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PGA Tour: Back, back, back, Is Woods Really BACK?: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 15 May 2013, 4:22 pm

1).Tiger Woods has his most impressive win at least since the 2008 US Open, in my book since the 2007 PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
The TPC Sawgrass course, which he admittedly finds "tricky" and which one might think he'd have rather not played, saw him squeak out a win pretty much by doing a "Hoylake", striking tee-shots with an industrial strength 5-wood or long iron, hitting greens (3rd in gir for the week) and scrambling superbly (6th for the week).
He holed his putts without making anything outrageous and challenged his immediate competition to make mistakes - and they obliged, Maggert hitting the water on #17 for the first time since 2002 and Garcia attempting the perfect shot, twice, when merely average would have been adequate. Intimidation? You'd certainly think so.
So: Is Tiger really back to his best?

2).There's been a deluge of opinion in the US media these past three days and consensus seems to centre around two criteria:
~He won't prove he's back to the pre-injury "Tiger" until he's started to win Majors again.
~He doesn't dominate tournaments the way he once did.

3).No argument about the first, but Merion, Muirfield and Oak Hill could see that change. Much is made of Merion's narrow fairways and tricky greens but Woods may not care - if he can nuke his 5-wood 300 yards, how many times will he need his driver, still the biggest weakness in his bag?
Muirfield did him in in 2002, when he (mis)fired a third round 81, while Oak Hill ate him up in 2003 as he never broke par trailing home in 39th.
So perhaps Merion will be his best bet although I can imagine his strongest opposition being Tiger Woods himself.

4).Tournament domination? Well, yes, he certainly DID dominate some tournaments from time to time but his average winning margin at Torrey Pines (3 strokes) and Doral (one stroke) was exceeded this year (4 and 3 respectively). He's only won The Players once before (by a shot) but Bay Hill his winning margin has averaged 4 strokes, rather than this year's two.
Let's face it, he's won four top tournaments this year by a total of ten shots. I'd say he's dominated each one even if he relied on intestinal fortitude (or lack of it) to outlast Fowler and Garcia.

5).What about playing stat's?
Apart from the fact that he doesn't dominate the driving distance stat like he used to, he's #1 in putting and #1 in par five scoring, perhaps the two biggest keys to Tiger's success. He's a little behind his best pace for hitting greens in regulation but sand play so far is better than ever and he's scrambling well also.

6).What about the competition?
Would say that gets better every year, inspired by Tiger's achievements as much as anything. Garcia matched Woods shot for shot last week until trying to squeeze too much out of #17, and Fowler kept pace at Bay Hill until falling victim to the same misplaced ambition. Who has the fortitude to go head-to-head with Woods and beat him a la Beem and/or Yang? Certainly Mickelson last year at Pebble Beach but no-one since.

7).Prospects going forward? He just "committed" to Memorial and then Merion. I'd say we could yet see a 6- or even 8-win season without a Major. 4/1-ish currently to win the US Open looks about right to me.

8).The fact that McIlroy, Garcia and Woods (and probably others that were shown less frequently) managed their way round Pete Dye's TPC Sawgrass whilst only hitting driver two or three times suggest the course is becoming outdated and expect some strategic hole-lengthening soon. Still don't understand why several holes were shortened for Sunday's final round. Why?

9).The "HP Byron Nelson Classic" starts Thursday, just outside Dallas, one of the best-run tournaments on Tour, but with a lousy date and a comparitively poor field. Some top players will play (last three winners Day, Bradley and Dufner, plus Kuchar, Oosthuizen, Schwartzel) but most who took on the TPC have either headed for Europe or are sitting this one out. Good to see Siem in the field, plus compatriot Kaymer; and Robert Karlsson is coming off his 4th place finish at Quail Hollow.
But why no Ross Fisher who seems to have gone to Europe for three weeks? Only eight tournaments opportunities left for Fish to finish his season in the top 125 . . . . . .
The Texas contingent will be out in force led by Ryan Palmer, and Palmer should be good value. I also like Martin Flores, JJ Henry and Jeff Overton, while Aussies Jason Day and Leishman both play well here.

