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PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 06 Jun 2012, 3:42 pm

1).Extraordinary finish from Tiger Woods last Sunday - their respective scrambling on #16 representing the difference between Woods and Sabbatini. But the key for Woods was his play on the par-5's (birdied half of them) and, going forward, that will be the secret to the tournaments he can be competitive in.
(Not sure whether the biggest surprise was Tiger winning, or going head-to-head with Rickie Fowler and dusting him by 17 strokes - didn't see that coming, but a reminder that Fowler is just the latest of America's Young Ones to run out of gas; McIlroy also refuelling of course.)

2).Sabbatini is not really a divisive figure among golfers and golf fans, everyone seems to hate him.
But, for all the absurdities of his behaviour during his career I enjoy watching him play well. Golf sorely needs guys who say what they think and are not afraid to ruffle the status quo. He appreciates the history of golf more than most, is active in his various charitable endeavours beyond merely dishing out dosh, and is often voted by his fellow pros the greatest over-achiever in the marriage stakes. (Usually alongside the toothy grin of Stephen Ames and Furyk's bent beak and bald pate.)

3).Like Woods, Sabbatini is going through swing changes which, for him, started earlier this year. And you'd have to say that, if Memorial is anything to go by, he's bedding in those changes more quickly than some others.
Another swing-changer, Gary Woodland is all at sea and in danger of running aground. Since moving to Screaming Lord Butch his best Tour finish is 24th - he's almost a year away from his last Tour top ten yet being in last year's Tour Championship earned him a place in all the Majors. Not next year, though, unless Butchie gets him sorted out.

4).Last word on Tiger, until next week at least: Doug Ferguson reminds us that 35 of his 73 wins have come on just six courses. Firestone will be the last venue this year for 35 to reach 36 so don't hold your breath in the meantime.

5).FedEx has long been a staunch supporter of the PGA Tour in general, the Memphis tournament in particular, but they are seldom rewarded with a field befitting their commitment.
No exception this week and two of the leading players in the field are either rehabbing their body (Dustin Johnson) or their focus (Rory McIlroy). Zach Johnson is the in-form player in the field and McDowell is here too, whether as a Horizon chaperon or in a serious attempt to prepare for Olympic Club only he knows.

6).They're not like Dylan, stuck inside of Mobile, but FedEx are entitled to have "the Memphis Blues again" as this tournament likely suffers more withdrawals than any other, including that of favourite Tennessean Snedeker who's convalescing, hoping to be fit for Olympic Club.
But is this surprising? And what has to happen to reward one of the very best sponsors with a top class field??
The pros like the course, but question how smart it is to play Bermuda Greens the week before a US Open.
Wonder if the Tour has looked more closely in to holding the pre-US Open week event at a more geographically appropriate location, with similar grasses - they know the USGA's schedule almost a decade in advance after all.
And what about trying to do a better job of attracting overseas US Open-qualified golfers who are looking for tournament-level practice the week before the big one?

7).One overseas player in the field is unlucky loser the past two years, twice play-off runner-up Robert Karlsson, but he's in a terrible trot of form and I'd fancy his compatriot Freddie Jac who will be busy these next few weeks.
Regardless, the winner is likely to be someone for whom winning in Memphis will be an achievement (like Freddie), whether for career or sentimental reasons, rather than a mere practice jaunt on his way to San Francisco. Toms fits this category, Bryce Molder, Chris Kirk and Tommy Gainey also, while amongst youngsters little known players like Kevin Kisner could reward long odds speculation.

8).Harrington, McDowell and McIlroy are grouped together for Rounds 1 and 2; (not sure St.Padraig and Rory are compatible playing partners, but doubtless the Tour took this into consideration). Other Europeans include Martin Laird, Christian, Owen, Knox, Chopra and Stenson (who played so well for 63 Muirfield Village holes).

9).We mentioned two weeks ago that Senior Major Championships come thick and fast this time of year and there's another so-called Major this week, at Shoal Creek in Birminghaaaam, Alabama.
For some reason the Tour doesn't believe in a field divisible by three for this effort and just 77 old pharts are playing, Roger Chapman, Lyle and Langer the only Europeans. Apart from the fact that the prize fund is marginally higher than usual, and they play four days instead of three, there's nothing to distinguish this event from any other - not even a 36-hole cut as far as I can tell. But at least it's nice in a nostalgic way to see Chapman grouped with his one-time Walker Cup adversary Pavin.

10).Someone who certainly doesn't suffer Memphis Blues is sometime European Tour journeyman(!) Shaun Micheel.
Tournaments often post the career leading money-winner at their events, but I'd be surprised if the Micheel family isn't the all-time leading beneficiary of FedEx largesse as his father was one of the original pilots for Federal Express when Fred Smith absolutely, positively got the operation going in the early seventies.

