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PGA Tour: The "Honda": Driver's Seat or On Yer Bike?: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 25 Feb 2015, 4:35 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).Seems early in the season but the best consecutive streak of courses played on Tour ends at three as the Tour waves goodbye to California for a couple of months and goes coast-to-coast, to Florida. This week also signifies the end of the first one third (give or take a decimal point or so) of the PGA Tour season.

2).There are 47 PGA Tour events, played during 43 weeks, but there are only 39 weeks of tournament play before the FedEx Play-Offs begin for the Tour's Top 125 Points getters.
So golfers who have scarcely played this season only have approx 26 weeks left to secure a Play-Off place, and earn a "card" for next year; deduct one week off that for each of three Majors, a TPC and WGC:MatchPlay event you miss; plus limited field "Invitationals" that might not invite you!

3).Got that? Hope some of the Tour's overseas players have figured it out as some will have to play an intensive schedule, or gamble on reaching that Top 125. Points threshold will likely be a dozen either side of 500 FedEx points.
(Strongly suspect that one or two (Scott? Stenson?) won't give a damn, but for most it's crucial.)

4).Overseas golfers who are behind the pace they need to squeeze in the mandated 15 PGA Tour events include, by number played thru last week:
3).Garcia, Westwood, Poulter, Donaldson, Schwartzel, Els.
2).Rose
1).McDowell, Kaymer, Scott, Oosthuizen, Stenson, Dubuisson.

5).Let's imagine how Westwood will reach, say, 14:
Honda, WGC:Cadillac, Bay Hill or Houston, Masters, Quail Hollow and/or Memorial, WGC: MatchPlay, TPC, US Open (he should qualify for Chambers Bay), Open Championship (if he qualifies, EDIT: He IS qualified, Tks SJ), Bridgestone, PGA Championship.
That gets him to 14 or 15 and, with a running start, he should achieve the Top 125.
Hopefully Donaldson knows his way around the PGA Tour to manage his schedule appropriately. Poults and Schwartzel will play where/what they have to, and there are enough tournaments that Sergio and Ernie usually play for them not to be too concerned.

6).Rose should also be OK, but what about the onesies?
Oosthuizen has a 5-year exemptions which will expire this year, so Top 125 is imperative for him, and he and Dubuisson are going to have to play some unfamiliar courses if they are to satisfy 15 tournaments AND Top 125. Early days of course, but they need to get their thinking caps on or they'll be on their bikes.

7).So: Who's in the "driver's seat"?
Top overseas golfers so far are Sang-Moon Bae and Jason Day, and Hideki Matsuyama.
Top Europeans, with FedEx Points-to-date are:
416: Martin Laird
358: Garcia
354: Knox
317: Casey
212: Lingmerth
192: Cejka
165: Westwood
Most of the rest will be OK, but there will be a surprise failure or two, there always is.
(Sterne won't be a surprise failure; he's played 6 events, missed every cut, and doesn't even have a profile page on pgatour.com. The ultimate dis?)

8).Lots of golfers "lost" last week's Northern Trust LA Open before James Hahn won it, Goosen and Garcia of course, but also Casey and Dustin Johnson with late bogeys, while Jordan Spieth can't be too pleased with bogeying his 72nd hole to fall out of a potential play-off. Two thoughts:
~Was Paul Casey's match-play expertise his play-off undoing? He sees DJ and Hahn in highly bogeyable positions on #10 and plays it relatively safe. So they produce worldies to make birdie, and Casey is left with a lonely walk back to the club-house.
~And: The PGA Tour made something of a mockery of the great "short par-4" 10th hole with its set-up for Rounds 1, 2 and 3 when conditions were pretty hard and fast and the green was beyond fiery. Conventional wisdom seems to be that the green will have to be re-done to prevent the carnage (not all of it self-inflicted) that messed up so many rounds.

9).One American golfer doing very nicely thank you on the European Tour is Paul Peterson. He's already played 3 tournaments as an affiliate member and risen to 38th on the R2D. Love to see the recent US contribution to the European Tour, and very interested to see how Koepka fares in his home State this coming month.

