PGA Tour: Florida Swing, Part 2: Bay Hill: More Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 27 Feb - 2:24

1).The four tournament Florida Swing gets underway with the Honda Classic at PGA National - difficult enough for the pros but unforgiving to hackers.
Keith Mitchell is defending champ at the Honda Classic.
Francesco Molinari defends at Bay Hill.
Rory at The Players
And Paul Casey has won the past two Valspar Championships.

2).This is obviously a compressed part of the schedule - Justin Thomas won Honda a couple of years ago, but he's missing this week, no longer on his must do list.
princedrac reckons that only Riviera this year has had a stronger field in 2020 than in 2019.
Only FOUR top 60 Americans playing.
But SIX top 60 Englishmen.

3).I don't know what other long-time observers think, but it seems to me the Bermuda Greens experts have slightly less of an advantage than for previous generations.
No longer would Watson not be able to win in Florida while Trevino could never win in California.
Fer instance.
But Keith Mitchell may reveal himself to be an exception, so it'll be interesting to see how he fares this week.

4).The Top 50 from this coming Monday's owgr will qualify for The Players, then only five or six weeks before that will also be the benchmark for an Augusta invite. Time to get going for that one Poults. (Who should have won this a few years ago but for an untimely pandemic of the shanks.)

5).But on a more serious note, how will golf cope if China's germ warfare spreads more readily across the world? A conundrum that one doubts anyone (not Olympic organisers either) was thinking about a month ago. How will international players react if the US tries to close borders, as Trump TV advocated so strongly during the ebola outbreak? (Thank goodness for Cuba's doctors during that one - doubt they'll be called upon this time, not in the US anyway.)

6).High time a British golfer not called Rory (or Graeme) wins again on Tour, Casey was the last almost a year ago. Time for Fleetwood & Wallace to strut their stuff and for Poults and Rose to show they still have what it takes.

7).It's going to be breezy at Bay Hill, downright windy for Round 1 if Thursday's forecast is correct.

8).Francesco Molinari defends his thrilling win last March, but his only PGA Tour Top 20's since last year's Masters disappointment were at Portrush and Pebble Beach (US Open).

9).Non-Americans have won the past for Arnie Invitationals, Leishman & Day, Rory & Franny, and the International flavour extended all the way down the leaderboard last year, Keith Mitchell being the only American inside the Top Ten.
Including 2nd: Fitzpatrick
T3: Rafa C-B, Fleetwood
T6: Wallace, Rory

10).Hopefully Tommy can put last week's disappointment behind him, but don't overlook Henrik Stenson who has a fantastic record here without winning. Yet.


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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu 27 Feb - 6:42

I think Poults is in the Masters field from his top 12 finish last year,  but I don't know about the Players - but doesn't be qualify due to his Fed Ex result last year. (Top 125)?


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Post by beninho on Thu 27 Feb - 7:41

Tiger killed franny Molinari at Augusta last year. It's just a ghost of the man left on tour.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 27 Feb - 10:10

beninho wrote:Tiger killed franny Molinari at Augusta last year. It's just a ghost of the man left on tour.

I will get slated for this but winning Majors has not been good for this generation of European players careers post win.

Clarke, Stenson, Molinari, Garcia, Willett, Kaymer (although only after 2) have all suffered major problems with form after winning a major. I guess the counter examples would be Rose, Rory and Harrington. Although Harrington fell off a cliff form wise after his 3rd major. It is too early to add him to the list but unless Shane gets back into gear he will also sadly join the list.
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Post by beninho on Thu 27 Feb - 10:35

I would say, it's not just European winners who haven't cracked on. Walker, duffer, Scott, day, webb, Bradley, Charl, Louis o.

Players are better overall so more can win a major. But they are not necessarily going to be greats of the game.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 27 Feb - 10:37

What is odd is the both the players you list and the ones I mentioned didn't just fail to maintain major winning form they actually plummeted in the OWGR'ings. Maybe one major win is enough for most players to feel like they have completed their careers. And why not think like that?
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Post by McLaren on Thu 27 Feb - 10:43

Another week another PGL take.

https://www.golfchannel.com/news/has-premier-golf-league-reached-tipping-point-players?utm-tags=golf1308000

Fleetwood and Billy Ho out and Kopeka not bothered where he plays.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 27 Feb - 12:32

I'm never wrong wrote:I think Poults is in the Masters field from his top 12 finish last year,  but I don't know about the Players - but doesn't be qualify due to his Fed Ex result last year. (Top 125)?


