PGA Tour: WGC-FedEx / Barracuda / Wyndham Championship in Greensboro: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:16 pm

1).Well done Shane Lowry!

2).I suppose it's fitting that, in this season of the compressed "Majors" calendar, that we have 4 x PGA Tour (recognised) events in two weeks.
The only surprise to me is that people still think this four-Majors-in-three-and-a-bit months plan is a good idea.
Anyway, the good news is that Lowry gets to be the last Major Champion for almost 9 months, rather like PFC holding the FA Cup for longer than any other team in history.

3).There'll no doubt be some sort of post mortem at season's end with, presumably, the PGA Tour and network broadcasters slapping each other on the back congratulating themselves on getting away with it, and most likely for the foreseeable future.
But how many players will echo the commentary of Justin Rose who clearly feels the rhythm of the season has been disrupted as the focus is now on the FedEx Cup and not the PGA (which, quite honestly, I can barely remember)?
"For me, major championships are the things which should be protected most. That's how all our careers are ultimately going to be measured." And he said that before The Open began.

4).Another surprise, because I clearly got it wrong, is that so few eligible players are giving the latest WGC in Memphis a miss. After five chose not to enter, only Shane Lowry opted to take the week off whereas I would have expected half a dozen more to sit it out. Oh well!

5).The "WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational" gets underway shortly at TPC Southwind in the Memphis, TN, area. The weather should be perfect for scoring, highs of about 30C (cool by London standards), no significant wind and little to no threat of rain or storms.
The only wrinkle could be that water comes into play throughout the course, traditionally the course hosting a full-field with more water balls than any other. Not this year obviously as only 63 will be competing as they try to pad their bank accounts and FedEx point totals.
If you're not familiar with the course, it's a Par-71 (EDIT, Now apparently a Par-70), appropriately demanding for the Tour's rank-and-file who usually compete here, but not exactly a memorable challenge for the World's best.
One competitor who badly needs a strong performance is Alex Noren, and hopefully this will be just the place for him. Otherwise, Greensboro next week represents his final chance to secure his Tour card for next season - unless he plays the WTF series.

6).The Tour's second division are in the gorgeous Lake Tahoe area, playing the Barracuda Championship at scenic Montreux G&CC, the PGA Tour's version of Crans-sur-Sierre. They'll be playing the modified Stableford scoring system but most of those top pros qualified to be there have stayed away in droves.
We'll be following progress there regardless. Apart from the usual suspects, Messrs Harrington, Kaymer and Pavan will be there, whilst fellow Europeans (including Kaymer of course) will see the week as a second to last gasp for retaining their cards. It's a broken record in these notes but this lot includes:
Broken Record Laird
Broken Record Blixt
Broken Record Power
Broken Record Jaeger
Broken Record Cejka
Broken Record Straka

7).Hadn't realised that the 2026 Ryder Cup venue was just about to be announced and happy enough to see it go to Adare Manor, in Limerick. Which other venues were under consideration?

8).And, while we're at it, what about the quandary that the very excellent Portrush has placed the R&A in? It seems that Portrush is pencilled in for either 2024 or 2026 (does the Adare Manor announcement thus make 2024 more likely?). So far, we have:
2020: RStG
2021: St.Andrews
2022: Hoylake
2023: ? Presumably Muirfield?
2024: ? Portrush or Lytham?
2025: ? I wonder if they'll go back to TOC after just four years
2026: ? Lytham or Portrush?
The R&A can move in mysterious ways so no idea on any of that. Hopefully there's no collusion to get Turnberry included, despite its quality being unimpeachable.

9).I still don't understand why the Tour is so anxious to avoid the NFL - it certainly doesn't affect demand for US Open Tennis action and it won't impact demand for next year's Ryder Cup either. Hopefully the European Tour will capitalise appropriately and their top players will support the autumn European Tour schedule.

10).Trying to learn the words to Fields of Athenry - help Shane!


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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:31 pm

You couldn't make this up:
Following his 14 last week at Portrush, David Duval was awarded a sponsor's invitation into this week's Barracuda event.
On the first hole, it looks as if he hit his tee ball out of bounds and picked up, taking the double-bogey-or-worse which is the most that can be scored in the Modified Stableford system being used.
Wish they had that last week, eh David?

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Post by McLaren on Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:36 pm

The schedule and trying to avoid the NFL season are both quite perplexing issues.  I don't mind the The Players:tm: got moved but compressing the majors into a 4 month period seems odd.  

No doubt some weather aficionados will rubbish this suggestion but I always thought a "fall" major would be a nice idea for the PGA champs (maybe second week in October). The loss of potential PGA hosts due to this date could be mitigated be making sure those courses who couldn't hold an event later in the year could be given preference for US opening hosting duties.  And I am also aware this doesn't fit with the Fedex schedule.

