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PGA Tour: Golf "Stuff": Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 08 Jul 2015, 3:16 am

1).Much more "stuff" in the news this week than anything Greenbrier- or John Deere Classic-specific, especially with our attention diverted to Europe, so here goes:

2).How bizarre is the news of Scott Stallings' 3-month suspension for owning up to unwittingly - which clearly defines him as a dimwit - taking drugs categorized as PED's. Pointless debating the pros and cons of the case here, he passed a drug test in January whilst still taking the offending "supplements", but this is the timeline I don't understand:
Feb 10th: Turns himself in.
March 23rd: Tour notifies him he's violated the anti-drug programme.
July 7th: 3-Month suspension.
So: The Tour knowingly allowed him to compete, knowing full well he'd pleaded guilty to taking something he shouldn't have, presumably taking money and points out of the hands of his fellow pros. Some genius will do a study of who got screwed the most, but this is no way to run a drug programme. "OK Scott, looks like it's a convenient time, off you go to the beach, see you when the 2015/16 season starts. Cheers."

3).Also wearing the dunce's cap is the caddie of one of the LPGA's better players who was disqualified by the USGA for illegally viewing hole locations etc for this week's US Women's Open. (The tournament will be played at the gorgeous-looking Lancaster (Pennsylvania) CC, a William Flynn classic in a portfolio that includes Merion and Shinnecock.)

3).And then there's Trump.
The PGA Of America announced today it was moving their October Grand Slam event from Trump National GC in LA; no word as to its destination.
No action from the LPGA about staging the Ladies Open at Turnberry later this month.
No further decision on other Majors but presumably/hopefully it doesn't hasten the return of The Open to Turnberry anytime soon.
Just lip service so far from the PGA Tour (and presumably the World Golf Associations must have a say?) and Cadillac about their contract with Doral, and strange that Puerto Rico has had nothing to say about the Trump venue there.

4).Did you know that Tiger Woods had his best ever tournament last week in terms of the Tour's "proximity to the hole" stat? The Tour's definition as to exactly what that means is ambiguous to say the least, but the fact it's Woods' best ever, and by almost two feet (23 ft 11 inches vs 25 ft 9 ins), is surely significant. His previous five best have all resulted in wins.
Interesting slo-mo analysis last week by Faldo and Kostis showing the difference in speed and head movement in Woods' driver golf swing as he moved from the range to holes he was clearly uneasy on. Dramatic.

5).Tim Finchem might have made a curious decision about the Stallings suspension, and he still has the dummy in his mouth regarding Trump, but his genius at tying sponsors to long-term contracts was underlined when he announced an extension of the John Deere sponsorship to 2023.

6).super_realist will be in the front row at St.Andrews for next Monday's World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony when O'Meara, David Graham, Laura Davies and AW Tillinghast are recognized. Not sure that O'Meara and Graham qualify as golfing "greats", and can't really see their "body of work" that usually elevates marginal candidates. Would certainly vote for Laura Davies and Tillinghast though.

7).Still can't find an official list of "alternates" for The Open. I guessed last week that Russell Knox may be first alternate with Ramsay and Chris Wood among others on the short list. Help!

8).News from the sick room: Tim Clark makes his second appearance after an extended lay-off at the John Deere event, two weeks after missing the Travelers cut. Kevin Stadler plays this week too for the first time since The Masters, while Stuart Appleby played his first "rehab" tournament in last week's web.commer in Nova Scotia.

9).Sticking by my early season guestimate that 500 FedEx points will be the cut-off number for the top 125 players who get to compete in the Play-Offs and keep their cards for next year. Greg Owen's second strong finish in a month should have rescued his job for another year, outplaying and outscoring his Notts neighbour Westwood who still has work to do. "Notables" who now look unlikely to reach the Play-Offs include:
McDowell
KJ Choi
Blixt
Badds
Freddie Jac (still awaiting confirmation as to why he hasn't been playing)
Els
Cabrera
Woods

10).All eyes on Gullane this week, and Rory's medical bulletins.
There'll be a charter jet carrying Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson and about twenty others (plus caddies, family etc) from the John Deere tournament to St.Andrews. And also on board should be one lucky qualifier, the leading player in the top five not otherwise exempt. No idea who that might be, but Scott Langley played 71 pretty good holes at The Greenbrier.
Hopefully the next two weeks will be all about Golf, not Stuff.


