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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

First topic message reminder :

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.


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Post by McLaren Sun 29 Mar 2015, 9:34 pm

Davie wrote:You have a problem with Spieth, Mac?

He's currently lying T2 and the leader is 6 shots ahead. Seems a reasonable week's work to me

I just like watching golfers who are that little bit special, and I keep hearing that spieth might be. It's about time he showed he was.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 29 Mar 2015, 9:45 pm

How'd 'e do two weeks ago, Mac? I didn't see that one; would you fill me in?

A bonus snake there on #14.

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Post by McLaren Sun 29 Mar 2015, 10:02 pm

Kwini, I also missed it two weeks ago.


But seems my comments have spurred him on. Two birdies since I questioned him. Wink
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Post by McLaren Sun 29 Mar 2015, 10:26 pm

picard
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Post by McLaren Sun 29 Mar 2015, 10:49 pm

Tumbleweed
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Post by pedro Sun 29 Mar 2015, 10:57 pm

Another walker in the park for Jimmy. A bit like Hawaii. Have a few quid on him for Augusta but unsure how he'll fare under pressure.

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Post by McLaren Sun 29 Mar 2015, 11:06 pm

If Spieth were the real deal he would have birdied 18.
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Post by robopz Sun 29 Mar 2015, 11:24 pm

McLaren wrote:If Spieth were the real deal he would have birdied 18.
I trust we need a sarcasm symbol for this board? Whistle

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Post by robopz Sun 29 Mar 2015, 11:37 pm

Kwini... by the way, I missed this in your original notes... but Luke Donald has no card worries for next year... He's working off a 5 year exemption for leading the 2011 money list... that makes him exempt through the 2015-16 season...

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 30 Mar 2015, 1:17 am

Ladbrokes Masters prices:
5: Rory
10: Bubba
12: Spieth
14: Day
16: Adam Scott, DJ, Stenson
25: Rose, Fowler, Walker, Phil
33: Woods, Top 5, Kuchar, Sneds, Sergio
40: Koekpa, Kaymer, lw1
50: Bar those.

I'll take King Louis at 66/1, e.w.


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Post by GPB Mon 30 Mar 2015, 1:46 am

IMO, DJ and Stenson have the biggest value.

Can't imagine how Rose is 25/1.  He hasn't made a cut this season on the PGATour (tourneys with cuts) and his 55th in the WGC is not very good*. 



*Except when Kwini is doing his impression of a Russian Figure Skating judge rating his countrywoman. Doh

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 30 Mar 2015, 2:41 am

WTF's that comment all about?

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Post by GPB Mon 30 Mar 2015, 2:48 am

Your comment about Marc Warren having a good tournament when he finish T35th this week.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 30 Mar 2015, 3:22 am

Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
I qualified my comment to add context to his loaded morning / afternoon draw. And to finish birdie, birdie on 8 and 9 was pretty ballsy given the circumstances.
Unbelievable.


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Post by GPB Mon 30 Mar 2015, 3:53 am

I just think you are giving Warren way too much of a benefit of a doubt.

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Post by super_realist Mon 30 Mar 2015, 6:50 am

GPB wrote:IMO, DJ and Stenson have the biggest value.

Can't imagine how Rose is 25/1.  He hasn't made a cut this season on the PGATour (tourneys with cuts) and his 55th in the WGC is not very good*. 



*Except when Kwini is doing his impression of a Russian Figure Skating judge rating his countrywoman. Doh

Form is only half the issue, it depends on how much money they are taking on him, and minimising their risk. 9C is also laughably low odds, despite not technically being a top 1000 player

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Post by Bob_the_Job Mon 30 Mar 2015, 9:20 am

I don't think S_R is in the oil industry at all. I think he's really head of News at BBC... Tiger dropping out of the top 100 was on the news on Radio1 this morning!

Good win by Walker - he's become very solid.
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 30 Mar 2015, 9:43 am

s_r,
Betting prices and books not very well understood this side of the ditch.

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Post by super_realist Mon 30 Mar 2015, 9:51 am

Walker is a birdie machine. Him and Spieth looking like good bets for Masters.

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Post by beninho Mon 30 Mar 2015, 10:22 am

How has Jimmy Walker gone from being a bog standard tour pro to a consistent winner. Its pretty impressive. Will it be a flash in the pan or will he keep it going for a few years. I fear Duffner was just a flash, a good period then back to mediocrity though not helped by injuries. Walker had a top 10 at Augusta last year, he must be a favourite.

Speith is good, and whenever i have seen him interviewed he comes across well.

Think it will be a very open Masters this year, but Bubba is the man to beat.

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Post by incontinentia Mon 30 Mar 2015, 10:37 am

Agree ben, Gerry Lester Watson Jr. has to be hot favourite for the green coat.

