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PGA Tour: Riviera and Ryder Cup: Notes from the Ballwasher

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PGA Tour: Riviera and Ryder Cup: Notes from the Ballwasher  - Page 2 Empty PGA Tour: Riviera and Ryder Cup: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer Wed 18 Feb 2015, 6:48 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).This week sees the third of the three excellent California "Coast" tournaments, in Los Angeles at George Thomas's gem, Riviera. This week also sees the end of a stretch where the six courses used were designed by architects who preferred to enhance what nature had provided, if a hole was hard then perhaps nature made it that way. After this we'll be on to two venues where courses were designed to be hard or penal, or both, redesigned by blokes who felt they could trump (pun unintended of course) nature. I know which I prefer.

2).And I should have noted last week how good Torrey Pines' South Course looked two weeks ago, what Americans might call a broad-shouldered course, demanding but with stunning views and green settings. Only thing they got wrong was the cut of the rough, where lies a foot off the fairway were likely to be more difficult than those ten yards (or, as some found, out 50 yards) wide of the short stuff. Always a gripe, that.
Otherwise, is it blasphemous to suggest that it makes for a better US Open test than Pebble Beach which had to be tricked up in 2010 to keep the scores up?

3).Last week's AT&T National Pro-Am enjoyed spectacular weather and expect more of the same this week in LA.
Brandt Snedeker and Nick Watney are two of the better players to follow on Tour, both had fallen on leaner times than they were used to, and very happy to see them return to contention. Sneds is back to the Top 50 and in all the WGC's and Majors, Watney is still on the outside looking in, hopefully not for much longer.

4).'Course, they'd both like to make Jay Haas's Presidents Cup Team and probably love to play the 2016 Ryder Cup.
The speculation is rife that Davis Love will be announced as the 2016 US Ryder Cup captain next week, at PGA HQ close by PGA National, site of the Honda Classic. Not quite sure why he didn't go into hibernation for a week to escape the media throng. But NO! He opted to take a very late pass into this week's Riviera field and how he gets to say "No Comment" is presumably something he'll be consulting fellow "Task Force" member Tiger Woods on.

5).One thing I don't understand is this:
Following the Miracle (or in their case Misery) at Medinah, the PGA Of America decided enough was enough, dispensed with the order of normal ascent to the Captaincy and chose Tom Watson to bring the Cup back to the "good old US of A".
After Watson's fiasco (who said Captains don't matter?) at Gleneagles, they announced a Task Force and, in their ultimate wisdom apparently chose to go back to Love whose Captaincy was felt to be lacking in the first place.
Any bets on Tom Watson for 2018? I've heard he's already taking French lessons.
Would think some heads are spinning, those of Couples and David Toms especially. (Apparently Azinger said he didn't want it.)

6).Fortunately there's a sense of natural progression in what the United States (or Donald Rumsfeld at least) call "Old Europe", and Welcome! to the hot seat to Darren Clarke. Thomas Bjorn next?

7).The strongest field of the PGA Tour's year so far has assembled at Riviera CC in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. Plenty of "International" golfers too, and three with decent track records here are Luke Donald (who needs a good tournament at least as much as Watney and Sneeedeker), Garcia and Schwartzel, but their recent form has been spotty/rusty, and you'd almost think they will be warming up (gaining reps?) for Florida.

8).I'm more interested in Casey, Molinari and Wiesberger; Casey because he needs to show his decision to abandon the E.T. was wise, Franny because his Tour season so far has been so promising and Riviera should suit him, and Bernd as his E.T. form has been so good.
Sadly no Shane Lowry, another who might be suited to Riviera; but Harrington is here as the tragedy of his decline has slumped from comedy to farce. Exhibit A being his play of his 18th hole at Spyglass last Saturday where a par would ensure he played Sunday, a bogey would get him paid, but St.Padraig conjured up a triple. Just the sort of thing to be expected from Greg Owen but not from a Major Champion.

