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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 Davie Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:41 pm

I can't find the link now, but there was a piece on a golf magazine or blog today that revealed Spieth has a nickname that that he hates - and that name is GOLDEN BOY

So we now have another moniker to go along with 9C, pube head, etc

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Post by GPB Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:46 pm

"Golden Boy" is a common nickname here in the midwest given to highly ambitious young executives who are put on the fast track for big promotions.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:48 pm

Russell Knox at -7 for the day after his birdie on #17.
He and Merritt are going lower than Kuchar & Spieth. Not that you'd know it. Add SO'H and they're collectively -19!

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Post by Davie Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:56 pm

Knox and Merritt currently -7 with one to play. Golden Boy was -9. How is -7 lower?

EDIT: the PGA leaderboard was lagging -Merritt ends -10

And yes GPB we may be two nations divided by a common language but uncannily I still realized what Golden Boy meant - mid west or not. But thanks for the explanation anyway

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Post by Shotrock Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:02 pm

I'm guessing Golden Boy should take some of his winnings and go Wayne Rooney hair help soon!

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Post by Davie Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:05 pm

Follicle envy SR?

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Post by GPB Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:05 pm

Davie, did not mean to imply that you didn't know what it meant.  I just wanted to let you know it is a common nickname here.

And usually not welcome by those dubbed "The Golden Boy".

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Post by Davie Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:06 pm

Golden Bear and Golden Balls however ...

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Post by Shotrock Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:15 pm

Davie - Well, not entirely, but I'm not the man I once was. Smile

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Post by GPB Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:27 pm

We could call him Auric Goldfinger and get him to play with KJ Choi (Odd Job)

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Post by robopz Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:33 pm

Keith Pelley new European Tour CEO.  Sounds like a solid qualified guy... someone who can bring the Euro Tour into the 21st century... 15 behind schedule maybe... but better than never...

http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/news/newsid=253763.html

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Post by SmithersJones Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:42 pm

McLaren wrote:

196 David Horsey 29

I am not sure having looked over those in the top 200 where the next top English golfer will come from.  Maybe Fitzpatrick?

Does anyone else think it is odd that there are no golfers in the age range between Sullivan at 28 and Rose at 34.  That gap is where I made the claim of a missing generation of English golfers.


?
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Post by McLaren Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:55 pm

smithers, ok one year out. There are still very few players in the age group below Donald, westwood, Poulter and casey.
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Post by SmithersJones Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:13 pm

There does appear to be a 5 year gap. What might be a really interesting exercise is finding out who the best English players are between 30 and 33, and why they're not performing.
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Post by kwinigolfer Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:31 am

The tourist season continues. Grace, Marc Warren and Wiesberger all playing in New Orleans next week, Donaldson & Rose too.

And so is Marc Leishman so hopefully Mrs L is feeling a bit more chipper.


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Post by pedro Sat Apr 18, 2015 7:50 am

Davie wrote:Golden Bear and Golden Balls however ...
Charley Hoffman used to be Goldilocks. Now he's more Goldie Hawn.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:57 am

Drive for show, Putt for dough.
Hasn't done Freddie Jac much good. He's just broken the record for the number of consecutive PGA Tour holes (in the ShotLink era) without a 3-putt: 488. (That's 27+ tournament rounds.)
But he's only 147th in FedEx points.

(Previous record was 483 by Luke Donald.)

Showery at Hilton Head today but shouldn't disrupt play until slight risk of thunderstorms later this p.m.. Not much wind and course should play soft again = low scoring.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:25 pm

Jordan Spieth has clearly established himself as American golf's next big thing, but is Scott Vincent Zimbabwe's next big thing?
'Course, he'll have to go some to be bigger than de Jonge but the amateur made the Harbour Town cut and is off to a flyer in Round 3.

Cameron Smith a next Aussie big thing? He looks about 13 but is also in good shape on HHI.

America's old thing has done the 65-and-over set proud with a meal for two despite two late bogeys.

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Post by GPB Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:37 pm

Fleetwood is definitely in the MatchPlay if he can hold his position in China

Larrazabal has to win tomorrow to qualify.

Not sure if the seeds are based on Monday's ranking or next Mondays ranking but it looks like Kuchar is going to displace Kaymer as one of the top 16 seeds.  All Kuchar needs to have is the equivalent of a top 20 finish.

About the Match Play

Robo has informed me that if a player does not advance out of his group, but wins 2 matches, he will get Tie 17th prize money.  

If 8 players finish T17, then all players that win one match will get T25 place.  If 8 players finish T17 an 35 players finish T25, then the 5 remaining players who do not win a match will finish T60.

That is how the organizers are going to distribute Prize Money and Fedex Points.  We assume it is going to be the same way for OWGR pts.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat Apr 18, 2015 7:42 pm

GPB,
It's looking like Top 66 in Monday's owgr will get in; no sign of Timmy Clark and Donald will no-show. Haven't heard about anyone else.