10).And: The "America" IFQ Open Championship is scheduled for next Monday in Dallas, at the ironically named Gleneagles GC, with Jonas Blixt and Brian Davis leading the European entries (assuming Martin Laird stays in the owgr Top 60 which doubtless he will).
Upcoming owgr qualifying deadlines include:
US Open: owgr Top 60 as at May 27th (and June 10th).
Open Championship: owgr Top 50 as at May 27th.

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Post by ScottieD18 Wed 15 May 2013, 7:18 pm

Tiger's the theme of the week and why not. He should get his major this year, maybe 2, then back on track to catch Jack.

Fisher has strong connections with Wentworth. He needs to watch he doesn't spread himself too thin on both tours but I'm sure he has a plan.

Just saw European Tour Weekly on Sky and the course for the Volvo Matchplay is amazing. Add a decent field at it looks like the first interesting event since the dessert swing.


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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 15 May 2013, 8:51 pm

Scottie,
A shame he didn't squeeze the Byron Nelson in - and it looks like he's in the Nordea field as well.
Not as confident as you that "he has a plan", at least one that's going to be successful. Assume he'll play the qualifier in England for The Open but it would probably do him a big favour if he missed Muirfield and concentrated his efforts over here.
Unless, of course, he's fine with playing in Europe in 2014.

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Post by sirbenson Wed 15 May 2013, 10:50 pm

It seems Carl Pettersson is gonna try and play in the Ryder Cup next year....He says he plans to play the required amount in Europe.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 16 May 2013, 12:53 am

That'll be interesting, the spectre of an American citizen playing for Europe.

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Post by robopz Thu 16 May 2013, 2:06 am

kwinigolfer wrote:
3).No argument about the first, but Merion, Muirfield and Oak Hill could see that change. Much is made of Merion's narrow fairways and tricky greens but Woods may not care - if he can nuke his 5-wood 300 yards, how many times will he need his driver, still the biggest weakness in his bag?
Muirfield did him in in 2002, when he (mis)fired a third round 81, while Oak Hill ate him up in 2003 as he never broke par trailing home in 39th.
So perhaps Merion will be his best bet although I can imagine his strongest opposition being Tiger Woods himself.

thumbsup Another great write-up kwini... but of course you've spoiled us such that we expect nothing less (ooooohhhhh... so much pressure on next week now, huh?)

Interesting analysis for TW's prospects in the remaining majors.

Not sure I'm quite as sold on TW's chances at Merion as some are. While the Sawgrass triumph certainly bodes well... having gotten to play it only once in the late 90's myself, I remember it as the "longest" short course I ever played. IMO TW's issues would be... while he's has repaired much of last year's issues with the par-5's... Merion's only got two of them and #4 could be virtually unreachable for 2-4 rounds. So that advantage is mostly negated. The other issue is hole #18. I there's anywhere he's gonna have to hit driver it would be that one... With possible late Sunday pressure or bunched field, it could be tough if he's needing birdie and forced to pull "Frank" out of the bag.

Of the three... I'm liking Murfield as a much more likely candidate. First we go back to WHAT went wrong in 2002. From my analysis, his problems were nothing that a LACK of a 30-40 MPH winds accompanied by a driving rainstorm couldn't fix. Tiger was ill prepared in those days to deal with those conditions. That round literally blew him out of the championship. But how did he do in the other three rounds? Shot 203... tied with Paddy for best total for rounds 1+2+4.

