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PGA Tour: The Valero Texas Open - Who Cares?: Notes from the Ballwasher

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PGA Tour: The Valero Texas Open - Who Cares?: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty PGA Tour: The Valero Texas Open - Who Cares?: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer Wed 18 Apr 2012, 3:47 pm

1).The first ever Texas Open was held in San Antonio in 1922 and one doubts they've ever had a worse turn-out in terms of player quality than the 2012 edition. When pgatour.com highlights Weekley/Lickliter/O'Hern among its "notable groups" you know you're in trouble. More on this later . . . .

2).But let's rewind to last week's RBC Heritage, and Carl Pettersson's walkaway win at Harbour Town. Two runner up finishes and a win this season for North Carolina's favourite Swedish American and he's now restored to the top forty position in the world rankings he abandoned when losing weight and changing his swing.
He now is tied for most wins on the PGA Tour by an American under the age of 36, and most wins by a Swede (with Parnevik)!

3).There should never be any doubting the credentials of Pettersson; he's a proven front-runner (has converted four 54-hole leads out of six into wins) and has won on top class courses, Innisbrook, Memorial, Donald Ross's Sedgefield, Ontario's "St.George's" and now Harbour Town. Lots of chat about the Ryder Cup but Pettersson seems happy to leave that to others. The AP quotes him as saying:
"You have to be a member of the European Tour, which I'm not." "But if I'm playing well, maybe they'll take me," he shrugs.

4).Criticism of some course lengthening of Harbour Town - "Why?" seems to be the common refrain - but extra yardage didn't seem to affect the televised holes (not sure about #3) although the Tour's continued use of the back tee on the beautiful par-3 14th hole is absurd.
Here you have a gorgeous short hole, with water protecting front and right, trees left. The green tends to be firm yet they insist on playing it at 190+ yards, instead of the 140 - 150 yards that the green is designed for. Consequently almost every pro played it defensively, to the left, and a hole that should be just a wedge or a 9-iron played as the tournament's most difficult. Ridiculous and it certainly made for boring viewing.
(Despite the above, Sean O'Hair raced around his Round 4 in about 1 hr 50 minutes, shooting 73, a shade better than the average score for the day and much quicker than his Saturday 79.)

5).25% of the field (morning wave starting on #10 on Thursday, #1 on Friday afternoon) had much the worst of the conditions which certainly affected Donald, Els, Harrington, etc. Although Snedeker managed alright, it highlights that, even on Tour, a golfer can just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But it shouldn't disguise that fact that this year's Luke Donald is not yet up to the quality of last year's model. He was 69th of 71 in total putts taken at Harbour Town and some other key stats for the year show:
Greens in regulation: 140th in 2012 - 41st in 2011 (despite hitting more fairways)
Par 5 scoring: 122nd - 54th in 2011
Birdie average: 130th - 2nd in 2011

His short game continues to be as good as anyone's (usually!) but he's using it too much!!

6).Approximately halfway through the FedEx "regular season", it's worth noting one or two stars of the recent past who are off to very slow 2012 starts. The leading 125 FedEx points gatherers are eligible for the first play-off tournament, "The Barclays", and these players are currently adrift of qualification:
126th: Leonard
130: Karlsson
132: Goosen
133: Villegas
154: Romero
164: Appleby
193: Kim
196: Clark
209: Casey
223: Glover
Injuries have kept some of these guys off the course, but there are no "entitlement" invitations to the Play-Offs!

7).On to San Antonio and one of the Tour's most venerable events, with a very supportive long-term sponsor (Valero), and one of the most benevolent when it comes to the charitable contributions that the PGA Tour slaps itself on the back about.
In recent history the "Valero Texas Open" has been played in autumn, but 2010 saw a spring-time date and a new course. Adam Scott was the winner and there was a handful of top level players participating. Word about the TPC San Antonio course soon got about, however, and the Tour's best, apart from Choi and Kuchar, have stayed away in droves.

