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PGA Tour: Second Half of the Season: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:56 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).The Masters may herald the beginning of the Golf season for most of us in Northern climes, but it is pretty much the mid-point, already!, of the 2014/15 PGA Tour season.
And this second half gets underway with one of my favourite tournaments of the year, on one of the great courses in one of the loveliest parts of the (resort) world, Hilton Head Island.

2).What did we learn last week?
Above all that Jordan Spieth is the absolute real thing. Despite pulling a "Tiger" and finishing strong on Thursday and stretching his lead before half the field knew what day it was on Friday morning, the simple fact is that Spieth played as if he'd been there/done that all his life. Well done to him.

3).Other pluses for the week:
*Phil still has it, when he wants it enough - a career grand slam of Major second places apparently, his 11th Major runner up effort.
*Justin Rose, after apparently losing a stone due to allergic reactions, is out of hibernation and has found his form.
*Tiger may have found something in his short game, but lost it off the tee - only TWO of 14 fairways hit on Sunday. You can get away with that at Augusta National, Tiger, but not too many other places. Certainly not Quail Hollow or the TPC. Not surprisingly he's not sure where he'll play next. St.Andrews?
*Did Steve Stricker prove that "reps" are overrated? Playing his first competitive golf since finishing 7th at the PGA and subsequent surgery, he closed with a 68 and finished T28. He'll be playing next week in New Orleans and has said he'll enter "qualifying" for the US Open. If he can repeat his Sunday form next week and at happy hunting grounds like Colonial and Memorial, he won't have to.
*Better Major form from Casey & Poulter, both of whom clinched an early exemption for next year's Masters, and are assured now of places in the "Barclays". (Poulter reportedly won't be at Wentworth and perhaps there's a sense here that he recognizes his PGA Tour career is somewhat finite and, so far at least, he hasn't got close to making the most of it.)

4).Minuses include:
*Poor efforts from recent Champs Adam Scott, Bubba and Schwartzel. Not clear how competitive either Scott or Schwartzel will be this year.
*And dismal performances from Donald, McDowell and Westwood. Donald is not in the US Open or Open Championship yet. Hilton Head has always been a fave of his but, if he flops this week, it's difficult to see where he'll recover lost ground.
*US Press are falling over themselves to treat Spieth as their new golfing messiah, even the normally staid Wall Street Journal gushed that Spieth "single-handedly shook the sport out of its post-Tiger Woods doldrums". "Nothing against McIlroy . . . " Really? And that's not the same guy who said that watching Kaymer is like watching a "funeral", the place is full of 'em.
*The Masters & CBS coverage . . . . . . .

5).How much longer can Augusta National and CBS expect to get away with 1990-era broadcasting "values"? Compared to broadcasts we receive routinely on run-of-the-mill events, we have:
*No overhead shots. (We still don't know how Tiger's ball migrated from the junk into the middle of the 13th fairway in Saturday's 3rd Round.)
*No on-course reporters - and no tweeting from journos following the play.
*A geriatric commentary team who will drink the Augusta National "kool aid" so long as they get a return gig for next year. Was it Feherty or Baker Finch who, on seeing a piece of grass, rhapsodised about the superior "turf management"? Come on, "a traditional unlike any other" is right.
*And, why did Augusta leave the course so soft last week?

6).Moving on. Quickly.
Monday, April 20th is the deadline for owgr qualification for the WGC:MatchPlay. The top 64 qualify but Luke Donald has already said he has a prior engagement and Tim Clark is unlikely to play if he had to miss The Masters and Hilton Head. And what is Marc Leishman's status? Hopefully his good lady is recovering but, if not, you'd imagine he might be missing too. Possibly one or two others.

7).And so to Hilton Head, and the "RBC Heritage", played at the always strategic Harbour Town Golf Links - nothing linksy about it, 16 holes played through the trees, just two with sea views. The fairways are tight, the greens are the smallest on Tour and overhanging tree branches make the correct landing area even tighter. This is the start of the Tour's Pete Dye Swing, closely followed by New Orleans and the TPC next month so well worth noting who does well, they'll probably continue that form.

