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PGA Tour: Aloha! Sony Open in Hawaii: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 6:33 pm

1).The Ballwasher here in the north country tundra is thawing out, frostquakes are so yesterday (last week anyway), and we can look West to the US's 50th State, the driving range of Waialae Country Club and this week's Sony Open.
 
2).Last week Zach Johnson scored his 11th Tour win at Kapalua, a course where success, even a decent finish, had been elusive until: "I just picked it (Kapalua) apart. I didn't deviate from anything I typically do on a golf course." True that, and he moves ahead of Adam Scott with the most wins of an under 40 golfer (edit as per GPB) not called Tont:
Johnson: 11
Scott: 10
Garcia: 8
Dustin Johnson: 8 (leading 20-something)
Ogilvy: 7
Kuchar, McIlroy, Sabbatini, Snedeker: All with 6.
 
3).And Zach moves on to Waialae in a 2-fer tournament run with the likes of Kuchar and Scott, and maybe one or two others, before taking a breather while the Tour travels around California.
Webb Simpson put a certain trend in perspective when he won in Las Vegas. "Good", or words to that effect, "That will enable me to take a break instead of chasing Ryder Cup and FedEx points, drop a couple of intended starts on the West Coast and go back to Charlotte to catch up on my bible study."
 
4).In a page out of Woods's book, maybe even out-Tigerring him, Johnson, and Stenson for that matter, are emulating the Number One independent golfing contractor by striving for the most reward whilst overcoming the smallest fields. Zach beat just 115 competitors for his most recent three wins whilst Henrik beat 183.
 
5).There are deja-vu-all-over-again concerns being expressed in the US golfing media about the health of the California/Phoenix swing, not unlike ten or twelve years ago when some West Coast events seemed to be on life support.
With Scott not reappearing after this week until the "Honda", other leading US players taking a break, and the top class "Internationals" otherwise engaged, at least until Riviera, who exactly will be playing during the upcoming weeks?
Well, Tiger will be in San Diego, Phil will maintain most of his heavy Jan/Feb schedule, Snedeker will be around, plus Dustin Johnson, Mahan, Dustin, Fowler, Haas, Bradley and Bubba, and the strength in depth that the PGA Tour enjoys, especially in a Ryder Cup year.
Don't panic . . . . !
 
6).Every year we see one-time top golfers in peril of losing their much-coveted Tour exemptions. Recently the likes of Karlsson, Appleby, DiMarco, Duval etc, etc, have been down to their last remaining exemption, Appleby being the only one of those to bounce back, the others in Dalyland, depending on sponsors invites or, less likely, Monday qualifying to get to play.
Last year Immelman and Chad Campbell were on the edge; Immelman resurrected his career by winning the first WTF tournament and is back in business, for this year only unless he pulls his socks up.
Campbell missed out and is just an alternate in Hawaii, a tournament where he's had good finishes in the past, but blotted his copybook a few years ago by rocking up dead keen at the start of a new season only to be told at the registration desk that he hadn't entered. Goodbye, back to Texas, 3,800 miles away.
 
7).Big names in precarious situations this year who had a lack-lustre 2013 include:
YE Yang.
Glover.
Harrington (who has a career money exemption still to cash in).
Curtis.
Gainey.
Weir.
Allenby (who also still retains a second career money safety net).
Colsaerts.
Hanson.
Mark Wilson.
 
8).The Sony Open has a rich list of past Champions, but the past four winners (Ryan Palmer, Wilson, Wagner, Henley) suggest they could use a big-name winner. Like 2009 winner Zach.
Europe has a weak challenge led by Carl Pettersson, plus Chopra, Knox and Lingmerth.
Edit: Just realised that Robbie Karlsson was exempt for the Sony Open but opted to play in South Africa instead. Wonder if that means he's turning his back on PGA Tour opportunities and will play the European Tour - given his fine play last October and November, that seems a slightly surprising prospect.
Scott leads the higher ranking players with Kuchar and Dufner, plus the two young gun/Ryder Cup wannabes Spieth and English.
 
