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PGA Tour: The Road To Kapalua: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 06 Jan 2015, 3:33 am

First topic message reminder :

1).Happy New Year, and welcome back to nine solid months of the PGA Tour. Thrills and spills of Tour action, but who'll be thrilling and who'll be spilling?

2).Despite four notable absentees (McIlroy, Rose, Scott and Kaymer), 34 of the 2013/2014 season's Champions tee it up on Friday (FRIDAY! The tournament wraps up on Monday) at Kapalua, on lovely Maui, a pretty good turnout considering that many erstwhile champions have seen fit to give the event a very cold shoulder. Only 30 played last year, and only ten of those will be back for more:
Hyundai Tournament Of Champions winner Zach Johnson, plus Streelman, Horschel, Kuchar, Moore, Kirk, Reed, Bae, Walker and Henley.

A year ago we'd've been expecting at least some of last season's qualifiers such as Mickelson and Woods, McDowell, Simpson, Snedeker and Spieth, Dufner and Dustin, Haas and Harris English, to be back for more, but a year's a long time in golf, as in everything else, and injuries and loss of form take their toll.

3).No Europeans will be playing, and only Geoff Ogilvy joins Zach Johnson as a past Champion. Ogilvy continues to be one of golf's great enigmas, US Open Champion, three-time WGC Champ and twice winner here . . . . but very little else. Bags of talent but seems to go walkabout way too often. Perhaps Billy Horschel is somewhat similar, blowing cold most of last season before getting red hot during the Play Offs. Wouldn't be surprised to see either win this week.

4).The news these past few weeks has been pretty second-rate. Scott hires Mike Kerr as his new caddie, Tiger has a new coach, Mrs Top Five has a seizure in her rubadubdub, Bae might have to enter the South Korean military, Bubba has a new baby, Phil's lost weight (however temporary), Dustin's playing lights out and Rory might have a new woman. Time to crank it up boys, and perhaps this lot will make headlines in 2015:

5).Early fancies for Majors:
Masters: Rory: Wish father to the thought?
US Open: Phil: Well, why not? Hardly anyone else will have seen Chambers Bay - Perhaps we'll see Steven Gerrard win the Cup on his 35th birthday, and Mickelson finally take the US Open during the week of his 45th.
The Open: Stenson exploded out of a rough stretch of form in 2010 to finish fourth. Maybe it's his turn? (But wouldn't be surprised to see Shane Lowry contend.)
PGA: Whistling Straits owes Dustin, and Dustin owes his ability a Major. Both will be overdue when August comes around.

6).First-time winners?
Brooks Koepka! Rookie of the Year if he's eligible.
Tringale and Chris Stroud have been close enough times to take a step forward, Kevin Chappell too if he can get his head sorted out. I'd put Russell Knox as the European most likely to.
Canadians have been more prominent recently and DeLaet and David Hearn have been close. But I like Adam Hadwin who's proven his resilience and kept bulldogging forward these past few years.
Of the college frat boys, Hudson Swafford had a disappointing first year on Tour but rebounded to retrieve his card and will enjoy a strong season, while Justin Thomas will be a popular choice to be this year's Jordan Spieth.
Kevin Kisner may not win, but he'll continue to edge closer, Morgan Hoffmann too.

7).What to make of Mister Woods? GolfWorld has a cover story this week of Tiger and his "Chipping Yips" with plenty of short-game gurus lamenting the set-up seen at his Hero worship Challenge. Difficult to believe for him, but most Major courses demand an expert chipping game and the last thing Tiger needs is problems with another Achilles Heel. If he really struggles, and he'd probably consider a major-less season with one win a struggle, how will he handle that? 39 years old, an old 39, and chipping like Allenby, Clark or Mahan.

