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PGA Tour: The Road to Humana: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 15 Jan 2014, 7:36 pm

1).After taking 188 starts to earn his first win last autumn, Jimmy Walker has become the latest mid-thirties overnight sensation on the PGA Tour after turning in to Jimmy Runner over the final ten holes at Waialae last Sunday when he rattled in six birdies to win going away.
Jason Dufner went from journeyman, to two wins, to Ryder Cupper, to Major Champion in 18 months and Walker himself has leapt to the head of the US Ryder Cup qualifying list. Last year's "California Coastal" swing was kind to Walker as he scored 4th, 3rd and 16th place finishes - a repeat this year will see him comfortably into the owgr top 30 and get very close to assuring him of a ticket to Gleneagles.

2).Walker is giving the field a break this week, celebrating his 35th birthday Thursday before, reportedly, taking his hot streak to San Diego. His close pursuers at the "Sony" also improve their Top Ten Ryder Cup positions, Kirk moving up to 7th, English up to 5th.

3).Golf Digest released their annual assessment of golfers' earnings this month, detailing on-course earnings and estimates of off-course loot.
T.Woods dominates, of course he does!, the combined earnings and it's estimated that his total earnings since turning pro (no speculation of what he was paid before "Hello World" in 1996) are now $1.3B. And that understates the true extent of his wealth (minus Elin's share) as there is no accounting there for his Tour pension which could also run in to the $Gazillions. Anyway, three lists:

4).Total earnings 2013: Top ten:
Woods ($83M), Mickelson ($52M), Palmer (not Ryan - $40M), Nicklaus ($26M), Stenson ($21.4M)
McIlroy ($20.6M), Player ($16M), Scott ($15.6M), Els ($14.7M), Norman ($14M).
(Those dropping out from 2012: Donald, Snedeker.)

5).On-course earnings, worldwide: Top ten:
Stenson ($18.6M), Woods ($12.1M), Scott ($8M), Kuchar ($7.1M), Mickelson ($7M),
Stricker ($6.6M), Rose ($6.3M), Snedeker ($5.6M), Day ($5.2M - how'd'edothat? World Cup??), Zach Johnson ($5.2M).

6).Off-course bounty: Top ten:
Woods ($71M), Mickelson ($45M), Palmer ($40M), Nicklaus ($26M), McIlroy ($18M),
Player ($16M), Norman ($14M), Els ($12.5M), Garcia ($8.5M), Scott ($7.6M). Faldo was 11th with $7.5M.
Hardly seems fair, does it??!!
One interesting observation by an unnamed agent was that the PGA Tour's incursion into Asia has the effect of devaluing the appearance fees for anyone below superstar status, money going instead to the tournaments; Dufner mentioned as a player who might have earned a $400K fee, now down to $200K. Kuchar, on the other hand, pocketted $500K in Australia where the Tour hasn't yet extended its reach.

7).Comparitively petty cash is on offer in the California Desert, at the "Humana Challenge". Given that the "international" contingent is still on the beach or in Abu Dhabi, the field is pretty good: Simpson, Bradley, ZJohnson, Horschel, Snedeker, Haas, English, plus a welcome appearance from the golfer formerly known as Geoff Ogilvy.
The European challenge is led by Nicolas Colsaerts and includes Messrs Jacobson, Pettersson, Davis, Knox (big black eye from him last week), Laird, Chopra, Blixt, former champ Parnevik and last year's play-off loser Lingmerth.

8).Making welcome returns from the casualty ward are Brett Quigley, Dudley Hart and John Mallinger plus 2011 winner Jhonny Vegas. But sadly Tim Clark won't be there following his withdrawal last week with elbow trouble.

9).Good form from Hawaii often carries over to the desert before the California specialists get their teeth in to the distinguished triumvirate of Torrey Pines, Pebble and Riviera. I am hoping that last year's winner Brian Gay still has his putting stroke and that Charlie Howell has now properly warmed up to his customary good early season form.