10).Back to "Bermuda" greens this week so the recent form book may be turned upside down. Terrific European contingent on hand and it could have been larger still if European Tour Cadillac contestants had succeeded in Monday qualifying, Marcel Siem, Alex Levy and Mikko Ilonen all coming up short; good for them for giving it a whirl though, hope they do well next week and show that they deserved a chance in the Honda field.
It's going to be warm this week, but characteristically breezy and, perhaps stormy.
Let's hope there's another European (Freddie Jac e.w.?) or two who puts himself in the Tour's driver's seat at an event that's favoured non-Americans in recent years. No European wins this season so far. Overdue!


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Post by GPB Mon 02 Mar 2015, 6:03 pm

Kwini:  do you think Harrington is glad he kept the Top 50 money winner exemption in his back pocket?

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Post by John Cregan Mon 02 Mar 2015, 6:10 pm

Incredible stuff. Any idea where this gets his Ranking??

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 02 Mar 2015, 6:18 pm

John,
See the new GPB thread - he's ahead of everyone (unless princedrac is listening in).

GPB,
Yeah, mentioned that earlier when he'd secured at least 2nd place!

I like the Padraig quote relayed by Martin Hall:
Padraig: "The secret is there's no secret. The secret is in the search."
Still searching to figure that out. Total fruitcake, but helluva golfer - this week anyway.

Mike Weir had a second place finish last year and bugger all else. Which way will Harrington go?

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Post by sirbenson Mon 02 Mar 2015, 6:29 pm

John Cregan wrote:Incredible stuff. Any idea where this gets his Ranking??

80th or around there!

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Post by pedro Mon 02 Mar 2015, 6:56 pm

Did hell just freeze over? Shocked

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Post by John Cregan Mon 02 Mar 2015, 7:02 pm

5 Irish Golfers will tee up at Augusta as we look for the elusive Green Jacket to complete the "PaddySlam" !

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Post by McLaren Mon 02 Mar 2015, 7:09 pm

Tiger PED story, or non story to be precise.

http://www.geoffshackelford.com/homepage/2015/3/2/nothing-to-see-here-move-along-files-tiger-ped-suspension.html


Not sure about using non conforming tech.
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 02 Mar 2015, 7:11 pm

Update from the McDowell camp:

"I retract my earlier decision to put myself forward for qualification for the Irish Olympic Team. Just too tough. I'm British, and proud of it. Pretty please."

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 02 Mar 2015, 7:25 pm

Apparently James Hahn has told the PGA Tour that he won't be playing Doral. Probably because his wife is heavily preggy, but quite possibly because he can't stand the sight of the egotistical sh1thead who's running the show.

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Post by GPB Mon 02 Mar 2015, 7:32 pm

Steven Webster is ranked 297th this week and he is playing the African Open this week.  

If I was playing EuroT, I would be picking him!!

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Post by Snap Hook Mon 02 Mar 2015, 7:41 pm

Well done PH - but please speed up now!

I was hoping Poulter would pull it off, but he and along with Dustin Johnson have a got a shank in there along with the best of us at the worst of times. Though I guess this gives him a virtual guarantee for another year on tour and another Ferrari, to wind up people on Twitter about.

Patrick Reed I want to dislike, just from a general stereo type perspective - but somehow I have to admire him for actually delivering on his Top5 (iish) comment.

Assuming Casey can still get into the Masters - I fancy him each way - relatively long hitter, in form and reasonable putter.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 02 Mar 2015, 9:23 pm

Luke Donald hit all 14 fairways in Round 4. With a little help from the roof of a house way out of bounds to the left of a back-nine fairway which bounced it back into the fairway. Worth about $75K to him also.
And Westwood gained 4.5 strokes on the greens. That's Lee Westwood. Pity about all those waterballs and 3-putts earlier in the week.
Come on Lee. If Padraig can do it, surely you can too? Can't you??

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Post by incontinentia Tue 03 Mar 2015, 8:52 am

Latest journalistic effort from Shane Lowry

http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/golf/shane-lowry-fitness-regime-the-latest-addition-to-my-game-plan-1.2117314

He tweeted yesterday that Harrington is Ireland's greatest ever sportsperson. Not sure I agree with that but he's probably up there!
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Post by pedro Tue 03 Mar 2015, 9:35 am

incontinentia wrote:Latest journalistic effort from Shane Lowry

http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/golf/shane-lowry-fitness-regime-the-latest-addition-to-my-game-plan-1.2117314

He tweeted yesterday that Harrington is Ireland's greatest ever sportsperson. Not sure I agree with that but he's probably up there!
is it 1st of April already? next thing you know he's having a veggie burger...