Agree completely on your last line above. TW was in excellent position for at least two majors going into the weekend last year... IMO it wasn't the state of his game that was the problem... it was HIM. But maybe slaying his Sawgrass demon's will pay dividends this summer... gonna be fun to watch either way.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 16 May 2013, 3:28 am

Cheers robo, (you're full of it . . . . !)
Dead right on the par 5's, which is why I admired Tiger's win in Tulsa so much. Still can't figure out his success at Firestone. But, yes, if there's to be an equalizer it's the par 5's.
Not sure the extent to which he "embraces" The Open, other than those at St.Andrews - especially if the weather is poor.


Looks set for a windy week in Big D . . . . .

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Post by McLaren Thu 16 May 2013, 4:32 am

I agree robo, tiger his a mental issue in the majors and the only thing that can fix it is a dominant round 3. His short game is in excellent shape so he should be able to win anywhere no matter what he has to hit from the tee.

Anyone know what greenspeeds merion are aiming to have for the open?

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 16 May 2013, 1:33 pm

Mac,
If you can find a copy of the US June issue of Golf Digest you'll find a terrific write-up on Merion. Plus a great remembrance by Revino of his 1971 win there.
Unfortunately much of it is not available on-line, and I've given my copy away.
But: I'm pretty sure that Davis said they'd be between 12 and 14 depending on weather and overall course conditions. (Think we could have guessed that anyway, but assume they'll be as fast as they can reasonably make 'em.)


Looks like TPC Las Colinas might have received a right drenching last night with an inch and a half of rain recorded by the weather channel. Should be good weather, warm and breezy through Sunday. Fingers crossed.

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Post by sirbenson Thu 16 May 2013, 2:30 pm

Good start from Cabrera....would be nice to see him find some form in tournaments outside of majors! Good leaderboard already!

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Post by princedracula Thu 16 May 2013, 3:02 pm

Thanks kwini clap
Probably the most 'Tiger-rich' ballwasher I read from you... Smile What do you think about Garcia after last week, would be interesting to see how he plays next week at Wentworth after all that...

Backed Kooch and Karlsson this week among others, and hoping RK will finally be on his way out of the hole after QH. Dufner on the other hand looks out of sorts lately... and what about Kenny Perry, heard that he wasn't even aware that he was still elligible to play on the PGA Tour and that he plans to come and play more in future...

I saw news about some bad tornadoes in Texas, hope they won't come anywhere near Dallas this week...

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 16 May 2013, 3:33 pm

pd,
The most damaging tornado was WSW of Fort Worth, about 50+ miles from the action in Irving. Elkington talking about "softball-size hail" in Fort Worth last night - hope those courtesy cars were under cover!

"Tiger-rich"? I don't see much point writing about him as everyone else does.
But I think his current trajectory is interesting; despite the fact that he ultimately won by just two shots on Sunday, he DID play well and usurped the intended theme of "who cares?" among the players each week on the PGA Tour.
Whatever one might think about Tiger and his schedule, the fact is that he comes to play at least 80% of the time he tees it up, a darn sight more often, I'd contend, than most of the owgr top 75-ish.
He's become ruthless in eliminating courses (see Pebble Beach and Quail Hollow) that he's not sure he can win on, and coming out on top at Sawgrass, which he's always seemed quite ambivalent about, was big for me.

Three asides:
Interesting comments about Tiger by Rocco Mediate on Feherty - not critical necessarily, but indicative of his calculating personality. (Mediate apparently regarded as a bit of a pr1ck by his non-golfing neighbours according to our erstwhile PVB resident poster. - makes two of them with Feherty who seems to glorify the antisocial.)

Would think Sergio will get tons of support at Wentworth, but not sure he has a great record there.

Elk on Woods at #14 on Sunday: "Forget Tiger's shot!!! How good was that drop!"
And: "In Lyndsey Vonn terms . . . . Tiger might have missed a gate in the downhill!"

Just reporting . . . . . .

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 16 May 2013, 4:46 pm

Terrific first seven (four under) holes from Gary Christian.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 16 May 2013, 6:14 pm

Wow, Who woke Keegan Bradley up?
No form to speak of since March and now he's on fire! 60!!

