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PGA Tour: The Arnold Palmer Love In: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 18 Mar 2015, 3:34 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).Back to typical Florida Tour golf this week, at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club, originally designed by Dick Wilson who is still believed to be the only alcoholic course architect who went to University on a football scholarship. The course has been changed quite a bit since Dick's day, many of the modifications by Palmer himself and not necessarily for the better. But it is what it is and the pro who banks $1.1+M next Monday won't give a toss.

2).Course specialist Tiger Woods is still on sabbatical, apparently didn't think his game was up to it, but perhaps he'd received word that the greens are also not up to snuff - a "health warning" about them reportedly having been posted in the Innisbrook locker room telling Valspar contestants to beware.

3)Talking about the "Valspar Championship", there have been gushing articles in the press here about Spieth and Reed representing the new generation of American golfers, but precious little about Sean O'Hair who, ten years ago, trod the path that Spieth and Reed are now navigating.
Like Spieth, O'Hair won the John Deere Classic for his first win and followed up a few years later with Valspar victory.
And, like Reed, O'Hair came out on Tour estranged from parental guidance, soon entered Victory Lane and beyond but subsequently lost his way. Moving around the country with four young children couldn't have helped.

4).One constant for O'Hair, though, has been his play at Bay Hill where he could've, would've, should've won a few years ago before getting beaten (intimidated?) by Tiger and has Top40'd 7 times in 9 visits. But it's only a slight exaggeration for O'Hair to compare the depths of his struggles to those currently being fought by Woods.
Following his play-off loss on Sunday, and trying to explain his welcome return to form, O'Hair is rumoured to have said:
"I was thrashed in an Aronomink member/member match against a curler called Shotrock. He gave me some tips from his bonspiel battles, I took his advice to heart and here I am!"

5).And: On the subject of Pros being paired with Woods in Tour events, Golf Digest's April edition's "Undercover Tour Pro" describes: "Being paired with Tiger: It's a circus, good and bad." Nothing but good things to say about Tiger. Worth reading.

6).pgatour.com listed its Top 5 Irish Golfers in homage to St.Patrick's Day:
1st: McIlroy, 2nd: Harrington, 3rd: Himself, 4th: Clarke, 5th: McDool.
For Nor'n Irish post WWII golfers, I would think: McIlroy, Fred Daly, Clarke, McDowell, Rafferty?
For the Irish list I would agree with Harrington at #1. Then O'Connor Sr, Harry Bradshaw, Christy Jr (edges ahead of Smyth thanks to that 2-iron!), Des Smyth?
Whaddya think? (Sure I've forgotten one or two.)

7).For the Bill Frindalls amongst us who look at Tour stats, Jordan Spieth defied logic last week:
Driving distance: 26th
Driving accuracy: 51st
Greens in Reg: 32nd
Strokes gained putting: 26th
Scrambling: 18th.
Most important stat, just a hair (not ohair) ahead of Reed: Ability to get the ball in the hole: 1st.
Almost Woods-like, from both of them really.

8).Only two chances remaining for golfers to qualify for Augusta via the owgr's.
As far as I can see, and GPB will disabuse me if I've missed someone, all above 44th in the owgr's are arithmetically (or as close as damnit) certain of invites, which leaves Casey the highest placed golfer on the brink.
Others close but not yet certainties include:
Casey: 46th, Playing Bay Hill
Warren: 51st, Not playing this week
English: 52nd, at Bay Hill
Levy: 53rd, at Bay Hill
Sullivan: 58th, Not playing
Fleetwood: 62nd, Not playing
DeLaet: 63rd, at Bay Hill
Molinari: 64th, at Bay Hill
Siem: 65th, Not playing
Hopefully some of those not playing this week's Sam Saunders Invitational will get a final chance at next week's Valero Texas Open. (Plus the Houston Champ also gets into The Masters.)

9).Matt Every won last year's "Arnold Palmer Invitational", and has only surfaced on the Memphis leaderboard since then. Not sure about Matt, bags of talent but destined for the Tour's discard pile the way he's going.
Several of the British contingent have played well here in the past, Martin Laird best of all with his second Tour win. McIlroy makes his Bay Hill debut, but I fancy his Ryder Cup teammate Stenson whose stats and play last week made one wonder why he finished a stroke shy of the play-off. Distance is always a trump card at Bay Hill, but Brian Davis, Ian Poulter and McDool have good records here also.

