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PGA Tour: No Longer the "Fifth Major"?: Notes from the Ballwasher

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PGA Tour: No Longer the "Fifth Major"?: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty PGA Tour: No Longer the "Fifth Major"?: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer Wed May 08, 2013 7:15 pm

1).What a week! We learned the importance of being Ernst, the legacy of Linda Watson's driver, and saw a weekend when the Island 17th green at TPC was truly an island.

2).Ernst first, and a salutary reminder that a golfer making his PGA Tour debut, as Derek Ernst did, with a 6-under-par round of 65 at last year's Fry's.com event, is well worth watching. He came straight through the final old-style Q-School which is yet another example that not all golfers who earn their PGA Tour cards via Q-School are ill-equipped to handle the rigours of the Tour.

3).And Fred Couples of course is another who turned pro on a whim, borrowed enough money to enter a mini-Tour event, cashed a cheque for $1,800.00 and hot-footed it to Q-School where he earned his card. The rest is history and a deserved place in the World Golf Hall Of Fame where he told the story of lifting Tom Watson's wife's driver from Watson's garage and using it during his early Tour career.
A characteristic "aw shucks" speech from Freddie on Monday night as he was inducted into the WGHOF; interesting the stories told about how much Lee Trevino meant to his career and very emotional as he left the stage sobbing uncontrollably.

4).Apart from Derek Ernst, Quail Hollow also saw a return to form for Robert Karlsson and Ross Fisher, both of whom earned "higher spots" in the "rookie" money list as the second reshuffle was announced.
Life on Tour is fickle though and both Fish and Karlsson get this week off and will probably be on the shelf for all but a couple of the next six weeks as we enter the season of invitationals, Players and US Open. The top ten free pass for the next full-field event will get them in to the Byron Nelson which they'd get into anyway. Then, unless they receive an invitation, they'll miss Colonial and the Memorial, play Memphis (scene of Karlsson play-off losses in 2010 and 2011) hopefully and only get a trip to Merion if they qualify. No-one said this would be easy.
And kudos to David Lynn, not just for his terrific performance last week but a great "rookie" season. He says he won't be back in the States until the PGA Championship but hopefully common sense will persuade him to take his place at Merion and play the Bridgestone (assuming he stays in the Top 50).

5).After noting last week that Justin Rose led the field in greens in regulation at New Orleans, Rory McIlroy led the stat at Quail Hollow, only to finish close to the bottom of the all-important "strokes gained putting" stat.
But Rory now leads the "All Around" ranking of PGA Tour players and the leaders are quite reflective of the season so far - in order:
McIlroy, Woods, Rose, Sneds, Horschel, Henley, Stads, Hoffman, Walker, Jason Day, Kirk.

6).Ernie Els continued his globe-trotting with a successful-ish trip to Indonesia, hardly the ideal preparation for a Players tournament where he has seldom contended. But perhaps he nails the status of The Players in the minds of most international players when he blogs the Championship "is about as big as it gets (on the PGA Tour) outside of a major or WGC event".

7).The magic sponge has apparently worked wonders on almost a dozen players who opted out of last week's Wells Fargo event, and Dustin Johnson (hope security is up to snuff for him), Crane, Goosen, Jacobson and Poulter, to name a few, will return to action at Pete Dye's most famous course, if not his best. And Vijay returns after bolting from Charlotte at the last minute to consult his lawyers.

8).I like 17/18th's of the course, but consider the 17th to be among the very worst holes in Championship golf. But, of course, it's the one everyone writes about so I will too, with a few stat's from pgatour.com:
~11% of tee shots on #17 find the drink.
~Robert Allenby has played #17 36 times since last taking a bath. Rollins (30) and Singh (29) also have impressive runs since splashdown.
~Of those playing this week, Bob Estes and Baddeley have hit eight balls in to the water over the past ten years, Mickelson has drowned 7. (Boring Bob Tway has nine but thankfully he's on the Champions Tour now.)
~Paul Azinger is the only player in the history of the Players to birdie #17 in all four rounds (in 1987).
~The Most Interesting Man in the World has the last hole-in-one here, in 2002 RedWine

9).Americans dominate the list of winners at "TPC" but, since Sandy Lyle broke through 26 years ago, "Internationals" have more than held their own with victories from Elkington (2), Price, Norman, Perks, Scott, Ames, Garcia, Stenson, Clark and KJ Choi. Europeans have contended regularly, with runners up finishes from Faldo, Langer (2), newly minted WGHOF'er Montgomerie, Harrington (2), Donald, Poulter and Martin Laird. Brian Davis has played well here, Westwood should arguably have beaten Clark in 2010, and McDowell led until going completely haywire in 2012, while Jacobson, Kaymer and Pettersson have finished well without really contending. Sergio is leading money-winner here and I'd expect he, Stenson, Donald (3 top 6's these past 8 years), Poulter, McDowell and Westwood all to enjoy good weeks.