8).As Messrs Colsaerts, Hanson, Lynn and Olesen depart the Tour stage, what to make of other European Tour invaders? I can see Donaldson, Dubuisson and Molinari doing well enough to keep their cards, but they'll depend on the WGC's and Majors to do it - if Molinari can't qualify for them, perhaps he'll be chasing the dream a year too late. While Saffer Sterne has got himself off to a horrible start, is bottom-surfing the web.com "reshuffle" category, and his year may be done before it's got started.

9).Keegan Bradley, Els, Webb Simpson and Brendan Steele have all experimented in tournament play with a regulation putting stroke. Mixed success so far, Ernie the most reconciled to conventional stroke. For better or worse.
While Clark, Pettersson, Scott, and even Langer among others have apparently not changed yet. They have just nine months remaining to fill their boots before it's anchors aweigh. It'll be strange to see the PGA Tour and Champions Tour go in to their 2015/2016 season with exempt members who are only exempt courtesy of outlawed play.

10).At least until they reach the Top 50 all-time money winners, as Sergio (9th), Donald (14th), Rose (18th), McIlroy (33rd), Harrington (37th) and Pettersson (42nd) have done, the Europeans' tenure on the PGA Tour is precarious.
One "rookie" European finished his first PGA Tour season a couple of years ago securing his card for the following year and looked forward, "There's nothing that I've seen on the tour this year that makes me think I can't compete on a long-term basis."
Yes, well, an injury took him out in 2013 and he failed to fulfil the demands of his Major Medical Extension. Expect to hear him on the radio this year. Commentating. Who remembers whose Tour epitaph that was??!!

Guys like Freddie Jac, Westwood, Poulter, Casey, Laird - none of whom have any exemption beyond this year - at least have the safety net of "Past Champion" status, plus marketability for sponsors invitations, but Colsaerts and the others never earned that.
And nor have Brian Davis or Gonzo, not to mention Padraig ("I'm Irish. I don't know where I sit. Or maybe I do.") Harrington who eschewed his one-time career earnings exemption for 2015 but will surely need a miracle to stay on Tour without using it for next season.  

Meanwhile, let's sit back and enjoy Kapalua's spectacular setting (maybe JAS has taken a detour?), full of promise for the brand new year of golf.
Boo ya.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Mon 12 Jan 2015, 2:45 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 09 Jan 2015, 4:37 pm

Very strong field for Dubai, though leading Americans are staying home:
McIlroy
Stenson
Garcia
Kaymer
Dubuisson
McDowell
Westwood
Luiten
Gallacher
Bjorn
Jaidee
Oosthuizen
Ilonen
Willett
Levy
Siem
Els
etc.


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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer Fri 09 Jan 2015, 6:01 pm

GPB wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:Trouble is, CBS promotion material seems to fall outside the guidelines.

Thankfully, the PKKMSVC has Masters week off.

Spoiler:

Think you mean PKKMBHSVC, but either way it's good all round

Spoiler:

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Post by GPB Fri 09 Jan 2015, 6:08 pm

Doh

And I thought I was being so clever! Very Happy

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 09 Jan 2015, 6:10 pm

Jason Sobel writes a good column from time to time on the Golf Channel's web-site. Here's his take on the Phoenix Open:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/jason-sobel/crazy-will-get-crazier-woods-tpc-scottsdale/

I love the Kenny Perry story!

PS: References to a "fanny pack" not quite what an innocent British consumer might imagine.

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer Fri 09 Jan 2015, 6:24 pm

Was too clever for me thumbsup , without the spoiler I had no #$(%^@! idea what you were referring to.

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Post by GPB Sat 10 Jan 2015, 3:31 am

Looks like Frankie M is all in for the PGAtour this year.  He is playing Sony next week.

I thought Poulter was supposed to play Sony (and Humana).  But he is not in the field.

Zach, J-Day, Kuchar, LUKE, Hideki, Kirk, Walker, Webb, Na are the Top 50 players I see in the field.

At least 5 Geezers in the field:  Funk, Love, Goydos, Singh, Perry.  

#38 on the reshuffle list is the first alternate...as of right now.  Richard Sterne is paying for his slow start.  7th alternate.