9).Riviera is another horses-for-courses venue. Bubba won handsomely last year from Dustin Johnson, and DJ's form seems to be improving week by week, and Walker usually contends.
This year's Tour winners have been from the top drawer of PGA Tour Golf, Reed, Walker, Haas, Koepka, Day, Snedeker. Will we see another Top Fifty player or is it time for an outsider? Shilling each way fancies include last week's 3rd place finisher Charlie Beljan and his college teammate Spencer Levin, Chappell and Brendan Steele.

10).One final thought about Davis Love, and I'm a DLIII fan.
But: They say in rumoured testimony for Love that he's close to the players, he'll be a players' Captain, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.
But he'll be 52; he's no longer competitive on the PGA Tour - he certainly won't be playing many weekends, more likely playing Champions Tour, where one trusts that he'll be going to Montgomerie or Sutton for tips and not to Langer.
The players he leant on at Medinah, Woods, Stricker, Furyk, Mickelson, Zach, Dufner, Kuchar, Watson, will all be in their 38th year at least, out of contention or already past it. Not all perhaps, but most.
That leaves Bradley, Dustin, Snedeker and Simpson.
More likely the bulk of his Team will be the newish generation of Young Americans, the Georgia Frat Boys like English and Henley who Love probably knows well from the cozy confines of the Golden Isles, or the free spirits such as Fowler and Spieth, Reed and Koepka.  
Not quite sure the 2014 Task Force has got this quite right. What price a Task Force for October 2016? That's all I'm saying.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Thu 19 Feb 2015, 11:54 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Bob_the_Job Fri 20 Feb 2015, 9:22 am

sirbenson wrote:
super_realist wrote:Don't think Harrington has much hope, there's going to be a plethora of guys coming in after Clarke, Harrington hasn't distinguished himself enough to be in the running in my opinion.

As a player? He surely has or do you mean captaincy wise?

I like Harrington, thought he made the best of his talent for a good period of time. He's different, quite funny in person, but quirky bordering on nuts. He's not someone I'd naturally think "leader" or "captain" about though. He's a bit too ... individual for that (IMHO)
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Post by JAS Fri 20 Feb 2015, 11:10 am

I'd think Jiminez would be almost a shoe in when France get the gig in 2018, by 2020 the likes of Westwood, Donald, McDowell, Sergio & Poulter will be in the twilight of their careers & have the 20's decade covered. I don't really see Harrington getting a look-in a la Lyle. To those that say..."ah but he was a multiple Major winner" Yeah so was Faldo, even more so and his Captaincy wasn't exactly illustrious was it? I think McGinley's captaincy illustrated very well that you don't need to be looking for a major winning top playing career to be a good captain. Bjorn may have a glimmer of a chance in either 2018 or 2020 despite the "throwing the toys out the pram" outburst at Woosie a few years back. He has worked himself back into a decent position by getting onto the players committee and he has had a vice captaincy stint as well. Assuming MAJ does get it in 2018 I would guess Westwood or Bjorn for 2020. I would expect Westwood to be a vice as soon as he doesn't qualify for the team.

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Post by super_realist Fri 20 Feb 2015, 11:16 am

Very true JAS, always amuses me when people talk of majors, never did 9C or Mickelson much use in the competition.

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Post by McLaren Fri 20 Feb 2015, 11:19 am

It is just as well major wins are not a criteria for being ryder cup captain or Europe would be running out of candidates.

The list of European major wins since 1990;

Woosnam (past captain)
Langer (past captain)
Faldo (past captain)
Jose Maria (past captain)
Lawrie
Paddy
G-mac
DC (current)
Kaymer
Rose
Rory

So Europe would be left with a playing captains (G-mac, Kaymer, Rose, Rory) or the unlikely candidates Lawrie and Paddy in 2018, after DC has done his turn in 2016.


