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PGA Tour: WGC:Cadillac Championship / Puerto Rico Open: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 04 Mar 2015, 2:47 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).Congratulations to Padraig Harrington.
What a way to liven up an otherwise boring Monday. And what a bizarre final round - can't think of anything more extraordinary since Paul Lawrie's Open Championship.
We'll hear about Poulter failing to close out a tournament and Casey's driver and putter going cold, but Patrick Reed put a dent in his cocky/brash young-gun image by foozling his chances just as surely, but less spectacularly, as Poults. Interesting to see how Top Five does next time he's in contention. Maybe as soon as this week.
Padraig has this week off before he honours a string of sponsors' exemptions that he now doesn't need, but will show his gratitude by playing the tournaments anyway. What a guy!

2).We see Harrington most years at The Travelers, in Hartford, and whether he's playing well or playing poorly he's always among the most popular golfers in the field, guaranteed a following whether he's grouped with "A" rated players or the proverbial Joe Blow from Windy City. The affection for him is genuine, and it appears his appreciation is heartfelt also. And now, at last, he has a performance to match his popularity.

3).No Harrington in this week's field at Doral, but Ireland will be represented by Shane Lowry. It's Lowry's first look at Doral so an Irish double might be asking for too much, but the Shane of San Diego and Pebble Beach can certainly win on Tour.

4).A couple of Ryder Cup thoughts before going back down the Interstate to Miami.
Lots made about Couples not getting a captaincy chance, but Jaime Diaz's article in GolfWorld contains some interesting observations from Fred's Vice Captain act at Medinah:
~Attendance and input all week at "Captain's Meetings" was "erratic".
~For too long he was "inaccessible" when needed on the course, "not reachable by walkie-talkie or cell-phone", and was therefore not available to "soothe nerves" on the course when Love was handling Sunday singles first tee duties.
~And his texting Furyk to tell him he wasn't a Captain's Choice for his 2013 President's Cup Team instead of calling him or speaking to him directly was thought to count against him.
Fred being Fred.

5).Another snippet from the Ryder Cup Task Force small print was the news that Love, Mickelson and Woods are to be the players on a 6-man "PGA of America Ryder Cup Committee" charged with selecting Vice Captains, future Captains "and other duties". Lunatics hired to run the asylum. Only surprise is that Rickie Fowler is not on the Committee.

6).No surprise here, but Davis Love has also been named a Vice Captain (alongside Couples of course) of Jay Haas's Presidents Cup Team in Korea; Tony Johnstone & McNulty assisting Nick Price for the Internationals.Surely there'll be some sort of Korean presence?
EDIT: Apparently KJ Choi is also a VC; didn't see that in the original report.

7).Terrific news about the revival of the "British Masters" tournament  at Woburn this October. Thanks Poults, and looking forward to seeing where Donald, Rose and Westwood take the tournament through 2019.

8).Hopefully this will be part of new initiatives by the European Tour, perhaps learning something at last from the genius that is Tim Finchem's management of the PGA Tour. His latest coup is getting Dell Computers (they of the utterly useless technical and customer service agents) to sponsor the WGC:MatchPlay, in Austin, Texas, starting March 2016.
Finchem manages tournament scheduling as if he's finding pieces for a giant jigsaw that embraces a decade or two, witness his recent long-term sponsorship agreements with Waste Management and Charles Schwab (for the Seniors).

9).Last year's Cadillac tournament was marred by high winds on a course that wasn't built for them. Or was it?
Anyway, hundreds of waterballs ensued, no windmills necessary when water hazards are everywhere.
As Rob Bolton describes his fantasy team strategy for the new, unfortunately not improved, Doral: Choose "brutes (he chose Rory, Bubba, Dustin and Reed) in a big-boy field on a big-boy course".
I'd be very surprised if Bubba and DJ were not in Sunday's shake up. At least the winds will be fresh and not gale-force, and the weather looks fine for Rounds 1 and 2, possible rain on Saturday and Sunday.