10).Back in Hawaii the 2014 Champions Tour season kicks off and fingers crossed that the limited field "Mitsubishi Electric Championship" offers golf as good as their avalanche of dodgy commercials are bad.
Roger Chapman and Bernhard Langer are the only Europeans on hand (wonder if Monty and The Mechanic - sorry Mike Rutherford - were invited?), but most of the best of the over-50 crowd will be there and the entertainment is often better than at the Humana.

PS: Best announced return of the year comes next week at Torrey Pines as the very excellent Peter Kostis returns to CBS TV coverage after a fight with colon cancer. Good health to him, his return is our good fortune.

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Post by beninho Thu 16 Jan 2014, 1:49 pm

Just seen Sergio moaning about the rough being dangerous @ the Human Rights Open in Abu Dhabi. Dangerous??? As big Phil said, you may have to take a wedge and knock it out. The rough isnt dangerous if a stupid golfer wants to hit it full whack from the rough he is making it dangerous. Golfers like to moan dont they??!!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 16 Jan 2014, 2:07 pm

ben,
I think Phil also complained about tweaking something playing out of the rough. Not sure what it is that makes this rough any different to any other; usually the pros just get on with it if rough, however deep it may be, is consistent - it's the real patchy stuff that p1sses them off.

Imagine rough will be sparse in the California desert . . . . . They'll be off, off both nines at three courses, at 4.30 p.m. GMT.

In the past this was a four-course, five day event. Just three courses now, over four days. This just in: I hate TV coverage of Pro-Am events!

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Post by raycastleunited Thu 16 Jan 2014, 2:44 pm

Yeah that rough is really deadly. One day this is going to lead to a fatality, but the organisers won't do anything about it until its too late. You guys just don't understand the dangers we pro's have to face on a daily basis - the other day I reached into my pocket to pull out a tee and the sharp end poked me under the finger nail. I was in agony and I even saw some blood, but you know what, I carried on. I'd like to thank my sponsors for supporting me and the tournament organisers for hosting this wonderful tournament at such a fantastic venue.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 16 Jan 2014, 2:55 pm

Ah, I see, it's the way the rough has been "groomed".
 
A bit of a lame complaint from Sergio; perhaps he'd better re-hire his girlfriend to caddy for him, inspire him to hit it straighter.
 
Surely Augusta National also cut the fairways and rough "green to tee"? Which also attracts complaints from the pros, usually because of an occasional "mud ball".

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 16 Jan 2014, 4:24 pm

Reports suggest Mickelson will avoid Riviera and add the "Honda" to his schedule. Which means Riviera will be missing significant star power with Woods a long-time absentee, past-Champ Scott giving it a miss and now Phil.


Not sure I understand the "Humana" rationale of offering sponsors' invites to over-50 past Champions who are not good enough to qualify for the Champo Tour event, but give David Duval the finger. Would have thought DD's 59 and resultant win did a lot to breathe life in to a fading event.

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Post by Shotrock Thu 16 Jan 2014, 7:32 pm

You're kidding, right Sergio? I'm sure his 76 had a lot to do with his frustration for calling the rough "dangerous". If you can't hit it 100 yards, try 80.

I don't consider any rough dangerous, unless I'm playing in the Southwest US and hear rattlers. (But, to be fair, I may be more comfortable in the rough since I'm certainly in it more than Sergio.)

Too bad Phil will miss Riviera. Some place.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 16 Jan 2014, 7:49 pm

Who's this Zach Johnson fellow leading the Humana - anyone heard of him?
Quite the run he's on.

Russell Knox going nicely, but he needs to finish promising rounds off, finish promising tournaments off - too many late-round strokes frittered away in the past 12 months.

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Post by McLaren Thu 16 Jan 2014, 10:45 pm

Kwini

The guy is an arse

http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/golf/25757533
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Post by super_realist Thu 16 Jan 2014, 11:06 pm

McLaren wrote:Kwini

The guy is an arse

http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/golf/25757533

An arse he may be at times, but in a sport full of arses he's nowhere near the top, and I don't think he'd even make a Ryder Cup Arse Team.