10).The PGA Tour made the strange decision to increase the customary two-year winner's exemption for Bay Hill and the Memorial to three years, the same exemption as awarded to WGC's.
What's that all about? What about the Byron Nelson, or Ben Hogan's Colonial??
It's good to honour legends of the game, but the Tour was unkind to the Byron Nelson event when Lord Byron passed away; Jack and Arnie can expect more of the same.

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Post by McLaren Sat 21 Mar 2015, 11:00 pm

Not bad from Stenson, but hardly 254 pace. Wink


European tour going from strength to strength. Medeira Island open down to 36 holes for 2nd consecutive year. Although that is assuming play can be "completed" tomorrow.
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Post by incontinentia Sun 22 Mar 2015, 10:08 am

I hope Hoffmann, phallus-mantle and co. can challenge Stenson and make it an interesting final round. The big swede is sure to turn up.
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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Mar 2015, 11:15 am

Rory's going out over an hour ahead of Henrik - would love to see him go low and see what the rest of 'em have got. Needs to have a good start though, otherwise hopeless.

And "hopeless" seems to describe the conditions in Madeira.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Mar 2015, 4:41 pm

Koepka was having trouble with his back yesterday and it looks like it must've gone out on him again; just when he was in line to give me a worst-score-of-the-round bonus in Grumpy's game. Booooo!

EDIT: Apparently he dislocated a rib; much better than hurting yr back but, if my experience with rib injuries is anything to go by, is probably most painful. Masters caveat emptor, watch this space.


Another fruitless week for Brandon Grace; he must have played at least 20 PGA Tour recognized tournaments and it looks like his best finish is T15, albeit at The Masters. Overdue for a breakthrough.

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer Sun 22 Mar 2015, 6:00 pm

Had he slipped far enough Kwini he could have got you last place points too. A dislocated rib sounds very painful; any idea how he managed it?

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Mar 2015, 6:15 pm

Grumps, No idea. They said yesterday he'd hurt his back on the range, but reportedly it was a rib problem.
I'm expecting a note of apology, had him in my one-and-done also!

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer Sun 22 Mar 2015, 6:53 pm

Oh dear, he was about as useful as Steven Gerrard today.

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Post by pedro Sun 22 Mar 2015, 7:06 pm

Branden Grace is a guy you could see pull a major soon. Has had a career a bit similar to compatriots Immelman, Oosty, Schwartzel (up until their major wins) bagging several ET wins.

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer Sun 22 Mar 2015, 7:11 pm

Wow, what a shot by Z-Jay. Might have wrapped up low round with that shot.

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Post by beninho Sun 22 Mar 2015, 7:12 pm

I like it when zachers shows you don't need to be a big power hitter to do well.

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Post by pedro Sun 22 Mar 2015, 7:13 pm

1GrumpyGolfer wrote:Oh dear, he was about as useful as Steven Gerrard today.
Even Tiger Woods couldn't walk off that fast.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Mar 2015, 7:15 pm

Two albatrosses in one event could be a PGA Tour first.

Good tournament from Molinari - he's been playing very well, good to see.

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Post by beninho Sun 22 Mar 2015, 7:19 pm

How's farannydoing in the race to keep his card for another year?

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Post by pedro Sun 22 Mar 2015, 7:24 pm

beninho wrote:I like it when zachers shows you don't need to be a big power hitter to do well.
He must've been to church today.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Mar 2015, 7:31 pm

Faranny? Right on track to keep his card, 103rd as pgatour.com calls it right now. Needs some top tens though to give him some breathing space.

Stenson's group on the clock - third time at least in the past six or so weeks a leader has been on the clock, all Europeans.

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Post by SmithersJones Sun 22 Mar 2015, 8:05 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Two albatrosses in one event could be a PGA Tour first.

Good tournament from Molinari - he's been playing very well, good to see.

PGA TOUR Media ‏@PGATOURmedia 8m8 minutes ago

Since 1983, the 2015 @APinv marks the fifth stroke-play event on @PGATOUR with multiple albatrosses.