10).Finally, a truly horrendous field takes their clubs to Puerto Rico for their Open. The top sixty-odd players are competitive enough, buttressed as the field is by some European Tour players. But holding an "opposite field" event on the same week as a web.com tournament is just plain daft, especially as the Champions Tour has the week off.
I wonder whether they'd be better off choosing the field from all three U.S. Tours and taking the top 44 from each?
Still, this week represents a great opportunity for a win and just the same 2-year exemption as Padraig Harrington earned for last week's miracle.


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Post by McLaren Thu 05 Mar 2015, 4:59 pm

sirbenson wrote:Did they make any further changes on the Blue Monster course?


Good question, anyone know the answer?
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 5:18 pm

The worst thing about sending golfers out in threesomes off both nines is that the paying punter only gets to enjoy 18+ holes with any group. I avoid our closest Champions Tour event for that very reason.
Perhaps it's to ensure they have Tiger TV coverage each afternoon? Hang on.

Forecast for the week is mainly fine and warm, weather not an issue.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 6:49 pm

Another slow start from Rory . . . . he's digging himself an early hole.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 7:06 pm

Open Champions Update from Puerto Rico:
Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton opened the batting off the first and tenth tees this morning but have struggled over par since then.
And Calcavecchia, about five stone heavier than in 1989, is out with the washing.

But David Duval lies 6th! half way thru the afternoon tee-times.

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Post by beninho Thu 05 Mar 2015, 7:10 pm

Rory not settled at the start of his pga season. He will come good at some point.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 7:22 pm

StillBjorn.
Off to the dentist.

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Post by incontinentia Thu 05 Mar 2015, 7:26 pm

Holmes burning it up, he's been playing really well this year.
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Post by beninho Thu 05 Mar 2015, 7:29 pm

Holmes is fast enough to follow paddy h into the winners circle.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 7:38 pm

Sergio struggling physically, whether it's his neck or something in a shoulder, he doesn't look comfortable. No time to get injured Serge.

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Post by beninho Thu 05 Mar 2015, 7:42 pm

Most weeks I seem to pick ryan moore, not this time. He seems to be pretty consistent, though never gets the press. Don't know much about him, but I like him.

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Post by GPB Thu 05 Mar 2015, 7:50 pm

My guess(es) on the Split Tee start.

They want everyone in the first two rounds to generally play in the same conditions.  No morning wave and no afternoon wave.

Its also easier for Volunteers, Concessions and staff.  They don't have to open the gates at 6 am and close at 7 pm.

Saturday and Sunday should be twosomes off one tee, as the field separates.  (and weather cooperates)

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Post by GPB Thu 05 Mar 2015, 8:04 pm

beninho wrote:Rory not settled at the start of his pga season. He will come good at some point.

His wallet is a lot lighter these days.  Maybe it is affecting his balance?

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Post by GPB Thu 05 Mar 2015, 8:13 pm

McLaren wrote:
sirbenson wrote:Did they make any further changes on the Blue Monster course?


Good question, anyone know the answer?


Nothing major.  They soften the edges so marginal shots would not be penalized as a terrible shot.  

Greens should have more thatch, therefore should be more receptive to iron shots.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 8:26 pm

I'll always be thankful that Old Tom Morris and his sheep judged that lakes and wind on a golf course were incompatible.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 8:34 pm

Two things about Ryan Moore:
~In a Golf Digest piece a few months ago Nick Watney reckoned that, if he had to choose anyone to play for his (Nick's) life, it would be Ryan Moore. Yet it seldom shows up in the winner's enclosure.

~Moore tends to tinker with swing and stance a lot. Sound familiar? We followed him a couple of years ago and his stance was lining him up as if to hit the ball over mid-on, yet he consistently was whacking it straight over the bowler's head. The bizarrest thing . . . . . . !

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Post by sirbenson Thu 05 Mar 2015, 8:36 pm

Good to see Oosthuizen playing this week, hopefully he can stay healthy

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 8:53 pm

Incredible graphic they showed about Furyk.
He's played 199 rounds bogey-free over the past 22 years - I think the next most was about 136.
That's amazing.

Holmes & Moore playing a different tournament right now.
Stay at even par or thereabouts and you'll be right in it unless those two don't come back to the field.


