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PGA Tour: Sweet Home, Alabama: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 15 Jul 2015, 4:39 pm

1).You can keep your Valley Of Sin, your Hell Bunker, and your Swilcan Burn. We've got Sweet home Alabama, Where the skies are so blue, Sweet home Alabama.
Yup, it's the first running of the PGA Tour's latest "opposite field" event, the "Barbasol Championship", on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail "Grand National" course, in Auburn, Alabama.
Not a great field, but PGA Tour members have a wonderful opportunity to cement their status in the FedEx Play-Offs and secure their cards for 2015/16. Only five (four for most of this week's field) tournaments to go after this week's double-header and a handful of high finishers will take advantage of the missed Open Championship cuts by many of their galactico rivals.

2).Two Europeans whose season is in dire straits are competing here, Brian Davis (147th in FedEx pts) and Gonzalo F'Dez (170th), and they'll be grateful for any points they can get.
And a European Tour up-and-comer could easily collect the owgr points that will secure his place in the PGA Championship - Emiliano Grillo, the highest ranked golfer in the field.
A shame that the tournament didn't push the boat out for more European Tour players as they've been forced to dredge the bottom of the Tour's "status" categories to find players interested in the 90+F degree temps that will be in play this week. You'd never think there was a $3.5M purse to be shared.

3).I showed his Tour stats on last week's thread, but well worth repeating what Will Wilcox has done so far this year, on a limited schedule caused by "conditional status":
Total Driving: 5th
Greens in Reg: 7th
Ball Striking: 3rd
Scrambling: 17th
Sand Saves: 1st
Putting: 40th
All Around: 3rd

Will comes to the PGA Tour via an unconventional route, otherwise he'd've been getting the sponsors' invites that blue-bloods Justin Thomas, Patrick Rodgers, Jordan Spieth and the fashionable college guys get, but no mistake. Will can play.
In form, 8th in the John Deere, and he's a local Alabama boy. Who knows if he'll bring his form to the course but no-one in the field has better credentials; value at 22/1 (you can probably find longer odds).
Blayne Barber is another unsung local boy, while favourite Chris Stroud will surely break through soon.

4).Other important dates coming up:
July 27th: First Top 50 owgr cut-off to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone - there's a second cut-off on August 3rd
Aug 3rd: Cut-off for PGA Championship exemptions:
~Top 100 in owgr
~Top 70 in PGA Championship money-list.

5).Can't wait for the start of The Open, but also looking forward to the Barbasol tournament.  
This week's field should give pause to the PGA Tour in how they drum up participation in these "opposite field" events, how they reward the generosity of sponsors and the enthusiasm of small-market communities. Apart from attracting more international entries, it's plain daft to have the event go up against a web.com tournament which incents players to compete in direct opposition to the Tour.
The Barbasol rewards are considerable. Apart from a decent prize-fund and the slew of FedEx and owgr points at stake, the winner receives all the normal Tour winner bennies:
~PGA Championship exemption.
~Entry to the Tournament of Champions and The Players.
~The two season Tour winner exemption.
And, guess what, they'll be well earned.

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Post by I'm never wrong Wed 15 Jul 2015, 4:54 pm

kwinigolfer wrote: You'd never think there was a $3.5M purse to be shared.
That purse is bigger than practically all the ET purses. I agree the organisers should have opened it up to international players.

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Post by GPB Wed 15 Jul 2015, 6:15 pm

Patton Kizzire, leading money winner on the Web-com tour is one of the betting favorites.  

Along with Wilcox (and several others), PaddyPower has him listed at 28/1 while Piercy and Stroud are 25/1.

He went to college at nearby Auburn and presumably played the course many times.

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Post by pedro Wed 15 Jul 2015, 10:21 pm

Patton Kizzire??? A distant relative of Chesson Hadley?

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Post by GPB Thu 16 Jul 2015, 12:50 am

He is the Great Grandson of General George Patton.  (or maybe not)

Funny how the people here complain about the Bible Thumpers, when they don't have Biblical - Esque type names, it gets a snarky comment.