9).But for course specialists look no further than perennial challenger CH3 and Tim Clark.
Clark has visited Waialae just four times but finished 12th, 25th, 2nd and 2nd.
Howell has been here 12 times, has 12 made cuts and SEVEN! top 5's. Why can't he win here? Really, why can't he win anywhere. Perhaps this will be the year.
 
10).Let's leave the last word to an NBC Sports website, on the subject of one of the sporting world's underachievers of the past fifteen years, the inevitable John Daly.
Daly has a one-tournament "Medical Extension" which he's cashing in this week; he has one chance therefore to win a defined sum to be promoted to the "Major Medical" category, $551K, and that demands a solo second-place finish.
Daly "played 20 times worldwide in 2013 and failed to log a top 40 (finish)".
Quite.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 1:41 am; edited 2 times in total

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Post by NedB-H on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 7:42 pm

Happy New Year and New (or continued) golf season to everyone.

Russell Knox starting like a train in Hawai'i (does Hawai'i have trains?). Waialae should suit someone short and straight like he is, weird that he's 0-from-2 in cuts made here. Definitely shouldn't suit someone erratic and wayward like Chopra. Had completely forgotten that he'd retrieved a card for the full tour.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 8:03 pm

Happy New Year Ned,

Not sure about Honolulu, but I've been on the "Sugar Cane Train" on Maui!

Yeah, dead right on Knox, and he's not so short either, pretty much middle of the road on Tour. Would have mentioned him but thought I'd get the nonsense from those Scots who suffer from Scots-across-the-pond fatigue. Early days but hope his form continues.

Goosen also off to a decent start after speculation on last week's thread that he's cooked.

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Post by GPB on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 10:32 pm

Kwini wrote:True that, and he moves ahead of Adam Scott with the most wins of a golfer yet to reach 40.

You forgot about that other guy.  Tiger Woods with 79 wins. And 38 years old.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 10:51 pm

Ha! True that, too. Kinda meant to qualify that statement a bit more tightly but forgot!


And from the Windy City comes the slightly surprising news that Matt Fitzpatrick has left Northwestern University and returned to England to prepare for the amateur season ahead, not to mention competing in the year's first three Majors.
A shame I would think, but competitive sports in College is a fickle thing; been there, vicariously, done that.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 11:22 pm

Great ball-striking but shaky putting does for Russell Knox's round - a missed 4-footer on the last leaving him with -2 on the scorecard.

And: It only figures that John Daly would have an excellent round. Good for him, but can he keep it up?

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Post by beninho on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 8:33 am

So Adam Scott had a surfer friend caddy for him, the other week Sergio had his girl caddy and he won. You see others with friends and relatives on the bag do well. So how important is the caddy at the top level? They should now all the shots to play and when to play them anyway.

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Post by super_realist on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 8:49 am

beninho wrote:So Adam Scott had a surfer friend caddy for him, the other week Sergio had his girl caddy and he won. You see others with friends and relatives on the bag do well. So how important is the caddy at the top level? They should now all the shots to play and when to play them anyway.

I've said it a few times but I'd like to see one tournament a year where there were no caddies and they had to carry their own bags. It would be interesting to see what happened.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 10:03 am

Whatever next?
The golfing non-entity known as Frank Lickliter is reportedly playing this week with the logo of a gun manufacturer on his shirt and bag.
Why would the PGA Tour allow such a thing?
The good news is that he's 118th in a 144-man field and will hopefully miss the cut.

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Post by raycastleunited on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 10:05 am

I think the main role of the caddy is psychological, to get his player in the right frame of mind to confidently commit to each shot. A mate / girlfriend who can give encouragement and help a player to relax and play his natural game is probably just as valuable as an experienced caddy.

I'm sure its useful to have accurate yardage, but most of the time when you listen to the conversations on course, its all about backing up their players decisions and giving a confirmation on on shot selection or the line of a putt.