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Post by GPB Thu 05 Mar 2015, 9:05 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Incredible graphic they showed about Furyk.
He's played 199 rounds bogey-free over the past 22 years - I think the next most was about 136.
That's amazing..

Thats about 10% of his rounds.

I was a pretty good weekend warrior but I only had one bogey free round in my life.  And it was one of my last rounds before I stopped playing.  Shot 66 and it included a hole-n-one (my fifth).

/tooting-my-own-horn

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Post by Shotrock Thu 05 Mar 2015, 9:10 pm

Mac - I don't believe Hanse made additional changes to the course this year. Slow start for Rory ... but no worries, if anyone has the extra gear it's him. Good to see Scott playing so well with the short putter. Hard to think of a more contrived course on tour than this.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 9:15 pm

They've mentioned cosmetic changes and so has GPB, and a new bunker and a new tee box here and there.

Another awesome stat: Mickelson's run of 185 rounds with at least one birdie just hit the buffers.

Sr,
Agree about Rory but he's never keen on playing in high wind (who is?), could be a bit of a mental block with him. An eagle here (#8) would be nice though, and a par on #9 and he'll be right in it.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 9:18 pm

And, in my best Tommy Cooper: "Just like that".

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Post by beninho Thu 05 Mar 2015, 9:19 pm

Stevie g had a stinker.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 9:23 pm

He goes again.
Surprise as he had a fine finish here last year. Still, he'll pocket $42K+ for last place, hopefully much better.

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Post by sirbenson Thu 05 Mar 2015, 9:47 pm

Will Stricker be back in time for the Masters?

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 10:15 pm

sirb,
I think so; he always plays Houston (because they gave him a sponsor's invite when he had lost his card) so that'll be the best indicator.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 05 Mar 2015, 11:29 pm

Westwood's birthday came early. Cross-country bomb on his 16th hole, and holed a 20-yard bunker shot on his 18th. Just the way it should be.


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Post by sirbenson Thu 05 Mar 2015, 11:46 pm

Incredible round from JB Holmes, hard to see there being a better round all year tbh!

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Post by robopz Thu 05 Mar 2015, 11:53 pm

I'm kinda late to the party on the discussion of Puerto Rico... but I think it's fine... IMO if you're going to have limited field events like WGC's, ALL of them need alternate events on both the PGAT and ET at least. Right now the PGAT has 3 WGC's (+ the British) backed up with alternate events... and one is expected to be named on the PGAT to play opposite the Match Play starting next year when it moves back earlier in the schedule. (Trump is supposedly trying to secure something for one of his two Florida courses or L.A. A Nicklaus property in Cabo is also being rumored)

And yes, I know, I know... the Puerto Rico field sounds bad... but it went only 4 deep in the past champions category.. so it's not entirely horrible And PR's certainly not bad compared to close to a dozen of the co-sanctions on the ET that require massive subsidy to reach their minimums as well.

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Post by robopz Fri 06 Mar 2015, 12:22 am

GPB wrote:My guess(es) on the Split Tee start.

They want everyone in the first two rounds to generally play in the same conditions.  No morning wave and no afternoon wave.

Its also easier for Volunteers, Concessions and staff.  They don't have to open the gates at 6 am and close at 7 pm.

Saturday and Sunday should be twosomes off one tee, as the field separates.  (and weather cooperates)
I think the Thur/Fri Broadcast window has a lot to do with the split tees one wave thing too. Every player is in the window so you know you will get those who play well. And with WGC's being the most widely distributed Golf packages internationally behind the Majors... I'd think that's a bonus to all the regional outlets. Sat/Sun fans expect to see players more in contention... so the single tee start (which means a lot of the early starters won't be shown in a lot of markets) probably doesn't matter as much.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 06 Mar 2015, 12:32 am

robo,
I get what you're saying about the PRO; I just think there are better ways to distribute the largesse - I've thrown out a couple of ideas. If those Seniors are that worthy of a place in the field they'll qualify. If not, tough tittie.