Actually this shows how infrequently europeans win majors despite producing a lot of the best golfers in the last 15 years. Whereas the americans don't seem to produce really top players (obviously not including phil, tiger and furyk) but win a lot of majors.
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Post by LadyPutt Fri 20 Feb 2015, 11:38 am

Bob_the_Job wrote:Don't journalists proof read anymore?
As an ex-hack - No Rolling Eyes
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Post by JAS Fri 20 Feb 2015, 12:41 pm

super_realist wrote:Very true JAS, always amuses me when people talk of majors, never did 9C or Mickelson much use in the competition.

Yup, In the last 5 Ryder Cups JMO has been the only winning captain with a better Major record than his opposing Captain.

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Post by Shotrock Fri 20 Feb 2015, 1:07 pm

Here's the thing about Harrington's comment ... he's right! (All IMO of course.)

Much ado about nothing however in that Europe could have me as Ryder Cup captain and the US could have the the ghosts of Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. But, until the US can get golfers to compete with Europe, this exhibition contest will continue to become less interesting if you want to watch a close event.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 20 Feb 2015, 1:10 pm

M-A J will be 54 by the time Paris comes round - don't you think they'd go for one of the younger guys?


Meanwhile, golfchannel.com has this picture of super_realist hard at work:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/golf-central-blog/hell-bunker-gets-facelift-open-approaches/

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Post by super_realist Fri 20 Feb 2015, 1:19 pm

Shotrock wrote:Here's the thing about Harrington's comment ... he's right! (All IMO of course.)

Much ado about nothing however in that Europe could have me as Ryder Cup captain and the US could have the the ghosts of Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. But, until the US can get golfers to compete with Europe, this exhibition contest will continue to become less interesting if you want to watch a close event.

2 of the last 3 have been very close.

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Post by pedro Fri 20 Feb 2015, 1:20 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:


Meanwhile, golfchannel.com has this picture of super_realist hard at work:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/golf-central-blog/hell-bunker-gets-facelift-open-approaches/
well, he certainly has dug himself into a hole several times before so this should be an easy job for him...

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Post by super_realist Fri 20 Feb 2015, 1:23 pm

They should just fill that bunker in, it's a complete irrelevance in the hole, no one is ever in it because it doesn't come into play.

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Post by pedro Fri 20 Feb 2015, 1:26 pm

Bjorn is probably next in line IMO. What speaks against him is his own mediocre RC record as a player. MAJ's is not impressive either.

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Post by Bob_the_Job Fri 20 Feb 2015, 1:39 pm

McLaren wrote:It is just as well major wins are not a criteria for being ryder cup captain or Europe would be running out of candidates.

The list of European major wins since 1990;

Woosnam (past captain)
Langer (past captain)
Faldo (past captain)
Jose Maria (past captain)
Lawrie
Paddy
G-mac
DC (current)
Kaymer
Rose
Rory

So Europe would be left with a playing captains (G-mac, Kaymer, Rose, Rory) or the unlikely candidates Lawrie and Paddy in 2018, after DC has done his turn in 2016.


Actually this shows how infrequently europeans win majors despite producing a lot of the best golfers in the last 15 years.  Whereas the americans don't seem to produce really top players (obviously not including phil, tiger and furyk) but win a lot of majors.

The list and your subsequent observation are a bit misleading in that it does't show that some of the Europeans are multiple winners (Harrington x3, Kaymer x2, McIlroy x4) and that of course some majors have been won by neither Europeans or Americans (Scott, Cabrera, VJ, Campbell, Price, Weir for instance).

In fact, of the 96 majors in the period you mention, 52 have been won by Americans, 19 by Europeans and 25 by the RoTW - or about 54%, 20%,  and 26% respectively - I don't think that sounds dramatically out of kilter given the popularity of the game on those regions.

If you take out Tiger (easy S_R - I'm being metaphorical here) and Phil, the percentages would be 42%, 25% and 33%

What's much more anomalous is that in the same period, the island of Ireland has produced almost 10% of the wins.  Over the last 10 years it's 22.5%

Cue S_R and the luck of the Irish etc etc...
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 20 Feb 2015, 1:45 pm

Bjorn for me too in Paris.


