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PGA Tour: Valero Texas Open: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 25 Mar 2015, 1:56 pm

1).Recognition right up front for one of the PGA Tour's best sponsors, Valero, and one of its leaders in charitable contributions, the Texas Open, in San Antonio.

2).The Texas Open, first contested in 1922, is one of the PGA Tour's oldest events but, in recent years anyway, has been accorded a date on the calendar which scarcely reflects its importance, from the "Fall Series" to the post-Masters twilight zone, and now to the late March slot. But this date next year has already been committed to the WGC: MatchPlay in (relatively) nearby Austin, so it's not clear yet where the Valero Texas Open will reside.

3).Be that as it may, what cannot be denied is the growth in strength of field, as reflected in the owgr points earned by the winner:
2010: Adam Scott: 26
2011: Brendan Steele: 28
2012: Ben Curtis (remember him?): 24
2013: Martin Laird: 44
2014: Steven Bowditch: 40
2015: Approx 50 pts.
The first three of the above were staged post-Masters, the latter two, like this year's, pre-Masters.

4).Matt Every was runner-up behind Curtis three years ago and, if he'd've played his final few holes last week as he did in Texas in 2012, Henrik Stenson would have won the Arnold Palmer Invitational. But it seems Every is made of sterner stuff these days, despite him not having registered a Top 25 finish on Tour since "Memphis" last June. Perhaps working with Sean Foley might have helped him there?

5).Morgan Hoffmann's fine play last week also came somewhat out of the blue, with no Top 20 results in the 2014/2015 season before Bay Hill.

6).With all the chat about Stenson and conjecture as to whether his pairing being "put on the clock" had a bearing on his defeat, he clearly reckons it did.
What difference will this make to his Masters chances?
Henrik was clearly well p1ssed off, rightly or wrongly, and hopefully this will stiffen his resolve rather than add to the suspicion of a chip on his shoulder.
Despite his MatchPlay, Players and FedEx wins, there's the feeling that Stenson's sustained excellence is under-appreciated in the U.S., the TV coverage last week, damning with faint praise, only adding to that.
I don't fancy his chances at Augusta, but would think he's a great bet for the final three Majors, where he's clocked up Top 4 finishes in four of his last five appearances.

7).This week's Valero Texas Open is the penultimate opportunity for golfers to qualify for the Billy Payne Invitational at Augusta. The Top 50 in the owg rankings, not otherwise exempt, after this week's action around the world will be invited to The Masters - no doubt all the options will be discussed elsewhere, but Harris English spurned a great chance to secure a spot last week as he slumped from 8th to 29th with a poor final round at Bay Hill.

8).And, talking of The Masters, there is speculation from Doug Ferguson this week that the size of the field may pass 100 golfers, a threshold that makes Billy Payne think: "there is a maximum number of competitors for which we can give the experience that we want them to have". "The 100 pushes that limit quite significantly."
There are three (Edit: Plus Stadler) exempt players this year who haven't been seen in competition for quite a while, Tim Clark, Stricker and Woods, so their participation, or not, will surely have a bearing on Payne's thinking, as may the revelation this month that this year's Masters will make $30M profit, let's face it, without really trying.
Ferguson's suggestion is that the year-end owgr Top 50 threshold be abandoned.
Regardless, Crenshaw has said this year's ceremonial "effort" will be his last, and there's talk that Tom Watson will also call it a day, either this year or next. Woosnam has only made two cuts in the 21st century so he should take his leave, but Sandy Lyle has made the last two cuts and will doubtless hang on, despite being tailed off last in last week's Champions Tour stop.

9).We are rapidly approaching the halfway point of this PGA Tour season, pre-play-off anyway. Among our double-dipping friends, it seems increasingly likely that Dubuisson will not play sufficient events to keep his card, while others way off the pace to secure a 2015/16 "card" include Gonzo and Sterne; not to mention Luke Donald who languishes in 140th place.

10).The Aussie "savant" Steven Bowditch played extraordinary golf thru 3 rounds at the TPC San Antonio in 2014, then struggled over the line with a Sunday 76.
No idea who might contend this week, and Thursday's weather (strong winds forecast with a chance of rain) suggests the "draw" may be significant.
Marc Warren is making his last gasp try to reach the owgr Top 50 and The Masters, while others in the field include Kaymer, Lowry, McDowell and Molinari.
Stenson won't be around this week, hopefully we'll see him in Houston.
But one thing you can be sure of: however Stenson plays at Augusta National, the final pairing on Masters Sunday will take significantly longer to play their 18 holes than Hoffmann and Henrik did last Sunday.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Thu 26 Mar 2015, 10:52 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer Wed 25 Mar 2015, 2:17 pm

Bit harsh on Bowditch's final round there Kwini. Pretty much everyone struggled last year in the final round, I think there was only two guys who broke 70.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 25 Mar 2015, 2:32 pm

About twenty players in at Par-72 or better? I'd say 76 wasn't exactly finishing with a flourish, only seven rounds worse on the day!