Subsidies are a blight on golfing's landscape; they don't do any favours to the events they're applied to.

Have also heard about the Cabo possibility - great news. Finchem is brilliant at maximizing options available, capitaizing on his captive sponsors. He'll be a tough act to follow.

Talking about tough acts to follow, extraordinary round from JB Holmes today - what's the over/under for his Round 2? 74??

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Post by robopz Fri 06 Mar 2015, 12:35 am

JB Holmes' 62 was 11.21 shots better than the field average...

For comparison... Geiberger's 59 was 13.0 shots better than his field, Furyk's 59 12.09 shots better than his field... but JB's 62 was better to his field average than the 59's shot by Duval (10.68), Goydos (10.51), Beck (10.48) & Appleby (8.58)...

BUT... I'd have to guess JB's was against a far better field than any of those 59's were... so JB's 11+ shot difference to the field average may be even a lot better than it seems.  

IMO it's NOT just the number they shoot... it's the relativity to the field in total and quality...

EDIT: But I do realize there's a mental barrier to shooting a 59 that's quite different to shooting a 62... and with that in mind, the above wasn't an attempt to diminish the 59's that have been shot on the PGA Tour... but more to put JB's incredible round into perspective.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 06 Mar 2015, 12:53 am

I see a further validation of JB's round is that it's only the second time in the last five years that a player has enjoyed a 4-shot (or more) lead after Round 1.
Prizes for the first? Who incidentally went on to win.

Not really sure that shots better than "field average" is a good yardstick, given the penal nature of the "Pirates Cove without the windmills" nature of the course and set-up.
But completely agree about the strength of field! JB's been in good form - seems a much nicer bloke too than the prat who burst onto the scene eight years ago - he's been through a lot and good for him.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 06 Mar 2015, 2:24 am

Previously good weather forecasts for Miami have been replaced by the spectre of gusty winds and showers for the next three days.
Hope a good tournament is not spoiled by bad weather.

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Post by GPB Fri 06 Mar 2015, 2:31 am

Chris Kirk tweeted that he could play Doral every day for the rest of his life and not shoot 62.

Last year, Brendon de Jonge had the best round on tour in respect to average score that round.  He shot 62 in Round 2 at Quail Hollow while the entire field average 72.35.  A differential of 10.35.

Today JB Holmes shot 62 while the entire field average 73.35, or a 11.35 differential.

Impressive Round.


Edit:  Didn't see Robo;s post, but I got 73.35, not whatever he got.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 06 Mar 2015, 2:45 am

And we know who won Quail Hollow, don't we??!!

De Jonge shot his 62 after golfing an 80 in his previous round . . . . . . . .

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Post by GPB Fri 06 Mar 2015, 2:53 am

robopz wrote:

BUT... I'd have to guess JB's was against a far better field than any of those 59's were... so JB's 11+ shot difference to the field average may be even a lot better than it seems.  

Playing a devil's advocate, 3 out of the 73 players shot in the 80's and 1 of them shot an 84.  (and none of those three are PGAT Members).    Those three scores in the 80's is going to impact the average more than three random high scores in a 144 player field.

No doubt it was a great round, probably the best in a couple years.  Furyk's 59 at the BMW was probably the best.  12.08 shots better than the scoring average and 3.8 Standard Deviations better than the mean.

Against a field of 70 PGATour members.

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Post by GPB Fri 06 Mar 2015, 3:05 am

kwinigolfer wrote:And we know who won Quail Hollow, don't we??!!

De Jonge shot his 62 after golfing an 80 in his previous round . . . . . . . .

Elementary, My Dear Watson.

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Post by robopz Fri 06 Mar 2015, 3:10 am

Kwini... can't agree with you on the Seniors angle for the alternate events. While in theory it's possible a field makeup of 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, Web/PGAT/Champions like you suggest might be more entertaining, IMO it's produces far LESS of a quality competition that what those alternate events produce now.

I mean I "get" that the ET has needed to water down the quality of the overall competition on the ET by adding all these co-sanctioned events with other world tours and it's own junior circuit... but that's been out of necessity to fill holes in the schedule and provide at least some kind of playing opportunities for it's members. But the PGAT has no such gaps to fill and thus doesn't need to be lowering the quality of it's competition just because some might find it "interesting".