Forecast for LA is going downhill a bit, progressively clouding up with chance of showers by Sunday.
Perhaps the course won't firm up quite as much today; most of the better scores in Round 1 came from the "morning wave".

The cut-line is currently at +2 and reckon it'll stay there or possibly go to +3. Regardless, strong performances today necessary for Donald, Molinari and Wiesberger to play the weekend. Faldo (in 1997) is the only European winner of the LA Open since the 30's and it seems improbable that run will be "corrected" this week.


Bob, Shane Lowry to boost those percentages guinness

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Post by Shotrock Fri 20 Feb 2015, 1:47 pm

Bob -- Good point ... and I don't see Ireland's dominance waning anytime soon.

Super - Fair enough ... but Europe's last thrashing in the RC more indicative of the way things have been for the past 20 years to me.

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Post by Bob_the_Job Fri 20 Feb 2015, 1:52 pm

Shotrock wrote:Bob -- Good point ... and I don't see Ireland's dominance waning anytime soon. ...

By Ireland I think you mean McIlroy - can't see anyone else chipping in many more. And I'm not totally convinced of McIlroy's ability to keep the form for a really sustained period.
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Post by Shotrock Fri 20 Feb 2015, 1:57 pm

And, on a different topic, happy to report some more professional golf in a high demand market ...

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/golf/20150219_PGA_asks_Aronimink_to_host_the_2018_BMW_Championship.html#MlLvXvAmOoGry6if.99

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 20 Feb 2015, 2:11 pm

Sr,
Good news and bad news:
Makes perfect sense for a top event to be held in Philadelphia.
Glad Aronomink is being recognized but makes a mockery of the originally avowed intent of the Tour to take the Beemer to Mid-Western cities, plus Denver. I thought they were going to honour the Western Golf Association?

Tour patronage of the Mid-West in 2018 will now be reduced to Columbus and the Quad Cities.

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Post by Shotrock Fri 20 Feb 2015, 2:13 pm

Sell outs everywhere in the professional game Kwin! My guess is they want to sell some more BMWs around here.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 20 Feb 2015, 2:21 pm

There'll be room for a brand new summer Tour playing the US North-West, Rocky Mountain states, the Mid-West and North-East; throw in some of the great Canadian courses and some might find that more appealing than the concentration in California, Texas, Florida and the Mid-Atlantic.
The Tour may have "sell outs everywhere" but the crowds in LA looked pretty thin on the ground judging by yesterday's coverage. Tickets must have gone to what Roy Keane would call the LA equivalent of the prawn sarnie brigade.

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Post by GPB Fri 20 Feb 2015, 3:20 pm

Surfing through Paddypower and they have prop bets available for Tiger's total number of majors

Exactly 14 ... 8/15
15-18 .... 11/8
19 or more ... 16/1

http://www.paddypower.com/bet/golf/tiger-woods-specials

What kind of fool would make these kind of bets?

If you bet on Exactly 14...when can you collect?  25 years from now?

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 20 Feb 2015, 3:29 pm

One player I once thought would be helpful, at least as a Ryder Cup VC (especially to Faldo who didn't know Karlsson and Stenson, among others) is Parnevik, and he embarks on a Champions Tour career in a couple of weeks. Think he might fare quite well.

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Post by McLaren Fri 20 Feb 2015, 3:32 pm

Kwini

Do you not think Parnevik is too injury prone to compete over four rounds these days?
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 20 Feb 2015, 4:04 pm

Mac,
He doesn't have to, three rounds except Majors and CSC.

No-one making much of a move this morning at Riviera, except an eagle, birdie start for Hunner Mahan.

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Post by McLaren Fri 20 Feb 2015, 4:06 pm

Shows how often I watch the champions tour. Has it always been 3 rounds? I haven't watched since about 2003/04.
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 20 Feb 2015, 4:16 pm

Always same format, just the name has changed, from Senior Tour to Champions Tour.
Worth watching sometimes, plus TV coverage often better.

Five under still leading in LA, but Molinari slipping down among the also-rans. Disappointed, thought Riviera would be right up his street.

