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PGA Tour: The Players. Fifth Major? No! But Who Cares?: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 05 May 2015, 8:29 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).This year's Players Championship has rather crept up on the golfing world, coming as it does immediately following the WGC Match Play action.
The Tour switches back from Harding Park in San Francisco to PGA Tour HQ in the Jacksonville, Florida, area: Different grasses, different course design principles, and a very different climate, with warm weather expected and showers possible through the weekend.

2).The annual debate about "Fifth Major" status seems to dim just a shade every year, while no-one can ignore the quality of the field (48 of the Top 50) or the familiarity with Pete Dye's TPC Sawgrass course, like it or loathe it. I'll never like the sh1t or bust nature of #17, never a Championship-worthy hole in my (dog-eared) book, but that doesn't mean it's not compulsive viewing!

3).And compulsive viewing was something that was missing last week at the Match Play.
64 matches and there were certainly some good ones, probably the highest quality delivered by Alex Levy and Joost Luiten (sorry Golf Channel), Levy's 66 being trumped by Luiten's 64. But the TV broadcasts were flat, the commentators trying to figure things out as they went along and sometimes getting it wrong. Perhaps the most stupid part of the entire enterprise was the tee-time schedule on Saturday, potentially a mess for the Tours but possibly also a blessing in disguise.
For reasons unknown, the four quarter finals were delayed such that the final tie between Casey & McIlroy left the house at 4.00 p.m. in the clear knowledge that sunset was at 8.00 p.m.. Needless to say it went extra holes and had to resume Sunday morning with temps in the 40's and Casey looking like death warmed up. In the circumstances, one wonders whether his sleepless Saturday night caused by food poisoning would have allowed him to play a semi-final had he won.
Even Rory thought that scheduling was unusual:
"I'm not sure it's ever really happened before, with the guys pushing tee times back so late, this obviously could have been avoided if we went off a little earlier." Quite.

4).Regardless, the pundits and others have weighed in with ideas for changes to take to Austin, Texas, for the Dell Match Play next March.
An indignant Jordan Spieth wants 54 holes stroke play followed by the top 16 going Match Play - 'course, though he played well on Wednesday and Thursday, Westwood beat him by two up as well as two strokes. Anyway, Finchem's not having that, but he promises some "tweaks". A straight knock out for all 64 players works well in my book . . . . . .

5).Can't let the Match Play go without talking about the big "fight", not Mayweather reaping gazillions fighting a guy with a torn rotator cuff, but Bradley/Hale vs Jimenez. I've seen interpretations of forensic analysis of the tape purporting to say each golfer was in the right. Who knows?
What I haven't seen is anyone suggesting Pepsi Hale was right to intervene and confront Jimenez (especially if it's true that he mocked Miguel's accent) - who does he think he is? Steve Williams?? Not surprisingly the tenor of media opinion here is that Jimenez is just another Spanish Ryder Cupper with questionable behaviour in Match Play. GolfWorld's Jaime Diaz, among the sports media's most respected writers, put it this way:
"Ryder Cup stuff lingers. Supposedly hale fellow Jimenez has a reputation among Americans for being an annoying opponent with a haughty and even antagonistic air. When Jimenez questioned an official's ruling, permitted under the rules but a breach of the golfer's code, he pushed the highly strung Bradley's buttons. Of course, Jimenez doesn't seem to have any. He walked away from the ugliness with customary aplomb, raising suspicions that, like the world's most interesting man, he had simply decided to have an awkward moment, just to see what it was like."