Yup, the pleasure of late evening Remys was getting the better of me.
But: The fact remains that Poults has slipped away from the owgr Top 50, and he's going to have to play a relatively heavy schedule these next few months and get some decent results. His results for the past six months have been pretty average with no top tens since last August. He'll need to change that to qualify for the US Open and Memphis WGC.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 27 Feb - 12:49

Breezy for the early starters at PGA National, with winds increasing to 15 - 25 mph later. On a course that's not really built for blustrousness.
Hope the Tour is using some common sense in its course set-up.

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Post by pedro on Thu 27 Feb - 12:51

Is it too early to be concerned about the European Ryder Cup team? Not exactly a frightening team so far.

Stalwarts Rose, Stenson, Garcia, Poults not exactly firing on any cylinders at the moment.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu 27 Feb - 12:53

kwinigolfer wrote:But: The fact remains that Poults has slipped away from the owgr Top 50, and he's going to have to play a relatively heavy schedule these next few months and get some decent results.
Agree Kwini, him missing the WGC Mexico is symptomatic of this.

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Post by GPB on Thu 27 Feb - 15:17

Decent start for Poulter this morning.

Poulter is exempt for the Masters via at least two criteria.  Top 50 at the end of 2019 and his T12th last year.  He also exempt for the PGA and the Open.

But not exempt for the US Open, and should be in the Top 64 for the Match.  But if he whiffies the next three tournaments, he could be at risk for the matchplay.

Nearly halfway through the qualification process, Poulter is 62nd (Euro) and 46th (World) in Ryder Cup standings.

He has been relatively quiet on twitter, with little commentary about golf.

Pernilla shot 80 in the New Zealand Open.  She did beat 6x European Tour winner Brett Rumford.

Oddly, after encouraging two Italians to WD from the Oman Open, Guido Migliozzi leads after Round 1 in Muskat.  There are 5 Italians still left in the tournament.

EDIT; Just read on twitter that Molinari and Gagli were reinstated into the Oman Open after testing negative and both are under in the first round

Kwini:  Lance Ringler of golfweek's sagarin rankings was on the most recent Perfect Number podcast.  If you (or anyone) is interested

http://perfectnumberpodcast.libsyn.com/

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 27 Feb - 16:13

GPB,
Are you still a faithful disciple of Sagarin?


Tom Lewis also off to a strong start, just 63 (hopefully) holes to go Tom.


Don't know whether he was trolling me but princedrac was decrying "horses for courses" this morning, at least as far as the Honda is concerned. But I reckon a closer look would have shown that it's still a very useful guide, just hardly any repeat winners.

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Post by GPB on Fri 28 Feb - 3:18

I look at the Sag rankings every so often, maybe once a month.

I think of it as golfers who are playing the best, rather than who is the best player

Colin Morikawa ranked #7, is playing really consistent golf, with about 20 straight OWGR cashes. That is very consistent golf, but he does not have any sensational results. And his win in Reno does not count as it was not stroke play.

Oosty also has a long streak of OWGR cashes and his Sag ranking is much higher than his OWGR.

If you doing Draftkings, I think it is valuable tool.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 28 Feb - 12:32

GPB wrote:I look at the Sag rankings every so often, maybe once a month.  

I think of it as golfers who are playing the best, rather than who is the best player

If you doing Draftkings, I think it is valuable tool.


Yup, Don't do any of those DraftKings etc - Interesting that neither Morikawa nor Oosthuizen has a strokeplay win in the US. But their Sagarin ratings are high.

Horses for courses is my favourite indicator, then season with some more esoteric condiments and come up with what I feel is good value - as well as fingers crossed for Poults, I kinda like Daniel Berger this week. Probably lousy SR for both.


Regardless, early starters are off and running wearing their winter woollies. Shouldn't be so windy today, but definitely a bit parky first thing.

Interesting that the joint overnight leaders were both in the event on sponsors' invitation.

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Post by robopz on Fri 28 Feb - 15:03

GPB wrote:I look at the Sag rankings every so often, maybe once a month.  
I think of it as golfers who are playing the best, rather than who is the best player
Very well put.

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Post by robopz on Fri 28 Feb - 15:11

Arnold Palmer field continues to hang in fairly strong, my guess is mainly because of its "super invitational" status and elevated purse. With or without a Tiger commitment today I'm expecting it to remain above 60, probably 62ish. (64 last year)

But I wonder how that's going to work out in a few years. The new broadcast agreements slated to be announced at the Players are expected to raise the average PGAT purse to well over $10 million. Genesis, Memorial & API are probably going to have to move up to the $15 million range to continue to stand out above the rest.
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Post by robopz on Fri 28 Feb - 15:33

I saw a PD tweet yesterday that Pernilla Lindberg beat Brett Rumford at the New Zealand Open in the first round (GPB mentioned her above). That sounded impressive until I looked at the leaderboard and realized she was +9 and had scored better than only three other players in a field of 156.  Beating a decent player who had really bad day isn't that much of an accomplishment IMO.

