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PGA Tour: What a Way to Run a Major: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 16 Apr 2013, 7:50 pm

1).Congratulations to Adam Scott, Living proof that nice guys sometimes finish first.

But, really!
Never has a major sporting event seemed to be nothing more than public intrusion on a private party. We noted a few months ago the passing of the great Frank Keating, and it is worth recalling words from Matthew Engel's Guardian tribute, which included:
"After a last hurrah (well, not much of a hurrah - he hated the whole fiasco) at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics . . . " etc.
Those same Olympics run by President and CEO, Billy Payne (an ugly precursor to Romney at Salt Lake City), now Lord High Executioner of The Masters.

2).But have events of the past tournament served to forfeit Augusta National's "right" to manage a Major? From the capricious invitations, through various rulings, to the uneven (from day to day) condition of the greens this was a "major" Masters too far.
I missed Tiger-gate on Friday evening, attending instead a "Town Meeting" held by our US Senator accompanied by hard-hitting investigative journalist Matt Taibbi who writes for Rolling Stone and follows the banking fiascos of the past six years from "Too Big To Fail" to "Too Big To Jail". Kinda wondered about that when word started to surface about possible malfeasance on the 15th.
One of Taibbi's oft-quoted phrases is his description of Goldman Sachs which I can't help but think applies equally to Billy Payne:
"A great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."
Step down Billy, before you strangle the Masters.

3).One immediate change that The Masters should announce immediately is a requirement for a Rules Official to walk with each group every round. They currently follow the PGA Tour's policy of stationing eight Rules guys strategically around the course to be called on in the event of a decision being deemed necessary.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of Guan's slow-play penalty and the Woods fiasco, it is likely that a travelling official would have improved the likelihood of avoiding penalties.

4).Nice story on yahoo.sports about Cabrera and Scott at the 2009 Presidents Cup. Scott had been mired in a slump but was controversially named a Captain(Norman)'s Choice for the International Team. Norman wanted to connect him with a partner whom he thought could help steady Scott's nerves.
Masters Champion Cabrera spoke up: "I'll play with him", telling Adam: "You're a great, great player", the start of a strong relationship betwen the two.
Hard lines this time on Angel, but great to see Adam win.

5).And, to be fair, I underestimated his ability to compete this strongly on such a sparse schedule, the same number of events played this season as the semi-retired Stricker. Other surprises to moi:
For better: Jason Day. Still not convinced about Jason Day, still only one minor, struggling, win on Tour. Suspect he'll win his next event from way ahead or way behind.
For worse: Obviously Mickelson had a horrible week as, to a lesser extent, did Hanson, McDowell and Rose.
But I got this one right: Tiger beat himself.

6).With the changes Chief Payne announced last week, only the top 12 qualify for next year. Those not previously exempt are: Day, Leishman, Olesen, Sneeedeker, Garcia, Westwood, Huh, Clark.
Hard luck stories, those who finished in the Top 16 and would normally get a 2014 invite, but not now!:
Toms, Dustin, Watney.

7).Phew! The traditional post-Masters breath of fresh air is blowing in to Hilton Head, the start of the "Pete Dye Swing" (three of the next four weeks are at Dye designs) or the "Banking Swing", RBC, Zurich and Wells Fargo.
Normally I'd fancy Luke Donald big time this week but can't help feeling his game right now has fallen from the elite; but lovely Harbour Town is a course specialist design, shortish, fairways where positioning is key, and tiny greens. Gay, Furyk and Snedeker won in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively and you'd fancy Tim Clark around here.

8).A strong field includes Colsaerts, Donaldson, Hanson, Kaymer (also falling from the elite level?), McDowell, Sterne as well as the usual suspects including Lukey. The Tour's "Carolina Boys" are out in force and I look forward to a great week on a beautiful course. "International" players are on a roll now though, and I like Badds (won in 2006) and Clark to contend at least.

9).The Champions Tour rev up their zimmer frames again in Atlanta, at the TPC Sugarloaf where the old Atlanta tournament was held for twelve years. The typically short list of Europeans will be there, including Messrs Langer and Lyle who both performed with credit last week while some of their more overweight contemporaries sank faster than the Belgrano, Woosnam, O'Meara and Stadler among them.