8).TPC San Antonio was designed by Greg Norman, with Sergio Garcia as player consultant and ranks 50th of the 52 Tour courses in GolfWorld's Pro's Ranking. Needless to say, Sergio won't be playing this week but those who are here will be negotiating 7,400 yards with narrow fairways. "There's no place to miss shots. Who thought that would be a good idea?" They'll eventually reach "crazy" undulating putting surfaces, greens which "need to be blown up", so expect very slow rounds.

9).Last year, the Texas Open was played the week after The Masters, and next year it's likely to be scheduled for the week before Augusta, so the run up to Magnolia Lane will go: Bay Hill, Houston, TPC San Antonio.
Attendance will be interesting and this could have a reverse knock-on effect through the entire Florida Swing, especially for the "International" players.

10).Freddie Jacobson leads the European contingent into Texas and he has finished 2nd and 7th in two trips to this San Antonio delight. The only other European contestants are Blixt, Chopra, Christian and Russell Knox (coming off a 7th place busman's holiday on the Nationwide Tour last week).
Freddie Jac must be among the favourites.
Brendan Steele won here last year but Kevin Chappell and Cameron Tringale were among those who contended; they're both in decent form and, with Freddie, could be decent e.w. value.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Sat 21 Apr 2012, 12:30 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by mystiroakey Wed 18 Apr 2012, 6:49 pm

is everyone off this week- field seems weak.

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Post by NedB-H Wed 18 Apr 2012, 7:06 pm

Love that for the thread titled "who cares", it took 3 hours for the first reply while everyone stayed on the Heritage thread. Sums up this event!
What's the prognosis like long term Kwini? Surely it can't go on in a fairly high-profile slot being so poorly supported. Wasn't it only a couple of years back that it was shunted to a fall series spot anyway?

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Post by McLaren Wed 18 Apr 2012, 7:14 pm

I imagine some people should care about this event as I assume it carries 500 fedex points and a masters invite for the winner. If the field is weak yet the prizes not so weak then someone really should take advantage of some of the bigger names absence.


As for the length of time it took for this article to get a response, we should hang or heads in shame guys. Just some big phat disrespect to kwini there.
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Post by NedB-H Wed 18 Apr 2012, 7:32 pm

McLaren wrote:

As for the length of time it took for this article to get a response, we should hang or heads in shame guys. Just some big phat disrespect to kwini there.
Laugh

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 18 Apr 2012, 7:45 pm

Ned,
For many years this was a staple of the autumn season of events - the quality of winners and strength of field until the event moved to La Cantera (you remember the course, under the glare of Six Flags' rollere-coasters!).

Then the designation of Fall Series diminished it further though the likes of Justin Leonard and Zach Johnson resurrected poor seasons by winning there, but the move to the spring, and then to TPC San Antonio seems to be a catastrophe.

As I mentioned in Note 9). above, its date changes yet again next year and thereafter it will hopefully find a date within a revitalised Texas Swing. Big thing though is to make the course more playable; as it is, TPC San Antonio is difficult in calm conditions, severe when the wind blows, as it usually does.

Valero are the title sponsor, contracted through 2018, but you'd think they'd want more bang for their big bucks. Mac is right, $1.116K is not to be sneezed at, and nor are the FedEx Cup points (the gifts that keep on giving), and dozens of golfers are missing out big time just because they don't fancy the course. Poor things!



Meanwhile, most of the best Seniors are in Savannah for the Liberty Mutual "Legends". Langer, Lyle are among 72 teeing it up in the "Official" "Legends Division" whilst Des Smyth and Mark James defend their "Unofficial" "Raphael Division" title where Ken Green is also teeing it up. Surprising that Woosie doesn't play this any more . . . .

Glad to see Simon Hobday slunk out of the woodwork to partner Gary Player to fifth place in the "Demaret Division" for over-70's. Hobday's share of the prize-money was $12,000.00 which probably went a long way towards paying his bar bill for the week.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 18 Apr 2012, 10:51 pm

Lousy field in San Antonio, but Thursday's weather will be very pleasant, dry, sunny, 80's, a bit of a breeze.
Chance of some bad storms Friday, potentially disruptive. We'll know more in a day's time.