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Post by MontysMerkin on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 10:10 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Whatever next?
The golfing non-entity known as Frank Lickliter is reportedly playing this week with the logo of a gun manufacturer on his shirt and bag.
Why would the PGA Tour allow such a thing?
The good news is that he's 118th in a 144-man field and will hopefully miss the cut.
Cos they're a bunch of red neck, bible thumping, racist morons with nothing better to do? Am I close?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 10:21 am

Probably not Monty, but good as a proverbial starter for ten. Not many sportsmen come across as being more unpleasant than Lickliter - probably the most anti-social golfer I've ever followed. Just awful.
He even got caught by an on-course mic telling Brad Faxon to F-off a few years ago. Brad Faxon!!

Want to know more about him?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/golf/theopen/2382899/Trio-are-match-made-in-hell.html

When the Tour's drug policy (yup, the one which banned deer antler spray) was introduced, Gentle Frank had this to offer about anyone who wanted to test him at home: The drug official is "going to have a hard time getting off my property without a bullet in his ass".

 
 
I see Rob Karlsson is playing Abu Dhabi and Qatar the next two weeks - and Mickelson is in the AD field, Dufner in Qatar.

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Post by MontysMerkin on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 10:31 am

We followed some septic at the Open (think it was Rich Beem) and the weather was awful. We'd watched the Great White Shark come past, he hit 2 screaming drivers just short of a par 4 (very, very windy) and looked pretty good. Then came the rolling Beem. He tried to hit driver off the deck and topped it, turned to the gallery and shouted 'you guys call this a summer?' to which I shouted back 'you call that golf?'. He looked a little embarrassed and waddled off. He really came across as a complete bum. With Chalfonts.

That's the only real interaction I've had with american golfists, so the above story doesn't surprise me in the least!
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 10:39 am

From what little I know about him, Rich Beem is a decent enough bloke, good with the galleries, does some on-course commentating and I think he now has a radio gig.
I'm sure he appreciated your repartee, probably stored it up to use sometime! Nice one.

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Post by incontinentia on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 10:52 am

MontysMerkin wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:Whatever next?
The golfing non-entity known as Frank Lickliter is reportedly playing this week with the logo of a gun manufacturer on his shirt and bag.
Why would the PGA Tour allow such a thing?
The good news is that he's 118th in a 144-man field and will hopefully miss the cut.
Cos they're a bunch of red neck, bible thumping, racist morons with nothing better to do? Am I close?
Bit sensationalist there Monty, if Frank is sponsored by this company then isn't it standard PGA tour policy to allow him wear their logo on his person and equipment??
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Post by super_realist on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 10:55 am

incontinentia wrote:
MontysMerkin wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:Whatever next?
The golfing non-entity known as Frank Lickliter is reportedly playing this week with the logo of a gun manufacturer on his shirt and bag.
Why would the PGA Tour allow such a thing?
The good news is that he's 118th in a 144-man field and will hopefully miss the cut.
Cos they're a bunch of red neck, bible thumping, racist morons with nothing better to do? Am I close?
Bit sensationalist there Monty, if Frank is sponsored by this company then isn't it standard PGA tour policy to allow him wear their logo on his person and equipment??

Sounds like a good description of those aligned to the NRA, although he forgot Republican.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 11:01 am

incontinentia:
There's got to be a limit though, wouldn't you think? In the interests of good taste and public acceptibility??
Tobacco products are certainly banned, would think others would be too.

s_r,
Plenty of Dems support the gun lobby too, you'd be surprised.

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Post by super_realist on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 11:12 am

kwinigolfer wrote:incontinentia:
There's got to be a limit though, wouldn't you think? In the interests of good taste and public acceptibility??
Tobacco products are certainly banned, would think others would be too.

s_r,
Plenty of Dems support the gun lobby too, you'd be surprised.

Indeed Kwini, I was suggesting that if you are a gun owner, red neck and a bible thumper as well as being a white golfer chances are you'll also be a republican.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 11:17 am

!! Quite likely!!

Meanwhile, both Clarke and Harrington going nicely in Durban . . . . Can it last?

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Post by MontysMerkin on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 11:23 am

The Republican bit was implied. I added moron to be sure.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 11:33 am

Double bogey on the par-5 8th for Harrington - Westwood-like in that tendancy.