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Post by LadyPutt Wed 08 Jul 2015, 12:39 pm

Entertaining - and informative - as always. Hug
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Post by incontinentia Wed 08 Jul 2015, 1:14 pm

Nice article kwini.

I see Spieth is preparing for the British Open on a golf simulator!
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Post by Davie Wed 08 Jul 2015, 1:16 pm

British Open? Is he entering the Ladies' too?

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Post by Bob_the_Job Wed 08 Jul 2015, 1:21 pm

Cheers Kwini

Ironically Rory had been preparing. One of our club members (scratch golfer) was playing in a group at Royal Portrush last Monday, and they were asked by the starter to step aside so that "A country member who was in a rush" could tee off before them. They pointed out they'd booked a tee time some time ago, but in the end stepped aside. On walks Rory in a three ball (one of the others being Harry Diamond) and proceeds to birdie the first, birdie the second and then have a hole in one at the third. Our member has no idea how Rory finished because his 4 ball couldn't keep up. In the club they were told McIlroy's 3 ball went round in 2 hours 25, and that he'd played RCD the day before and was playing Portmarnock the next day.
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Post by incontinentia Wed 08 Jul 2015, 1:40 pm

Cool story Bob Very Happy I'd imagine Rory will really be kicking himself about missing out on the British, especially if the weather is calm. Remember 2010 he shot 63 on one of the more benign days before scoring about 20 shots worse the next day when the wind kicked up. Even though the British Open is probably his least favourite major, I'll bet he takes home at least 3 Claret jugs before he's done. Braveheart
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Post by Shotrock Wed 08 Jul 2015, 1:45 pm

Excellent writ up Kwin.

Whatever Spieth is doing these days is obviously working!

Tillinghast known for his "flask" architecture, bottle in hand while directing the shapers so the story goes. Astounding (IMO) body of work. If you get the chance to play Winged Foot (either course), drop what you are doing and go.

Trump is not one to go quietly into the night, so it will be interesting to see how the ever politically correct PGA and USGA dance with the Donald in the years to come.


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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 08 Jul 2015, 1:55 pm

Cheers chappesses, chappies, (Lovely to see Lady Putt diverted from the cricket thumbsup )

Great story Bob.

And: Great stat courtesy of Doug Ferguson:
Kisner's play-off loss last week, his third of the season, was the first time a player had lost THREE Tour play-offs in a year since Horton Smith did it (or didn't do it) in 1937!

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Post by twoeightnine Wed 08 Jul 2015, 3:29 pm

I would guess that one of the reasons that the PGA guys have not said anything about Trump's statements is that they agree with him and just don't understand what the fuss is about.

Lovely story about Rory and worth remembering when you have the hypothical conversation about how a top touring pro would go round your home club.

Our course record is held by Barry Lane (who is local so played the course a few times) at 63 (-7) I think. It was set 5-10 years ago when he was still on the ET. I would guess that a world top 20 player would destroy the course. I would think that -10 would be well within their grasp.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 08 Jul 2015, 4:20 pm

289,
Most likely correct! Good point. But surprised that the PGA Of America are taking their time, a bit more open-minded organization.


Stat regarding The Open vis-a-vis the John Deere Classic:
The last golfer to win The Open having caught the charter from the John Deere is Todd Hamilton. How does that affect Jordan Spieth's chances? Not a lot I would think, but interesting nevertheless.