10).I really can't find good value among the Americans and would think a half-crown each way investment on long shots would give far better value than the media favourites. My ten bob will go on Chris Stroud and David Toms.
This is a compelling tournament to watch on a course that rewards precision and penalises mistakes more than most. The weather should mostly be fine (chance of Sunday showers, and moderate breezes the only flies in the ointment) after last weekend's deluge which saw much of the course submerged.
Power is a virtue only if you hit the ball straight, but decent ball-striking and a magical short game will be rewarded. Think an in-form Snedeker. But Snedeker is not in great form and perhaps another International streak will begin!

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Post by Redrage Wed May 08, 2013 7:39 pm

I think Mickelson and Watney are reasonable (US) considerations for this week. Both in form and have some course form. Watney has a run of cuts made and T4 in the last few years. Mickelson has won here before and when either of them putt well they have all the tools to win. What is the story with DJ and security?

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed May 08, 2013 7:52 pm

Yes, depends which Phil turns up of course.
And which putter Watney brings to the show.

Dustin and Zach Johnson withdrew from the ET's South Korea event over concerns regarding the North Korea threat last month (or concerns about their respective appearance fees as a US media cynic suggested).

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Post by navyblueshorts Wed May 08, 2013 8:12 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:...3).And Fred Couples of course is another who turned pro on a whim, borrowed enough money to enter a mini-Tour event, cashed a cheque for $1,800.00 and hot-footed it to Q-School where he earned his card. The rest is history and a deserved place in the World Golf Hall Of Fame where he told the story of lifting Tom Watson's wife's driver from Watson's garage and using it during his early Tour career.
A characteristic "aw shucks" speech from Freddie on Monday night as he was inducted into the WGHOF; interesting the stories told about how much Lee Trevino meant to his career and very emotional as he left the stage sobbing uncontrollably....
The Trevino reference is interesting. Now I come to think of it, Couples swing reminds me of Trevino. Couples is more elegant, he's taller and doesn't have the one-liners but otherwise....
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Post by twoeightnine Wed May 08, 2013 8:48 pm

"And Vijay returns after bolting from Charlotte at the last minute to consult his lawyers. "

Just heard that he's suing the PGAT for their handling of the deer antler story and the effect on his reputation. I'm not sure that he's right to do this as from what I understand they were warned about it a couple of years ago but I do agree with the sentiment that this has been very badly handled and they really need to sort out their drugs policy/procedures.

Kwini, Also curious about your title with regard to "no longer 5th major." Personally think trying to make it the 5th major is a joke but wondering whether you have seen that they have given up on this idea?

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed May 08, 2013 8:55 pm

twoeightnine,
It was just a lame way of introducing Ernie Els' blog comment that it was the PGA Tour's best after the majors and WGC's. Sure that's how international players see it, though perhaps not most Americans.
Sandy Lyle's response 26 years ago is still the best riposte I've heard about fifth major credentials.

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Post by twoeightnine Wed May 08, 2013 9:06 pm

Had to look up the quote about 125 years. Have to agree but I add that one of the big things about a major is that there's only 4 a year so don't dilute and we don't need another in America.

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Post by ScottieD18 Wed May 08, 2013 9:11 pm

A shock to me that Vijay is suing the PGA. From the outside it appears they were looking after his interests and the final decision went in his favour. A lot more must have been happening behind the scenes I guess.

Vijay is taking a risk going for the high moral ground. He has a skeleton that he should keep in the cupboard and he can't need the money. From what is in the public arena he is the one to blame for not checking the content of supliment.

A huge PR mess for the PGA.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed May 08, 2013 10:52 pm

Some good quips on golfchannel.com about Vijay:
Randall Mell: "Vijay Singh is suing to reclaim his reputation. Begs the question of what reputation he is specifically seeking to reclaim."