Followed by Spieth, Stenson, Walker and McIlroy.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 30 Mar 2015, 10:54 am

I see Ladbrokes have brought Spieth in to 10's and Walker to 20's, Rose out to 33/1, Woods to 40's.

And: Since my comment last night about Louis being good value at 66/1: Now he's 40/1!! Pure coincidence! I don't have that sort of money.

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Post by puligny Mon 30 Mar 2015, 12:48 pm

Doesn't Walker win in bunches? Very impressive player - good to watch. Already kept very high level over 3 years, and maintaining form over long periods seem more difficult in golf than many other sports. Makes you realise how good the likes of Woods, Mickelson, Garcia, Westwood, Furyk etc really are.

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Post by McLaren Mon 30 Mar 2015, 12:54 pm

robopz wrote:
McLaren wrote:If Spieth were the real deal he would have birdied 18.
I trust we need a sarcasm symbol for this board?   :whistle:

Definitely sarcasm.



Kwini

Pretty hot T35 finish for Billy Hurley III, don't you think? (insert sarcasm symbol).
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 30 Mar 2015, 1:06 pm

Apples and oranges Mac,
Billy Hurley had a four-stroke advantage over the morning / afternoon wave that Warren played in.

I wrote in my Note 10). above (OK, I know you don't read them) that "Thursday's weather suggests the 'draw' may be significant".
And it was.

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Post by incontinentia Mon 30 Mar 2015, 1:32 pm

Casey got his invite to the Masters in the end, good for him Smile
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 30 Mar 2015, 2:44 pm


Casey's a very lucky boy!

With Lahiri, Grace, Wiesberger and Casey added to the field, I make it 99 players teeing it up next week, plus the "Houston" winner if not previously exempt.
And that number includes at least half a dozen golfers who have been on the sidelines for one health reason or another this past few weeks:
Bjorn, Clark, Stadler, Stricker, Weir and Woods.

Long-range forecast suggests some weather difficulties for the Shell Houston Open this week. And not for the first time as the tournament has been plagued with flooding rain and gale-force winds in the past. Fingers crossed for this week then.

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Post by I'm never wrong Mon 30 Mar 2015, 4:18 pm

Just been to the bookies to put my bets on for the Masters. Whilst I was there I noted odds of players mentioned above.
Walker 25 Speith 10 Johnson 16 Watson 10 Stenson 16

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Post by McLaren Mon 30 Mar 2015, 4:23 pm

kwini

I was just messing. I read your article (as I always do) and understood your point. There is nothing wrong with reporting on the UK players.
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 30 Mar 2015, 6:16 pm

At least three Monday withdrawals from "Houston", the most notable of which is Henrik Stenson, recovering from a fever (presumably hot under the collar still).
Wouldn't be surprised to learn of one or two more.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 30 Mar 2015, 7:09 pm

As robopz correctly anticipated over the weekend, Steve Stricker has confirmed he'll be playing The Masters.
One down, five doubtfuls to go.

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Post by JAS Mon 30 Mar 2015, 10:17 pm

incontinentia wrote:Agree ben, Gerry Lester Watson Jr. has to be hot favourite for the green coat.

Followed by Spieth, Stenson, Walker and McIlroy.


add DJ & Day to that list and I'd be very surprised if the winner isn't one of those 7

Ever so slightly behind I'd put Garcia, Fowler and Top 5

Remember the old adage though that rarely does the Masters winner win in his last outing before the tournament. I remember Lyle did it and I think one person has done it since but can't remember who.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 30 Mar 2015, 10:25 pm

I think the stumbling block has been to win the tournament the week prior, as Lyle and later Phil have done.
Think others have won their "last outing before" The Masters.

Walker has been sooo impressive in both his wins this season.

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Post by JAS Mon 30 Mar 2015, 10:37 pm

Ah I suspected after I wrote the last post that it was probably Phil.

Agree Walker has been very impressive both last year and this when he's in a purple patch.

So who'd want to win this week?? :-p

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Post by incontinentia Mon 30 Mar 2015, 10:57 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:

Walker has been sooo impressive in both his wins this season.
According to PGAtour.com, the field on average were able to birdie the par 5's around 25% of the time....Walker did it 75% of the time!!! That'll get 'er done

Also, this nugget was interesting: "Last season, it took 1,769 FedExCup points to qualify for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. After just 10 starts into his 2014-15 season, FedExCup leader Jimmy Walker already has 1,650 points" (pgatour.com)
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Post by McLaren Mon 30 Mar 2015, 11:44 pm

Golf digest has finally gone for a topless cover.  They have clearly been building up to this for a while.