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Post by GPB Fri 20 Feb 2015, 4:31 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Always same format, just the name has changed, from Senior Tour to Champions Tour.
Worth watching sometimes, plus TV coverage often better.

Five under still leading in LA, but Molinari slipping down among the also-rans. Disappointed, thought Riviera would be right up his street.


I don't complain too much about announcers, but I find Lanny Wadkins and Dave Marr Jr unbearable.  Dave Marr is too patronizing.

I heard Dave Marr was gushing about how great a father Langer is because he  WDed to be back with his daughter after there were complications from her surgery.

I would imagine that 99% of fathers would have done the same thing in Langer's situation.  Might has well give Langer for breathing.

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Post by McLaren Fri 20 Feb 2015, 4:37 pm

GPB

Golf commentators in general are totally sycophantic towards the players.  A player only has to hold a door open for someone and they are elevated to the position of moral supremacy. (Even kwini is prone to the odd bit of love in with the players boxing  )
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Post by Shotrock Fri 20 Feb 2015, 5:26 pm

Kwin - I didn't mean "sell outs" in the number of patrons ... but the "sell out" price everyone has!

That said, I'll be plenty surprised if the gate at Aronimink isn't plenty.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 20 Feb 2015, 7:55 pm

Sr,
Oooh!
Great news for Philadelphia - just wish they could have a regular stop.
I wonder whether they courted Philly because the Quicken Loans DC event is on death row?


Scoring at Riviera looks tougher than yesterday, happy to see Cabrera's in with a good round.
And, credit where it's due, to Harrington for making the cut!


Mac, GPB,
I certainly do have bit of a love in with some players, quite prepared to call a spade a spade though, and vice versa. Actually think that the Dave Marr shtick is OK, part of the no-cut/old boys club culture of the Tour. Wadkins is amusing more than anything, the occasional sharp observation interwoven with all the old prejudices that he can never fully suppress, that chip on his shoulder (for whatever reason) gaining weight with his years.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Feb 2015, 1:21 am

Strong field next week for the Honda Classic, including 11 of the winning Ryder Cup Team, only Henrik giving it a miss.

Only half a dozen or so rounds better than St.Luke today but his first round did him in.

Casey in form, long may it continue.

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Post by JAS Sat 21 Feb 2015, 7:57 am

Back on the subject of RC Captaincy again...what exactly is it about Freddie that gives the US selectors a blind spot? He's successfully managed Presidents Cup and is well liked and respected by both the players and the American public and looks completely laid back and cool under pressure. Has he shagged one of the selectors wives or something??

Cant help thinking that one of Europe's biggest assets is the U.S. Captaincy selection process :-)

Not saying Love won't make a good job of it (again). Yes he lost in Medinah from a great position but did he really do that much wrong? Medinah could cut either way for Love on his second chance. It will either come back to haunt him or it will fire him up.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Feb 2015, 12:25 pm

JAS,
Couples? Dunno.
He may very well have had a go at some of the ladies, but it seems the general tenor of opinion is that Fred takes "laid back" to a whole new level (perhaps even to the extent that any such ladies would have had to approach him). He is after all the man who won't answer his phone in case there's someone there.
No idea really.

Should be a good weekend at Riviera, a great chance for Paul Casey to make a statement. And for Harrington to take a step towards respectability.

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Post by super_realist Sat 21 Feb 2015, 1:12 pm

GPB wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:Always same format, just the name has changed, from Senior Tour to Champions Tour.
Worth watching sometimes, plus TV coverage often better.

Five under still leading in LA, but Molinari slipping down among the also-rans. Disappointed, thought Riviera would be right up his street.


I don't complain too much about announcers, but I find Lanny Wadkins and Dave Marr Jr unbearable.  Dave Marr is too patronizing.

I heard Dave Marr was gushing about how great a father Langer is because he  WDed to be back with his daughter after there were complications from her surgery.

I would imagine that 99% of fathers would have done the same thing in Langer's situation.  Might has well give Langer for breathing.

I thought Dave Marr was wormfood?