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Post by GunsGerms Tue 03 Mar 2015, 9:52 am

kwinigolfer wrote:John,
See the new GPB thread - he's ahead of everyone (unless princedrac is listening in).

GPB,
Yeah, mentioned that earlier when he'd secured at least 2nd place!

I like the Padraig quote relayed by Martin Hall:
Padraig: "The secret is there's no secret. The secret is in the search."
Still searching to figure that out. Total fruitcake, but helluva golfer - this week anyway.

Mike Weir had a second place finish last year and bugger all else. Which way will Harrington go?

Most geniuses spend most of their lives being ridiculed and presumed insane. Harrington is a very smart and insanely persistant guy.

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Post by McLaren Tue 03 Mar 2015, 10:27 am

Gun

1 win in 7 years is certainly approaching genius status, but there is no doubt that Harrington is persistent.
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Post by pedro Tue 03 Mar 2015, 10:49 am

Was thinking the same mac. Changing your swing after winning 3 majors in 1 year is also pretty genious...

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Post by GunsGerms Tue 03 Mar 2015, 10:51 am

pedro wrote:Was thinking the same mac. Changing your swing after winning 3 majors in 1 year is also pretty genious...

It takes a lot of balls. Which is also something he isnt short of.

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Post by JAS Tue 03 Mar 2015, 10:53 am

Yes but if he wins this week and in a months time his genius will indeed be much more vindicated. I personally don't think he will, he may contend in a couple of events over the next few months, not win, then start tinkering again :-/

Think Casey's is a more sustainable return to form and wasn't it he who was left to chase Oosthuizen down the stretch at TOC 5 years ago? Might be a good shout at a good price for the Open.

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Post by incontinentia Tue 03 Mar 2015, 10:55 am

GunsGerms wrote:
pedro wrote:Was thinking the same mac. Changing your swing after winning 3 majors in 1 year is also pretty genious...

It takes a lot of balls. Which is also something he isnt short of.
Considering how many he hits in the water that's surprising
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Post by GunsGerms Tue 03 Mar 2015, 10:56 am

He is just trying to make it exciting for the fans.

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Post by McLaren Tue 03 Mar 2015, 11:03 am

Although a European won the event, in some ways the Honda has highlighted just how difficult Europeans find it to win in the US. Casey and Poulter really struggled when they had great chances to win. It almost feels like the Europeans need 6 in the top 10 in the hope that one of them will struggle over the finishing line.
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Post by JAS Tue 03 Mar 2015, 11:10 am

You can look at that both ways Mac , 5 of the top 6 at the Honda were European and any one of them could have won. Some big name Europeans either had the week off or didn't play well. I can see Europeans contending most weeks especially the bigger events.
I know it won't happen outside a handful of events but it's be interesting to compare how Americans perform away from their own tour.

Also...4 of the last 5 US Opens have been won by Europeans so I don't think you really have a point here :-p


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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 03 Mar 2015, 11:11 am

Casey and Poulter struggled just as much as Patrick Reed.

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Post by super_realist Tue 03 Mar 2015, 11:24 am

incontinentia wrote:Latest journalistic effort from Shane Lowry

http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/golf/shane-lowry-fitness-regime-the-latest-addition-to-my-game-plan-1.2117314

He tweeted yesterday that Harrington is Ireland's greatest ever sportsperson. Not sure I agree with that but he's probably up there!

I'd actually love to see what the content of that "regime" is, I bet it amounts to virtually nothing other than token gestures. He'll still be a great big fat unsightly lump, people like him always will be.

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Post by LadyPutt Tue 03 Mar 2015, 12:33 pm

Poulter's latest comment on Facebook:

"When I got home today my 3 year old Joshua just said 'bad daddy, you hit it in the trees' that's funny. No more needed to be said. Sorry son."