10).It was announced yesterday that Tianlong Guan has received a sponsors' invitation in to the New Orleans tournament next week. Pity the poor sods grouped with him who get to watch his funereal "pace".

PS: Lots of heads turning this week to the real world and the atrocities in Boston. Close to home for the one Tour member who lives there, James Driscoll whose drum is a couple of blocks away from the carnage. Thoughts to everyone there, as well as to those who were victims of atrocities in GB&I funded by organizations based in Boston.


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Post by pedro Tue 16 Apr 2013, 10:18 pm

Cheers kwini. You certaintly did your part to demonise Billy Pain and associate him with bad guys. Not that I disagree though. But you didn't pull the racist/sexist/nazi card?

It could be interesting to hear The European Tour's position on all the hoohaa surrounding the Masters, but I guess they're too busy pleasing the emperor, like a vasal state in a foregone empire. I just wish somebody would say that he isn't wearing any clothes.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 16 Apr 2013, 10:43 pm

Cheers pedro,
I believe he IS a bad guy!
I believe The Masters can be a great tournament but that Billy Payne exemplifies the old saying:
"Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely."
I don't think that's what golf wants or needs.
And they get their niblicks in a twist over anchoring when such apparently blatant corruption prevails.
What a shame.

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Post by Shotrock Tue 16 Apr 2013, 11:28 pm

Kwin - clap

I'm of the opinion this "Major" should go the way of the Seminole Member-Pro. Old guys and hired guns playing to pass a trophy around the table.

Merion, you are on the clock.


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Post by McLaren Wed 17 Apr 2013, 12:30 am

I agree with everything you have written above about the masters, and I have questioned the masters right to call itself a major for quite some years. The thing is, I have never heard the wider golfing public question the masters and so I suspect our worries are a little on the niche side.

I missed all the action this year, other than replays of tiger's drop, but it sounds like I would only have needed to watch the last 30 minutes.
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Post by GPB Wed 17 Apr 2013, 2:29 am

I guess Tainlang Guan is saddled for life as a SLOW Player. He will NEVER be able to shake that label now that he got a slow play penalty.

Ben Crane has picked up his pace considerably, but since he once a had reputation, he still gets ripped on these boards for being slow. Cue the "Godbotherer" excuse.

My mentor from my first job told me that you have only one chance to make a first impression. Very true, but also unfortunate.



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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 17 Apr 2013, 2:45 am

GPB,
It's not just golf boards who rip Crane.
This is what Duval had to say about slow players in various weekend twitterage, with my comments:
"Joe Ogilvie is the fastest I think." (I would have picked Matt Bettencourt)

"Harrington is pretty bad." (Agreed)

"Tiger isn't the fastest. Nor is Furyk." (Unfair on Woods I think, but he tends to slow-play faster players, and fast-play slower players in my experience. Good match-play strategy once upon a time!)

"Crane, Simpson and Na are pretty slow." (Of course! But Bradley is awful too)

(Your mentor has been looking at too many Head and Shoulders ad's!)

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Post by GPB Wed 17 Apr 2013, 2:54 am

I met David Duval at a Ga Tech alumni function back in the late 90's. I really was big fan of his, but he is one strange dude especially in light that he went to Ga Tech. He is really nerdy, but not nerdy like a typical Ga Tech nerd. He was more like a liberal arts school type of nerd.

But IMO, for DD to be identifying Slow Players is a "Takes one to know one". He was agonizingly slow. I remember in one of the Masters that he was in contention that he took about 4 minutes to hit his 2nd shot on 13, from the middle of the fairway.

It takes him an hour and half to watch 60 Minutes.

And truthfully DD has not played many tour events lately to know if Ben Crane has improved.

and unfortunately I am old enough to have a mentor that pre-dated the H&S ad campaign of the mid 1980's

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 17 Apr 2013, 3:23 am

GPB thumbsup

In fairness Duval also judged his own speed of play, but now I can't find it. To paraphrase his comments he said:
"I used to be slow, used to get warned, but I sped up and now I'm middle of the road."
Just what Ben Crane might say, but Crane is pretty sluggish still.