Very happy to see Jason Dufner showing some form - astonishing he's not in next week's field. The Match Play is taking a toll on New Orleans methinks, tho' some overseas players will be there in lieu. I know, not the same.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat Apr 18, 2015 7:47 pm

Round 4 tee-times rescheduled at Harbour Town. Plan now is to kick off on both nines at 7.30 a.m. in anticipation of bad weather Sunday afternoon.

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Post by GPB Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:06 pm

If the top 66 qualify, The Mechanic might qualify.  He is 63rd going into this week so he can take up to three bullets.

Martin, Fleetwood and Streelman are the only real threats right now.

Larrazabal has to win.
Siem, Delaet, Els missed the cut.
Berger is near DFL after cut.
Fisher has to finish Solo 3rd (T17th now)

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Post by GPB Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:48 pm

Kuchar and Merritt finished in 3 hr 40 minutes.

See what happens when Stenson is not in the field

D&R

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:12 pm

A mini-Senior-Ryder Cup on the Champions where Langer (2nd), Parnevik (4th), Jimenez/Montgomerie (T10), Lyle (15th) and Woosie (20th) are all in the Top 20. Imagine that's a first.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:58 pm

They're playing Golf at Harbour Town, but for how much longer?
Radar indicates heavy rain all around, but even if there's a delay, it looks like it could clear up for the afternoon. Fingers Crossed

Not much breeze so golfers who don't mind getting wet could find some low scores out there.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:45 pm

Posse gathering like stormclouds behind Troy Merritt; not Lord Baltimore but Kuchar, Furyk, Spieth, Todd etc.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:14 pm

Two-shot lead for Furyk. Three holes to play. Furyk's to lose.
Hope he doesn't - a very good tournament for my bench in Grumpy's game. My starting nine? Not so much.

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Post by beninho Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:23 pm

Bet jimmy didn't expect a play off after that round. He did lose one last year didn't he?

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:34 pm

Wow, Quite a finish. I don't think Furyk was beaten in any play-offs last year but he's lost 8 of 'em, so this makes a nice change for him.

Kisner couldn't have done much more, could he? He'll win soon enough on a Harbour Town sort of course. Well done to Troy Merritt also, but plenty of seasoned pros had a rotten day. Let's see: Donald, McDowell, Poulter to name but three.
It's difficult to see where Donald goes from here to rescue his season; Wentworth perhaps, the TPC. Not many more courses on his regular schedule where he has a good record.
Poulter built a snowman on the par-5 5th, otherwise he'd have had another good result but very disappointing from McDowell.

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Post by McLaren Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:45 pm

Corrected

kwinigolfer wrote:
It's difficult to see where Donald goes from here to rescue his season career..
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Post by Shotrock Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:27 pm

Never a threat to win this event, but O'Hair had another fine tournament and great day. Wonderful to see.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon Apr 20, 2015 6:20 pm

Agree about SO'H, Sr, you Aronominkers have transformed him!


A few defections from this week's Zurich Classic in New Orleans, the most significant being Branden Grace (some way to show appreciation for a sponsors invitation) and SangMoon Bae.
It won't be an especially high quality field, but reasonable depth and usually a fun event. But the heavens have opened over "NOLA" this month so, for the third week running, you'll hear the course is playing "soft".

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Post by GPB Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:07 pm

I guess Brandon Grace is learning something from Tiger Woods as Tiger asked for a sponsor's invite for the old Southern Open in Callaway Gardens Ga, received one and then said No thank you at the last minute.

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Post by MontysMerkin Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:30 am

navyblueshorts wrote:
MontysMerkin wrote:I think the state of the course ruined what should be a terrific major. The experienced players left most (if not all) chips and putts short (especially uphill) due to the state of the greens. The look of surprise on some of those guys faces said it all for me. I think it meant Spieth could continue to play as had done with not much fear. To be honest I think the tournament was not a patch of some in recent years (as some previous player, after 3 putting from 10 feet again, threw the ball to his caddy and said 'and don't bloody clean it!').
I don't buy that. Are you suggesting someone else would have won if the greens were quicker? These are pros, many of whom turned up on Monday(?) and put plenty of practice in on the greens. Could they not get the pace by the time they're on the course for real??? Excuses, excuses...
Some of the run-offs were slower (front of 15 for example) but I'm not sure that wasn't a good thing. Real difference was how firm the greens were for approach shots and everyone said they were a little softer than usual but I'm not sure how that favoured Spieth over the chasing pack.
I'm sure he would of still won, but me n me pals love watching the insane greens there. Let's face it it's the only defence it has now being relatively short. Instead of which we had Na hitting 3 wood out of the rough on a downhill lie into 13 with a bit of english on it. Previous years it would have disappeared!
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Post by kwinigolfer Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:18 am