But it would provide a different flavor for the PGA which at the moment has the feel of another baking hot summertime slightly glorified WGC.

The European tour manages to hold the Dunhill links in Scotland during October so I am sure there is somewhere in the US that could provide the setting for the PGA at that time of year.  Preferably with some lovely "fall" foliage and some cooler weather.  I like the idea of it being held somewhere in New England as it starts to get cold and with a sea breeze that is a little more biting.

This way you have Majors spread from April to October, and you could even move the Open into the last week of July for a slightly more even spread.
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Post by wiretapper on Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:09 am

When you have a sponsor contributing as much prize money as Fed-Ex are then they are going to have a lot of influence over the competition.

I don't doubt someone in "strategic marketing" worked out that moving the schedule a few weeks means an increased exposure of 5% or something so to them, it was worth the hassle.

Personally I think it's a mess as do most others I hear from other than the happy clapping officials and broadcasters and their zero substance soundbites. Fans, journalists, and now golfers (with hopefully more to come) all see what the officials are quite clearly turning a blind eye to.

Ah well, progress an all that

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Post by GPB on Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:12 pm

Re: Duval, Reno-Tahoe could only round up 131 players, and it had spots for a 132 players. So Duval would have got in on merit.

Re: 4 majors in 3.5 months vs 4 majors in 4 months. Is it really that big of a difference? IMO, there is no difference. Moving the PGA to October? Not enough daylight in October to get a full field of 156 players.

the US Open Tennis comparison is not analogous. The NFL and the US Open only happens on one day, the last day of the US Open. And the US Open final day is arguably the biggest day of the Tennis year.

I did not go to St Jude yesterday like I hoped. But I did attend the Mississippi Boys and Girls Junior Championship on Wednesday afternoon for a couple of hours. Saw some raw talent out there.

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Post by McLaren on Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:28 pm

GPB wrote:I did attend the Mississippi Boys and Girls Junior Championship on Wednesday afternoon for a couple of hours.  Saw some raw talent out there.

Dirty bugger.
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Post by sirbenson on Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:23 pm

Collin Morikawa seems the real deal!!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:09 pm

sirbenson wrote:Collin Morikawa seems the real deal!!

He certainly does!

Our Broken Record Europeans are mostly playing well, but not quite well enough as things stand.
Laird, Power, Harrington, Kaymer, Straka, Jaeger, Lingmerth are all inside the cut line, early in Round 2, Blixt struggling a little.


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Post by GPB on Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:34 pm

Going back to the Xander Schauffele controversy here is a technical discussion on the testing.

The podcast is embedded in the article.

https://www.golf.com/gear/drivers/2019/07/23/justin-thomas-replace-driver-close-limit/

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Jul 26, 2019 7:14 pm

Dream start for Matty Fitz: Birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie . . . . . . . .

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Post by GPB on Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:42 pm

Not sure if either of these were posted in the Open Championship thread.

Where is Ernie Els outrage

Rory did not yell Fore

https://twitter.com/GolfCentral/status/1151802576695959552



Neither did Sergio

https://twitter.com/RayOwensMU20/status/1153651236996091905



Edited to add that I see Sergio's gaffe was discussed earlier this week in the Open Championship thread. Sorry...Never mind

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Post by McLaren on Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:18 pm

GPB wrote:Not sure if either of these were posted in the Open Championship thread.

Where is Ernie Els outrage

Rory did not yell Fore

https://twitter.com/GolfCentral/status/1151802576695959552



Neither did Sergio

https://twitter.com/RayOwensMU20/status/1153651236996091905



Edited to add that I see Sergio's gaffe was discussed earlier this week in the Open Championship thread.  Sorry...Never mind


To be fair to Rory I think his ball landed well short of the line of spectators and rolled into them.  Would probably have been a good idea for him to shout four just in case but that is not the worst non-four call you will see.


As you have now seen the posters on this board think flinging a club at your caddy is fine.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:24 pm

Two baby faces leading the way in Memphis: Fitz and Cameron Smith.


Nice round by Martin Laird at the Barracuda, but still needs two more like that.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:46 pm

Bloody hell! The Mad Scientist has had a power failure, +7 over his final 7 holes. DeChambeaulic.

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Post by GPB on Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:04 pm

McLaren wrote:
To be fair to Rory I think his ball landed well short of the line of spectators and rolled into them.  Would probably have been a good idea for him to shout four just in case but that is not the worst non-four call you will see.


As you have now seen the posters on this board think flinging a club at your caddy is fine.