NB: Have never previously heard such aspersions cast against Miguel.
Diaz may think questioning an official's ruling is a breach of golfer's code, but it certainly happens on regular Tour events as well as the Ryder Cup, and happened in a (semi-final?) match at a recent Match Play between Garcia and Poulter when Poults questioned a ruling, brought in the referee, and was proved to be correct.
The most relevant outcome? Jimenez won 2 up. RedWine RedWine  

6).Jimenez has played 38 WGC events, which is a lot but by no means the leader. That distinction falls to Lee Westwood, with 51 and a couple more presumably to follow later this year. The five with the most appearances are:
51: Westwood
48: Els
45: Furyk
44: Woods
44: Mickelson

7).Two sad events last week, the passing of pioneering black golfers Calvin Peete and Pete Brown. There aren't many left. I linked an appreciation of Calvin Peete last week. Here's what Scott Michaux had to say about Pete Brown (and, not incidentally, Jim Dent):
http://chronicle.augusta.com/sports/golf/2015-05-02/michaux-jim-dent-wont-forget-man-pete-brown

When I started following US PGA Tour golf, Lee Elder, Jim Dent, Jim Thorpe and Calvin Peete were Tour regulars; one or two others followed, and Charlie Sifford and Charlie Owens were trail-blazers on the Senior Tour. Since Tiger burst on the scene and inspired generations of new Tour pros, no new black player has emerged as a Tour regular. That says something, but I'm not completely sure exactly what.

8).Meanwhile, some Tour pros took the opportunity to introduce themselves to Chambers Bay. The press release said the reviews were "mixed", but I haven't read a good review yet. Most liked the routing but not the greens - just a few weeks now and we'll be able to see what the fuss is about.

9).There'll be plenty to read about The Players Championship so no point in going on about it. Great field, very precise ball-striking required, Henrik Stenson ticks all the boxes for attributes required to win (again), but Stenson has seemed out of sorts since the Bay Hill fiasco, sickness, and not knowing the MatchPlay rules last week. He wasn't thrilled with his first look at Chambers Bay and, let's face it, with Stenson you are never quite sure which Henrik you're going to get. Hopefully this week will be Good Henrik but I wouldn't bank on it.

10).The final word about one of golf's shortest champions, Wee Woosie, who is playing his best golf for ten years, probably his best since his 15-clubs snafu at Lytham. Woosie won this past week's Champions Tour event in Houston, in a Play-off with Kenny Perry and Lehman, and banked $300+K, the largest official payday of his career and $64K more than he won at The Masters in 1991.
Last and least - but only in height. His stature in golf is unquestioned.

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Post by McLaren Thu 07 May 2015, 11:36 am

Not sure where I said it was 100% overt racism. In fact I have made it clear in almost every post that it is more about a system which doesn't help black people attain the socioeconomic status required to join a club. (If you want to open another hypothetical, then I will admit that I predict racist actions at every level of US policy making, overt or otherwise)
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Post by Bob_the_Job Thu 07 May 2015, 12:16 pm

navyblueshorts wrote:Good point Kwini. Btw, thanks for an excellent Ballwasher column once again. Quite looking forward to this Players - not sure why but w/ Spieth being the real deal and in-form, McIlroy off the back of the recent WPC etc, it's looking quite tasty.

I'm looking forward to it too. I'm not sure though I'd class McIroy as fully in form, despite the win - I just think he's learning how to win ugly/scramble better..which is a scary thought for the rest of the field.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 May 2015, 12:25 pm

Mac,
Your stereotypes do you and your "arguments" no favours.
You don't have the answer to the point I raised any more than any of the rest of us, but your stereotyping is hopelessly wide of the mark.

Meanwhile, they're off and running at The Players, Lee Westwood on the tee.

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Post by McLaren Thu 07 May 2015, 12:36 pm

Kwini

Are you another one with reading comprehension issues. I have admitted in almost every post that my premise was hypothetical. I have also been careful to say that the US political system as a whole has harmed the socioeconomic progress of black people (and many others too). I don't see how that is all that wide of the mark?

I would have thought the lack of help given to those who need it in the US was a given and whether or not that stops them joining golf clubs was the element that was up for debate?
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Post by Davie Thu 07 May 2015, 1:18 pm

can't you take this cr@p to off topic or something?

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Post by McLaren Thu 07 May 2015, 1:27 pm

Davie wrote:can't you take this cr@p to off topic or something?