She ended up beating five total players at the end of it at +10.. But... She was +1 for her second round. And that's fairly respectable against the men all things considered. EVEN made the cut.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 28 Feb - 16:31

Shane Lowry getting attention elsewhere on the board, but he should be making waves for his play this week - tied for 3rd with some guy called Westwood as they play their second nines.

Early starters will finish in about 4 hr 45 minutes.

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Post by Shotrock on Fri 28 Feb - 16:55

That's some silly talk there, Kwin.

More important to focus on Shane's BMI (body mass index) than his actual scoring.

Poor S'OH missed the cut ... but hopefully progressing some in his game.

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Post by GPB on Fri 28 Feb - 16:56

Someone get a screen shot.

Three Englishmen at the top of the Honda Leaderboard.

LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUKE!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 28 Feb - 17:41

Luke and Lee both have good records at PGAN, (as does Woodland).

Let's leave the sreenshots until Sunday.

Luuuke's putter picked him up today - and another Englishman, Harris, made every single putt he took inside 15 feet yesterday.


Sr,
It looks as if the THP has been absolutely hammered this past 24 hours - sure the powder at Snow Ridge will be great for the weekend.

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Post by Shotrock on Fri 28 Feb - 17:45

Heading up shortly (few hours) Kwin! Can't wait.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 28 Feb - 17:48

thumbsup

It would be good if SO'H received a sponsor invite for Bay Hill . . . . . . he deserves it.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 28 Feb - 18:33

Matt Every in the house with a nifty 85. Including an 11 on the Par-3 5th. Finished with a birdie though.

Always something with Every, just back from another Tour suspension . . . . . . on to Bay Hill though, where he's won twice.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 28 Feb - 18:39

robopz wrote:Arnold Palmer field continues to hang in fairly strong, my guess is mainly because of its "super invitational" status and elevated purse. With or without a Tiger commitment today I'm expecting it to remain above 60, probably 62ish. (64 last year)

But I wonder how that's going to work out in a few years. The new broadcast agreements slated to be announced at the Players are expected to raise the average PGAT purse to well over $10 million. Genesis, Memorial & API are probably going to have to move up to the $15 million range to continue to stand out above the rest.
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robo,
Is there a serious suggestion Woods will skip Bay Hill?
Would think that would call into question his entire pre-Masters schedule.

Looking forward to the new broadcast agreement with some trepidation . . . . . . . .

But on the bright side, I thought Cristie Kerr was quite good yesterday, don't know how she'd be on a course she doesn't know so well.

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Post by GPB on Fri 28 Feb - 19:26

Tiger skipped BH last year, and that turned out well for him at Augusta.

Billy Horschel and PXG have parted ways. Th e PXG soldiers have really not performed very well. KA-BOOM BABY.

Matt Every makes an 11 on the par 3 5th hole today. That might be more than one toke over the line. He made a "2", "3", "4", "5", "6". and i guess two "1"'s

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Post by GPB on Fri 28 Feb - 19:26

edit double post

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 28 Feb - 20:58

GPB wrote:Tiger skipped BH last year, and that turned out well for him at Augusta.


And now he's skipping it again.

His agent says Tiger "is still stiff and not quite ready".
Could just as easily have said, "Why should I play? Arnie's dead."

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Post by ralphjohn69 on Fri 28 Feb - 23:43

"His agent says Tiger "is still stiff and not quite ready"."; insert your own joke here....

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 29 Feb - 0:17

ralphjohn69 wrote:"His agent says Tiger "is still stiff and not quite ready"."; insert your own joke here....

He could just be waiting for therapy in Mississippi.

Hi ralph . . . . . . . . .


Luuuke & lw1 paired together on Saturday. Good luck to the both of them.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 29 Feb - 17:23

Six GB&I pros playing Round 3 at the Honda and all, so far at least, in the Top 30 - a great chance for all six to kick on and secure top finishes. Not to mention a W.

Donald, Westwood, Lowry, Fleetwood, Poulter, Lewis - your countries expect.

Breezy again, no-one better than -2 after four hours.

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Post by GPB on Sat 29 Feb - 18:39

Luuuuuuuuuke MCDonald

1st tee announcer at Honda just announced Luke as Luke McDonald.

Maybe he is playing with Lee Eastwood.

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Post by GPB on Sat 29 Feb - 19:46

Sang Moon Bae is co-leading the Korn Ferry event in Mexico.