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Post by pedro Wed 17 Apr 2013, 8:27 am

Crane has speeded up because he must rush home to post youtube clips.

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Post by Skydriver Wed 17 Apr 2013, 9:10 am

Well, at least he's acknowledged the issue and is trying to do something about it. I actually found his clip on the subject to be quite funny (the one where he is on roller skates being towed by a buggy).

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Post by Tiler76 Wed 17 Apr 2013, 12:44 pm

Tut tut - no mention of Stevie's 14th major Kwini? He's only 4 behind Jack now...... Wink

Re pt 3 - a rules official with each group seems a no-brainer, and I'm surprised they weren't doing this already. Especially since it's a limited field anyway.

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Post by Roller_Coaster Wed 17 Apr 2013, 12:51 pm

The lack of rules guy was news to me too. I assumed there was one per group to help with such instances and posted what Tiger should have done on that basis on the DQ or not thread. Basiclly, "happy with here for the drop?" would have saved all this polava as the rules guy would have prevented the situation (whether it was through ignorance genuine error or deliberate).

What price there being one next year?


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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 17 Apr 2013, 1:21 pm

Tiler, Roller,
No rules officials with each group seems to be symptomatic of the situation at Augusta, especially as their video review was also found to be inaccurate, one mistake upon another, and the strongest sentiment seemed to be that the failure to disqualify was to save face for Augusta National as much as any favouritism for Tiger.

I hope Adam Scott at some time acknowledges the contribution Tony Navarro made to his career - they always seemed a good team and, in my experience, very funny together.

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Post by Lairdy Wed 17 Apr 2013, 1:43 pm

Hi Kwini,

Its funny how The Masters has relied on secrecy and intrigue in the past to help create the famous mistique and atmosphere of the place. For example limited TV coverage and certainly limited memberships. Yet when the TV cameras and microphones are actually on the green blazers are bloody everywhere! Wish they would be consistent...

Like your point 4. As I said in your other thread - the two of them totally rescued the Tournament (as Jack calls it) this year. I don't think I've been more surprised at how happy I was with the finish and winner.

But on to this week - I would love to play a round at Hilton Head, then afterwards, relax and watch the boats go by with a beer and maybe some seafood. How could that not be a good way to spend some time? Good shout with Clarky and a great opportunity for Sneds to bounce back if he's playing? Hanson's game could suit and McDowells been straight off the tee recently. Surprised to see Colsaerts here but he certainly strikes me as one of those players I'd like to have a beer with.

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Post by incontinentia Wed 17 Apr 2013, 2:16 pm

Thanks kwini, in relation to your last sentence though, do the authorities out there think the IRA had something to do with the bombs in boston? or am I misunderstanding?
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Post by super_realist Wed 17 Apr 2013, 2:22 pm

Don't be silly Inco, the IRA would never waste a pressure cooker. What would they cook their precious potatoes in?

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 17 Apr 2013, 2:45 pm

Regarding Rules Officials at The Masters:

Always good when people are taking note of v2:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/doug-ferguson/notes-masters-may-consider-rules-official-with-every-group/?cid=email_WendesdayNL_20130417


Inco,
I was living at various times in London and Birmingham when bombs going off was an almost everyday occurrence. My work building got bombed, one of my locals was done as was a bar in Birmingham that I used to go to at the time - it was all pretty close to home as well as some of the larger atrocities.
At that time the perpetrators were getting funds (and weapons?) in significant part from organizations channelled through Boston.

No suggestion this time that the Boston cold-blooded murder was the result of anything other than a lone-wolf nutcase, certainly not IRA related, more likely NRA.


super_ !

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Post by Bob_the_Job Wed 17 Apr 2013, 2:50 pm

super_realist wrote:Don't be silly Inco, the IRA would never waste a pressure cooker. What would they cook their precious potatoes in?