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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Mar 2015, 8:19 pm

Peter Green would be proud . . . . . still the best Albatross.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Mar 2015, 8:49 pm

Harris English needs a good finish to secure a Masters place.
Ain't gonna happen. Currently 30th - Broken English. Surprising after starting so well, but gives Casey a chance..

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Post by GPB Sun 22 Mar 2015, 10:06 pm

Nice repeat win from Every.

Casey falls to 49th.  Willett, Woodland and Every passed him.

This is what the Top 50 bubble looks like and their plans for next week.

   
49PaulCasey2.430Idle 
50JasonDufner2.421Playing VTO
51BrendonTodd2.401Playing VTO
52MarcWarren2.365Playing VTO
53HarrisEnglish2.287Playing VTO
54AlexanderLevy2.236Playing Morocco


Dufner and Todd already have a Masters Invite.  Casey, Warren, English, Levy do not.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Mar 2015, 10:27 pm

Very nice win for Every - clearly read my Note 9). above and didn't fancy the discard pile.

Morgan Hoffmann will win before too long, nothing to be ashamed of this week, but this is a Stenson loss as much as an Every win. Three 3-putts and nothing holed longer than, what? 6 feet??, are not going to get it done.
He may turn out to be a hot favourite for Augusta, but not too sure about that.

Sorry to see O'Hair blow up - imagine he's out of gas.

PS: GPB: I'm guessing Casey not playing next week won't help his divisor, right?

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 22 Mar 2015, 10:35 pm

PS: Another fine finish (5th) on the web.com by Greg Eason. Up to 16th in the money list.

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Post by GPB Sun 22 Mar 2015, 11:52 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:PS: GPB: I'm guessing Casey not playing next week won't help his divisor, right?

Not sure what you are asking, but Casey is well over the 52 tournament max.  His divisor is not an issue.

For Paul Casey fans, a little bit of good news.

Prince Dracula has tweeted out projections for next week already.  Casey is #49 right now, but Luke Donald is is projected to fall behind him by attrition.  So Casey is actually #48 going into next week, so three people have to pass Casey for him to fall out of top 50.

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Post by McLaren Sun 22 Mar 2015, 11:58 pm

Stenson has apparently blamed the officials for him losing the tournament as he didn't like getting put on the clock.
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 23 Mar 2015, 12:21 am

Good!
The David Icke in me says that the Tour is borderline vindictive in how it handles players who fall behind.
The Golf Channel made an issue on every hole during the week on Stenson taking a long time. But his group never fell behind. But Palmer started bellyaching about him.
Snedeker, who was playing with him, walks up to the ball and whacks it, but he and Scott Vail spend 3/4 of an hour discussing each shot before "go time", but Arnie says what a "nice young man" he is.
F you Arnie.

Stenson has a point and it's about time someone came out and said it. They did the same with Laird at Phoenix. (And with Harrington at Honda, but Harrington IS extremely slow and doesn't care.)

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 23 Mar 2015, 12:41 am

GPB,
Casey had only played 53 tournaments - was thinking that, depending upon the dates, missing Valero might have brought him down to 51. Just hoping there might have been a chance.

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Post by GPB Mon 23 Mar 2015, 12:56 am

On another blog, I posted that Stenson/Hoffmann were 16-17 minutes behind Jones/Kokrak on the 4th hole, about an hour into their round.  (6-7 Minutes behind their position).

And about 25 minutes later, on the 6th green, Maltbie announced that they were on the clock, and they never got back into position according to some tweets I saw.

No one is going to convince me that Snedeker is a slow player without some documented proof.  Stenson was slow this week.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 23 Mar 2015, 1:10 am

Agreed GPB, but they caught up until Hoffmann needed a drop (on 9?) which took an age and then Hoffmann made a pig's ear of #12 and that took an age. Certainly no need to time them after that, and certainly not Stenson's fault they were behind.

I know the rules but two guys I can't stand were in a slow-time brouhaha last year at Innisbrook. Na was taking half an hour to play every shot, Garrigus took one bad time after driving into trouble and sticking his recovery shot behind trees and got slammed.

I saw a guy get done for a bad time once and he basically told the official to take a hike, expletives deleted. Pity Stenson didn't take the same approach.