PGATour winner Wes Bryan is making his 2nd Rehab KF start is T13th.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 29 Feb - 19:56

GPB wrote:Sang Moon Bae is co-leading the Korn Ferry event in Mexico.

PGATour winner Wes Bryan is making his 2nd Rehab KF start is T13th.

We walked 18 holes following Wes with his Dad a couple of years ago. Very nice guy, very intense!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 29 Feb - 20:34

Quite the comeback for King Charl as well . . . . . . great to see!

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Post by I'm never wrong on Sat 29 Feb - 21:43

Why is this course so hard? I saw a stat that showed the winning score rarely got into double figures. Speed of greens or what?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 29 Feb - 22:13

I'm never wrong wrote:Why is this course so hard?  I saw a stat that showed the winning score rarely got into double figures. Speed of greens or what?


I don't know what robo would say, but my take is that the fairways are not that easy to hit, all the Par-3's are tricky, there's water on 16 out of 18 holes, there are only 2 x Par-5's, and it's very penal - invariably more water balls than any other course, about 50 more last year.

And that should not be confused with good golf course architecture.

Exponentially more difficult for amateurs, no fun at all.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Sat 29 Feb - 22:19

Thanks Kwini

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Post by I'm never wrong on Sat 29 Feb - 22:24

Tommy just mentioned wind an issue as well

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 29 Feb - 23:00

Yup, Invariably the wind - plus it was pretty parky the first two mornings.

It'll be disappointing if three Englishmen in the final two groups doesn't yield 1 x W. Almost two Donalds paired together - wonder if that has happened before (excluding when they were on the same "team" of course)

Disappointing bogeys on #17 & #18 for Lowry - super will speculate whether he ran out of gas or ran out of doughnuts . . . . .

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Post by GPB on Sat 29 Feb - 23:09

Its a lot different now, but I played PGA National just before it hosted the 1987 PGA. In May.

Lots of cross winds and narrow fairways penal rough.

Also two par 4's holes are converted par 5's. Par 70 is a pretty strict par.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 29 Feb - 23:29

GPB wrote:Its a lot different now, but I played PGA National just before it hosted the 1987 PGA.  In May.

Lots of cross winds and narrow fairways penal rough.

Also two par 4's holes are converted par 5's.  Par 70 is a pretty strict par.

Highlight when I played a year or two earlier was walking down a back-nine fairway, possibly #14, when a ball came whistling over our heads followed almost immediately by a golfcart in high gear - Craig Stadler had little patience for the hackers holding him up.
PS: That doesn't work at Kwini, or the GCofN.
But we weren't about to argue.

Apologies if this story is being repeated!!

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Post by pedro on Sat 29 Feb - 23:45

kwinigolfer wrote:
Almost two Donalds paired together - wonder if that has happened before (excluding when they were on the same "team" of course)
Not to mention two Woods plus McDonald and a Berger.

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Post by GPB on Sun 1 Mar - 2:00

If he should win tomorrow, Westwood would be the oldest Euro to win on the modern PGATour. (post 1970)

Trivia: Who would he replace?

Surprising answer to me:
Alex Cejka

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Post by Plunky on Sun 1 Mar - 2:22

Just saw Steve Sands talking to Barbara Nicklaus. Nothing says "Happy 80th Birthday" like a small bunch of roses from a grocery store. Very classy !

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 1 Mar - 11:54

GPB wrote:If he should win tomorrow, Westwood would be the oldest Euro to win on the modern PGATour.  (post 1970)

Trivia:  Who would he replace?

Surprising answer to me:
Alex Cejka


I would have guessed Faldo . . . . . . . . .

Hope lw1 can get the job done, complete with 18th green press-ups.

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Post by McLaren on Sun 1 Mar - 12:01

Check out Luke McDonald being announced on the first tee at the Honda

77https://www.instagram.com/p/B9K5NqxJM3v/

Shocked


For GPB's trivia

If it was a surprise I gues the obvious candidates like Langer, Seve, Faldo, Woosie and Lyle are out.

I am going to go for someone recent, and it would be between Harrington and Gmac.

But I am going with Harrington as my final answer?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun 1 Mar - 12:34

Harrington must have been pretty close!

Certainly not many 40-somethings, though Casey and DC are among them. But not Sirnick.

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Post by GPB on Sun 1 Mar - 14:09

Plunky wrote:Just saw Steve Sands talking to Barbara  Nicklaus.  Nothing says "Happy 80th Birthday" like a small bunch of roses from a grocery store.  Very classy !

How about a BOGO (Buy One Get One Free) coupon for a coffin?

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