Golf digest topless issue:
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Post by JAS Tue 31 Mar 2015, 1:37 am

McLaren wrote:Golf digest has finally gone for a topless cover.  They have clearly been building up to this for a while.


Golf digest topless issue:

Lol, now if that had been Suzanne Petterson, Stacey Lewis, Sandra Gal or some other top female golf burd there would have been howls of derision, burning of mags in the street by feminists and calls for the publication to be withdrawn and banned but it isn't, the sexes of course are equal so we can look forward to Inbee Park topless on the cover of next months??

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 31 Mar 2015, 2:09 am

It looks like Englishman Kelvin Day has advanced from Monday's qualifier into the Shell Houston Open field.
He's been playing on the web.com Tour and this will be his first PGA Tour start - Good luck to him.

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Post by navyblueshorts Tue 31 Mar 2015, 9:46 am

McLaren wrote:Golf digest has finally gone for a topless cover.  They have clearly been building up to this for a while.


Golf digest topless issue:
Laugh Quite good. Nice bit of Photoshopping too.
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Post by incontinentia Tue 31 Mar 2015, 10:20 am

"I think Tiger Woods is going to play the Masters. I also think you'll see him take a trip to Augusta National this week where he can practice in solitude without a camera on him.

"I base this not only on Notah Begay's 50-50 prediction that got so much traction, but by some of the scores he's been posting and the improvement he's shown over the past two weeks up at Medalist Golf Club. Friends in Palm Beach are also saying 'Tiger's got the edge back.'" - Tim Rosaforte
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Post by super_realist Tue 31 Mar 2015, 10:23 am

incontinentia wrote:    "I think Tiger Woods is going to play the Masters. I also think you'll see him take a trip to Augusta National this week where he can practice in solitude without a camera on him.

   "I base this not only on Notah Begay's 50-50 prediction that got so much traction, but by some of the scores he's been posting and the improvement he's shown over the past two weeks up at Medalist Golf Club. Friends in Palm Beach are also saying 'Tiger's got the edge back.'" - Tim Rosaforte


More of the "Emporers new clothes"?

How many false dawns has there been and how many repetitions that "he's back".

It might actually be the first time I enjoy watching him, as he's going to be terrible.

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Post by robopz Tue 31 Mar 2015, 10:45 am

Not sure if it were mentioned earlier here... but the winded out Madeira Islands Open rescheduled for July 30-Aug 2 apparently as an alternate event to the Paul Lawrie Matchplay?

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Post by Bob_the_Job Tue 31 Mar 2015, 10:48 am

super_realist wrote:It might actually be the first time I enjoy watching him, as he's going to be terrible.

Ha! That's low. But I know what you mean.
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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 31 Mar 2015, 1:30 pm

Tim Rosaforte may well be right, after all he's got a 50% chance of it.
But he's a sychophantic windbag who never moves his face far from the rear ends of who he perceives as golf's movers and shakers - usually those within 100 miles of S.E.Florida.

He talks about the "Medalist Golf Club", and there he is wearing a "Medalist" sweater - wonder how much he got paid for those two plugs.

Look up the ever unctuous Rosaforte in the dictionary and all these synonyms come up: bootlicker, toady, suck-up, servile flatterer, fawning parasite. Think they got that about right.

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Post by incontinentia Tue 31 Mar 2015, 1:45 pm

Stumbled on this interesting article about Ed Fryatt. Apparently he's competing as an amateur again.

http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/ron-kantowski/pro-turns-amateur-plays-golf-fun
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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 31 Mar 2015, 1:53 pm

That's great inco!

I referred to him in my Notes a month or so ago, or at least the fact that his Dad is in the Stockport County Hall of Fame! Saw him, Jim, play a couple of times - looked like he'd stepped off the set of a spaghetti Western!

Thanks!!

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Post by McLaren Tue 31 Mar 2015, 2:19 pm

He was apparently given a one shot penalty for slow play during the 1997 US open.
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Post by incontinentia Tue 31 Mar 2015, 2:36 pm

Glad you enjoyed it kwini. OK I imagine he'd have his work cut out qualifying for the Champions tour though? (when the time comes, he's 43 now)
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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 31 Mar 2015, 2:49 pm

thumbsup inco

Very very few journeyman pros qualify for the Champions Tour and manage to sustain their membership for more than one year, it's such a closed shop.
The exemptions for Career Money (across PGA Tour, web.com and Champions Tour) override most other qualification criteria that guys outside the top 60 or 70 pretty much have to win every year or at least earn $600K - not easy to do. Roger Chapman non-exempt this year yet won two Majors a couple of years ago.

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Post by incontinentia Tue 31 Mar 2015, 5:33 pm

Thanks for that kwini.

In other news, Woods' plane has been spotted in Augusta!
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