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Post by twoeightnine Thu 16 Jan 2014, 11:36 pm

Sergio really doesn't get that the rough is supposed to be penal. If you hit it behind a tree you don't complain that you can't get to the green, you just try to not hit it behind the tree next time. Idiot. He's going down in my estimation all the time and apart from his Ronald McDonald outfit at the Open in Carnoustie I thought he was a good guy.

I mentioned on another thread that there was an interesting interview with Paddy and Monty on Five Live this evening. Particularly their views on Tiger winning more majors and Paddy about where his head is at. My feeling is that he should use his experience as a positive rather than over thinking but guess that's him. Anyway, here's the link (hopefully)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/bigscreen/radio/episode/b03pm9f5/

Worth a listen as their knowledge comes across well and I'm not a particular fan of either so was pleasantly surprised.

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Post by McLaren Thu 16 Jan 2014, 11:44 pm

Sergio has also joined the simon dyson club. In this case it looks deliberate.

http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/blogs/local-knowledge/2014/01/did-sergio-garcia-cheat-video-shows-he-may-have-tapped-down.html
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Post by Roller_Coaster Fri 17 Jan 2014, 1:32 pm

I like the fact that the link now points to "Garcia cleared of illegally tapping down spike mark"

Even before the Friday am update...

"The evidence itself is far from incriminating because, as GolfCentralDaily.com, the website that first spotted the video, points out, he could be tapping down a ball mark that he had previously repaired."

I'm not a fan of Garcia per se but it looks like this particular witch hunt will have to wait a little longer before gathering credible momentum. Unless, of course, there is a link to footage showing the pitch mark he repaired wasn't where he tapped. If there is, then I will sit corrected with a resounding boo to Garcia and a call to DQ him but I guess there must be enough to back up his side of the story.

See there's some belting scoring out there in the desert today though with a 63 from Willett in and the aforementioned Spaniard looks to have scraped through to the weekend with a 4 under today.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 17 Jan 2014, 1:56 pm

True measure of Garcia's character shown as he rebounds from yesterday's 76 with today's 68 to make the cut "on the number".

Tommy Fleetwood still going well, Mac.

Delighted to see Robbie Karlsson with a fine 67, but can Thrillit Willett kick on from his 63 or will Saturday see a repeat of his inconsistency?


Russell Knox also playing well in the Desert, with a 65 on a day when anything -2 or worse was cut-missing form. Davis and Laird in with three under par 69's.

Sad to see Immelman propping up the field (all except Fatty Weekley whose knees seem to have given up the ghost; that boy needs to lose some lb's).

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Post by Shotrock Fri 17 Jan 2014, 3:28 pm

Evidently, Sergio pretty much stayed out of the ever-dangerous rough to sneak in for the cut. Good for him. (Any more reports of missing golfers or threatening injuries?)

Now, here's hoping O'Hair can make a cut this weekend!

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 17 Jan 2014, 4:17 pm

The value of par has been missing from the Bob Hope/Humana for a few decades now! Hope to see it return at Torrey Pines, on the South Course at least!!

SO'H needs a round or two in the 60's; important for him to kick-start his season or it'll be a long year for him, and he's come too far in the game to lose his way now. Good luck to him.

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Post by twoeightnine Fri 17 Jan 2014, 4:26 pm

Kwini
Did you hear the story on the coverage last night of Knox hitting a cow in an amateur tournament in Scotland and it rebounded into play? I think he may have ended up winning it!

We have the Nick Faldo commentary here so I guess you may get the same.

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Post by raycastleunited Fri 17 Jan 2014, 4:31 pm

twoeightnine wrote: his Ronald McDonald outfit at the Open in Carnoustie .

do you mean this?

http://www.golfchannel.com/media/07-open-championship-saturday/#slide-10

my favourite was when he dressed up as a big banana at Hoylake. Hope he does it again this year:

http://golfweek.com/photos/2010/jun/07/6457/

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Post by Shotrock Fri 17 Jan 2014, 4:35 pm

Two - Saw the same and also played Brora this past Spring (in monster winds)! I saw no cows, but plenty of sheep on my outing and thought I might hit one or two myself on #16. It may sound crazy to have a course with an electric fence around every green due to roaming livestock, but I can tell you first hand it works just fine! (Some of the nicest people in the bar, too!)