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Post by princedracula Wed 06 Jun 2012, 3:56 pm

Great stuff, kwini clap

Talking of Rory and blues, here's something to go with #8 Leprechaun drumroll guinness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33Jaodra7AY

Kind of puzzling to see people like Sabbo, Wagner or Luiten in Europe, who chose not to play this week, despite having still chances to make the top 60...

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Post by Skydriver Wed 06 Jun 2012, 4:10 pm

I read somewhere over the weekend that someone (presumably with tongue in cheek, rather than hanging out of mouth) was speculating whether Rory has been a bit distracted lately by his partner launching her own range of underwear...

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 06 Jun 2012, 5:40 pm

pd,
RIP . . . . . .

Sky,
Hope she's modelling. Any pic's?


PS: I mentioned Rory and Rickie above. But most of the young ones are having a hard time, Jason Day another one. Two years plus now since his last/only Tour win. Not good enough.

PPS: Another lost opportunity in Ohio for the Aussies:
Four missed the cut.
Of the remaining EIGHT, only Baddeley made the top 35.
Story of their year.

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Post by Skydriver Wed 06 Jun 2012, 5:49 pm

All I'll say is that I believe I saw the story on golfdigest.com, which may have had a link to the press release on Ms Wozniacki's website...

I didn't click on it though. Or if I did, it was by accident. Ahem.

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Post by sirbenson Wed 06 Jun 2012, 6:27 pm

Good luck this week Padraig!!

Kwini anywhere there is a clear list of players for next week?

And how is the US OPEN expected to play next week and will it be the usual level par winning score?

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 06 Jun 2012, 6:47 pm

Sky thumbsup !


Hi benson,
Quite fancy Padraig this week, could quite easily see a top ten from him.

I think this is the latest US Open field:

http://www.usopen.com/en_US/players/index.html

Varying stories about how Olympic is playing; you're bound to have to drive it straight, and for sure the greens will be fast, but whether most holes can be played with a 3-wood instead of a driver I'm not clear. Olympic is famous for heavily sloped fairways, meaning that accuracy off the tee is essential. First six holes said to be very demanding followed by a short par-4..

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Post by sirbenson Wed 06 Jun 2012, 6:54 pm

Not the clear one I was searching for thanks anyway!

Hope it plays quick and that it won't be the birdie fest like last year.

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Post by sirbenson Wed 06 Jun 2012, 7:03 pm

Why has Snedeker withdrawn from this week?

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Post by Fader Wed 06 Jun 2012, 7:55 pm

Great read as always, informative, factual and music reference noted.

Looking forward to the Kwini US Open special and Fantasy league return.

Wonder what the odds on Rory Mc missing 4 cuts on the bounce would be.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 06 Jun 2012, 8:42 pm

benson,
Sneds has been troubled with a strained rib, withdrew after 54 holes last week - I wouldn't bank on him being fully fit by the time he tees it up at Olympic Club.

Cheers Fader,
I'll post the Fantasy thread Thursday, hopefully will have found a more compact list of the runners and riders by then. On the road for a week so posts will be (thankfully?!) scarce, and the US Open thread more superficial than "special"!!

Apart from Rory's travails, McDowell's been no great stroke play shakes lately; you'd like to think Olympic might suit him, but not in his recent form.

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Post by Tinmar Wed 06 Jun 2012, 10:57 pm

Does anyone know the likely tee times for the last two rounds of the US Open?

I'm just wondering if I'll be up until after 3am as was the case in 2010. Maybe I'm remembering it wrongly but I don't think the 2008 final round was so late even though it was also on the west coast of the US.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 06 Jun 2012, 11:12 pm

For benson and all who fancy a flavour of what Olympic might be like, etc, etc:
And I think McLaren and JAS will enjoy the chat about most enjoyable tracks in the San Fran area:
And if George1507 still reads this rubbish he'll enjoy the discussion on slow play, faldonno1fan also!

http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/pga-tour-confidential-us-open-preview-2

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 06 Jun 2012, 11:14 pm

Tinmar,
2008 was the first time the USGA/NBC decided to schedule the weekend rounds in US East Coast "prime time", which is what you suffered in 2010. Expect more of the same! If I see the exact tee-time schedule published, I'll post it.

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Post by robopz Thu 07 Jun 2012, 2:56 am

Tinmar wrote:Does anyone know the likely tee times for the last two rounds of the US Open?.