The whole notion of making guys guilty by association is bad policy.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 23 Mar 2015, 10:19 am

Even the Golf Channel weighed in on alleged slow play, one writer calling application of slow-play enforcement "selective", another "inconsistent".


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Post by sirbenson Mon 23 Mar 2015, 10:31 am

A huge chance missed by Stenson, he can talk about slow play but a 3 putt on 15 and taking 3 from the fringe on 16.....no excuses tbh!

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Post by incontinentia Mon 23 Mar 2015, 11:04 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Even the Golf Channel weighed in on alleged slow play, one writer calling application of slow-play enforcement "selective", another "inconsistent".

Can't disagree with that, TV schedules seem to a major influencing factor. Like Stenson says, "are we here to play golf or finish by 6 pm?"

Kwini- do you feel there is a conspiracy against European players on the PGA Tour?
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 23 Mar 2015, 11:15 am

Yeah, His pairing had just been warned again, but they'd've been keeping up if it wasn't for Hoffmann playing a couple of holes extremely slowly.
As it is, they got round in four hours; I'd bet none of the final pairings at The Masters have ever done that.

I'm all for stamping out slow play, but selective application of the rules has a bit of a stench about it.

inco,
Don't think there's a conspiracy against European golfers, but I DO think there's favouritism for certain "celebrity" players, Couples a frequent beneficiary in the previous generation. And Woods could be a fast player when things were going well, but could also be deathly slow - it was him who caused the nonsense with Harrington at Bridgestone a few years ago. But Harrington had the (richly earned) reputation, and was the guy rattled by the warning.
Langer would always admit to being slow, but no-one walks quicker between shots! Bradley and Simpson are pretty slow among the current crop, Furyk too, but then Poulter can be slow too.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Mon 23 Mar 2015, 12:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Shotrock Mon 23 Mar 2015, 11:57 am

Good point by Stenson and I'm guessing the finish by 6pm is far more important than many would admit to. I also think this "episode" will make Henrik even more resilient and committed to finishing off events, regardless of what's thrown at him. A good bet for Augusta.

Kwin, O'Hair definitely ran out of gas.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 23 Mar 2015, 12:41 pm

Sr,
SO'H is "committed" for Valero but hopefully he'll take a breather.
I would say he's a golfer who has improved his game by speeding it up - he was "deliberate" in every sense of the word the only time I followed him; not that he was playing especially slow, but was checking and rechecking his swing (a la recent editions of Woods) and switching clubs seemingly incessantly. Playing in a much more natural rhythm the past two weeks, good to see. Only one more decent finish away from securing his card for '15/'16.

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Post by GPB Mon 23 Mar 2015, 2:48 pm

This is my solution to speed up players.

On a couple of tees and greens in each tournament, set up a camera to record players going through their pre shot routine.

They have X amount of time to make the shot.  If they exceed X amount of time, they get dinged.

Each time they get dinged, they are notified with the documented video evidence.

After they get dinged so many times, they start getting fined, in FEDEX points.  1% Fedex of their FE points for the first infraction after the Free Ding.  Next ding, an additional 2%, Next Ding an additional 3%...etc.  By the time they get to 10 infractions, they have lost 55% of their Fedex points.

And the Bad Times will be public for the press and other players.

And there would be decoys cameras so the players don't know which holes are being documented.

Details would have to be worked out, but this is how I would do it.

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Post by McLaren Mon 23 Mar 2015, 2:57 pm

Kwini

I did not watch the coverage so cannot offer my own opinion, but it would seem that several in the media are claiming that Stenson was the slow play culprit yesterday, and has been known to be really slow for a while.
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 23 Mar 2015, 3:07 pm

Mac,
They got put on the clock in the middle of the front nine, caught up to an acceptable margin, Hoffmann and the Tour Officials took an age to officiate a drop (I think it was) on #9, then Hoffmann took yonks to play #12 which he made a complete horlicks of.
Then they got put back on the clock on #15 whereupon Henrik promptly 3-putted, then Hoffmann got a bad time on #16 and Stenson 3-putted again.
I don't think anyone disputes those as facts.
Stenson was guilty by association and didn't have the presence of mind or balls to tell Russell or whoever it was to take a hike. Woods would have done, but Stenson in his account rushed his putting on both greens.