Interesting to see relatively recent Tour winners who have now lost their cards in this week's field - Hensby and Purdy have been playing Gateway Tour tournaments in Arizona. Presumably they can't get in to Nationwide events.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 19 Apr 2012, 10:26 am

Interesting that Casey's playing in China and not Texas. There are few enough PGA Tour events he'll get into as it is, strange decision unless he's abandoning the US for a while.

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Post by hend085 Thu 19 Apr 2012, 10:46 am

he has won the event in the past so maybe not all the strange- although it was on a different course

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Post by McLaren Thu 19 Apr 2012, 10:56 am

No joke, a Wiffy Cox won this event in 1934!!!
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Post by mystiroakey Thu 19 Apr 2012, 11:59 am

lol just a note about lee westwood at the indonesian masters...

he was 2/1 before it started- currently 7 under and leading by 2 after round 1

and currently trading at 1.3 (3/10!!)


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Post by princedracula Thu 19 Apr 2012, 12:13 pm

clap thumbsup

kwinigolfer wrote:
Valero are the title sponsor, contracted through 2018, but you'd think they'd want more bang for their big bucks. Mac is right, $1.116K is not to be sneezed at, and nor are the FedEx Cup points (the gifts that keep on giving), and dozens of golfers are missing out big time just because they don't fancy the course. Poor things!
I also find this situation puzzling, so much money poored into this event by sponsors for such a weak field... Winner there will be getting away with way more money than all the other winners of this week put together (including Lee's appearence fees). Hopefully NaNaNa will provide us with some more hacking spectacle out of those ugly bushes, which I'm afraid still remains one of the very few memorable things from last year's event... For Valero and the event itself, would be great if someone like Bud Cauley will get here his first tour win and that should bring with it a lot of attention, no doubt...

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 19 Apr 2012, 12:30 pm

Not sure what can be done to breathe some life into the Tour's dead weeks, but one fears also for the Byron Nelson in the future though this year's field receives a boost from Mickelson as they make a big deal about celebrating Lord Byron's 100th birthday.

Unless there are other changes to the calendar, next year's San Antonio field should be much improved but there will certainly be fallout somewhere in the schedule, most likely in Dallas.

Shocking to me that Finchem seems to be powerless to do anything about it.

There must be investment value in this field though; if not a Cauley/Chappell/Tringale/Jimmy Walker type of first-timer, there are plenty of old lags apart from Freddie who are capable of winning, Charlie Hoffman for instance, Palmer, Estes. Value because 3/4 of the field have no earthly chance!

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Post by mystiroakey Thu 19 Apr 2012, 12:50 pm

I went for charlie wii..

good odds - kuchar is clear favourite in this one..

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 19 Apr 2012, 1:32 pm

Forecast still good for Round 1, pretty grim (for scoring at least) for Friday with strong Texas winds and storms on the horizon.


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Post by EmmDee57 Thu 19 Apr 2012, 1:56 pm

My Yahoo Team of Choi, De Jonge, Gainey & Huh are the ones to follow this week.....

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Post by mystiroakey Thu 19 Apr 2012, 2:21 pm

Huh

meeeh

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Post by NedB-H Thu 19 Apr 2012, 5:01 pm

Checked my Yahoo picks just after first tee-off this afternoon and wondered why I only had Every as a reserve. Lo and behold.... Holmes not doing me much good either.


I see Anthony Kim's year isn't improving...

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Post by princedracula Thu 19 Apr 2012, 5:06 pm

Helloooooooooo!!! Is that a hole in one at a par 4 for Miller???!!!

Helloooooooooo..... if so can someone describe what happened there...???

Good to see Kuchar leaving up to expectations so far...

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Post by princedracula Thu 19 Apr 2012, 5:19 pm

Well, I thought for a moment that this year's Valero will be remembered by a hole in one at a par 4 as opposed to Na's 16 of last year.... Just in case somebody thought I was going mad here, that's how Zack's card looked a few minutes ago (as he appeared suddenly in the lead with 5-under)...

Spoiler:

Unfortunately for him, that seems to have vanished only a couple of minutes later...

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 19 Apr 2012, 5:33 pm

Course playing as expected:
ten golfers +5 or worse,
ten golfers -2 or better.

Pity about Zach's hole in one. That would have been the big story of the day.