Another issue is practicality... Sure there "might" be barely more than a handful of Champo guys with a chance to top-25 against a field such as this week in P.R.... but IMO getting those top guys into such an event would be tough to begin with, especially considering how I don't think it could possibly be official money or official event on the Champo Tour (or either the PGAT or Web Tours either for that matter).

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Post by robopz Fri 06 Mar 2015, 3:13 am

GPB wrote:Didn't see Robo;s post, but I got 73.35, not whatever he got.
You're number is correct... I somehow didn't highlight down to include Gallacher when I pulled my data...

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Post by GPB Fri 06 Mar 2015, 3:16 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Not really sure that shots better than "field average" is a good yardstick, given the penal nature of the "Pirates Cove without the windmills" nature of the course and set-up.
But completely agree about the strength of field! JB's been in good form - seems a much nicer bloke too than the prat who burst onto the scene eight years ago - he's been through a lot and good for him.  

That's why any basic statistical analysis should include a mention of Standard Deviations.  Round 1 StDev was 3.44 which is about 0.5 higher than an average the standard deviations from 2013-14.  Gallacher's 84 and Jaidee's and Lahiri's 80 had a big impact on the Std Deviations.

Of the rounds in 2013-14, Round 1 of the PGA Championship had the highest Standard Deviation. 3.789 Why?  Because, there are 20 Club Pros shooting some high scores.  

The round with lowest StDev from 2013-14?  Round 3 of the Sony.  2.19

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Post by super_realist Fri 06 Mar 2015, 7:08 am

Looks like the 254 is on, Holmes already 1.5 shots ahead of schedule.

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Post by incontinentia Fri 06 Mar 2015, 8:47 am

super_realist wrote:Looks like the 254 is on, Holmes already 1.5 shots ahead of schedule.
Darntootin', and Doral is waaay harder than TOC Wink .
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Post by Davie Fri 06 Mar 2015, 9:07 am

And not even calm, benign conditions

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Post by LadyPutt Fri 06 Mar 2015, 12:15 pm

Anyone else amazed at the poor course management of so many players? For so many balls to end up in the water on Day One is just not acceptable IMO.
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 06 Mar 2015, 1:59 pm

Poor course management by pros is often cited in Pater Kostis's commentaries LP; "the art of the lay-up is an endangered species", playing to one's weaknesses rather than their strengths, etc, etc. All good points. But when they have so little to lose and so much to gain, over-aggression is always likely, don't you think?

Andy Sullivan having a shocker in S.Africa - on his way to Augusta with a win and he'll probably miss the cut. E.T. site on the blink so not sure what went wrong.

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Post by Shotrock Fri 06 Mar 2015, 2:09 pm

Good point Kwin and I agree with the nod to over-aggression.

IF JB manages to keep it together and even go red again today, I suspect many a close challenger will be even more aggressive as this tournament progresses.

I guess 3 8-irons will get you safely to the 18th green ... and would not put it past the leader come Sunday.

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Post by LadyPutt Fri 06 Mar 2015, 2:38 pm

Andy Sullivan +5 on the day when he needs to break Par to make the cut. I think a second win on the trot (and 3 in 9 weeks) was just asking a bit too much.
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 06 Mar 2015, 3:45 pm

Interesting to read this comment about Doral, from pgatour.com:
"Gil Hanse renovated the Blue Monster to make it more sensational."

Didn't really think that was a criteria for good course architecture . . . . . . .

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Post by incontinentia Fri 06 Mar 2015, 4:07 pm

GPB/robo,

Very interesting analysis, I wonder how McIlroy's Quail Hollow final round in 2010 compared to the field average? Probably the most impressive round of recent times.
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Post by skiddy Fri 06 Mar 2015, 4:16 pm

Personally think Doral looks just as boring as I remember but more difficult which I suppose leads to more excitement. At least its still possible to shoot good scores when the weather behaves like JB Holmes showed.

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