Noted.
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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 May 2015, 1:40 pm

For those interested the Mcilroy, Spieth and Day group are on the red button!

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Post by incontinentia Thu 07 May 2015, 1:45 pm

From listening to McIlroy it seems like this may be the start of another one of his patented hot streaks, *US Open alert*
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Post by LadyPutt Thu 07 May 2015, 1:57 pm

Davie wrote:can't you take this cr@p to off topic or something?
My thoughts exactly!
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 May 2015, 2:29 pm

McIlroy and Spieth paired together:
Par, Par start for Rory after missing two birdie putts inside 10 feet.
Bogey, bogey start for Jordan.

Not the starts that either was looking for.

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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 May 2015, 2:42 pm

What a disaster of a start for Darren Clarke!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 May 2015, 2:52 pm

These five-year exemptions should be a cause for celebration, not embarrassment! DC playing as if he wishes he was in Mauritius!!


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Post by McLaren Thu 07 May 2015, 2:54 pm

Does anyone else see a similarity between Jordan spieth and young teenage simba? (The simba we didn't see in the lion king, between his initial foray into the jungle and returning as a young adult)
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Post by Bob_the_Job Thu 07 May 2015, 3:17 pm

What? Are you off your meds again Mac?
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Post by SmithersJones Thu 07 May 2015, 3:27 pm

McLaren wrote:Does anyone else see a similarity between Jordan spieth and young teenage simba?  (The simba we didn't see in the lion king, between his initial foray into the jungle and returning as a young adult)

Do we see a similarity to a fictional character during a fictional period of time not described in said piece of fiction?

I genuinely can't think of a scenario where it's harder to draw comparisons to anyone or anything. Possibly the most stupid question ever posed on here, you've outdone yourself Mac!
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Post by McLaren Thu 07 May 2015, 3:40 pm

smithers

There is just something delicate about Spieth, which I imagine the adolescent simba shared.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 May 2015, 3:41 pm

Another Par-5 bogey for the phantom Simba . . . . on the 16th hole where Rory rors off with an eagle.

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Post by McLaren Thu 07 May 2015, 3:44 pm

kwini

I love the phantom simba tag for spieth.

Koepka with a 7 on 17. His 8th.
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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 May 2015, 3:57 pm

Koepka follows his 7 with an 8.....not a nice sequence he wants to keep going

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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 May 2015, 4:13 pm

Harrington has had three 3 putts in the first 12 holes.....two of the three putts were from 5 feet and 6 feet as well. What is that?

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 May 2015, 4:21 pm

Between them Harrington and Westwood have given up more than six strokes to the field in 25 collective holes. Pitiful.

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Post by sirbenson Thu 07 May 2015, 4:42 pm

sirbenson wrote:Harrington has had three 3 putts in the first 12 holes.....two of the three putts were from 5 feet and 6 feet as well. What is that?

And of course he was going to follow it by making a 36 footer and a 15 footer on his next two holes lol!

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Post by Bob_the_Job Thu 07 May 2015, 4:47 pm

sirbenson wrote:
sirbenson wrote:Harrington has had three 3 putts in the first 12 holes.....two of the three putts were from 5 feet and 6 feet as well. What is that?

And of course he was going to follow it by making a 36 footer and a 15 footer on his next two holes lol!

Harrington and his game are like a cheap box of chocolates...mostly nuts. But fun to watch because of it.
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Post by ScottieD18 Thu 07 May 2015, 5:11 pm

World Matchplay

I initially disagreed with Spieth's idea to start with 54 hole strokplay followed by top 16 matchplay, but i've changed my mind.
Most top amatuer events have a stokeplay qualification for the matchplay, starting with the British Amatuer and working down to local events.  Some don't (e.g. Scottish Amatuer), but most I've played in do.
Why would this be an improvement?
1 - All players play the first 3 days to keep TV and Sponsors happy.
2 - Much higher change that the best golfers will make the 64 to 16 cut after 3 rounds.
3 - Much easier for fans to follow.
4 - Fairer (although I completely agree that Matchplay does not need to be fair).
5 - After 3 rounds the 16 qualifiers will be 'warmed up' and we should get some great matches.

