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PGA Tour: Desert Swing, Humana this week, Phoenix next: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 21 Jan 2015, 3:12 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).What a week in Golf! A nine-stroke win for Jimmy Walker as he dominated Sunday's final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii, and he scarcely earned any headlines at all. But let's skip past final round collapses, player abductions, denials of Dustin drug use and arrival of DJ Jr, golfer-saves-millionaire-from-drowning, and the tooth fairy, and give Jimmy Walker his due.

2).A week earlier, at Kapalua, Walker, by his own admission, played too conservatively and allowed Patrick Reed to reel him in and beat him in a play-off. That could have sewn second or third thoughts in Walker's mind as he took a narrow lead into Round 4 at Waialae, and that is how it looked as he trod water through seven holes. But an 8th hole tap-in birdie (the first of the day on that hole), and a Kuchar bogey, energized Walker and he birdied 7 of his final 11 holes to win by a distance.

3).So: How good is Jimmy Walker?
Three wins before March last season was an impressive achievement but he kinda ho-hummed through the rest of the year, at least until his Ryder Cup performance and Sunday (8 birdies in 16 holes) dusting of Lee Westwood. Up to 13th in the world, top of the US Presidents Cup Team qualification chart and coming off an emphatic win against Mr Consistency, Kuchar.
Walker led the Waialae field in both greens hit in regulation AND putting.
While Kuchar played a Tour round without a birdie for the first time in 255 rounds. Remarkable - what's that, about 2 1/2 years?

4).Walker just turned 36, scoring his first (Frys) win at 34. A few years ago we saw Kenny Perry play his best golf from his late thirties onwards, and then Steve Stricker went on a terrific run in his late thirties, early forties. More recently Dufner and Donaldson have shown quality in their mid thirties that we never saw in their twenties. WHO is the next thirty-something to take the golf world by storm?

5).The US Presidents Cup qualifying list looks like this:
Walker, Watson, Reed, Kirk, Kuchar, Moore, Furyk, ZJohnson, Horschel, Streb, (Spieth, Simpson).
14th: Fowler
47th: Mickelson
133rd: Woods

6).Paul Casey got off to a cracking start last week but, after his opening 62, went level par the rest of his way. Sadly typical of his recent Tour history, and he should and must do better.
But what wasn't "typical" was Brian Davis earning his first Top Ten finish in almost a year and a half of largely abysmal performances. This is a big year for Davis, not getting any younger and still doesn't have any exemption "safety net" other than "Veteran Player". plus he's $6.5M short of any career earnings exemption. Basically, he's got to keep grinding to keep his card. A win would help a LOT!

7).This is the fourth year of an 8-year title-sponsorship agreement for Humana at the old "Bob Hope" Desert Classic in California's Palm Springs area. Humana are opting out of their final four years, but tournament organizers are confident a replacement will be announced soon. They certainly have a decent field on hand, far better than when it was a 5-round event and the tournament was at death's door.
Many top Americans are here, including Kuchar, Horschel, Reed, Mickelson, ZJohnson, Kirk, Na, Bradley . . . . and Jason Dufner.

8).Jason Dufner??
Just a few months after saying he'd only play for a few more years, and coming off physical ailments which saw him walking off the course at Valhalla and opting out of Fed-Ex Play-Offs and Ryder Cup contention, he's cleaned up his act, lost a stone and a half, and is a Humana "Well-Being Ambassador". "Buff" says Golf Channel as Dufner's Dufnering days are over and he makes his first US start for 5 months following an Asian and Australasian busman's holiday last autumn.

9).Patrick Reed won "Humana" last year. It's all been a bit sh1t or bust for Reed so far, four Tour wins already, but seldom in contention otherwise. Wouldn't be surprised to see him follow Jimmy Walker in successfully defending his title. Regardless, here's a pleasant enough, if not exactly revealing, Q&A with him from pgatour.com:
http://www.pgatour.com/news/2015/01/20/patrick-reed-qa.html

Last week's Sony saw one of the lowest winning scores in PGA Tour history, and expect more of the same this week. Would like to offer thoughts on any other likely Humana winners but tough to do so when a shoot-out is involved and we're left with a putting contest.
And: Would like to suggest European contenders but they usually fall well short in such events and somewhat doubt the wisdom of guys like Casey, Donald & Molinari playing this week. (Which should assure they'll enjoy a good finish.)

10).Remember this week's format:
Rounds 1, 2 & 3 at three different courses, then the Top 70 and ties play Round 4 at "PGA West - Palmer Course".
BUT: Daylight is a scarce commodity so, if more than 78 golfers make the 54-hole cut, only Top 60 and ties will contest Round 4 - although Top 70 and ties will be paid. Got that?
And then on to Stage 2 of the 2-week Desert Swing, to Arizona for the Waste Management Phoenix Open when the Tour's circus really begins, complete with dental reports and other hoopla.

10) A).
Wishing a Very Happy 75th birthday to Jack Nicklaus. No longer "The best there is", definitely "The best there was", and possibly "The best there ever will be"!

kwinigolfer

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 27 Jan 2015, 11:24 pm

Not quite as big as his boulder, but close . . . . . . .

kwinigolfer

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Post by Lairdy Wed 28 Jan 2015, 9:05 am

Hi Kwini,

How are things? I've been pretty busy the past year or so but had the occasional skim over 606v2. Always good to see your 'notes' and the discussion they bring. Can't say I get to watch the same amount of golf, now being a dad, but still getting to play a fair amount and the little guy has his first set of (soft) clubs!

I always find the US tour attractive to watch this time of year due to our weather. I thought Kapulua event was a bit flat (sic) and missing a big name really. The sony was ok and just missing a decent european challenge - whatever happened to Poults?? And i thought the Humana was good. A tricked up course and a few birdies is what you need every now and then, particularly in winter. Add in a good winner (agreed on his pretty swing) and the first 3 events of 2015 have been better than 30 inches of snow.

PS. Allenby's antics getting more bizarre. You'd have thought some tongue in cheek, self humilating, jokes would have went down a storm with the Scottsdale crowd this week. I fear for him but I'm sure Geoff Ogilvy will help him smooth things out with his local crowd...

Lairdy

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 28 Jan 2015, 12:28 pm

Hi Lairdy,
Yup, Allenby can't win with the press. And everyone loves Ogilvy! Wonder if they've kissed and made up yet?
Your namesake has been playing better these past six months, hoping he has another good week in Phoenix - all a bit of a circus, especially with the SuperBowl close by, but should be entertaining.
Little plastic clubs and a ball turned out to be the best pressie ever for my lad - put his hands on the grip correctly and had a good grip and swing ever since. Unlike his Dad.
All the best . . . . . . . .

kwinigolfer

Posts : 26475
Join date : 2011-05-18
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Post by JAS Fri 30 Jan 2015, 8:17 am

Erm...Where's Ivor?? Just turned on the telly to watch the DDC this morning and a strange voice is introducing the players on the 1st tee.

JAS

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Post by incontinentia Fri 30 Jan 2015, 8:43 am

Think he retired Jas
incontinentia
incontinentia

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Post by super_realist Fri 30 Jan 2015, 8:50 am

incontinentia wrote:Think he retired Jas

He can go for a pee now.

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