Notah Begay has spoken to Woods several times recently and reckons he's a 50/50 chance to play The Masters.
If he doesn't play Augusta, then where would he turn up next? Not many good options before Chambers Bay. Memorial I suppose.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 25 Mar 2015, 2:39 pm

In the wake of Nike publicising the shirt/strides combos laid out for Rory and Tiger for Augusta, here's Tim Herron's clothing plans:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/grill-room/herron-releases-masters-scripting-features-green-jacket?cid=Email_WednesdayNL_20150325

I like it that Lumpy pokes fun at himself . . . . .


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Post by super_realist Wed 25 Mar 2015, 2:53 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:In the wake of Nike publicising the shirt/strides combos laid out for Rory and Tiger for Augusta, here's Tim Herron's clothing plans:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/grill-room/herron-releases-masters-scripting-features-green-jacket?cid=Email_WednesdayNL_20150325

I like it that Lumpy pokes fun at himself . . . . .


The amusing thing is that they have 4 (Four) changes of clothes for 9 Chins including his usual boring red on Sunday. Surely two will do nicely, and one likely given that he'll most likely sack it off with his "bad back"

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Post by McLaren Wed 25 Mar 2015, 4:12 pm

kwini

The thing with the US golf media is they have many more home major winners to get excited about. Why would Stenson be given special praise for failing to even properly contend in golfs biggest events when they can focus on a local hero like Dufner or Gerry who have?

Do not mistake this for how I rank players but it isn't hard to see why the US golf media wouldn't be all that fussed about Stenson until he lands a major.



Super

What brands do you currently wear when playing golf?
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Post by super_realist Wed 25 Mar 2015, 4:18 pm

What does that matter Mac? I've got lots of golf clothes.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 25 Mar 2015, 4:53 pm

Mac,
That's why I pointed out his 4 Top 4 finishes in the past five non-Masters Majors, not to mention three others earlier.

He's won most of the PGA Tour flagship events, one of the best golfers of his generation.

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Post by GPB Wed 25 Mar 2015, 6:20 pm

Kwini, you forgot to mention the SMALLRUS in Bullet Point #8.  He also is exempt into the Masters (via a Top 12 finish last year) and he hasn't played a tournament since the ToC at the beginning of the year.

I don't mind the Year End OWGR qualification nearly as much as the Tour Championship exemption for the Masters and US Open (and Open Championship?)

This year, Hoffmann and Tringale are getting invite based upon one high finish (and not a win) in a playoff event.

Leishman, Reavie, and Streelman have also earned invites in prior years because they got a podium finish in a playoff event.

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Post by pedro Wed 25 Mar 2015, 6:31 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:In the wake of Nike publicising the shirt/strides combos laid out for Rory and Tiger for Augusta, here's Tim Herron's clothing plans:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/grill-room/herron-releases-masters-scripting-features-green-jacket?cid=Email_WednesdayNL_20150325

I like it that Lumpy pokes fun at himself . . . . .

Think he got the sizes wrong....

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 25 Mar 2015, 6:41 pm

GPB,
Good point about the Smalrus, had forgotten about him. And think Ogilvy was another beneficiary of the Tour Championship.

On another point, I don't think the Madeira Islands Open was ever intended as a full E.T. event, or even at the level of an "opposite field" event; but it always has a lousy field (Challenge Tour level), no doubt about that.

pedro thumbsup !!

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Post by Shotrock Wed 25 Mar 2015, 7:32 pm

Fine write up Kwin.

I had a nice chat with Tim Herron a fews years ago during a practice round at a PGA event. I had just returned from his home club (Wayzata, MN) and chatted about some folks we both knew. Really approachable and good natured.

Mac - Never sure who the "US Media" is on the whole, but I absolutely agree that more attention will be given to Watson the younger. And look for major less, yet recent event winner, Dustin Johnson along with major less, but he of fine major finishes, Rickie to get some ink and face time. That said, the big story will be on the big dog and his quest for a 3rd straight major. It's your time Rory.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 25 Mar 2015, 7:58 pm

Hi Sr,
From what I read, the Herron flock is quite the golfing family in Minnesota . . . . . Timmy always comes across as one of the guys that "gets it".


SO'H pushing his energy envelope this week I see.

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Post by Bob_the_Job Thu 26 Mar 2015, 10:02 am

Cheers Kwini - quality.

For me the Valero will always be associated with Kevin Na and his 16 on a par four.. especially as we overheard him saying to his caddy "What is that - how many have I shot so far" as they finally walked to the green. Gives us all hope.