Karlsson going well, Christian still ticking along, Knox becalmed and Greg Owen flatters to deceive - not for the first time.

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Post by princedracula Thu 16 May 2013, 6:15 pm

Wow, that was close... 60 for Keegan!!

Great to see Karlsson (and Camillo) up there again...

Edit: snap...!

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Post by robopz Thu 16 May 2013, 10:06 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:
Elk on Woods at #14 on Sunday: "Forget Tiger's shot!!! How good was that drop!"
And: "In Lyndsey Vonn terms . . . . Tiger might have missed a gate in the downhill!"

Another Elk-ism from Saturday...

Steve Elkington ‏@elkpga - Sergio blamed Tiger for his shot on 2..... S*** !!! ... I suppose he can hear a mouse pi** on a cotton ball from 50 yards.

- - - -
Asterisks are mine...

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Post by robopz Thu 16 May 2013, 10:12 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Wow, Who woke Keegan Bradley up?
No form to speak of since March and now he's on fire! 60!!

Karlsson going well, Christian still ticking along, Knox becalmed and Greg Owen flatters to deceive - not for the first time.

Maybe Dufner woke him up... see this funny...

http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/blogs/local-knowledge/2013/05/keegan-bradley-gets-last-laugh-on-jason-dufner-with-first-ro.html

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 16 May 2013, 11:10 pm

A tale of two "waves" so far in Dallas, 8 scores five under or better in the a.m., none in the p.m.

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Post by GT350 Fri 17 May 2013, 6:36 am

"Tiger has a mental issue in the majors"
No, he doesn't. What he has is a method for success. A method that started with physical adjustments, continued by systematically addressing each area of his game and working on it until the form started to return, aided by careful selection of where to play in order to provide some confidence boosting wins. All of that has left him, finally, in a good place mentally and in turn has restored some of the so called intimidation factor. Piece by piece he has rebuilt his game and is still working on it. When all of those pieces are finally where HE wants them to be, and assuming no more injuries for a while, he will win another Major. As he has told everyone, repeatedly, it is a process, and it's not over yet. The method is simple but the execution is not for most. It is clinical and requires total dedication.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 17 May 2013, 11:08 am

Wouldn't you say he lost opportunities last year GT?


Hot and could gret a bit blustrous in the DFW area today; morning "wave" had a half-stroke advantage yesterday and possibly same today.
Cut should be around -1, possibly -2?

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Post by McLaren Fri 17 May 2013, 11:37 am

gt350

Tiger fails in majors of late from positions where par gives him a chance to win.

75 R4 2009 pga
75 R4 2010 US open
74 R3 2011 masters
75 R3 2012 us open
73 (+3) R4 2012 open
74 R3 2012 PGA

You can see that in since his last major win he has been in many promising positions and totally blown it.
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Post by GPB Fri 17 May 2013, 2:31 pm

Anyone see the latest training aid gimmick that Padraig Harrington is peddling?

It looks like it is straight jacket for golf.

golfswingshirt dot com.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 17 May 2013, 2:45 pm

Looks like he needs to start using it, two triple bogeys in 21 holes not much help.

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Post by MontysMerkin Fri 17 May 2013, 4:13 pm

Looks like he's enjoying himself anyway...
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2321253/Tiger-Woods-unleashes-inner-party-animal-falls-embarrasses-girlfriend-Lindsey-Vonn-Met-Gala-party.html
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Post by sirbenson Fri 17 May 2013, 4:39 pm

Odd couple of rounds so far from Harrington

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Post by sirbenson Fri 17 May 2013, 6:00 pm

Superb fightback Padraig, plenty of good golf in the last two rounds.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 17 May 2013, 6:14 pm

Birdie on #8 and looks like he's putting well.
Needs to par his last and, if he can avoid those triples, he can look forward to a good weekend!


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Fri 17 May 2013, 6:19 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Edit: Mixed up my nines!)