It's looking like an owgr earner of 40 pts for the New Orleans winner this week, the lowest yield for quite a while - on the PGA Tour anyway.
Last chance too for golfers to qualify for the Players via the owgr Top 50.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:24 pm

For anyone interested in the new WGC MatchPlay format:

http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/cadillac-match-play/news/2015/03/18/match-play-drawing-process.html

Final commitments to play will be announced on Friday but Donald, Clark and Molinari are the biggest known question marks.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:51 pm

Another feather in Finchem's cap as the PGA Tour has signed a ten-year agreement with Wyndham Hotels for sponsorship of the Greensboro Tour stop thru' 2026.
So many feathers in his cap that he'll have to be called Chief Sitting Smug. Trouble is, they guy does a great job for the majority of his constituency, no matter how unpleasant he must seem to anyone not on the same page as him, (whether caddies, Vijay, Norman, the guys who tried to establish a players "union", etc).

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:13 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:For anyone interested in the new WGC MatchPlay format:

http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/cadillac-match-play/news/2015/03/18/match-play-drawing-process.html

Final commitments to play will be announced on Friday but Donald, Clark and Molinari are the biggest known question marks.

Thanks Kwini. Looks to be a complicated affair for a Fantasy event so I'll put my thinking cap on and try and work out what we can do. Do you know if there has been any confirmation of how the group winners will be drawn for the knock out phases?

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:44 pm

Hi Grumps,

No! But seeing as how contrived it's already become, I imagine that they'll just "bracket" the Highest Seed with the Lowest Seed and so on in an effort to get the highest possible seeds fighting it out on Sunday.

And: I may very well have got that wrong. Can't imagine how there'd be anything remotely straightforward doing a fanto game in yr format. Would take the week off!

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Post by I'm never wrong Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:48 pm

kwinigolfer wrote: Would take the week off!

^^^^WHS^^^

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:10 pm

It would be relatively simple: pick the group winner and who you think will win the whole thing. I'm trying to think of a way to make it more interesting but not too complicated or time consuming.

Most likely you will ride your group winners through to the end picking up points as you go however this could see the "competition" taken out of it as someone could have all sixteen group winners.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:56 pm

Grumps,
Wouldn't wish to influence you one way or the other.
The only thing I can tell you is that the format looks like this:
Wednesday, April 29th: 32 x First Round Matches
Thursday: 32 x First Round Matches
Friday: 32 x First Round Matches
Saturday Morning, May 2nd: 8 x "Round of 16 Matches
Saturday Afters: 4 x Quarter Finals
Sunday Morning: 2 x Semis
Sunday Afters: Final plus 3rd Place Match.

But: Apart from the Wednesday start, the next biggest wrinkle is that the First Round "Bracket" Draw doesn't take place until approx 9.00 a.m. PDT, that's obviously 5.00 p.m. in GB&I. Which only offers a short window for people to understand what's going on and make their selections.

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Post by GPB Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:00 pm

Its going by straight seeding by Pool # in the Knockout Rounds no matter who wins the pool.

Round of 16:

Pool #1 winner vs Pool #16 winner
Pool #2 winner vs Pool #15 winner
...
Pool #8 winner vs Pool #9 winner

===========


Theoretically, Rory could play #16 Hideki in the Round of 16, while #2 Spieth could be playing #63 Ben Martin in the Round of 16

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Post by GPB Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:06 pm

kwinigolfer wrote: Which only offers a short window for people to understand what's going on and make their selections.

Gives them about 47 hours to figure it out.  How tough can it be? Its not like they are trying to read War and Peace or send a man to the moon.

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Post by GPB Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:58 pm

Tim Clark out of Match Play.  Will Molinari give it a try?

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Post by Davie Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:13 pm

If the matchplay is too complicated for the Fantasy game, is there a decent ladies event that weekend?

#bo0bsbeforemoobs

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Post by GPB Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:23 pm

Saw something that Stenson, Garcia, and Poulter are skipping Wentworth.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:29 pm

GOB,
When I said Molinari would be crazy not to play, I had forgotten the round robin circle jerk.
So, No! He'd be daft to risk a bad wrist for 54 holes, especially given his recovery time was a month, not a fortnight.

Poulter said he wouldn't be at Wentoworth weeks ago - you can see from his twitter account why! - and I'm not sure how often Garcia & Stenson play it, but don't think they're regulars.

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Post by GPB Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:36 pm

Garcia has skipped Wentworth most years.  The tax hit is enormous.

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Post by pedro Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:14 pm

GPB wrote:Garcia has skipped Wentworth most years.  The tax hit is enormous.
Long live European/British golf!

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