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Post by twoeightnine Wed 08 Jul 2015, 5:07 pm

Would the fact that Jordan is so young help him get over the flight quicker? Obviously the charter flight isn't going to be economy only so not too onerous but I know that my energy levels and recovery were totally different when I was 21 and jet lag has to be a factor.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 08 Jul 2015, 5:15 pm

Rory definitely a non-starter for next week.


Jetlag?
Dunno; I commuted across the Atlantic regularly when in my thirties and forties, from several different time-zones. The more I did it, the more I figured out how to acclimate without problems.
US golfers seem to think the third day, west to east is the worst. Can't agree with that from either a work or leisure trip standpoint, but might be applicable for an athlete. With the resources at Spieth's disposal, can't imagine he'd have a problem, and greatly facilitated by, presumably, fast-track passage thru Immigration & Customs, plus private transportation at the Bonnie end. But practice on the course and familiarity could be a different issue.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 08 Jul 2015, 5:19 pm

Russell Knox to replace Rory so got that one right. Tim Clark on deck? Not sure that he'd play given his injury situation but, hey, why not??

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Post by sirbenson Wed 08 Jul 2015, 5:27 pm

http://www.myweather2.com/Golf-Courses/United-Kingdom/Fife/Fairmont-St-Andrews/14-Day-Forecast.aspx

Early forecast suggests there will be a strong wind Thursday afternoon, hopefully the course gets the defence of a strong wind

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Post by GPB Wed 08 Jul 2015, 5:33 pm

Russell Knox apparently was the 1st alternate.  Replaces Rory at St Andews.


Edit:  Kwini scoops me once again.  didn't see his post.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 08 Jul 2015, 6:21 pm

First time ever GPB; actually sirbenson was a step or two ahead of both of us.
Still curious about the reserve list, alternates if you like.

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Post by GPB Wed 08 Jul 2015, 7:08 pm

Kwini, just sent a tweet to Doug Ferguson about the alternate list.  He usually answers me.

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Post by I'm never wrong Wed 08 Jul 2015, 7:22 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Tim Clark on deck? Not sure that he'd play given his injury situation but, hey, why not??
He is already on the list. The Open website shows him in under "The first 50 players on the OWGR for Week 21, 2015" (Category 5)

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 08 Jul 2015, 7:41 pm

Good spot Inw, I was going from memory, always a bad thing. My original guess was Knox, Streelman, Ramsay, McNeill and Wood; had to check back.


The whole Scott Stallings suspension saga simmers in the press and among the Pros. He's now reported by Golf Channel to be undergoing surgery to mitigate his "fatigue" problem. Not quite sure exactly what surgeons can do about it, but it's apparently not the liposuction previously suggested.

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Post by GPB Wed 08 Jul 2015, 7:42 pm

Heard back from DougF.  He thinks the alternate list is based on last weeks World Ranking.  Streelman is next.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 08 Jul 2015, 7:44 pm

thumbsup
That jives with what I thought. Thanks.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 09 Jul 2015, 4:09 am

RotoWorld reporting that Tim Clark may not be able to compete in The Open because of visa problems. Can't imagine what they may be unless he's in green card limbo, but that seems improbable. Regardless . . . . it seems he's in a bureaucratic pickle.
EDIT: Here's the Golf Channel's report on it:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/golf-central-blog/citing-visa-issues-clark-expects-miss-open/

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Post by pedro Thu 09 Jul 2015, 9:13 am

Think they changed the article now saying it's the UK visa process that's too complicated.

I don't understand why his managment team (or their UK counterpart) couldn't issue the invitation letter? What if he'd also go there for a PR job, he wouldn't need the R&A to issue the invitation?

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Post by McLaren Thu 09 Jul 2015, 12:12 pm

What a surprise to hear Tim Clarke make some whiny excuse for not playing. He is just one of those annoying people who always seem to have issues.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 09 Jul 2015, 12:23 pm

Like what, Mac?