Matt Ginella: "If Vijay wins, he loses. If Vijay loses, he loses. For a guy who's lost, he's got nothing to lose."

John Daly (yes, that John Daly): "VJ don't do this horrible advice you got off take it from me not worth it." Daly's grammar.

Scottie spot on about the mess for the PGA, but a self-inflicted mess for Vijay as well. Plenty of good will being flushed down the drain.

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Post by sirbenson Wed May 08, 2013 11:39 pm

Come on Paddy, four rounds this week would be a start!!!!

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Post by sirbenson Wed May 08, 2013 11:47 pm

Got Lucas Glover at 100/1 each way!

His wife is due to give birth, but if their kid could wait until Monday I would be fine with that!

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Post by McLaren Thu May 09, 2013 9:00 am

The golf channel has managed to put together one of the greatest satire sketches in a long time. The ran a piece on Jeff Klauk, whose career has been derailed by epilepsy, which is of course a terrible thing to happen to anyone.

But I am sure we have all watched US tv and how they always over play tugging at our emotions. Well, in the piece about Klauk - whose father was the head greenkeeper at sawgrass - the ratcheted up the emotional music just as he was describing the greatest tragedy caused by his epilepsy....... he couldn't drive anymore. And therefore he was unable to watch his kids play sport or actually leave the house.

What a cutting observation the golf channel has made about the lazy, polluting, gormless american nation. No car equals no life in the USA.
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Post by Bob_the_Job Thu May 09, 2013 10:20 am

This tournament usually throws up a fair deal of excitement and tension, so I'm looking forward to it.



lazy, polluting, gormless american nation
... you'd have thought a Scot would be the last person who would want national stereotypes bandied about Smile
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Post by sirbenson Thu May 09, 2013 12:23 pm

It seems the PGA Tour sits are showing featured group in the morning and afternoon....good stuff. As well as the 17th!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 09, 2013 12:25 pm

No Jeff Klauk this week (don't really see you can build a national stereotype on a medical problem that required brain surgery), but it's "Go Time" at TPC, apparently under ideal scoring conditions.

Franny Molinari and Peter Hanson just about to leave the stalls on #10. McDowell the first away from GB&I at 8.18 a.m.

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Post by McLaren Thu May 09, 2013 12:38 pm

It wasn't so much the brain surgery, but rather a TV show that wanted the audiences heart to bleed about someone not being able to drive. As if access to a car is somehow crucial to life its self.
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Post by super_realist Thu May 09, 2013 12:48 pm

Mac, Yanks don't walk anywhere and public transport is rubbish.

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Post by Shotrock Thu May 09, 2013 1:01 pm

Super -- How can I put this ... you're wrong.

I'm a Yank.

I walk lots of places.

In fact, every round of golf. Public transpiration in suburban Philadelphia pretty good. For the US Open, I'll be taking public transportation to Haverford Station and then walking to the event.

But, there are plenty of places public transportation can be improved in these United States. And Canada. And other countries. No denying that.

I can also state with certainty that I'll be walking through the rough to find some errant shots next week in the bonnie Highlands of Scotland!

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Post by super_realist Thu May 09, 2013 1:09 pm

Fair enough, I just know from people who live there or in certain places that they get funny looks if they are seen "out for a walk" or walking from A to B instead of getting in their car.

Where you playing in the Highlands?

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Post by McLaren Thu May 09, 2013 1:35 pm

Anyone ever read Bill Bryson's "A walk in the woods", he makes some pretty funny/astute observations about americans attitude to walking?
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 09, 2013 1:46 pm

Dangerous ground there Mac,
He makes some pretty funny/astute observations about most things British as well!


What's wrong with Molinari this year?

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 09, 2013 1:51 pm

GolfWorld have Vijay teeing off at 2.00 p.m. with Donner and Blitzen.
Not a bad description of Henry and Garrigus, come to think of it.

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Post by sirbenson Thu May 09, 2013 2:00 pm

Stallings all set for a 54

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Post by sirbenson Thu May 09, 2013 2:04 pm

Kwini
I find Molinari is overrated tbh. Poor putter and doesn't hit it long enough tbh.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 09, 2013 2:45 pm

This course should be up Molinari's street though - usually fairly straight off the tee and a fine iron player - horrible short putter though. Terrible start for him, two doubles already.

Stallings still going like a train - but trains can hit buffers in a hurry!