Assuming no weather delays... All times PDT

Thursday - Friday
Play off #1 and #10 tees
First time approx 7am
last time approx 3pm

Saturday - Sunday
All play off #1 tee
Depending on how many make the cut
first times around 8-9am
last time at approx 3pm

If Monday playoff is necessary...
Start approx 9am
End approx 1pm

http://www.usopen.com/en_US/champ_experience/spectator_guide.html#schedule

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 Jun 2012, 10:00 am

Cheers robo thumbsup


Sunny welcome forecast for the Memphis field today, warm and dry this week after Monday's rains. Just a chance of weekend thundershowers.

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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 Jun 2012, 12:57 pm

Thanks Kwini!

Hoping Harrington can show Mcilroy up over today and tomorrow.

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Post by princedracula Thu 07 Jun 2012, 2:56 pm

Good start from Rory and Harri...
Freddy trying to show he knew what he was doing when he chose Memphis vs Sweden, Karlsson doing exactly the opposite....

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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 Jun 2012, 3:24 pm

Solid start from Padraig!

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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 Jun 2012, 3:46 pm

Harrington seems to be outdriving Rory so far.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 Jun 2012, 4:15 pm

And almost the entire field is outplaying McDowell - whassup with that?

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Post by Skydriver Thu 07 Jun 2012, 4:34 pm

He's saving himself for the "defence" of the US Open...

It's looking increasingly unlikely that the trophy will remain in Northern Irish hands though?

Or maybe the "NI Major Trio" are all saving themselves for putting on a good show at the Irish Open (with a view to making the case for "The" Open)...

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Post by AlciG Thu 07 Jun 2012, 4:48 pm

Anybody have any idea what just happened on the 3rd hole? Shottracker is/was a mess

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 Jun 2012, 4:54 pm

AlciG,
Welcome!

Are you asking about McIlroy?
This is what ShotTracker says:
345 yds to fairway
199 yds to water
Penalty stroke - 18yds to hole
16 yds to green - 4 ft to hole
Two putts.

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Post by AlciG Thu 07 Jun 2012, 4:59 pm

Yeah, it showed both McIlroy and Harrington in the water and then all the sudden Harrington with a birdie and McIlroy with a bogey. Guess they fixed it after Smile

Thanks

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Post by princedracula Thu 07 Jun 2012, 5:00 pm

Rory missed a 4 footer, now Podge missed a 5 footer... Go get a Nome guys...

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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 Jun 2012, 5:06 pm

I think Harrington did hit the water on the third but chipped in for birdie.

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Post by AlciG Thu 07 Jun 2012, 5:08 pm

sirbenson wrote:I think Harrington did hit the water on the third but chipped in for birdie.

Yeah, looks that way... It had me all confused at first Whistle

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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 Jun 2012, 5:09 pm

And then a three putt at the next typical haha!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 Jun 2012, 5:11 pm

Shot Link is never completely accurate; completely manual (except distance measurement) and frequently the volunteer operators mis-identify the players.

Bizarre scoring: Tommy Gainey was -3 after 3 holes. Now only Maggert is about the -2 threshold.

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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 Jun 2012, 5:15 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Shot Link is never completely accurate; completely manual (except distance measurement) and frequently the volunteer operators mis-identify the players.

Bizarre scoring: Tommy Gainey was -3 after 3 holes. Now only Maggert is about the -2 threshold.

Yeah, I dislike shotlink but it offers us more than majors do which is scandalous to be honest.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 Jun 2012, 5:46 pm

Glad I suggested Chris Kirk as a likely lad this week.
+9 and still not finished . . . . . . . . . . Terrific.

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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 Jun 2012, 6:00 pm

Is it Windy in Memphis?

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 Jun 2012, 6:26 pm

11 mph according to the Weather Channel, think it's been like that most of the morning - could be worse or gusting at the course though.

Tim Clark seems to be finding more fitness week by week.

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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 Jun 2012, 9:06 pm

Woods,Mickelson and Watson paired together next week as are the Worlds TOP 3!

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Post by EmmDee57 Thu 07 Jun 2012, 9:41 pm

Does the winner this week get a place in next week's US Open?

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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 Jun 2012, 9:54 pm

JD was going great until that double

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Post by EmmDee57 Thu 07 Jun 2012, 10:16 pm

Bounced back well though

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 Jun 2012, 10:18 pm

EmmDee,
No! Not unless he elevates himself into the owgr top sixty. And not many can reach that threshhold, Levin for one, Ryan Palmer (but his bid is looking tenuous), possibly Allenby, conceivably O'Hair and a very remote possibility for Overton and Rollins.


Afternoon scoring in Memphis looks a little better than this morning, but still not great - ironic that defending champion Harrison Frazar is plug last (except for w/d's).