Certainly one of the more entertaining golfers to follow, and seems a smart guy. A long-running case of runnerupitis, and desperately unlucky with injuries but have never heard him whining about his situation.
There seems to be a genuine issue in this case, but immigration law is so difficult to understand, different rules for different countries and nationalities, impossible for us laymen (journalists included) to be sure of the facts here.


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Post by McLaren Thu 09 Jul 2015, 12:27 pm

Kwini

For starters his ludicrous idea that he can swing every club except a short putter.
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Post by McLaren Thu 09 Jul 2015, 12:34 pm

GPB wrote:Kwini, just sent a tweet to Doug Ferguson about the alternate list.  He usually answers me.

What is your twitter name? I will follow you if you don't mind. I feel like I need a few more decent golf tweeters to follow.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 09 Jul 2015, 1:31 pm

Mac,
I know as little about physiology and anatomical workings as I do about travel restrictions on South African golfers.

But one thing I DO know is that Tim Clark is just about the shortest hitter in golfer (I followed him in one round a couple of years ago where he laid up from the fairway on FOUR Par-4's) and possibly the worst chipper; given the excellence of much of the rest of his game, it surely suggests that something is not quite right with him physically?

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Post by McLaren Thu 09 Jul 2015, 1:45 pm

Kwini

I will hand the baton over to super on this debate as I am pretty sure there is nothing I could say that would convince you that Timmy's putter claims are bogus. Maybe super can offer you an argument you are willing to at least consider.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 09 Jul 2015, 1:52 pm

Couldn't care less really Mac; if he's permanently handicapped he won't be able to compete, end of, just the same as other sports.

But I'm also sure he's not making it up, why would he? Perhaps he can find a way to adjust, albeit in a compromised way.
Regardless, you're probably stuck with him for another two years, whether he's competitive or not, so get used to it.

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Post by super_realist Thu 09 Jul 2015, 1:52 pm

I'm not an avid Tim Clark watcher, so I can't possibly say whether he has any sort of impairment, however, what I do find hard to believe is that the gentle action of putting (in what any form you choose to do it) can somehow be more painful than chipping, pitching, bunker shots, full irons, woods and driving.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 09 Jul 2015, 1:59 pm

Apparently Timmy is busy applying for his visa for next year's Open Championship so you can ask him yourself . . . . . . if he makes it of course.

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Post by incontinentia Thu 09 Jul 2015, 2:25 pm

McLaren wrote:
GPB wrote:Kwini, just sent a tweet to Doug Ferguson about the alternate list.  He usually answers me.

What is your twitter name?  I will follow you if you don't mind.  I feel like I need a few more decent golf tweeters to follow.
You probably know this but Prince Drac is "Nosferatu", well worth a follow
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Post by GPB Thu 09 Jul 2015, 2:54 pm

McLaren wrote:
GPB wrote:Kwini, just sent a tweet to Doug Ferguson about the alternate list.  He usually answers me.

What is your twitter name?  I will follow you if you don't mind.  I feel like I need a few more decent golf tweeters to follow.

No offense, but I would rather not give it out.  If I have anything golf worthy to tweet, I will usually post it here.

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Post by I'm never wrong Thu 09 Jul 2015, 3:39 pm

Mac if you want a couple of amusing Twitter accounts to follow, try DeludedBrendan a spoof on Brendan Rogers and BBCSporf.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 09 Jul 2015, 4:18 pm

Birdies galore at the John Deere, so it only figures that Brian Davis is three over par. Imagine tomorrow's cut will be about -3 so Davis needs to get his skates on otherwise it's another wasted week in a season of so many of them.

Tim Clark stuck in neutral, level par after nine holes; Mac will be happy.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 09 Jul 2015, 5:16 pm

Brian Davis reads this thread: +6 after ten holes and he's winging it home to Florida complaining (Mac would say "whining") of back trouble. Bet he tees it up in Alabama next week though.

Jonas Blixt showing some promising form - about time too.