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Post by Lairdy on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 12:34 pm

Happy New Year Kwini! How goes it? Trust you and Ballwasher fans had a good holiday? I had a great time with the new family.

The Hawiian swing is fantastic isn't it? Provides a great escape from going back to work and the January blues. Pretty good fields this year too. Your point on scheduling got me wondering... if it came down to the wire for Tiger passing 100 victories (in terms of career winding up) would Tiger start considering the Hawiian swing? Big open fairways at Kapalua would suit, as would the short and straight Waialae, which he could probably 'sting' to death. Just a thought...

This would be typical for Clarke... commits to the pga tour and ends up winning on the ET. Now would he stick or twist?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 1:26 pm

Hi Lairdy,
HNY to you and yours,
Tiger has previous at Kapalua, famously beat Ernie in a titanic play-off; some opinions that Ernie was never quite the same after that. Woods returned four times with a good record but hasn't been back since about 2006. I'd think he'd like the small field even more than the wide open fairways!

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Post by incontinentia on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 1:39 pm

Woods consistently wins against the strongest fields in golf though, isn't this more relevant than the size of the field?
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Post by pedro on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 1:52 pm

Rich Beem had no problems playing on the ET when he lost his PGA Tour card.... Maybe he got used to the weather.

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Post by Davie on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 2:05 pm

Reports coming in that Padraig's caddy collapsed on the course today. I wonder if they thought he'd just fallen asleep

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Post by MontysMerkin on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 2:11 pm

Paddy was probably having the 'craic' with him. Like most craic, soon winds up with long uninteresting tales of days gone by, as welcome as Vogon poetry.
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Post by super_realist on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 2:14 pm

Davie wrote:Reports coming in that Padraig's caddy collapsed on the course today. I wonder if they thought he'd just fallen asleep

Maybe a lack of carbs. Luckily I know a good source of those.

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Post by incontinentia on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 2:32 pm

super_realist wrote:
Davie wrote:Reports coming in that Padraig's caddy collapsed on the course today. I wonder if they thought he'd just fallen asleep

Maybe a lack of carbs. Luckily I know a good source of those.
Don't think Padraig is too fond of sheep viscera super.
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Post by themightyone on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 3:40 pm

Lacking a ET thread I'll post this here: Luiten has hit the first double eagle / albatross of the season @ the Volvo Champions and is in a tie for the lead with Oosty and Fleetwood at -7 after R2, nicely done. Good for his RC hopes although that remains a very long and hard road as a non PGA tour member

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Post by Shotrock on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 3:48 pm

Incontinentia - Good point and good Lord. Only to the Tiger "obsessed" does he duck fields if they are too strong or too deep. Even Stevie Wonder could see he's all about prepping for majors the way he sees best.

And the fact that he's won the most professional majors of any active golfer (in an era where the Open Championship is far more competitive than Sir Jack's era), should stand as testimony to the fact he's pretty much done OK ... 5 year "drought" notwithstanding.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 4:10 pm

Out of context as usual Sr, but keeping on waving Tiger's Y-fronts or Lindsey's knickers all you like! Talk about posts of convenience.


Was Ronan Flood caddying for Harrington? No way to treat your brother-in-law Padraig . . . . . .

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Post by Shotrock on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 4:29 pm

Kwin - Your pro-Sergio, anti-Tiger obsession - and discounting "any" American who wins a WGC played in America -- also well documented.  Rolling Eyes 

But hey, we're all entitled to our opinions, regardless of how logically defensible they are!

And, after all, it's all just opinions ...

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 5:03 pm

Yes, I was just comparing the attributes of Kapalua and its small field, just as I had done in my main notes about Zach Johnson and Stenson. Plus praising Woods's record at Kapalua.

But hey, if one can't say Tiger is the greatest sportsman of all time in each sentence, one is automatically against him.

Much more pro-Sergio here than anti-Tiger (tho' I'm defintely anti the sycophancy surrounding Woods), and the opinion that Americans have a homefield advantage in the WGC's is not only borne out by the obvious, but also by the facts.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 5:33 pm

BBC reporting that Justin Rose is rehabbing a shoulder injury and will be out until February, missing Abu Dhabi and San Diego.
Sorry to hear that, poor timing for him.