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Post by sirbenson Fri 17 May 2013, 6:16 pm

Think he has made four putts of 20 feet and over, in the last two rounds!

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Post by sirbenson Fri 17 May 2013, 6:33 pm

Typically inconsistent....THREE PUTTS FROM 30 FEET AND MAY MISS THE WEEKEND

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Post by princedracula Fri 17 May 2013, 7:34 pm

Good US showing again for Marcel Siem, currently outplaying the more illustrious German by two shots...

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 17 May 2013, 8:14 pm

While the less exalted Munchen Meister, Stephan Jaeger, is going well on the web.com circuit, and veteran refugee Alex Cejka will be entering Saurday's play precipitously balancing astride the cut-line.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 17 May 2013, 9:12 pm

Harrington's art of positive thinking must have been put to the test today.
Surely dismayed at his 3-putt bogey which threatened to miss him the cut, he's probably been smiling, head up, chest puffed out, as he sees scores creep up, telling himself at every breath of wind that he's edging closer to a payday.

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Post by GPB Fri 17 May 2013, 11:51 pm

Rory has dumped Conor Ridge and Horizon Sports? And he is going with the "Verizon" Management Company? (Friends and Family)

Bad Timing and even worse idea. Horizon gets the big commission on the Nike deal and their much more endorsement money left that he hasn't exploited.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 18 May 2013, 12:59 am

Far more important than that:
Ken Venturi died today, just twelve days after being inducted, belatedly, in to the World Golf Hall Of Fame.

Very sad to see that; love him or loathe him as a CBS commentator, he almost (should have really) won The Masters as an amateur, won the US Open when suffering from such extreme dehydration that, among other things, caused the USGA to go to four rounds in four days (instead of a 36-hole Sunday), was debilitated by a form of carpal tunnel syndrome which caused him to truncate his playing career, was a long-time commentator for CBS despite a childhood of stuttering, and was a Presidents Cup Captain. Mentor to many in California golf, John Cook among many others.

None Hall-of-Fame worthy by themselves, but what a career! And the sum of the parts epitomise a lifetime of giving to the game he loved.


Catastrophic 64 - 78 two days for Robert Karlsson. Happily he's teeing it up again at Colonial next week on a course that should suit him.

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Post by GPB Sat 18 May 2013, 2:11 am

Re: Ken Venturi.

Well Said Kwini, He was a giver and not a taker of the game of golf.

RIP Kenny.

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Post by GT350 Sat 18 May 2013, 2:35 am

"Wouldn't you say he lost opportunities last year GT?"
I get your point Kwini but that is a glass half empty / half full question and I think Woods would see it as half full, and that is my point.

"You can see that in since his last major win he has been in many promising positions and totally blown it. "
Again Mac, that is one way of looking at it but those promising positions were achieved during a rebuilding process rather than as a result of it.
Under the same circumstances, who else on tour would have even been there?

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 18 May 2013, 11:57 am

GT, To be fair, some have been there, close but not close enough, just without the notoriety or the damaged wheel.


A windy, hot weekend in North Texas for Rounds 3 and 4 of the Byron Nelson; they'll be going off both nines today with 80+ runners, to be further reduced to top 70 and ties this evening.
Thoroughly unpleasant golfing weather, reminiscent of the final round in 2011 perhaps when relatively unknown rookie, Keegan Bradley, outduelled Texan Ryan Palmer in a play-off.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 18 May 2013, 12:36 pm

Not the greatest field in the long history of the Colonial committed to play next week.
Top 50 players in the field include:
Tim Clark
Dufner
Fowler
Furyk
Jacobson
Kuchar
ZJohnson
Mahan
Moore
Oosthuizen
Piercy
Points
Schwartzel
Stenson
Streelman
Michael Thompson
Van Pelt
plus Martin Laird, Brian Davis and Greg Owen; and Rob Karlsson who really made a mess Thursday..