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Post by GPB Sat 21 Feb 2015, 2:24 pm

I thought Dave Marr was wormfood?

Dave Marr, Jr is dead, but Dave Marr III is very much alive and doing walk and talks on the Champions tour.

==============

I don't think Couples is willing to jump through the hoops the PGA of America requires of a Ryder Cup Captain.  There is a lot more pomp and circumstance required of an RC Captain than a PC Captain.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Feb 2015, 3:06 pm

Well, That was worth the wait. Alex Prugh took his ball home last night instead of finishing his round in the Riviera gloaming. Came back this morning and 3-putted.
Sure he'll find something to complain about, but tee-times will be published shortly with threesomes going off both nines starting at half-time at the 3.00 p.m. kick-offs.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Feb 2015, 7:41 pm

Six Europeans make the cut; all but Sergio beating a relentless retreat.

Pleasure to watch Cabrera play - be even better if his putter was as good as his irons.

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Post by Hibbz Sat 21 Feb 2015, 8:09 pm

It's a pleasure to watch Goosen playing some good golf again as well Kwini.

Not sure why but I've watched more PGA tour coverage at the start of this season than the whole of the last 5/10 years combined and I've really been enjoying it.

Perhaps its Grumps' fantasy league that's giving me more interest or maybe the coverage has been better but either way it's been good.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Feb 2015, 8:51 pm

Followed Goose for 18 holes last year and he played beautifully, always playing well within himself.
Don't you think one of the great things about this year's tournaments to date has been the quality of the winners and contenders - one or two good personalities also? Same again here, great course and attractive leaderboard.

Hope CBS is paying Grumps a stipend . . . .

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Feb 2015, 9:17 pm

Beginning to look like Nick Price has sent a memo to his International Presidents Cup wannabes:
Goosen, DeLaet, Ortiz, Angel, Bae, Vijay, even potentially Hideki all in the shake-up.

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Post by GPB Sat 21 Feb 2015, 9:35 pm

If Ian Baker-Finch is coaching the Aussie Olympic Golf Team, who is the USA's coach for the Olympic Golf Team?


And UK's coach?


====


I think Cabrera is my favorite player to watch.  Always thought he was the love child of Seve and John Daly.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 21 Feb 2015, 10:02 pm

I think McGinley's getting the IRE jolly, haven't seen anything about US (Couples??!!) or UK.

Goosen was right in the thick of it after 54 holes at Innisbrook last year; shot 79 on Sunday and finished 44th. He can't win here unless he starts hitting some greens.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Feb 2015, 12:39 pm

There's a strong chance of rain for Round 4 at Riviera. The course has been playing pretty hard and firm but perhaps the rain will soften the greens a touch and slow them down.
Course will play long though and you'd think that will favour the best drivers of the ball. Big chance for Sergio but at least a dozen other top players must be thinking the same thing.
High time that Casey made his mark on this season, probably too far back to contend but in good shape for a high top ten finish. About time.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Feb 2015, 6:59 pm

Much softer greens then, still a bunched field.
You have to have Holmes and Watson to figure this out.

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Post by I'm never wrong Sun 22 Feb 2015, 7:57 pm

GPB wrote:And UK's coach?

Technically GB's coach is Jamie Spence Link here

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Post by GPB Sun 22 Feb 2015, 8:25 pm

I'm never wrong wrote:
GPB wrote:And UK's coach?

Technically GB's coach is Jamie Spence Link here


I am sure Justin Rose will look to him for valuable insight.  Whistle

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Post by GPB Sun 22 Feb 2015, 8:25 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:
You have to have Holmes and Watson to figure this out.

Elementary!

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Feb 2015, 9:06 pm

Five shots cover the Top 25.

And: Did Casey just hit a Tommy Tank?

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Feb 2015, 9:55 pm

Bonus for Sergio - can he make the most of it?

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Post by GPB Sun 22 Feb 2015, 10:43 pm

Looks like Brendon Todd is going to knock Jimenez out of the top 50.  Every point counts.

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