A deep fat fryer - same as the Jocks.
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Post by Bob_the_Job Wed 17 Apr 2013, 2:52 pm

Meanwhile back on the subjct of the next PGA event. I'm with Lairdy - Hilton Head looks pretty idylic on TV and very much the type of course in the type of location that I'd love to play or even watch a PGA event at.
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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 17 Apr 2013, 2:53 pm

Lairdy, Bob,
Can assure you your dream of 18 holes at Harbour Town followed by cold brewskis watching the world go by, on water and land, would be even better than you can imagine! Ale

Not necessarily this Saturday though, as fine weather (70's and sun) through Thursday will be followed by a windy Friday, possibly a late storm, cool and showery on Saturday, then a cool, sunny Sunday; still breezy though.

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Post by GPB Wed 17 Apr 2013, 2:56 pm

I see in that Doug Ferguson article that Martin Kaymer has deemed to be ineligible for the Rookie of the Year award. (and presumably Peter Hanson).

There is no way an already World Class Player should be eligible for a RoY award.


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Post by skiddy Wed 17 Apr 2013, 7:56 pm

Why were jason day and whoever he was playing with on the saturday not put on the clock? The were a good hole and a half behind the last group

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 17 Apr 2013, 8:51 pm

Hi skiddy,
Welcome to the Ballwasher!
Jason Day is very slow. He was playing with Fred Couples who can also dawdle - remember his final round during his win in 1992?
But, as some of the argument has been going, the Masters Committee in their extraordinary wisdom, choose not to appoint a rules official to accompany every group. Presumably they monitor pace of play via TV, but this is something they have to change.
In this case, for better or for worse, they're never going to ticket Couples and he was probably as much to blame as Day.

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Post by GPB Wed 17 Apr 2013, 8:52 pm

skiddy wrote:Why were jason day and whoever he was playing with on the saturday not put on the clock? The were a good hole and a half behind the last group

That is pretty good trick. To be a hole and half behind the last group. Shocked

But for the record, a hole and half behind is really only a half hole behind the proper position. And if they were within "Time-par" then there is no issue.

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Post by ScottieD18 Thu 18 Apr 2013, 12:10 pm

Unless I've missed it, none or very little talk about Adam Scott using the anchoring technique. After the PGA Tour's response to the 3 month consultation period I thought there was growing pressure/evidence that "no advantage really gained", but an anchor putter wins the very next Major.

The rules officials also need to re-work the new rule that allows Committee's to waiver a DQ. It was rightly introduced to protect innocent players from TV evidence after signing their card, but the ruling is far too open and the Master's Committee drove a double decker bus right through it.

Another change must be that if a player is investigated during the round and found innocent the investigation must be discussed with the player before signing his card in case he has additional information or in case the Committee have made the wrong assumption.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 18 Apr 2013, 12:24 pm

The early starters have finished their breakfast grits at the Hilton Head Diner and are on the move.
Perfect scoring conditions this morning, you'd think, and a good day in store. But there's a storm system off to the West which could make a mess of things Friday afternoon and into Saturday. It'll cool down to 50's/low 60's on Saturday and Sunday with strengthening wind.
Because of the reduction in the number of playing opportunities this year, the Heritage has a much larger field (144) than usual and don't be surprised if they have a tough time keeping the Heritage on schedule.

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Post by JASON DAY RULES Thu 18 Apr 2013, 12:46 pm

ADAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

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Post by Lairdy Thu 18 Apr 2013, 1:26 pm

GJ? You're alive??

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Post by JASON DAY RULES Thu 18 Apr 2013, 1:47 pm

Lairdy wrote:GJ? You're alive??

i am Very Happy

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 18 Apr 2013, 1:52 pm

Bloody Hell GJ, Not much to shout about recently though mate?

Stick around, love to read your irrational exuberance!!!!!!!!!!!

PS: About time Jason Day DID rule . . . . . . .

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 18 Apr 2013, 2:34 pm

Nice to see the boys getting a move on today, both opening groups round their first nines in a fraction over two hours - as it should be.

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Post by JASON DAY RULES Thu 18 Apr 2013, 3:00 pm

shot tracker is up the left jasons tee shot on 17

......