Think the Master is a bit like the Grand National - so penal if you are not spot on that predicting a winner is a lottery.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 11:00 am

Cheers Bob,
Dunno about McIlroy's form going into Augusta, but McDowell's form is terrible. Wonder if he's just one of those golfers, like Trevino & Montgomerie, whose game will never be suited to Augusta - he's missed the cut 5 out of 7 trips? Interested to see how he makes out this week.

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Post by Bob_the_Job Thu 26 Mar 2015, 11:08 am

I've said it before - I'm not convinced by McIlroy's form either. He's on a bit of a knife edge and hanging on. But it could go either way and I wouldn't be totally surprised to see him click into the form that has seen him lap the field, but I certainly wouldn't say it's a probability - more of a possibility because he's so naturally talented.

GMac is in a bit of a slump and I think Augusta is a bit long off the tee for him - he can hit it straight or he can hit it far, rarely both. I think a lot of stars have to align for GMac to really contend in a major, but when that happens he knows how to get the most out of it.
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Post by pedro Thu 26 Mar 2015, 11:25 am

Gmac came close to winning his 2nd US Open a few years ago and he's been around at a few British Open's. He's the kind of guy that pops up in the big tournaments. But I agree that Augusta may not be his best chance at winning another major.

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Post by super_realist Thu 26 Mar 2015, 11:27 am

Not much being said about Sergio.

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Post by McLaren Thu 26 Mar 2015, 12:14 pm

Sergio has only 1 top 10 on the PGAT this season - t4 NT open - which I wouldn't count as a great indicator of a masters win. Do you think he will content at the masters?
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Post by incontinentia Thu 26 Mar 2015, 12:16 pm

Bob_the_Job wrote:

Think the Master is a bit like the Grand National - so penal if you are not spot on that predicting a winner is a lottery.
Not really bob, it clearly favours left-handers for one thing. Ger Watson is sure to be one of the favourites this year, wouldn't put it past Mickelson either even though he's no spring chicken.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 12:19 pm

Gusty winds for the early starters today, definite advantage to the afternoon "wave".

Note to self: Check where the Europeans are starting out. Aah: 11 this morning, just 3 this afternoon.

Furyk and Kuchar drawing the short straw, Dustin and Every too (but we don't care for them); all other top Americans playing in the p.m., Spieth, Walker, Mickelson, Zach, DLIII, Kirk, Horschel, Todd, Palmer.

My best David Icke.

PS: super: Sergio not playing this week, hope you didn't pick him.

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Post by super_realist Thu 26 Mar 2015, 12:26 pm

McLaren wrote:Sergio has only 1 top 10 on the PGAT this season - t4 NT open - which I wouldn't count as a great indicator of a masters win.  Do you think he will content at the masters?

WHy not Mac? It's a tough prediction and doesn't always go to the form book over the years, bit like all majors or indeed tournaments.

Kwini, I was talking about Garcia for Augusta.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 12:35 pm

One second place, one fourth in five events for Sergio in this PGA Tour season, wouldn't think that disqualifies him in any way at all.

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Post by Shotrock Thu 26 Mar 2015, 12:36 pm

I'll take action against Sergio! If he's in contention, the water on 15 and 16 will look like lake Superior to him. Wink

This afternoon/morning start time thing has me wondering ... has there ever been a definitive study done on which times actually give you any advantage? I recall one of the golf channel talking heads saying he much preferred a Thursday afternoon/Friday morning ... but another said he preferred the extra rest the Thursday morning/Friday afternoon offered.

Kwin, I hope some of your snow melts this weekend. 70F here today!

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Post by pedro Thu 26 Mar 2015, 12:37 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:One second place, one fourth in five events for Sergio in this PGA Tour season, wouldn't think that disqualifies him in any way at all.
don't write off sergio... until the back 9 that is....

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Post by sirbenson Thu 26 Mar 2015, 12:45 pm

Garcia lacks bottle and I would say the Augusta greens are a nightmare for him!

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Post by sirbenson Thu 26 Mar 2015, 12:45 pm

Fantastic start from Coetzee in Morocco

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Post by McLaren Thu 26 Mar 2015, 12:51 pm

kwini

I used OWGR site to check sergio's results and for some reason his CIMB 2nd place is missing

http://www.owgr.com/en/Ranking/PlayerProfile.aspx?playerID=5689

Hence my claim he only had a T4 this season. Despite being half way through the PGAT regular season, it is clear most players at the top end of the rankings see build up to the masters as the first important section of the season. So a 2nd and 4th by this stage isn't too bad but past history shows sergio can't do it in the majors.
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Post by sirbenson Thu 26 Mar 2015, 12:56 pm

He can't do it in the WGC'S as well....I know he won the event in Shenzhen, but wasn't that before it became a WGC!?

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 12:57 pm

Not missing at all, week 44 refers.