Tell it like it is, kid!  thumbsup
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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 03 Mar 2015, 1:58 pm

Further to Mac's comment about Europeans finding it difficult to win in the US, who would you back to win on the PGA Tour?

Remember, a good %age of tournaments are won by someone from back in the pack and post a score that the front-runners are unable to match. So we won't count them.

Even Harrington, who gave such an interesting post-championship interview where he said he never lost the focus to hit good shots when he had to, ballooned a ball into the drink before rescuing the tournament with a clutch birdie, then the shot of the Honda to win it.

I'd put money on McIlroy, McDowell, Rose and Stenson, perhaps Lowry of the new guys.

Any other options?

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Post by super_realist Tue 03 Mar 2015, 2:15 pm

Casey has knocked on the door a couple of times lately, whilst Poulter has also shown he's one round out of four away from winning too (could say that about a whole load of guys though)

Maybe Knox as a distant outsider. Laird seems to have disappeared though

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 03 Mar 2015, 2:31 pm

Laird's doing alright, just taking a few weeks off. Would think he'll play four of the next five weeks starting next week.
Wonder how Donaldson will do if he really gets into contention?

Suppose I should have added Kaymer to my list above!

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Post by super_realist Tue 03 Mar 2015, 2:37 pm

Maybe Dubuisson too?

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Post by McLaren Tue 03 Mar 2015, 2:43 pm

Given that poulter is yet to win a strokeplay event on US soil it would be a surprise to see him break that trend now, given how long he has had to prove capable of the win.

Of Europeans who have not already proven capable of winning on the PGAT only Lowry seems like a possible entrant to the winners enclosure anytime soon. Victor Dubi.... (whatever) hasn't really made a great start to his PGAT career (WD and cut) compared to Lowry and may be to eccentric to relocate on a more permanent basis.

Kwini, are you saying those on your list are the most likely to post a score from further back to win an event, assuming that is what is needed to win on the PGAT?
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Post by super_realist Tue 03 Mar 2015, 2:48 pm

Mac, considering Lowry has one precisely ONE tournament as a professional in his entire life, I'm not sure how you think he's suddenly going to turn into a European capable of winning in the America.

Dubuisson has twice as many professional wins, and has had better results in majors as well as a loftier ranking as well as a barnstorming Ryder Cup.


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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 03 Mar 2015, 2:51 pm

VicDub? Hope so; this new generation of French golfers look quite promising don't they? Dubie, Levy, Stal etc - just about time Wattel broke through.

Not sure about Minnesota in 2016, but can see some sweeping changes in the European Ryder Cup team for France 2018.


Mac,
No! I'm saying that it is one thing to cruise through a final round without any pressure (kinda like Berger did yesterday) and "post a score", quite another thing for someone to take a lead and win from the front. That takes real fortitude, which obviously Kaymer and Rory showed last year - who else would you back to do that? Certainly Stenson, possibly McDool and Rose.

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Post by super_realist Tue 03 Mar 2015, 2:54 pm

Bernd Wiesberger could be another European ready to come through.
THere's probably several if someone could be bothered looking down the rankings.

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Post by Roller_Coaster Tue 03 Mar 2015, 2:59 pm

4 days of good golf, occasional good escapes from any bad golf and mental control to ignore the fact anything has gone wrong when hitting a bad golf shot. Any of them mentioned can do that.

Problem is so can 100+ US&RoW golfists.

Better chances at tougher/lower scoring events IMO as the shootout (-24 or better to win) tournaments seem to favour the US guys who seem to do a better job of that sort of set up.

None of this is based on any statistical analysis of course, just the way it seems to seem to me.

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Post by McLaren Tue 03 Mar 2015, 3:00 pm

Kwini,

Kaymer, a good front runner. :roll:


I see, i get your point now. I still maintain that Lowry has taken to life on the PGAT quite well ( a limited sample I know) and looks more capable of a front running or otherwise victory than a lot of the more established Europeans such as poulter.
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Post by incontinentia Tue 03 Mar 2015, 3:02 pm

super_realist wrote:Maybe Dubuisson too?
Yep Dubuisson the pick of the bunch. Lowry is quality but I think talk of him winning in the U.S. is premature.
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Post by super_realist Tue 03 Mar 2015, 3:26 pm

McLaren wrote:Kwini,

Kaymer, a good front runner.  Rolling Eyes


I see, i get your point now.  I still maintain that Lowry has taken to life on the PGAT quite well ( a limited sample I know) and looks more capable of a front running or otherwise victory than a lot of the more established Europeans such as poulter.