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Post by GPB Fri 17 Jan 2014, 5:02 pm

Looks like Abu Dhabi was giving Free tickets to Empty seats.  Because that is all I see in the Grandstand.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 17 Jan 2014, 5:29 pm

289,
Great story!!
Hardly watched any inHumana last night, will probably miss it tonight also.
Another birdie already in Round 2 for Knox (edit: cancel that, pgatour.com up to its tricks again) - the winning scores since they went to four rounds two years ago have been -25 and -24. Knox is 1/3 of the way there then.

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Post by twoeightnine Fri 17 Jan 2014, 7:15 pm

Ray - That's the one although having the Spanish flag in the background makes a little more sense. The mellow yellow one is also a beaut!

Kwini - I've been able to watch a lot more since a divorce but made a school boy error recently with girlfriend who I'd educated to believe a round of golf takes five hours plus a couple of drinks when I came back crowing that we'd got round in 2:45 and she pointed out that this meant I'd actually then spent 3:15 in the bar... Not sure she really bought my explanation. Not sure I really cared!!!

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 17 Jan 2014, 7:34 pm

289,
The world is full of significant others who fail to grasp what one could very easily be doing in much less time than it takes to play golf where they may know exactly where one is.

Breathless tweets about the place twittering about a "59" watch when Matt Every started six under in his first six holes. Plus 2 since then has silenced the chatter.
Laird starting well, much to the chagrin presumably of Scots who don't consider him Scottish enough (or at all).

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 17 Jan 2014, 10:31 pm

Parnevik in with a 64 - that's something you don't see every day.

Knox lost ground with his 70, Brian Davis is struggling at a place you'd think he'd fancy, but Laird is loving the wide open spaces and threatening the leaderboard, if not the 63/63 leader, Patrick Reed.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 18 Jan 2014, 1:22 pm

The field for the Farmers Insurance OPen in San Diego next week hints at the European Tour's loss and PGA Tour's gain as many of the top US golfers take a couple of weeks off, but Europeans start to come out of hibernation:
Dubuisson, Colsaerts, Gonzo, Poulter, David Lynn and Westwood are in the field along with the usual suspects.
California dreamers like Mickelson and Woods play but most of the Florida/Carolinas gang will be home practicing their art in search of form by the time they get to Phoenix.

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Post by super_realist Sat 18 Jan 2014, 2:24 pm

San Diego is a great city. I could quite happily live there.

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Post by GPB Sat 18 Jan 2014, 2:37 pm

Foot Fault for Rory!

Caroline loses in Aus Open (3rd round)

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 18 Jan 2014, 4:00 pm

It's three rounds, on three different courses, at the Humana Society's outing before a 54-hole cut is made for Round 4.

The cut-line is -6(SIX!) after 36 holes so can be projected to be -9 (possibly -8 if the wind gets up) and that means Brian Davis probably needs at least a 67 today, while Team Scotland's finest both need under par rounds to be absolutely sure of a payday.
Colsaerts will need at least a 68.

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Post by twoeightnine Sat 18 Jan 2014, 7:00 pm

I'm abroad so not able to see the coverage but Rory's penalty seems to have plumbed new depths of idiocy. From what I gather he had a foot on a spectator crosswalk? Generally rules should be about the potential to gain an advantage but I cannot work out anyway that he got an advantage. Plus a crosswalk is on the course so it's not like he was out of bounds, etc.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 18 Jan 2014, 7:38 pm

Trouble is, in this particular place it seems stupid, but the crosswalk could just as easily have been something like a cartpath or some other such "impediment" where pros go out of their way to secure an advantage.
Just to be a devil's advocate. Oh well, Major Champions not knowing the rules is an international malaise.