Surprised that Jarrod Lyle is not in the field.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 10 Jan 2015, 10:46 am

Surprised to see Casey in the field, looks like he and Donald playing Humana also, but Poulter's name no longer in either field - must be playing Ferraris.

Russell Knox and Brian Davis playing both weeks, Laird just Humana.

Molinari needs some strong finishes, but Waialae should suit him, Humana not so much.

Russell Henley didn't miss a putt inside 15 feet yesterday, plus he made some bombs - incredible putting exhibition. Stop it!

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 10 Jan 2015, 12:17 pm

Schwartzel going low in the SA Open, reportedly playing with a broken toe.
That must be helping him as his recent form has been dismal.

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Post by GPB Sat 10 Jan 2015, 2:02 pm

I wonder if anyone is going to do a Chad Campbell.

A few years ago, he flew all the way to Hawaii only to find out he didn't enter the tournament.

Here is the blurb on Poulter:


Poulter plans to do a formal launch in London after the European Tour season ends in Dubai. But there won't be much of an offseason. Depending on how he fares the next two weeks, Poulter said he might start his season in Hawaii at the Sony Open, which he hasn't played in 10 years.

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/doug-ferguson/angry-poulter-search-needed-turnaround/

I guess his finish in the RtD changed in his mind.

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Post by super_realist Sat 10 Jan 2015, 2:54 pm

9C saying he's "Ready to Go", heard that before.

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Post by beninho Sat 10 Jan 2015, 4:35 pm

To get in this hawaii tournement is it winners in 2014 or winners last season? The few events before Christmas count as last year or this season?

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 10 Jan 2015, 4:53 pm

Calendar year 2014 only. Starting with Zach Johnson at last year's TOC.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 10 Jan 2015, 8:34 pm

I see this month's Golf Digest Undercover Pro takes a shot at Johnny Miller and, to a lesser extent, Peter Oosterhuis, in their TV commentary roles.
I think he gives away who he is, a golfer who retrieved his Tour card by winning towards the end of last year, but would be interested if others come to the same conclusion. He thinks Feherty is hilarious which certainly suggests an undeveloped sense of humour.

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Post by pedro Sat 10 Jan 2015, 10:07 pm

Which month are you reading kwini? Do you have a link?

January is about groupies and it's pretty obvious it's Billy Ho.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 10 Jan 2015, 10:55 pm

February. Only skipped thru the groupie thing - seemed a bit designed for ego only, s'pose most of them are. Reckon this one could be either Cauley or Ogilvy, a bit trite for Ogilvy but who knows.

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Post by McLaren Sun 11 Jan 2015, 1:08 am

Woods?
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Post by GPB Sun 11 Jan 2015, 1:44 am

Villegas won at the end of the year.

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Post by GPB Sun 11 Jan 2015, 2:01 am

Sergio Garcia is the Bahamas playing in a $10K poker tournament.  Well he was, he busted early in a day 2.

He seems to be tight with Brazilian Soccer Star Ronoldo.

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Post by super_realist Sun 11 Jan 2015, 8:54 am

Matthew Fitzpatrick could do himself a lot of good in making early strides in securing his card in Sith Efrica.

Schwartzel ought to win but Fitzpatrick could win a pile of cash.

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Post by robopz Sun 11 Jan 2015, 10:23 am

super_realist wrote:Matthew Fitzpatrick could do himself a lot of good in making early strides in securing his card in Sith Efrica.

Schwartzel ought to win but Fitzpatrick could win a pile of cash.
Question on Fitzpat... I realize he got a SE into Abu Dhabi, but wondering about the benefits of "high finishes" on the ET.  On the PGAT it's generally top-10 this week gets you in next week (with exceptions i won't go into here).... but I don't know what the ET rule is in that regard... or if they even have one since there are so many classes of events and co-sanctions with different tours.  So would a 2nd place.. or some other finish this week get somebody into Abu Dhabi?