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Post by EmmDee57 Thu 07 Jun 2012, 10:40 pm

Cheers Kwini, was just wondering if the USGA were in a panic as the Wild Thing made some headway today. Can't imagine they'd roll out the welcome mat for him!!

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Post by McLaren Fri 08 Jun 2012, 11:16 am

I was unsure what Rory was doing when he signed up for this event but if he plays into some form then I guess he has done the correct thing.

Although, how does this course play compared to olympic?
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Post by robopz Fri 08 Jun 2012, 11:46 am

I haven't had a chance to do a full field analysis for the U.S. Open, but I was hoping the changes in the U.S. Open qualifying criteria for this year might help improve the quality of the field. The field strength analysis (using sum of averages) I've done for the last 3 years shows that the U.S. Open has been ranking about 3rd strongest of the 4 majors (behind the PGA and British).

The following exemptions were removed from the U.S. Open for 2012.

• The top 30 players from the final Official PGA TOUR Money List.
• The top 15 players from the final PGA European Tour Order of Merit.
• Top 10 players from the current Official PGA TOUR Money List.
• Any multiple winner of PGA TOUR cosponsored events, whose victories are considered official.
• The top two players from the current PGA European Tour Order of Merit.
• The top two players from the final Japan Golf Tour Official Money List.
• The top two players from the final Australasian Tour Official Money List.

The following criteria was added.

• The top 30 players on the 2011 FedExCup Points List (this replaces use of the Money list for the PGAT)
• The top 60 players from the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 21, 2012. (this was raised from 50)
• The top 60 players from the Official World Golf Ranking as of June 11, 2012. (this was raised from 50)
• The allocation from the Japan Qualifier was upped from 4 to 6 (which in effect replaces the 2 of the 4 players lost from the region from area OOM's.)

Notes: The Europe qualifier at Walton Heath remained at 11.

In the end... I'm not sure the changes will help the field strength all that much. Granted the change from OWGR 50-60 helps. Also the changes from the criteria from last year reduced this year's open qualifying allocation from 62 to 60 (fairly insignificant). But still... my guess is the U.S. Open will once again rank 3rd in the Majors field strength.

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Post by sirbenson Fri 08 Jun 2012, 1:08 pm

McLaren wrote:I was unsure what Rory was doing when he signed up for this event but if he plays into some form then I guess he has done the correct thing.

Although, how does this course play compared to olympic?

I don't really think this week's venue will be similar to next week's at all it must be hard as this week's event is a fixed venue rather then the US Open that get's changed yearly.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 08 Jun 2012, 1:21 pm

The TPC Southwind is demanding enough tee-to-green, but different grasses and different greens.

Mac,
Sabbatini has only played in Memphis twice, right at the beginning of his career. He seldom plays in the US between the Memorial and Bridgestone except for Majors when qualified. Which all makes his suspension during these weeks last year a bit of a sham!

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Post by Shotrock Fri 08 Jun 2012, 1:46 pm

I'm not sure where I read it, but I think Geoff Ogilvy has been playing at Bandon/Pacific Dunes this week to help prepare for the US Open. Much closer in venue to Olympic than TPC. But, no way to really "course-prepare" for the tricked up Open venues. Putt well and hit your ball straight would be about the best advice.

Robo - Nice analysis, thanks for that.

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PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by incontinentia Fri 08 Jun 2012, 2:03 pm

Guys, how about Keegan Bradley for the US open next week? If great driving is a must then he should be there or thereabouts. Also super putter.
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PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer Fri 08 Jun 2012, 2:14 pm

Sr,
I think he tweeted it - I'm sure some of the other guys will be acclimating on some of the great San Francisco courses, San Francisco GC, Pasatiempo (not too far away), Michael Allen always raves about Lake Merced, etc, etc.


incontinentia,
What's Keegs done recently? Three missed cuts in his last five tournaments - is he good enough to turn that around on the big stage?

Apart from Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson most of the young Americans have been pretty dormant.

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PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer Fri 08 Jun 2012, 3:13 pm

Someone asked about US Open alternates:
According to GolfWeek, these are determined from the strength of field at the various qualies and as a result the first four alternates are:
Justin Hicks
Kyle Thompson
Colt Knost
Jordan Spieth

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PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by princedracula Fri 08 Jun 2012, 3:23 pm

Do we know, who else apart from Paul Lawrie has declared so far that they won't play at the US Open? I'm talking about the top 50-ish or so...

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PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer Fri 08 Jun 2012, 3:27 pm

He's the only one I'm sure of.

Edit: And DC of course, from lower down the list.

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PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: The Memphis Blues Again: Notes from the Ballwasher

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