I'm not saying Stenson is totally blameless, I'm saying that I agree with Golf Channel's so-called experts who consider application of slow play sanctions to be "selective" and "inconsistent". You don't have to attend many tournaments to see that this is true.

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Post by pedro Mon 23 Mar 2015, 3:10 pm

You don’t put players on the clock on the back nine on a Sunday. And if you do, do it consistently as others suggested.
The same applies with the Tour's PED policy (or lack hereof).

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Post by GPB Mon 23 Mar 2015, 3:47 pm

"...Stenson was guilty by association ..."


"...I'm not saying Stenson is totally blameless,.."





Huh?

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Post by McLaren Mon 23 Mar 2015, 3:57 pm

Kwini

What players do you consider to actually be slow?
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Post by super_realist Mon 23 Mar 2015, 4:01 pm

by club golfer standards, they all are.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 23 Mar 2015, 4:14 pm

Mac,
There are a ton of players that are slow, and Stenson was called out by the Golf Channel commentators during early-round play and Palmer started to go on about it. Don't think he doesn't influence the way the tournament is run and course set-up. He widened fairways from previous years and stated on TV he would speak to the Tour about speeding up the pace of the greens on Sunday, which they clearly did.

BUT: There's no report that Stenson received a bad time on Sunday, but Hoffmann certainly seems to have done. As Stenson rightly said, it's tough to focus on what you're doing when there's an official with a stopwatch siting in a cart by the green.





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Post by GPB Mon 23 Mar 2015, 4:27 pm

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Hoffmann and Stenson were getting out of position on the 4th hole.  And there were no extenuating circumstances why they were getting out of position.  They both birdied #1 and Hoffman birdied #3 and neither was in any big trouble early in the round.

There is no excuse for being 6-7 minutes behind where they should have been after 4 holes.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 23 Mar 2015, 4:34 pm

Yes, they were put on the clock and, according to press reports, taken back off it but restored on the 15th after Hoffmann's woes had got them behind again.

Alfie Barnrat confirmed in the Valero field.

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Post by navyblueshorts Mon 23 Mar 2015, 5:14 pm

GPB wrote:This is my solution to speed up players.

On a couple of tees and greens in each tournament, set up a camera to record players going through their pre shot routine.

They have X amount of time to make the shot.  If they exceed X amount of time, they get dinged.

Each time they get dinged, they are notified with the documented video evidence.

After they get dinged so many times, they start getting fined, in FEDEX points.  1% Fedex of their FE points for the first infraction after the Free Ding.  Next ding, an additional 2%, Next Ding an additional 3%...etc.  By the time they get to 10 infractions, they have lost 55% of their Fedex points.

And the Bad Times will be public for the press and other players.

And there would be decoys cameras so the players don't know which holes are being documented.

Details would have to be worked out, but this is how I would do it.
Sounds like a good wheeze. They ought to be able to come up with something, especially as the PGA are obsessed with collecting stats of all sorts.
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 23 Mar 2015, 5:15 pm

Presumably "Mr.Palmer" doesn't like red shorts at his "Club", that and narrow fairways, slow play, slower greens and a risk/reward Par-5:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/golf-central-blog/kisners-caddie-chastised-his-shorts/


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Post by pedro Mon 23 Mar 2015, 6:15 pm

Fast greens is slow play, or?

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Post by McLaren Mon 23 Mar 2015, 7:07 pm

pedro

As with a lot of modern trends in course conditioning fast greens promote slow play.
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Post by beninho Mon 23 Mar 2015, 7:17 pm

Stenson has made a lot of money from golf. That is mainly through tv and sponsorship. If he has to finish by 6pm then so be it. Can't have it both ways. And that guys shorts don't look tip top but if he is ok to advertise your event then he should be ok to enter your clubhouse. Dress codes in golf clubhouses are just nonsense be it bay hill or pinner hill.

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Post by pedro Mon 23 Mar 2015, 7:35 pm

Send them out 10 minutes earlier.

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Post by GPB Mon 23 Mar 2015, 8:06 pm

pedro wrote:Send them out 10 minutes earlier.

And when that doesn't work, what happens?  another 10 minutes?  when does it stop?

treating a symptom, not the problem.

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