But either way... and regardless of what happens today... good playing for the kid...

EDIT: Super... and by the way... doesn't Fitz already have his card... via his 11th in Q-school?

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Post by super_realist Sun 11 Jan 2015, 10:40 am

I'm talking about him retaining his card for 2016, not sure about the machinations of getting a card and retaining one, but I don't know whether getting a card v tour school means he keeps it for 2016, doesn't he have to win a certain amount this year to be around for next?

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Post by NedB-H Sun 11 Jan 2015, 10:53 am

robopz wrote:
super_realist wrote:Matthew Fitzpatrick could do himself a lot of good in making early strides in securing his card in Sith Efrica.

Schwartzel ought to win but Fitzpatrick could win a pile of cash.
Question on Fitzpat... I realize he got a SE into Abu Dhabi, but wondering about the benefits of "high finishes" on the ET.  On the PGAT it's generally top-10 this week gets you in next week (with exceptions i won't go into here).... but I don't know what the ET rule is in that regard... or if they even have one since there are so many classes of events and co-sanctions with different tours.  So would a 2nd place.. or some other finish this week get somebody into Abu Dhabi?

But either way... and regardless of what happens today... good playing for the kid...

EDIT:  Super... and by the way... doesn't Fitz already have his card... via his 11th in Q-school?  
I think so... I believe the setup is quite similar to the PGA tour, theoretically top ten gets you in but with some exceptions. But I'm not sure what the exceptions are.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 11 Jan 2015, 11:13 am

Matty Fitz is a long way down the alternate list for Qatar, and a long, long way down for Dubai.
Not sure if either would accommodate top ten from SA Open as I don't think either is a full-field event, perhaps he'd have to go to Malaysia. Or Thailand?

Up to second now.

I see Gary Stal is high up the leaderboard again - is he the next young thing from France after Dubuisson et Levy?

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 11 Jan 2015, 11:15 am

Plus! I need some help from the stats guys!! Zach Johnson reportedly hit every fairway and every green at Kapalua yesterday - apparently only the fourth time that's happened in a PGA Tour event in five years - wonder who the other three straight arrows were?

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Post by robopz Sun 11 Jan 2015, 11:19 am

Louis Oosthuizen... He's a notable absence this week... but going back and checking, he hasn't played the S.A. Open since 2010. I also noticed he's not entered in Abu Dhabi or Qatar the next two weeks, but does show on the entry list for Dubai the week after that.

Anybody know the deal on this? Is just that he takes a break around this time (but he missed it in Dec. & Nov. in 2011 and 2012)... or what is it?

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 11 Jan 2015, 12:13 pm

I think King Louis has more fun on his tractors than he ever does on the golf course.

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Post by robopz Sun 11 Jan 2015, 12:29 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Plus! I need some help from the stats guys!! Zach Johnson reportedly hit every fairway and every green at Kapalua yesterday - apparently only the fourth time that's happened in a PGA Tour event in five years - wonder who the other three straight arrows were?
Can't help on this one... except JR said the other three were at the John Deere....

EDIT: One of those three turns out to be Tim Clark in Round 3 at the 2014 John Deere... it appears as though the other two who would have done it did not finish in the top-15 as they are not in the final leaders recap for any of the last 5 years...

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Post by incontinentia Sun 11 Jan 2015, 2:51 pm

Great win for Andy Sullivan in the SA Open, helped A LOT by Schwartzel's mistakes coming in. Super birdie on the playoff hole though for Sullivan, what a second shot!!
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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 11 Jan 2015, 2:54 pm

Wow, What a mess from Schwartzel.
Andy Sullivan's coming out party perhaps?
The next generation of young Englishmen with Tommy Fleetwood as well.