Meanwhile, Finchem's been on the horn to Slugger White and his course officials ordering drug tests for Matt Every.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 19 Apr 2012, 6:26 pm

Anthony Kim withdraws with a "wrist injury".

Wonder how he did that??!!

He was also trying to play golf apparently, but his game has gone south. He'll be left with Past Champion status and nothing else for 2013 unless he can get his career back on track.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 19 Apr 2012, 7:51 pm

Freddie Jac would look good if it wasn't for the Everyman.

Nice steady rounds for Russell Knox (even) and Gary Christian (+2), only three bogeys between them.

Early triple bogey from Kevin Na - not exactly a 16 but he must still be having flashbacks.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 19 Apr 2012, 9:16 pm

Rotten day for Korean Americans:
Kim withdrew at +8 and counting.
Na is +5 after 9
Huh is +9 after 8

Not profiling or anything . . . . .

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Post by GPB Thu 19 Apr 2012, 9:21 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Rotten day for Korean Americans:
Kim withdrew at +8 and counting.
Na is +5 after 9
Huh is +9 after 8

Not profiling or anything . . . . .

Or Koreans:

KJ Choi +2. (2nd Highest ranked player in the field)

Charlie Wi +1 after 11 holes

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Post by mystiroakey Thu 19 Apr 2012, 9:35 pm

ermmmmmm

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Post by princedracula Thu 19 Apr 2012, 9:41 pm

Poor Koreans (Americans or not), they're just having a bad day... give'm a break...

kwini, you forgot Richard Lee @ +5...

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 19 Apr 2012, 9:56 pm

NZ Koreans off to a dodgy start also.

(I always forget about Richard Lee!)

European Tour must have just been a warm up for Curtis and Beem.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 20 Apr 2012, 11:51 am

Today's forecast for San Antonio goes downhill as the day progresses.
Relatively calm right now, but winds picking up and chance of storms as a front comes through later today.
The morning "wave" should be favoured, but the weekend forecast is good.

See Kevin Na caught a stagecoach outatown last night.

But scoring was better than in 2010 and 2011, not sure to what extent they've "softened" the course; I know they made some adjustments, especially to the fairways, and it looked more attractive yesterday than in the past couple of years.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 20 Apr 2012, 3:02 pm

Better scoring this morning, unless your name is Troy Matteson; perhaps they've shortened some holes in anticipation of strong windiness.

Still calm at the moment . . . . .

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Post by princedracula Fri 20 Apr 2012, 3:54 pm

Tringale's card today looks like mine when I play a par 3 course (on a very good day)... six 3s and a 4 after 7 holes... Maybe that's why they call him Tri-ngale...? Whistle

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 20 Apr 2012, 3:59 pm

Tringale sitting safely on my bench. Terrific!

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Post by GPB Fri 20 Apr 2012, 5:29 pm

Aussie Nationwide player Matthew Giles crashes his car into house and faces felony extreme Driving Under the Influence. Ruptures Natural Gas line.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gameon/post/2012/04/pro-golfer-crashes-car-into-home-faces-dui-charge/1

fortunately no one was killed or injured.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Apr 2012, 1:35 am

Wind having its way in San Antonio, but a really good field in New Orleans next week:
Bradley
Choi
Christian
Davis
Donald
Els
Fowler
Goosen (he's baaaaaaaaack)
Hanson
Karlsson
Knox
McDowell
Ogilvy
Pettersson
Rose
Simpson
Snedeker
Stricker
Watney
Watson
plus plenty I've missed.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Apr 2012, 1:40 am

Tempting providence to say to much about Russell Knox, but he's lying in 11th place with just a few holes remaining. Be nice if he could finish tonight, but ain't gonna happen.
Only one bogey in his first 32 holes, second best in the field.

More 80's than 70's from my yahoo team. Doh

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Post by NedB-H Sat 21 Apr 2012, 9:18 am

Very pleased to see Curtis at the head of proceedings, been a fan of his since he won the Open, would love to see him playing well again.

I see next week's field has a David Byrne in it... wonder if he'll be putting on a show...

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Apr 2012, 9:27 am

Hope not, CBS have plenty of talking heads as it is . . . . .