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Post by princedracula Thu May 09, 2013 2:55 pm

Franny may be overrated now relative to his ranks, but I didn't think he was overrated when he was playing well. Had some back issues this year, but I think it's more than that that's wrong with him this year. Needs to find an answer soon or he'll start dropping much faster...

Shouldn't look at Molinari now anyway, should've follwed Hanson's first 9 holes, looks like a lot of fun. Better than expected start from Rory so far...

BTW, great read, kwini clap

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 09, 2013 3:20 pm

Not fun for Hanson though.
Thanks pd

Some surprising names up there early:
Kokrak, Mahan, Stallings, Bradley.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 09, 2013 3:37 pm

Looks like Rory's rediscovered his putting stroke.
RORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Post by princedracula Thu May 09, 2013 3:51 pm

He certainly did... 5-under but still 2-behind. There's something else going on here, those scores are far too low for this course. Something to do with the softer ground...?

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 09, 2013 4:16 pm

Must be, though some horror stories out there also.
Would expect the course to dry out a touch this afternoon - more distance off the tee (but in which direction?) but tougher around the greens.

Casey Wittenberg clearly warming up for Merion . . . .

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Post by Shotrock Thu May 09, 2013 4:22 pm

Super - Royal Dornoch, Golspie, Brora.

Can't wait.

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Post by super_realist Thu May 09, 2013 4:25 pm

Lucky boy. You've played Dornoch before though right?

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Post by Shotrock Thu May 09, 2013 4:30 pm

Never ... a bucket list course for me, some of my UK friends tell me it tops their list in all of Scotland (high praise indeed).

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Post by sirbenson Thu May 09, 2013 4:34 pm

Superb start from Castro

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Post by super_realist Thu May 09, 2013 4:37 pm

SR, Dornoch is certainly in my top 3.


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Post by beninho Thu May 09, 2013 4:43 pm

Roberto Castro ???????

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Post by Sand Thu May 09, 2013 4:47 pm

Castro is on fire...

Just looked at some of his shot information on Shot Tracker..

Hole 14 - 180 yards to 5 ft
Hole 17 - 124 Yards to 19 in
Hole 18 - 193 yards to 23 in
Hole 2 - 225 Yards to 4ft (for eagle!)
Hole 4 123 Yards to 21 in
Hole 6 - 107 Yards to 18 in

Clearly needed to putt well to put together his score Wink


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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 09, 2013 4:59 pm

The US media seem to find Robbie Castro the Tour's most amusing Twitterer.
They've seldom been especially complimentary about his golf. Until now presumably. Looks like he's striping it as his putting stat's aren't that sensational.

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Post by Bob_the_Job Thu May 09, 2013 5:05 pm

McIlroy and Stricker would have had a pretty interesting match play game - both 6 under through 12 and every hole would have been halved.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 09, 2013 5:29 pm

And then there's Peter Hanson's round:
1 eagle
7 birdies
8 pars
1 bogey
1 double bogey
1 quad bogey

Peter Hanson is a player!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 09, 2013 5:36 pm

Tilghman reported that Castro didn't make a putt of ten feet or longer.

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Post by princedracula Thu May 09, 2013 6:08 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:And then there's Peter Hanson's round:
1 eagle
7 birdies
8 pars
1 bogey
1 double bogey
1 quad bogey
... =19? Wink

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 09, 2013 6:29 pm

Yes, Let's make that 7 pars!


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Post by sirbenson Thu May 09, 2013 6:53 pm

THE STATS PAGE DURING TOURNAMENT PLAY IS FINALLY WORKING AGAIN ON THE PGA TOUR SITE!!!!!!!!!!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 09, 2013 7:01 pm

Can't be right though, it says Harrington made an eagle . . . . . Run

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Post by princedracula Thu May 09, 2013 7:04 pm

come back, don't run...! He followed that with a double bogey...

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Post by sirbenson Thu May 09, 2013 7:04 pm

It's never dull being a Harrington fan!!!

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Post by princedracula Thu May 09, 2013 7:09 pm

Gonzo outdoing Hanson so far...

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Post by princedracula Thu May 09, 2013 7:35 pm

Harri with a full Irish breakfast after 5 holes: par-eagle-double-birdie-bogey...
He said after last week's disaster that "consistency is over-rated"... laughing

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Post by incontinentia Thu May 09, 2013 7:51 pm

i hope the Tiger detractors are paying attention to the driving clinic he is putting on so far
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