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Post by pedro Sun 11 Jan 2015, 2:55 pm

His second shot from the trees must be shot of the month... At least so far... Very Happy

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Post by incontinentia Sun 11 Jan 2015, 3:39 pm

Maybe even shot of the year! Wink Charl must have needed a heimlich after those last few holes, class pitch in the playoff but the tee shot sealed his fate.
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Post by JAS Sun 11 Jan 2015, 6:55 pm

Agree with the other comments about Kapalua being a great watch (and play). Love this part of the season as I've played Kapalua, Torrey South, and Pebble (not forgetting Spyglass which they also use at the AT&T). I love watching those venues on TV as most of the time you have a much better idea of what a putt is going to do.

Sadly no detour this year Kwini, Cabo more or less emptied the piggy bank :-p. Would love to see one of those Cabo courses being used at some point. Who's to say Tiger won't take the Hero "worship" Challenge to his lair South of the border in coming years. He is pretty committed to Diamante and has been commissioned to build another course on the same property as well as a Par 3 course.

Of the majors in the coming year
Masters? Bubba or Rory
US Open? Rory, Rickie, Sergio
Open? As above and I'll throw in Casey & Lowrie as outsiders if they get an Oustie type draw.
PGA? Kuchar, Speith Rory and a total punt...Donald could re-emerge from his slump and surprise

I think the 19 bus has now passed Tiger by and a Majorless year this year will confirm it (as if it's not confirmed already).

If Rory bags 2 or more this year then inevitably the 19 question will start hovering around him.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 11 Jan 2015, 7:29 pm

JAS,
The Seniors used one of the Cabo courses a while ago, I think for a silly season event of some sort and presumably a Nicklaus course.

Not much room on the Tour schedule right now, but you're right about the Hero - but first they have a contract to fulfil in the Bahamas.


Very packed leaderboard in Kapalua - Round 3 just getting underway.

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Post by Davie Sun 11 Jan 2015, 7:52 pm

Why was Kapalua a Friday start? Some sort of worthless holiday in USA tomorrow?

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Post by GPB Sun 11 Jan 2015, 8:25 pm

Yes, Hyundai is a Friday Start.  No Holiday in the USA other than NFL football which rules Television.

A few years ago, the Tour decided to go with a Monday finish so not to go against NFL football.

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Post by JAS Sun 11 Jan 2015, 10:13 pm

Only last year or the year before they went to a Tuesday finish because of the weather :-p

Every day in Hawaii feels like a holiday and I think it helps that the next event is only a 20 minute flight away.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 11 Jan 2015, 10:25 pm

Here's the answer to the fairways and greens conundrum.
Zach Johnson in Round 2 became just the fourth golfer in the last five years to hit every fairway and all 18 greens in regulation.
The other three were all at the John Deere, as robo said:
John Merrick in 2012
Russell Knox in 2013
Tim Clark in 2014

Edit: Needless to say Zach bunkered his second shot on the Par 4 first hole today.

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Post by robopz Mon 12 Jan 2015, 12:27 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Here's the answer to the fairways and greens conundrum.
Zach Johnson in Round 2 became just the fourth golfer in the last five years to hit every fairway and all 18 greens in regulation.
The other three were all at the John Deere, as robo said:
John Merrick in 2012
Russell Knox in 2013
Tim Clark in 2014

Edit: Needless to say Zach bunkered his second shot on the Par 4 first hole today.
Interesting they showed a graphic of 4 players doing it in the history of the ToC since it moved to Kapalua.... I only caught the last 1/2 second of it and didn't get the names... but if it's gonna happen anywhere... 3 times at the Deere kinda surprised me... but 4 on the Plantation not surprising despite the short fields... gotta be the most generous fairways and greens on tour by far... so it makes sense.

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Post by pedro Mon 12 Jan 2015, 8:01 am

robo,
Duval and Estes were two of them. Can't remember the third.

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Post by NedB-H Mon 12 Jan 2015, 12:53 pm

ET.com confirms that Fitzpatrick has played his way into Abu Dhabi, along with Tadini, Slattery and Paul Maddy (who?)