Not that it matters, I heard the ball broke a spectator's phone, doubt if a rolling ball would have broke a phone. If Kyle Stanley becomes a pariah for not shouting FORE, why isn't Rory getting any criticism. Would MacIntyre be critical of Rory and would Ernie pile on?

And do you Brits Say "FOUR" or "FORE"?

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Post by McLaren on Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:21 pm

Fore, just my phones over eager auto correct.

As I said he should probably have shouted fore, the MacIntyre/Stanley kerfuffle was as much about Stanleys poor reaction to being reminded to shout fore.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:02 am

Good to see Shane Lowry getting back on his horse (poor horse) next week for the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro.

Decent field.


Have now seen reports, nothing official though, suggesting Shane has withdrawn already - would have thought he'd want to play before the spotlight on him at the Play-Offs. Assuming he will actually compete in the Play-Offs of course.

Very interested in seeing how Matt Fitzpatrick fares with the lead today - could be a very big weekend for him.

Elsewhere, play due to resume in the next hour or so in Reno as storms caused Round 2 to be suspended yesterday, with second round play only half completed. Big weekend for Laird & Power, among others.


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Post by McLaren on Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:54 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Two baby faces leading the way in Memphis: Fitz and Cameron Smith.

Rahm is up there to even things out, he looks about 45.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Jul 27, 2019 3:25 pm

After Koepka's rant about slow play, I see that he's playing today with the usually speedy Bubba Watson. In the pairing behind Kevin Na and Henrik Stenson. Cover your ears.

And Sergio is paired with Matt Kuchar - pity it's not matchplay, but maybe it will seem like it?

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Post by GPB on Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:01 pm

Trivia Time:

16 players made the cut in all four majors this year but only one player missed the cut in all four majors.

Who is he?

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Post by ralphjohn69 on Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:13 pm

After a bit of digging (cheating?!) it would appear that it is Shugo Imahira; to be fair I doubt anyone would know that off the top of their head!!

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Post by GPB on Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:33 pm

Correct.

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Post by McLaren on Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:27 pm

I was going to say Rory McIlroy.
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Post by GPB on Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:21 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Good to see Shane Lowry getting back on his horse (poor horse) next week for the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro.

Lowry WDed from Wyndham today.

https://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf/status/1155185365818281984

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:28 pm

GPB wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:Good to see Shane Lowry getting back on his horse (poor horse) next week for the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro.

Lowry WDed from Wyndham today.

https://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf/status/1155185365818281984

As I edited my post this morning . . . . .

Billy Foster up to his tricks letting MF hit driver on the 12th - Rory, Poults & Fitz all in the drink there. WHY!!??!!

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Post by sirbenson on Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:57 pm

Sky back with the BS that Mcilroy's best is the best, well Mark Roe.....They've been watching Brooks Koepka play the last 3 years right? The rankings don't lie.

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Post by GPB on Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:21 pm

Apparently Euan Walker is a lock to make the GB&I Walker Cup team.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:57 am

sirbenson wrote:Sky back with the BS that Mcilroy's best is the best, well Mark Roe.....They've been watching Brooks Koepka play the last 3 years right? The rankings don't lie.

Big day for Rory, it'll seem like match play for him and hope he has the testicular fortitude to see it out.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:17 am

I would say it is SirB. Difference is Rory hasn't shown it in a Major since Koepka started his run. It's going to be a good test today. I hope they both bring it. boxing

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Post by beninho on Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:29 am

Its hard to say who's best beats anothers best, because so rarely do they all play at their peak! Brooks may be more successful over the last few years, but you can only judge on whole careers. At the moment thats Rory, but on that I think Brooks wins this, its often hard for players to follow up really low scores.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:17 am

I suspect Rory can't win, at least in the minds of his critics:

1).If Rory beats Brooks, it's only a WGC, he flunked the big ones.
2).If Koepka wins, he's better than Rory anyway, just proved it again.

Would think both, and us, will benefit if someone goes out early and puts up a low score, at least a good front nine, a la Fleetwood and a couple of others yesterday.


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Post by GPB on Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:48 pm

Looking at the Sr British, the tee times are Split tees and threesomes, starting at 1:30 pm (~20 minutes ago). Last tee time is 3:40 pm for a probable ending at approximately 8 pm.

Was it originally scheduled this way or was there a weather issue earlier?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:57 pm

GPB wrote:Looking at the Sr British, the tee times are Split tees and threesomes, starting at 1:30 pm (~20 minutes ago).  Last tee time is 3:40 pm  for a probable ending at approximately 8 pm.  

Was it originally scheduled this way or was there a weather issue earlier?


The course was flooded and reported to be unplayable - imagine the final putt will drop much closer to 8.30 p.m., or later.
Surprised to see Doug Barron (good for him!) and Dicky Pride in the field, aged up presumably.