Much better news in California for the double-barrelled golfer called Davis Laird, a combined eight under par after 15 holes.

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Post by Davie Sat 18 Jan 2014, 8:53 pm

Wasn't he taking relief from a cart path? And only took partial relief? I'd expect any decent club golfer, never mind a top pro to know the rule concerns full relief

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 18 Jan 2014, 9:49 pm

63-63-63 for Patrick Reed. Tour 54-hole record by two shots.
Cut looks like it could go to -10 so Brian Davis will need a 66 to be safe for sure.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 19 Jan 2014, 12:26 pm

If Prince Drac was still on here he'd be writing:
"Pablito, PABLITO"!!
What a win!

Interesting result on lots of levels, and very good to see Messrs Karlsson and Molinari continue their comebacks.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 19 Jan 2014, 1:23 pm

Today's Final Round in California has to accomodate NINETY golfers, with play starting on both nines.
Expect M25-type traffic-jams on every hole; Patrick Reed may need every one of his seven stroke lead as survival alone will be a test of patience.

A ridiculous situation in prospect that must surely be addressed before next year's tournament.

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Post by John Cregan Sun 19 Jan 2014, 1:29 pm

Davie wrote:Wasn't he taking relief from a cart path? And only took partial relief? I'd expect any decent club golfer, never mind a top pro to know the rule concerns full relief


Took relief from a spectator walkway which was indicated clearly by white lines. Then, after his drop, proceeded to play with his foot on the white line. Pretty similar to having your foot on a red line after taking a drop from a hazard. A very easy rule to understand and Rory calling it a "stupid" rule relays a level of immaturity and disrespect that is synonymous from his Nike stablemate.

Not sure had the caddy who spotted it a chance to inform him or not before he played it ? Was JP not looking??

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 19 Jan 2014, 6:38 pm

Agree John,
A shame that the world's best can't accept appropriate penalties gracefully. No complaints from Phil I notice.

They're plodding around the Palmer Course in California - Aussie Matt Jones is the only non-American in the leading thirteen.
Russell Knox creeping up the ladder, Martin Laird snaking down it, Brian Davis treading H2O.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 19 Jan 2014, 10:55 pm

Fine final rounds by Davis Knox Laird: 67:66:68

Knox's 66 included closing with five straight birdies which purges the demons of last week and he'll earn at least a top-20 finish, possibly top-15.
He's entered for San Diego but it probably wouldn't be a bad time to take a break provided he's in Phoenix, no guarantee of that.

Regardless, Knox will be back in the top 40 of the all-important FedEx points race.

Zach Johnson in with the best round of the week and he is just relentless prior to a four-week break. Still Patrick Reed's to lose, but you never know.

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Post by Shotrock Mon 20 Jan 2014, 12:14 am

Well, Reed finished what he started ... stumble as he might trying to come in.

Meanwhile, I see that the ever-observant Monty opines on the next (current, IMO) major force in professional golf, the Irishman: "He's the most talented player to emerge since Seve Ballesteros," said Montgomerie. "Seve fell out of his pram playing golf and Rory did the same thing. That's not going to go away."

I'm guessing the dour Scot either REALLY likes what Rory is doing compared to Tiger, or is speaking about the European players alone.

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Post by McLaren Mon 20 Jan 2014, 2:16 am

Bit of an odd finish to the abu dhabi from R-mac. Played well but didn't look like holing a putt on the back nine. He is certainly getting back to some great ball striking form.

Not sure what monty is talking about, does he even understand the drivel he spouts?

The european tour might have just had its most interesting event of the year and we are only in January. Will there be a field approaching that quality until the BMW PGA in may?
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Post by super_realist Mon 20 Jan 2014, 3:17 pm

Shotrock wrote:Well, Reed finished what he started ... stumble as he might trying to come in.

Meanwhile, I see that the ever-observant Monty opines on the next (current, IMO) major force in professional golf, the Irishman: "He's the most talented player to emerge since Seve Ballesteros," said Montgomerie. "Seve fell out of his pram playing golf and Rory did the same thing. That's not going to go away."