8).The field here traditionally includes overseas golfers taking a busman's holiday following the rigours of Augusta. In addition to Tour members, this week welcomes Grace, Jaidee, Lahiri and Luiten . . . . . and Marcel Siem.

9).McDowell has won here and Luke Donald has had his chances, lots of them. Two third place finishes, three runners up in the past six years. But just as Lukey is short and crooked off the tee, he's now increasingly crooked with his putter. A few weeks ago he enjoyed a Top Ten finish at Honda, but nothing but futility since then. If he doesn't snap out of it at Harbour Town, how does he resurrect his season? Not sure I know. Hope he does.

10).A calculation in this morning's newspaper suggested Jordan Spieth is in the middle of a 14 tournaments in 18 weeks. He lost his game a little towards the end of last summer, nothing better than T7 after Kaymer showed him the way to go home at The Players. Meanwhile, he's top of the class in everything but World Number One (pl tell Wall Street Journal). Spieth: Leading:
*FedEx Points
*Official Money List
*PGA Championship Points
*US Presidents Cup Team points (followed by Walker, Bubba, Reed, Dustin, Holmes, Kuchar, Moore, Kirk, Zach.
*US Ryder Cup Team points (followed by Dustin, Mickelson, Holmes and Watson, Haas, Hoffman, Zach).
*And, until someone else knocks him off his perch, Number One in America's hearts.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:46 am

I wonder how Turnberry afficionados feel about Trump closing the course this summer and redesigning the lay-out, going from a Par-70 with 4 x Par-3's and 2 x Par-5's to 5 x Par 3's and 3 x Par 5's?
Trump has said he'd make changes only in cahoots with the R&A; does this suggest Turnberry is on a promise for the early 2020's? Can't see any chance before 2022 but what have you heard?

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Post by McLaren Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:50 am

kwini

I just made a post about it.
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Post by McLaren Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:51 am

IJP not playing wentworth because he hasn't gained many OWGR points there over his years of play. Makes you wonder why he still bothers to turn up for the majors?
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Post by super_realist Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:01 am

Poulter hasn't actually had a bad few years in Majors Mac, but I suspect you knew that and are just trying to rile up a few people.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:07 am

Upcoming commitments:
15: TOC
16: Troon
17: Birkdale
18: Carnoustie
19: Wildcard: Portrush?
20: TOC?
21: England surely? RSG??
22: Turnberry or Muirfield???

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Post by NedB-H Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:11 am

2019 will be RSG I think

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Post by McLaren Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:11 am

I am just using the logic of IJP. If he hasn't played well in the past, then don't turn up to the event. It will at least give him a pretty light schedule.
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Post by super_realist Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:14 am

What his US alternative that week?

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:01 pm

Colonial

Can't imagine Poulter is making the schedule change to play in a specific US event; more perhaps that he's dedicating a non-Ryder Cup year to trying to best maximise his opportunities on the PGA Tour (i.e. FedEx bounty).
Why would anyone blame him for that? And then he's got the "Masters" in October at Woburn.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:07 pm

Ned,
If they gave 2019 to RSG, that would be five English venues in nine years - not saying that's out of the question, but a bit surprising.
When do you think they'd go to Portrush?

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Post by McLaren Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:09 pm

IJP just doesn't want to waste money on tax that could be used to provide his ever so impoverished family with another Ferrari.
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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:13 pm

Why's he playing at Woburn in October then?

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Post by McLaren Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:16 pm

He is associated with woburn, and I suspect his appearance fee more than offsets the tax hit for coming to woburn.
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Post by MontysMerkin Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:50 pm

You would have thought sales of his hilarious headcovers would more than offset his tax bill. PGA Tour: Second Half of the Season: Notes from the Ballwasher - Page 3 Poulter1 Doh
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