Would agree that Sergio's best chance might be to be on the fringe of Sunday contention and rattle off a quick 65 before he starts to think about what it could mean. My early longshot would be Oosthuizen if he's fit!


Sr,
Still snowbank between my back door and my grill, haven't seen anything above 50F so far this year, snow in tonight's f/c, then twenties for a Saturday high.

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Post by sirbenson Thu 26 Mar 2015, 1:01 pm

Do you know what I hate about the New PGA Tour leaderboard....the fact it doesn't signal the wind strength anymore!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 1:03 pm

Sr,
When it's forecast for 20 - 30 mph winds on Thursday morning, and "diminishing" in the afternoon, you'd think the afternooners have the advantage. Conditions good the rest of the week.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 1:11 pm

sirb,
Current conditions in the area according to The Weather Channel are 56F with a 21 mph northerly gusting to 32 mph. Average score in the first 40 minutes is already more than one stroke over par.

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Post by sirbenson Thu 26 Mar 2015, 1:15 pm

Yep, I thought as much regarding the strength of wind as drives on some holes are all going 300 plus from shorter hitters like GMAC, Curtis and Furyk

And with it being so early in the morning as well!

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Post by Shotrock Thu 26 Mar 2015, 1:24 pm

I get that for today Kwin ... I just wondered if there's been any long term study done on those start times. The 24 hr time in between v the 16 or so hr. I'm heading on vacation shortly, so something to research if I get bored!

Hang in there, it will be summer before you know it. In the meantime, sap flow strong I assume?

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 1:29 pm

Yeah, Never mind summer, spring would be nice.
Sugaring quite late this year - I have a sugar maple just outside and haven't seen any sap yet. Not that I go for it, but the squirrels love it!

After the first hour, there are three guys 3 or more over par, just two under par.

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Post by sirbenson Thu 26 Mar 2015, 1:32 pm

Rough luck for those who are in need of a good finish to qualify for the Masters like English, Molinari, Warren all on the morning side of the draw!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 1:56 pm

It looks like Cejka cejcked the weather and chose to cejck out rather than put up with the windage nonsense.

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Post by pedro Thu 26 Mar 2015, 2:08 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:It looks like Cejka cejcked the weather and chose to cejck out rather than put up with the windage nonsense.
you mean he cejkened out.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 2:12 pm

Cejk.

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Post by GPB Thu 26 Mar 2015, 4:11 pm

GMac and Sangmoon Bae taking a early exit from San Antonio.

GMac claiming a foot injury and no word on SMB yet.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 4:18 pm

I think the "word" on Sang Moon Bae is that he was 6 over par after 7 holes, McDool five over after 9.

Latest forecast is for the current 20-ish mph (gusting to 30 mph) winds to 15 mph by late afternoon.

Only Kerry Jelly under par at the moment.

Touch and go whether anyone will get round in under five hours, quite possible that the afternooners won't be able to tee off on time.
Hope the 70 surviving golfers are all on the clock.

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Post by navyblueshorts Thu 26 Mar 2015, 4:22 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:It looks like Cejka cejcked the weather and chose to cejck out rather than put up with the windage nonsense.

pedro wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:It looks like Cejka cejcked the weather and chose to cejck out rather than put up with the windage nonsense.
you mean he cejkened out.

kwinigolfer wrote:Cejk.
Laugh clap Very good guys.
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Post by sirbenson Thu 26 Mar 2015, 5:36 pm

How many players will shoot in the 90s is the question!?

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 5:38 pm

Tee times pushed back 20 minutes - there's something that doesn't happen very often without some sort of suspension or delay in play.

Perhaps the stop-watch brigade has given up. Brian Davis one of the best of a bad lot, in third place, for a while anyway, but still one over par.


sirb,
They'll withdraw first!

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Post by sirbenson Thu 26 Mar 2015, 5:49 pm

I suppose so Kwini! 3 gone already!

How much criticism will the tournament get I wonder?!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 5:59 pm

I guess there's a fine balance in setting the course up. But these winds were forecasted in pgatour.com's preview back on Monday, so hardly a surprise.
It IS an unforgiving course once you leave the short grass, but surely they should've known that.
Remarkable effort by Kuchar - pity he's been so disappointing when I've had him in my fanto teams on easier lay-outs!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 6:36 pm

Reports that McDool's withdrawal might have been due to hurting his foot, as well as his ego. That wouldn't be good.

Conditions marginally better this afternoon, scoring reflecting that already.

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

Totally agree Kwini....Gmac and Bae should be fined, as simple as that! The fact Gmac has said he is going to enter Houston suggests there is no injury.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 26 Mar 2015, 8:02 pm

Fine round of 74 from Marc Warren; if he can maintain that form he'll be destined for Augusta.

Shane Lowry even par after three holes; good start for him.

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