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Post by raycastleunited Mon 12 Jan 2015, 1:20 pm

robopz wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:Here's the answer to the fairways and greens conundrum.
Zach Johnson in Round 2 became just the fourth golfer in the last five years to hit every fairway and all 18 greens in regulation.
The other three were all at the John Deere, as robo said:
John Merrick in 2012
Russell Knox in 2013
Tim Clark in 2014

Edit: Needless to say Zach bunkered his second shot on the Par 4 first hole today.
Interesting they showed a graphic of 4 players doing it in the history of the ToC since it moved to Kapalua.... I only caught the last 1/2 second of it and didn't get the names... but if it's gonna happen anywhere... 3 times at the Deere kinda surprised me... but 4 on the Plantation not surprising despite the short fields... gotta be the most generous fairways and greens on tour by far... so it makes sense.

Even though they're as wide as a football pitch, some of those Kapalua fairways are really hard to hit... the ball catches the slopes and just rolls for miles from one side to the other. The rough is pretty forgivng though, and the greens are massive.

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Post by super_realist Mon 12 Jan 2015, 1:22 pm

I would imagine there will be a barrel load of player at The Open this year hitting every fairway and every green.

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Post by skiddy Mon 12 Jan 2015, 1:26 pm

What would the winning score be on toc if the weather is the exact same as Hoylake?

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Post by SmithersJones Mon 12 Jan 2015, 1:32 pm

What is your best score round TOC Super? Presumably somewhere in the mid 50s?
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Post by super_realist Mon 12 Jan 2015, 1:36 pm

68 Smithers, bound to shoot better than that one day though. A lot of guys at the club though have shot 63,64.

Skiddy, Hoylake weather could easily produce -26 to -30

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Post by BlueCoverman Mon 12 Jan 2015, 2:11 pm

NedB-H wrote:ET.com confirms that Fitzpatrick has played his way into Abu Dhabi, along with Tadini, Slattery and Paul Maddy (who?)

Paul Maddy is an eastern region pro from Royston and is attached to Gog Magog golf club Ned. Paul earn't his place on the main tour for 2015 after finishing 10th at Q school in Spain. Used to see him at Felixstowe golf club where they run a monthly pro/am event throughout the winter. He shot 67 to win the last one he played in before he got his card and picked up £250! Don't suppose we will be seeing him at Felixstowe any more! Laugh

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Post by GPB Mon 12 Jan 2015, 3:46 pm

Richard Sterne has entered both Sony and Abu Dhabi this week. 

Sterne is the 7th alternate right now at Sony so I would guess he is in (or traveling to) Abu Dhabi right now, but I wonder what he will do if he gets into Sony later today.

Sony's purse is twice as much as Abu Dhabi.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 12 Jan 2015, 4:42 pm

Sterne would be crazy to leave SAF on Sunday night and fly to Hawaii on the off-chance; just about the worst jet-lag you could think of.
Purse size doesn't matter if/when he misses the cut: 100% of nothing is still nothing.
Would be much wiser to tool up to Abu Dhabi and focus on getting a good result in a smaller field.

But his agent needs to start working hard to secure him a sponsor's invite or four in the California tournaments, otherwise he risks being even plummer last in the next "reshuffle".

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Post by raycastleunited Mon 12 Jan 2015, 7:00 pm

super_realist wrote:68 Smithers, bound to shoot better than that one day though.  A lot of guys at the club though have shot 63,64.

Skiddy, Hoylake weather could easily produce -26 to -30

Surely if the weather is calm they just make the course harder, ie no water on the greens and tuck the pins behind bunkers, ridges and slopes.

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Post by raycastleunited Mon 12 Jan 2015, 7:04 pm

super_realist wrote:I would imagine there will be a barrel load of player at The Open this year hitting every fairway and every green.

Pretty sure when Tiger won the 2000 Open (in relatively calm conditions) he was the only player in the field to avoid the bunkers all week. I've not played TOC so bow before your greater knowledge, but it can't be that easy to hit all the fairways?

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