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Post by Shotrock on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 5:35 pm

Here's a fact: more Americans have won the Open Championship over the past 35 years than any other country.

So, I'll suggest it's because Americans have better professional golfers than any other nation (no doubt because they have more) ... or would you say it's some sort "away field advantage"?

But, they win WGC's because it's at "home" ???

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 6:36 pm

Let's put it like this.
I would never have said GB had better golfers than any other country when we dominated the Masters, wouldn't even have said Europe had the best golfers during the 80's and 90's when Europeans won 11 gj's. Strong at the top maybe.

Never said Americans "win WGC's because it's at home", did say that playing at home is usually a distinct advantage.

No Hawaiians doing well at Waialae though.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 7:28 pm

Scoring subdued at Waialae this morning as the lead groups make the turn. Plenty of -2's out there but nothing better than that. Cut likely to be -1.

Very poor so far from course specialist Tim Clark. Never know with him how fit he is - should come with a health warning.

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Post by Lowlandbrit on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 7:41 pm

PGA Tour: Aloha! Sony Open in Hawaii: Notes from the Ballwasher Bdloe6OCcAEBu39
That's not a hat.

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Post by super_realist on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 7:51 pm

Lowlandbrit wrote:PGA Tour: Aloha! Sony Open in Hawaii: Notes from the Ballwasher Bdloe6OCcAEBu39
That's not a hat.

Who is that idiot?

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PGA Tour: Aloha! Sony Open in Hawaii: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: Aloha! Sony Open in Hawaii: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by incontinentia on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 8:15 pm

Ha ha!! Is that Cink?
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Post by Lowlandbrit on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 8:18 pm

incontinentia wrote:Ha ha!! Is that Cink?
It is.

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Post by incontinentia on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 8:29 pm

His head looks like a pint of Guinness.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 8:44 pm

Corey Pavin had a similar look, the shaved pate now seasoning but still pretty ridiculous.

Marc Leishman starting to blaze a trail . . . . .

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 9:27 pm

Tim Clark withdraws - hope he's OK.

Edit: Update on Tim Clark: Another elbow injury according to reports. Doesn't sound good following his problems from two or three years ago.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 9:59 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by themightyone on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 9:50 pm

Good job on the new OWGR site, not these nasty averages anymore, just points and divisor so the stupid will not be able to know the gaps between the players, very wise

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 11 Jan 2014, 1:21 am

Russell Knox looks to be the only European with the chance to make the cut, and he's off to a good start in Round 2, but still with the seemingly obligatory missed tiddler.

Team Sweden are on their collective bikes.

More Euros coming out of the woodwork next week at the Humana event in the California desert. Among them:
Colsaerts
Brian Davis
Freddie Jac
Parnevik
Pettersson
Knox and Laird, and:
Last year's play-off vanquished David Lingmerth.

Rickie Fowler's in the field, along with anchorers Bradley and Simpson.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 11 Jan 2014, 1:01 pm

Go to bed with Knox in good shape for another good tournament, vitally needed at this stage of the season, wake up with him missing the cut by one following a bogey and a double on his closing hole, the easy par-5 9th to miss by one.

Expensive mistake (or mistakes) which he will have to learn from if he's to realise his undoubted potential. Not sure that next week will suit him and it could be a while before he gets his FedEx feet back under him. Very disappointing, let's hope it's not career-defining.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat 11 Jan 2014, 7:35 pm

Football finished and an early start in the golf. Looks like that has inspired a challenge by the endangered species, Robert Allenby, seeking to contend in a tournament he should arguably have won four years ago.

An MDF in prospect if my arithmetic is correct.


For our sins in the States we get a guy called Arlo White (anyone know him?) doing our featured footie commentaries. He's godawful, football's equivalent of the unctuous American Mike Tirico, though perhaps slightly less portly.


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Post by incontinentia on Sat 11 Jan 2014, 7:59 pm

Hudson Swafford- what a name! But has he got the game to match?
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