(No bogeys yet for Ben Curtis, only the 5th time Rounds 1 and 2 have been negotiated bogey-free this year!)

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Apr 2012, 12:16 pm

Should be a lovely day in San Antonio, warm (80's) and sunny, with the only wrinkle being a breeze from the north on a course that was designed for the prevailing wind out of the south/south-west!

Russell Knox and Matt Every resume their work at 7.30 a.m., then Round 3 gets cracking a couple of hours later, off the front and the back, in threesomes. An MDF in our future!

Indicative of the quality of the field, only six players from the owgr top 100 will be playing the weekend:
Ryan Palmer
Chalmers
Jacobson
Moore
Frazer
Kuchar

More happily, Duval should play Round 3 at least.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Apr 2012, 1:54 pm

Lousy way for Russell Knox to finish an apparently excellent round, missing a birdie put inside four feet at the last.
But top 20 so far, leading in fairways hit, pars scored and close to the front of the class in bogey "avoidance"!
Prescription for a decent finish if he can maintain that for two more rounds.

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Post by Redrage Sat 21 Apr 2012, 2:35 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:
Prescription for a decent finish if he can maintain that for two more rounds.

A top 5 or 10 would do his confidence the world of good, not to mention his money list performance. Fingers crossed.

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Post by GPB Sat 21 Apr 2012, 3:08 pm

81 players made the cut. A MDF cut will happen after Round 3.

Duval makes his first cut of the year. On the number. I wonder if he will be an assistant Captain to Davis Love?

Strange leader board,

1. Three shot gap between T3 and T5. Usually do not see spreads like that unless it is at the very top of the leader board.

2. And a 16 shot gap between the leader and the cut-line.


Checking out ladbrokes odds, they have Curtis at 2/1, Tringale 7/2 and Every at 5/1. Looks you could make a prop bet of the field against those three for better than even money. I would take the field.

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Post by NedB-H Sat 21 Apr 2012, 5:12 pm

Freddie Jac in with two birdies, a bogey, a double and a holeout for an eagle two in his first five holes. Eventful...

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Apr 2012, 5:26 pm

My yahoo starting four averaged 77.5 in Round 1, and all missed the cut.

My bench averaged 71.675. Fortunately they all made the cut and Freddie is one of them!

Birdie for Russell. Opportunity Knox. Where's Hughie Green?


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Post by princedracula Sat 21 Apr 2012, 6:02 pm

Ben Curtis making a mess of his start, pitty...

Time to ask then... who's David Mathis?

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Post by LastDamnation Sat 21 Apr 2012, 6:16 pm

John Huh under par after that horrific start thursday :O

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Post by GPB Sat 21 Apr 2012, 6:24 pm

Mathis is fully exempt based on the PGAT money last year. But he has played terribly thus far this year. T25 in Puerto Rico is his only cut made.

Pretty much the epitome of a Rank and File player. 38 yrs old.

USGA Junior Am champ Jordan Speith (and still a amateur) is having a nice 3rd round and has moved into the top 10. He is playing college golf for the Texas Longhorns.

Seung Yul Noh is having a decent tournament.

Hank Kuehne is going to get his first PGAT paycheck since Honda Classic, 2006, although he won't be a big one at this point.


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Post by princedracula Sat 21 Apr 2012, 7:11 pm

Sorry for asking about Mathis... devil

If this is a bad week for the Koreans, one wonders how a good one would look like. Two of them inside top 10 an Huh not so far away...

Two of the youngest out there, Spieth and Noh, having a birdie fest today...

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Post by GPB Sat 21 Apr 2012, 7:50 pm

Unless live scoring is on a delay, they are playing incredibly slow today in San Antonio.

leaders teed of at 11:45 local time. a little more than two hours ago. As of 1:48 local time the last group is on hole #6.

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Post by princedracula Sat 21 Apr 2012, 8:16 pm

...and again, sorry for mentioning Noh and Spieth in the same breath... devil devil

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Post by princedracula Sat 21 Apr 2012, 8:23 pm

Not watching it on the tv, but based on what I see on shottracker I get a feeling Ben Curtis has gone deep into the woods at the 8th and struggling to find a way out...?

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