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Post by McLaren on Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:58 pm

Kwini, I agree that Rory is in a no win situation in terms of what the fans and media think about him but for his own mindset a win could be a massive boost.  I am sure he knows how good his ball striking is but some of his issues in the majors have been a failure to deal with the increased pressure. Beating Koepka would really help build his confidence in his ability to handle pressure.
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Post by GPB on Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:51 pm

The PGA of A Player of the Year is a points based award.  Going into this week, Koepka is at 74 pts and Rory is at 66 pts

Koepka would basically clinch the PGAofA PotY if he wins.  Rory would almost certainly go ahead of Koepka if he wins.  (barely)

PGAofA point system is 30 pts for a major, 20 pts for a Players Win, and 10 pts for a regular PGATour win.  Bonus points are awarded for players in the Top 10 of money and  adjusted scoring avg on a 20 pts for 1st, 18 for 2nd, 16 for 3rd...etc all the way for 2 pts for 10th,

Rory is currently 2nd in both Money and Scoring avg.  Brooks is 1st in Money and 4th in adj scoring avg.

Rory will probably be the scoring avg leader after this week, he is barely behind Cantlay. and Brooks will probably be third place, he is barely behind DJohnson.

If Rory wins, he probably is up to 78 pts and Koepka is up to 76 pts.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:11 pm

3 hours of play in Memphis and no-one going low so far.
And two hours in at the Barracuda.

Quite apart from the Rory/Brooks/etc fight, there will be one or two Europeans who could secure their playing cards for next season, which starts in September (NFL be damned).

If Round 3 scores/placings prevailed, in both events, Alex Noren would comfortably clinch his playing privileges, and I'd say Blixt and Straka will do the same.
Martin Laird would be on the bubble, whilst Seamus Power & Martin Kaymer still have loads of work to do, despite excellent rounds from both on Saturday.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:34 pm

McLaren wrote:Kwini, I agree that Rory is in a no win situation in terms of what the fans and media think about him but for his own mindset a win could be a massive boost.  I am sure he knows how good his ball striking is but some of his issues in the majors have been a failure to deal with the increased pressure. Beating Koepka would really help build his confidence in his ability to handle pressure.

I agree with this Mac & Kwini, there will always be those that are never satisfied "Brandel Chamblee" or the quiff as I like to call him comes to mind. But beating Brooks today is a big scalp, and a statement made.

Don't know if it came across above but I meant that Rory's A game for me is the best out there.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:47 pm

Rory's A Game?

I would agree but that A needs to be mental as well as physical, doncha think? Good luck to him today, regardless.


Still no-one tearing it up in Memphis.

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Post by Be_the_ball on Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:54 pm

Absolutely Kwini, when he's not trying to force it he's unreal. Getting out of his own way is what he seems to struggle with at times.

But that's easy to say, I've never bogeyed a hole from my couch Laugh Laugh Laugh

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Post by McLaren on Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:40 pm

Just switched on the golf. Oh what a joy to see Brooks -3 and ahead of Rory.  Do I just switch off now?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:41 pm

Message to Rory's putter: Warm up. Don't like all these 3- to 4-footers he keeps leaving himself either; missed one and he'll miss another if he doesn't start making some decent length putts.

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Post by McLaren on Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:06 pm

Rory getting pumped.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:08 pm

They're all getting pumped.

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Post by McLaren on Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:10 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:They're all getting pumped.

True, but I imagine Rory will be feeling more like the victim than the rest.   :(
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Post by McLaren on Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:27 pm

Do you still count as a victim if it's self harm?
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Post by pedro on Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:35 pm

Rory needs to work on his short irons in particular. He never really threatens the pin.

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Post by Born Slippy on Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:52 pm

Watching golf when Rory is in contention after three rounds is getting extremely repetitive. You can pretty much guarantee he’ll shoot 4 or 5 shots worse than his main competition. I don’t know what support he has psychologically but, assuming he does have a sports psychologist, I’d suggest he needs a new one.

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Post by pedro on Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:13 pm

+1

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Post by McLaren on Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:30 pm

Did Rory duff a 3 wood on 17? 238 carry is worse than I would get.


Last edited by McLaren on Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:33 pm

Born Slippy wrote:Watching golf when Rory is in contention after three rounds is getting extremely repetitive. You can pretty much guarantee he’ll shoot 4 or 5 shots worse than his main competition. I don’t know what support he has psychologically but, assuming he does have a sports psychologist, I’d suggest he needs a new one.


How would you account for his wins at The Players and in Canada?
Sure it's disappointing that he doesn't win every time he's in the shake-up, but how many do? Koepka will become the only player on Tour this year with more wins than Rory . . . . .

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