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Post by sirbenson Sat 18 May 2013, 1:39 pm

Interesting to see Schwartzel, Stenson, Oosthuizen not playing in the BMW next week


AND Harrington seems to have decided not to play as well....odd

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 18 May 2013, 7:01 pm

Seven greens hit in his first seven holes for St.Padraig, just one over par for the day.

Meanwhile Deutschland uber almost alles . . . .

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 18 May 2013, 11:15 pm

A very hot and windy day forecast for Sunday - Kaymer and Siem tied for 10th, 7 shots back of Keegan Bradley; Harrington squeaks in to Sunday's field by the skin of his teeth but probably needs a 54 to win the Byron Nelson.

More seriously, his current position in the FedEx points standings is 123rd; not good when just the top 125 retain their cards for 2014 and Padraig presumably has very few PGA Tour events on his calendar. He has a "career money" exemption but that's a career safety net, not what you want to resort to at 42.

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Post by puligny Sun 19 May 2013, 9:24 am

Is it just me or are Keegan (Tourettes) Bradley's ticks getting worse? Much to admire in his game, though not the putter, but he looks so intense in danger of exploding!

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 19 May 2013, 11:48 am

Wind will be the enemy today in Dallas. Forecast:
Partly cloudy, winds 25 - 35 mph, gusting. Hot - low 90's.

Harrington opening the batting, stopwatches at the ready.

Good opportunity for Kaymer and Siem, but can anyone beat Bradley?

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Post by princedracula Sun 19 May 2013, 12:00 pm

Glad to see Bae up there battling for a win. Korean (men) golf need a big result to give them a psycological boost and revert the downfall over the last year... Talking of Koreans, KJ just missed out on the owgr points in Korea after that event was cut down to 54 holes due to fog...

Both Germans could do with a good result here. Marcel should just make sure that his US Open spot is secured with a top 10(ish)...

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 19 May 2013, 5:10 pm

King Louis withdraws with a neck injury.

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Post by GPB Sun 19 May 2013, 5:57 pm

princedracula wrote:Glad to see Bae up there battling for a win. Korean (men) golf need a big result to give them a psycological boost and revert the downfall over the last year... Talking of Koreans, KJ just missed out on the owgr points in Korea after that event was cut down to 54 holes due to fog...

KJ Choi is the highest ranked Korean in the International Prez Cup Standings at #23. Shocked

IIRC, Korea is hosting the Prez Cup in 2015. It would be very embarrassing if they can only get Koreans on the team via Captains Picks.

Ever since KJ Choi started winning on the PGATour over ten years ago I have heard that Asian males will start dominating the Elite golfers just like they have in the womens game.

As I posted in the OWGR thread, 6 of the 10 highest ranked Asians are over age 40.


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Post by incontinentia Sun 19 May 2013, 7:22 pm

was Bradley's drop at 3 suspicious? Whistle
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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 19 May 2013, 7:36 pm

He certainly called in all available help, TV and Slugger White . . . . . can't do any more than that.

Eleven very important holes left for Team Germany; Kaymer can pretty much secure his place in the play-offs with a podium finish, while Siem could earn himself a spot in the Memphis field with a top ten today.

Matt Gogel confirms that 14 thru 18 are all playing back into the wind - didn't bother Ishikawa who looks like he lobbed in a wedge from 130 yds on #16. Could be his best Tour finish for a year. And he needs it.

Still reckon Bradley is the one to beat though.

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Post by princedracula Sun 19 May 2013, 7:44 pm

My money is on Bae...
Two bae-birdies and an ishi-eagle since GPB was pointing the finger at the Asian youngsters...just kidding Wink

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 19 May 2013, 8:33 pm

Morgan Hoffmann and John Daly teed off in the same twosome:
Hoffmann currently T5.
Daly currently T66.

One with a bright future, the other who probably can't remember the brilliant future he once had.

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