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Post by Skydriver Thu 18 Apr 2013, 3:21 pm

Lovely course at Harbour Town - even on the simulator! We're having the monthly medal over the back 9 there this month, if I can find the time (and form/luck) to play.

Can't wrap my head around how relatively easy the pros find the 18th. It seems to be a really tough par 4 even off the friendly tees (something like 474 yds in total, out of bounds left and right).

EDIT: actually, I suppose it's strictly out of bounds to the right, but frigging enormous stretch on the entire left side designated as hazard (nevertheless as good as out of bounds for a number of off-line shots)


Last edited by Skydriver on Thu 18 Apr 2013, 3:37 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 18 Apr 2013, 3:36 pm

Sky,
Unless it is played in to the wind, #18 should be a straightforward hole these days for the pros - the fairway is as wide as any on Tour in the area 300 yards off the tee, so a shortish iron is all that's required. For some it will even be a 3-wood off the tee.
(Plays a par-5 for me though!)

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Post by NedB-H Thu 18 Apr 2013, 5:50 pm

Don't think there would be a more popular winner here than Brian Davis...

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Post by princedracula Thu 18 Apr 2013, 6:25 pm

Great stuff, kwini clap

Very mixed feelings after this Masters... Best thing was the finish, for sure, and the two great protagonists involved. Glad to see Scott winning one finally but would've liked just as much to see Cabrera wining. A great and unique golfer in so many ways, with a remarkable life story. I quote from an article I read recently:

Brought up in Villa Allende, Argentina, a town of some 35,000 people at the foot of the Sierra Chicas mountains, Angel Cabrera lived with his grandmother from the age of two. He dropped out of elementary school, didn't learn to read until he was older, and at the age of 10, turned up in his bare feet to caddie at Cordoba Golf Club. It was only when sponsors rented him a more comfortable home that he learnt how to work basic household appliances...etc...

So refreshing to see that all the success and fortune he's made out of golf had very little effect on his personality and his ego. No wonder they love him down there in Villa Allende...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=anMSTkAWk-8

Couldn't have happened at a better time as his home event in Cordoba and one of the most prestigious in in the whole of Latin America, takes place this week on the Latinoamerica tour and Angel himself is due to tee off as I type this. He won the event 7 times, same as the other local greats, Eduardo Romero and Roberto de Vicenzo...

Anyway... no better place to go after all the Masters hype than Harbour town and that little gem of a course... small is beautiful! I backed Furyk for this one, not a bad start, but not great either. The two Aussies left behind last week seem to be determined to make amends here, good to see... Is Brian Davis becoming one of the most in form Europeans on the PGA Tour these days?


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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 18 Apr 2013, 6:56 pm

pd,
That's a great piece on Angel - Thanks! Makes a pleasant change from some of the spoiled behaviour we see from golfers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Remember the pride that El Gato and El Pato showed in representing Argentina in the World Cup, especially the one ten or so years ago that they hosted.

Yup, I have Furyk on my yahoo team this week, Brian Davis warming his arse on the bench - nice going! Pleased to see him playing well again after such a dismal start to the year. He a man for few seasons (spring!) and just a few courses, but this is his time.

Pleased to see Jason Day playing well, if only to have the Aussie Stud coming out the woodwork.

Not a great round from Colsaerts - would have thought Harbour Town plays to his weaknesses rather than his strengths. And a horrible start from Fish who could use a good tournament or two.

Only ten days for guys like Fisher and Lynn to reach the owgr Top 50 and exemption for The Players.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 18 Apr 2013, 7:00 pm

PS: Eddie Romero in with a 69, Angel +1 after 12 holes.
I see Ted Purdy's playing again in Argentina - he of the very controversial play-off loss to Stewart Cink at Harbour Town a few years ago. How fortunes change . . . . .

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Post by pedro Thu 18 Apr 2013, 8:37 pm

I guess Fish is better off going fishing.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 18 Apr 2013, 8:59 pm

Lots of strategerie required at Harbour Town, great fun to play for all skill levels.
Which illustrates how poorly Luke Donald is playing these days (relatively speaking of course); this type of course is right up his street.