The only downside is a dilution of the matchplay format, but given most Amateur matchplay events start with strokplay is this really a bad thing?

I made an early post last week saying that the format would be improved if halved matches were allowed (also thought hole count rather than head to head was a better method to decide ties after 3 matches).  Looks like the pundits have agreed.  Amazing that the organisors couldn't see this before finalising the format.  A bit like the FED EX early format.

Looking forward to this week's golf a lot more than last week's golf. would love to see a final 9 shoot out between Rory, Segio, Spieth and Tiger, or even a perm of any two from four.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 May 2015, 5:13 pm

DC looks to have done a runner.
Hate to say it but European Tour golfers have a very bad habit of taking their place in PGA Tour fields and not completing their competitive responsibility to complete 36 holes, at least.

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Post by pedro Thu 07 May 2015, 5:22 pm

Wasn't there once a poster called Simba on here? Maybe it was Jordan.

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Post by McLaren Thu 07 May 2015, 5:27 pm

Simba wasn't as hansom as the real simba or speith. There is a certain poise the both have that is just wonderful.
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Post by McLaren Thu 07 May 2015, 5:31 pm

Tweet from lawrencedonegan


@lawrencedonegan wrote:I wonder how many more tournaments Rory would have won with a different caddy? he just hit a wedge 10 yards over the green.  bonkers club.

We have discussed it on here a few times but is this a view held by many "experts" and the like?
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 May 2015, 5:32 pm

I think he was American also pedro.
More likely to have been McClaren with a Trans-Atlantic alter ego though.

I believe the last Simba might have fallen foul of the mods . . . . .

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 May 2015, 5:34 pm

I'll have to ask my caddie friend how good a bag-man Donegan was . . . . . . . .

Rory was having all sorts of problems with distance control of his wedges last week, both long and short. Can't all have been JP's fault.

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Post by super_realist Thu 07 May 2015, 5:49 pm

McLaren wrote:Simba wasn't as hansom as the real simba or speith. There is a certain poise the both have that is just wonderful.

Who is the real simba? That cartoon?

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 07 May 2015, 7:44 pm

Amazing stat from NBC:
Only one Players Champion has kicked off his tournament with an opening round of over par, Hal Sutton, with a 73.

Not a good omen for many of my picks.

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Post by monty junior Thu 07 May 2015, 9:48 pm

God i hate Mark Roe, so negative! 

Paul McGinley has been the first pro in years they have i actually like listening too.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 08 May 2015, 12:40 am

Field "bunched" close to the 5-under-par lead.

Afternoon scores better than this morning's; you'd imagine one of the afternoon wave "flyers" might get out of the traps early Friday and open up a decent lead.

Can't see the cut being higher than even par.

Brian Davis has the worst record in the field on the infernal Par-3 17th hole: -18. Wish I'd've realised that before selecting him in Grumpy's game.

Tiger saying he shot the "worst score I could have shot"; yeah, right. Lucked out on almost every drive he hooked right, made a couple of decent putts/chip ins, could really have been a whole lot worse.

Best round of the day undoubtedly by Charlie Hoffman, -5 including a triple bogey.

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Post by super_realist Fri 08 May 2015, 7:05 am

Is 9C the most dishonest and deluded player in the game Kwini.

He comes out with such utter drivel that not even he could believe it. He is either stupid (most likely) or he thinks that everyone else is stupid.

At Augusta he allegedly put back in a popped joint a la Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon last month.

I really do wonder what anyone sees in this idiot. His game is nothing special, he's the most boring man in golf and he's a compulsive liar

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Post by MontysMerkin Fri 08 May 2015, 8:19 am

super_realist wrote:
He comes out with such utter drivel that not even he could believe it. He is either stupid (most likely) or he thinks that everyone else is stupid.
laughing Erm
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Post by McLaren Fri 08 May 2015, 8:29 am

That claim is no where near as crazy as the one about popping a dislocated wrist back into place.
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 08 May 2015, 11:09 am

Dishonest, delusional or just plain misguided, would think Woods will have to shoot under par today to play the weekend.