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Post by sirbenson Thu 09 Jul 2015, 5:25 pm

That's a fine way for Justin Thomas to bounce back after last week's collapse!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 09 Jul 2015, 7:34 pm

Good for Justin Thomas, but he won't play too many rounds with two snakes of more than 50 feet each. 105 ft of putts in two holes, that's about a weekend's worth of putts for moi.

Stricker is my one-and-done this week, as much for old times' sake as anything else, but a nice -6, 65 start for him. 67 for Blixt and he could use three more of them.


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Post by pedro Thu 09 Jul 2015, 8:34 pm

super_realist wrote:I'm not an avid Tim Clark watcher, so I can't possibly say whether he has any sort of impairment, however, what I do find hard to believe is that the gentle action of putting (in what any form you choose to do it) can somehow be more painful than chipping, pitching, bunker shots, full irons, woods and driving.
Just realised that last Sunday Streb played the back 9 in -4 to join the play-off. Without a putter! He broke his putter on 9 and putted with his sand wedge on the back 9. No whining.

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Post by SmithersJones Thu 09 Jul 2015, 9:20 pm

McLaren wrote:
GPB wrote:Kwini, just sent a tweet to Doug Ferguson about the alternate list.  He usually answers me.

What is your twitter name?  I will follow you if you don't mind.  I feel like I need a few more decent golf tweeters to follow.

@GolfClubWankers is quite funny. And if you really wanted to follow GPB surely you'd have looked at Doug Fergusons replies?
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Post by pedro Thu 09 Jul 2015, 9:56 pm

We don't know what mac is doing for a living, but he sure isn't private investigator!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 09 Jul 2015, 10:17 pm

Spieth doesn't look to have his head in the game. Perhaps he asked for an afternoon/morning "wave" so that he could catch a flight to Scotland Friday evening if he flubbed the cut.
It looks like American has scrapped the old Chicago - Glasgow direct flight so presumably get a flight to LHR and up to Edinburgh.

"Nitro" with the best round on the course - swings the club like a "Strongest Man" contestant trying to ring a bell with a giant hammer.

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Post by pedro Thu 09 Jul 2015, 10:25 pm

Don't you think he's private jetting?

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Post by sirbenson Thu 09 Jul 2015, 10:34 pm

Is it possible scoring is even lower than normal at the John Deere? Although I do remember that year 60 was beaten in the first round lol!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 09 Jul 2015, 11:19 pm

Maybe pedro, But he said he was booked on the charter. Not that he doesn't have the resource to change his "reservation" of course.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 10 Jul 2015, 5:33 pm

Looks like Spieth will take the charter: -6 for the day after 13 holes and quickly climbing into contention. Which is 14 shots better than The Goose who has laid 8 eggs so far.

The cut will almost certainly be low, the -3's making it.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 10 Jul 2015, 7:48 pm

US Women's Open being played in Lancaster Pennsylvania - Laura Davies makes the cut. Looks like her 82nd cut made in a Major.
Strong stuff. But she'll have to move quickly on Sunday to get to St.Andrews on time for her WGHOF induction.

Scoring perhaps not quite so good at the John Deere today, but it's conceivable that the cut will go to -4. If not, there'll be a BIG field for Round 3 with plenty of MDF's.

Gonzo in with his second 68. Is his form perking up at last? Let's hope so.


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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 10 Jul 2015, 11:54 pm

Lousy field for next week's inaugural "Barbasol Championship", strength of field will probably not be much better than the average Challenge Tour event.
But the golfcourse is most likely a good test and it will still be an important - season saving? - tournament for Brian Davis, F'Dez etc.

Anyone shooting -3 or worse at the John Deere will be going home. Ironically the grim reaper will thus take out some of the bigger attractions: Cink, Villegas, Streelman, Finau, KJ Choi, Rodgers etc.

So: We go into the weekend with Justin Thomas leading. Does he have the course management to win and take the final Open Championship spot? Even money, I'd say.

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Post by sirbenson Sat 11 Jul 2015, 11:38 am

Do you think course management is what held Thomas back last Sunday...apart from the 4 putt obviously!?

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