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Post by GPB Thu 18 Apr 2013, 9:16 pm

Look for Weather Delays on Friday. I am getting blasted by a pretty powerful cold front and it should get to the Atlantic Coast in about 24 hours.

I think the afternoon wave today is going to get the best of the draw this week.

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Post by JASON DAY RULES Thu 18 Apr 2013, 11:10 pm

good start for the lads

good luck to jason and badds tomorrow

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Post by robopz Fri 19 Apr 2013, 12:12 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:

Yup, I have Furyk on my yahoo team this week, Brian Davis warming his arse on the bench - nice going!

Kwini... have you guys got a Yahoo 606 league going or anything?


Last edited by robopz on Fri 19 Apr 2013, 12:25 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 19 Apr 2013, 12:16 pm

As we posted yesterday, conditions could deteriorate as the day goes on at Harbour Town; relatively calm at the moment and scoring this morning should be quite good - winds getting up this afternoon and storms expected later.

Play underway.

robo,
'Morning! We did the last two years but not this; I just registered solo. Am also in a home-made one-and-done.

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Post by robopz Fri 19 Apr 2013, 12:27 pm

Kwini thanks on the Yahoo.... I'm in only one small league... doing OK so far at 2436 for the season

And by the way.... about Luke Donald playing poorly. I
realize it may not be exactly apples to apples... but in Luke's 2011
Banner year his Vardon winning scoring average was 68.86... this year to
date 70.402 (28th)... a difference just over 1.5 strokes. So yeah...
Luke's playing poorly by his prior standard, but it still amazes me how
little the difference there is out there between lemons and lemonade.
From his stats... I'm guessing Luke's only an extra fairway or two or
extra green here and there away from being at least close to what he was
in 2011. Man... winning is HARD out there...

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 19 Apr 2013, 1:33 pm

robo,
Some way behind you, a couple of terrible tournaments when I was travelling and wasn't able to use my bench! Promising this week though.

As for Luke, I'd say the big difference between, say, 2011 and 2013 is:
Greens in reg:
2011: 41st
2013: 168th

Strokes gained putting:
2011: 1st
2013: 76th

He's almost always been short and crooked (straighter the past two years) but been able to bail himself out around the greens.
Not so much this year, his all-round ranking down to 88th after two years in the top 20.

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Post by robopz Fri 19 Apr 2013, 1:47 pm

Kwini... my feelings on Luke... he's had his 15 minutes... and while he might squeeze in another minute here or there (with an occasional win maybe, possibly even a big one), we've seen his best by far, but not to return to those levels, at least NOT consistently. IMO he settles into low OWGR top-10 to high teens this year... and maybe remains in and out of top-25 for a few more.

Bottom line... exceptional short game or not... short and crooked is just too much to overcome on the PGAT... Too many guys with length are sprucing up their short games too. Maybe not to Luke levels, but enough that it's just too much for him to overcome week in and week out.

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Post by robopz Fri 19 Apr 2013, 2:00 pm

Kwini... Regarding Strokes gained putting. While I still think it's by far the best individual putting stat we have... I think I'm detecting a bit of correlation between it and the proximity stat. In theory the SGP should work fine as a "stand alone" stat, in that it shouldn't be influenced by other stats.

But of late I've been keeping an eye on guys who fall way down in putting and it seems their proximity is usually also moving negatively. Of course there are exceptions, like TW so far this year... but generally it seems to move in that direction. I haven't studied it with any detail yet... so it's just a theory supported by occasional anecdotal observations... but I do plan to study it further...

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 19 Apr 2013, 2:11 pm

I think he's got side-tracked trying to add length - he's never going to be strong enough to make a career out of playing successfully from the rough, and he's been ignoring his short game.
I wouldn't write him off just yet, but his ability to compete successfully on some of the Championship courses is declining - he needs tournaments like Heritage to compensate for relative futility on courses which will never suit him. Solid start today!

Agree the sgp comment, though I still think it's indicative but, as you say, only as part of a bundle of other stats.

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