But he's not in anywhere near such a dismal position as Donald and Westwood. Donald may have his season on the line today; he's not in any of the remaining Majors or Bridgestone and the tournaments he usually thrives at are mostly behind him. Very likely to miss the Play-Offs.


Good forecast for today, still breezy but mostly dry.

Charley Hoffman with the best golf on Thursday - eight birdies, nine pars and a triple.

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Post by McLaren Fri 08 May 2015, 11:25 am

Where does Donald stand in terms of exemptions should he finish badly in the fedex standings?

I think he may get in for his 2011 topping of the money list and career earnings if he finishes outside the top 150 but not sure.
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 08 May 2015, 11:29 am

Mac,
Luke has a couple of career money exemptions, but I think everything else will have expired by the end of this year. Have to check more thoroughly. Can't see things getting better before they get worse as things currently stand; doubt he'll play in the US again until Memorial, though perhaps he'll add some "reps".

EDIT: It looks like you're right and Luke gets an extra year for leading the 2011 Money List; still, that does nothing for his world ranking or access into Majors and WGC's, so he'll just become another "double dipper", albeit with extra privileges.

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Post by McLaren Fri 08 May 2015, 12:09 pm

If Westwood fails to reach the top 125 or top 150 in the next season or so does he have any exemptions to fall back on? I can't think of any.
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 08 May 2015, 12:17 pm

No.
But he'll almost certainly be OK this year, almost there already.
Brian Davis is the only potential British casualty this year as I'd imagine all the rest will be fine, including Donaldson. But Davis still has some events to come that he has decent records at, though current form is abysmal.

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Post by Davie Fri 08 May 2015, 12:26 pm

Looks like Casey has withdrawn, still citing illness

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Post by sirbenson Fri 08 May 2015, 12:31 pm

Amazing how many players withdraw while being close to the bottom of the leaderboard.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 08 May 2015, 12:31 pm

On-time departure for The Players players, all except Paul Casey who seems to have cancelled his reservation..

See yesterday's comment about GB&I players withdrawing from PGA Tournaments - arrogant to say the least.

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Post by GPB Fri 08 May 2015, 2:21 pm

I see that George Coetzee is playing the co-sanctioned EuroT/Asian/Sunshine Tour event in Mauritius this week.

Coetzee almost literally traveled halfway around the world from last week to this week from San Francisco to Mauritius as they are close to be antipodal points.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 08 May 2015, 2:32 pm

Two pretty gorgeous destinations though, GPB . . . . !

Plenty of good scoring at The Players from the early birds, Grace, Danny Lee and Stenson all three under par for the morning.

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Post by pedro Fri 08 May 2015, 2:42 pm

Olesen in the drivers seat in Mauritius. Even if he'd take his 3rd ET title he hasn't really broken through yet.

Still, it wouldn't be the worst place to miss the cut?   PGA Tour: The Players. Fifth Major? No! But Who Cares?: Notes from the Ballwasher - Page 2 4278589029 Bubbly cider

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 08 May 2015, 3:25 pm

Close the book on Luke Donald for another week. Short, crooked and now not putting well.

His "son" Jamie is doing famously though, in the logjam known as second place.

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Post by Bob_the_Job Fri 08 May 2015, 3:43 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:On-time departure for The Players players, all except Paul Casey who seems to have cancelled his reservation..

See yesterday's comment about GB&I players withdrawing from PGA Tournaments - arrogant to say the least.

Clarke withdrew due to an injured wrist - something he says he damaged on the practice range prior to the start of play.  He was 10 over after 11 - and whilst he's not in great form, that sounds more like a genuine injury score than an arrogant move.  Although of course, only Clarke knows for sure.
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