How is he anymore capable of front running? When has he ever done that in America? Lowry has had a decent start to his fledging PGA career, but it's littered with people (Davis, Lynn, etc) who have also done that.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 03 Mar 2015, 3:31 pm

Roller,
I really don't think there are many (apart from Woods & Mickelson of old) US&RoW golfers who you would bet good money on to win from the front. Watson, DJ and Jimmy Walker have had their moments, but it's rare that one of them wins multiple times - Patrick Reed seemed to be one who could but he bottled it Monday just as surely as Poults did.

Who would you choose?

Agree that Europeans tend to do poorly in shoot-out events; would actually have thought Poulter would be someone who would do well at a place like Hartford where par is irrelevant. And that Europeans definitely do better where par is a good score - interesting that Harrington's last decent finish was at a US Open (4th at Olympic).

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Post by GunsGerms Tue 03 Mar 2015, 4:06 pm

Harrington also seems to do well when the weather is dire.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 03 Mar 2015, 4:35 pm

Guns,
I'd say Harrington's relative performance increases the tougher the conditions, weather or course. When the two converge, as last week, his chances soar! Perverse, but he pretty much admitted that he loses focus on easier courses, easier shots. Not many on here would dispute that.
It'll be interesting to see how he moves forward now he's got a second lease on his golfing life . . . . .

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Post by GunsGerms Tue 03 Mar 2015, 4:36 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Guns,
I'd say Harrington's relative performance increases the tougher the conditions, weather or course. When the two converge, as last week, his chances soar! Perverse, but he pretty much admitted that he loses focus on easier courses, easier shots. Not many on here would dispute that.
It'll be interesting to see how he moves forward now he's got a second lease on his golfing life . . . . .

When he won the US PGA it was a wash out. Same with at least one of the British Open wins if I recall.

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Post by McLaren Tue 03 Mar 2015, 4:48 pm

I don't buy the story that Harrington is better in any conditions. He just isn't very good very often regardless of the conditions.
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Post by super_realist Tue 03 Mar 2015, 4:54 pm

That's probably true Mac.

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Post by sirbenson Tue 03 Mar 2015, 5:02 pm

Mac,

That is BS...Harrington has 20 plus wins (numerous second places as well), 3 major wins, 6 Ryder Cup teams, an order of merit title.

Over the past 3/4 years it is a true statement but over his career he has been very good quite often!!!

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Post by sirbenson Tue 03 Mar 2015, 5:03 pm

Also over 14 years or something like that in the top 100!

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Post by super_realist Tue 03 Mar 2015, 5:06 pm

He's also got a career which spans the best part of two decades. His Ryder Cup performances have been comparable to the American players at best, and he's been in the golfing desert for the last 7 years.

Far be it for me to defend Mac, but Harrington (in the last 7 years at least, which I think is what Mac was alluding to) hasn't been very good, very often at all.

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Post by sirbenson Tue 03 Mar 2015, 5:08 pm

There is also only one European over the last 20 years who has a better record career wise than Harrington

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Post by GunsGerms Tue 03 Mar 2015, 5:11 pm

super_realist wrote:He's also got a career which spans the best part of two decades. His Ryder Cup performances have been comparable to the American players at best, and he's been in the golfing desert for the last 7 years.

Far be it for me to defend Mac, but Harrington (in the last 7 years at least, which I think is what Mac was alluding to) hasn't been very good, very often at all.

We get it you don't like him. His career record speaks for itself though.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 03 Mar 2015, 5:17 pm

Well, Harrington now has the chance to rewrite his legacy, from a 3-time Major winner to a compulsive tinkerer on a 7-year walkabout, to a winner all over again. Yesterday's win will be seen as an inspired one-off unless he can back it up.
Hope he qualifies for Chambers Bay - could be a good fit for him, especially if there's some weather.

One very good thing; he's stated that he's honouring sponsors' exemptions for Innisbrook, Bay Hill and Texas. Good for him.

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