defeated Canada (playing on home ice) 7 - 2.


No I didn't. Are you invoking Swedish heritage? I do find curling compelling to watch though, just can never find it on TV.
And I love Canada!

Corey Conners in the field with Mike Weir this week - you never know with Conners, his last round there was a 69, so he has previous (though his other round was an 80!).

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Post by Shotrock on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 2:42 pm

Kwin - Norwegian, but I'm such a mutt that I have lots of bases covered. (Not that I care much about that.)

Great curling coverage on the NBC Sports (I think) Olympic Channel. That's where I was also able to view so much nordic and cross country skiing this year. Good stuff.

And no shame in Canada for losing the finals. It was not an upset in that Sweden's Niklas Edin
was the favorite and a true powerhouse rink.

I like Canada too. And Ireland of course!

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Post by Be_the_ball on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 5:01 pm

Live YT stream from The Masters chaps :
https://youtu.be/yOMpRtWekqA

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Post by GPB on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 5:01 pm

Anonymous survey taken at the Turkey tournament last fall

https://www.golf.com/news/2019/01/14/anonymous-european-pro-survey/

Among the questions, and results.

WHICH MAJOR TITLE DO YOU MOST COVET? The Masters: 59% PGA Championship: 0% U.S. Open: 3% British Open: 38%

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 5:28 pm

Plenty of non-Europeans took that survey!

My favourite q & a is in the final one:

"Some players think they are the smartest person in the locker room; Eduardo Molinari IS that guy."

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Post by GPB on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 6:08 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Plenty of non-Europeans took that survey!

My favourite q & a is in the final one:

"Some players think they are the smartest person in the locker room; Eduardo Molinari IS that guy."

True, but only one American was in the Turkisih Airlines field, Julian Suri.

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Post by McLaren on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 6:16 pm

Anecdotally most people I have played with over the years have said the one they would want to win would be the Masters. Some say Open, but there is something about the Masters that seems to better appeal to peoples imaginations.

The Masters is the one I remember staying up to watch with friends. The Open got in the way of actually getting out on the course. I guess the timing just worked for the Masters.
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Post by Diggers on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 7:02 pm

I don’t think links courses look great on the TV, particularly if the weather is a bit pony. That said, I’d be happy to win any of them!

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