I'm guessing the dour Scot either REALLY likes what Rory is doing compared to Tiger, or is speaking about the European players alone.

Despite 9C being the most successful, it doesn't have to follow he's the most skilled/talented.
I'd definitely say MIckelson is a more talented player than 9C.

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Post by Shotrock Mon 20 Jan 2014, 3:21 pm

Totally agree with that Super.

But, IMO I would put Tiger's talent above Seve, and more slightly above Rory.

All opinions, and I do suspect Monty may be talking about the European contingency alone.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 20 Jan 2014, 3:25 pm

No-one is more talented or tougher than Tiger mentally though, probably the edge he's lost since he got off that driving offence.


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Post by super_realist Mon 20 Jan 2014, 3:26 pm

I'd say 9C is very good all round, but stand out in no particular department.

I'd agree that Mcilroy is a fantastic "natural" talent, certainly more fluid and photogenic than Woods on a golf technicality level, but Seve was a different class when it came to imagination and shot playing, or "talent" if you prefer.

Horses for courses though.

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Post by Shotrock Mon 20 Jan 2014, 4:05 pm


To me, talent is as much about not getting in trouble as that spectacular escape.

So, while Phil "the Thrill" and Seve certainly seem to rise to the occasion (and many times), I don't lose sight of the fact that they put themselves into those situations with lots of errant shots to begin with.

All-world players, however.


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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 20 Jan 2014, 4:33 pm

Golf has many formats doesn't it?
 
Tiger, despite his amateur record and MatchPlay wins, has been found wanting in the crucible of Ryder Cup fire in a place that Seve thrived. Recently he hasn't been much cop at the WGC-Accenture either to the extent that there seems doubt he'll participate this year. We'll know soon enough.

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Post by super_realist Mon 20 Jan 2014, 4:40 pm

Shotrock wrote:
To me, talent is as much about not getting in trouble as that spectacular escape.

So, while Phil "the Thrill" and Seve certainly seem to rise to the occasion (and many times), I don't lose sight of the fact that they put themselves into those situations with lots of errant shots to begin with.

All-world players, however.

9C's driving has put him in trouble throughout his entire career.


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Post by Shotrock Mon 20 Jan 2014, 4:49 pm

In the professional game, at the top level, it's of course overwhelmingly medal play, 4 rounds. (Save for the very occasional big match play tournament and the annual end-of-season exhibition events.) Nearly impossible to make a living on match play prowess alone.

And I'm certain the touring professional (and the more important sponsor) wants it that way. Out after one round? Play against the field, not just a hot or cold single opponent? I can fully understand why anyone would skip the WGC-Accenture (in addition to the course!).

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Post by GPB Mon 20 Jan 2014, 5:32 pm

I don't like Match Play as a tournament format.

I like it in Ryder Cup etc.  but as a tournament format, I think it is a poor way to decide a tournament.

FTR, I have won three Club Championships conducted at Match Play.  Zero Club Championship conducted at Stroke Play.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 20 Jan 2014, 5:38 pm

Crappy course, ought to be in Australia. Memo to Finchem if you please.
Not sure why Finchem scrapped the old Tucson tournament; he'd've been better off playing the MatchPlay at TPC Scottsdale and have left Tucson to the Conquistadors.
 
Sr, I was just pointing out that Seve, for all his brilliant shotmaking in "regular" tournaments, was something else in Match Play.
Or: Perhaps it was also his leadership, never-say-die charismatic attitude, galvanizing his team in a way that few have achieved. A class apart in that regard. Hopefully Rory will capture some of that but probably not.


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Always thought there was more of Seve about you than Tiger . . . . . . . .

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Post by Shotrock Mon 20 Jan 2014, 6:35 pm

Australia: some amazing courses with virtually guaranteed great weather (not the snow we saw at this event recently). Trouble is, a 12 hour delay will hardly excite the paying sponsors, who want live events at or near prime time for their US audience. As they say, money talks and you-know-what walks.

Was there player more fun to watch when he was making it happen than Seve?

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