Again, it is a common practice here in the USA to name boys after the Maternal Grandfather (or Great Grandfather).

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 16 Jul 2015, 9:16 pm

More on Will Wilcox:

http://www.pgatour.com/content/pgatour/news/2015/07/15/will-wilcox-redemption-barbasol.html

There are also inferences elsewhere as to why he didn't compete in the first web.com Tour Finals and conseequently started his first (2013/14) season on Tour at the bottom of the reshuffle.

He's started out well in Alabama, hope he keeps it going.

Not bad (one under) first round for Gonzo, but Davis playing poorly. This season looking more than ever like it won't end well for him.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 17 Jul 2015, 8:26 pm

Emiliano Grillo may not have made the St.Andrews field, but he's leading in Alabama.
One shot ahead of compadre Romero!

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 17 Jul 2015, 11:28 pm

Gonzo will start Round 3 in about 30th position after a nice round of 69 today.
Surprising though that he's not in next week's field in Canada. He finished T4 at Royal Montreal last year and, although this year's event will be at Glen Abbey, just outside Toronnno, and given the precarious nature of his Tour membership, you'd think he'd've signed up. Maybe he's just soooo confident of a win this week.

Other headliners in Canada include:
Donald, McDowell,
Mahan, Snedeker, Furyk, Holmes, Koepka, Kuchar, Ryan Palmer, Bubba
Cabrera, Day, Els, Goosen,

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Post by incontinentia Sat 18 Jul 2015, 10:41 pm

PGA tour urged to become WADA compliant before the Olympics next year.

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/jul/18/ioc-president-pga-tour-golf-wada-olympics
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Post by MustPuttBetter Sun 19 Jul 2015, 1:40 am

Anyone have any idea what Mike Weir's 'personal reasons' are?
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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 19 Jul 2015, 2:12 am

No idea about Mike Weir.
But he was recently divorced from the mother of his two teenage daughters.
Perhaps he just has his hands full?
This year must have been soul-destroying for him professionally; wouldn't be surprising if he stopped to reconsider the meaning of life for a few weeks/months. Curious timing though.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 19 Jul 2015, 9:41 pm

Torrential squalls blowing thru the Barbasol tournament - how long before they call it "Scottish weather"?

Huge opportunities wasted here by Brian Davis and Gonzalo, but a packed leaderboard with Scott Piercy snaking a 60-footer to take the early lead.


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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 20 Jul 2015, 1:38 am

Hope you got your pounds/dollars on Will Wilcox. As I said, "no-one in the field has better credentials; value at 22/1.
Alone in second place and secured his fully exempt PGA Tour card for the first time.

Scott Piercy was impressive in getting his third career win, but proved in his final green interview why he's not in my top 200 favourite Tour pros. "I played great but the greens weren't very good."
What a self-obsessed d1ckhead. Sure he'll play well at Glen Abbey this coming week but it wouldn't bother me if he incurred an irreversible case of the clap. if he hasn't already got it. Horrible man.

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Post by Roller_Coaster Tue 21 Jul 2015, 11:33 am

Cheers Kwin. Still a good read even though the focus was elsewhere, so thanks for doing it instead of taking a deserved week off!

Piercy - perhaps (and I don't know as I saw none) he's right to say the greens were poor and should be applauded for not fawning as so many do. He may well be despicable with good reason (and I don't know anything about him so can't comment on the man), but honesty (if it was that) should not be the hook upon which he is hanged. Similarly, if he played great (and he won so it is likely) no problem for me in saying so.


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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 21 Jul 2015, 1:19 pm

Cheers Roller,
The strange thing was that I watched a lot of the action but never once heard any criticism of the greens or any allusion that there was thought to be an issue with them.
Hate fawning but gratuitous criticism of your host course seems pretty snarky when you're walking away with $630K.
He did play well though!

The course looked good, hope the tournament is better supported next year.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 21 Jul 2015, 2:11 pm

Good to see that most Open Championship players who had committed to the RBC Canadian Open are keeping the faith, the most notable casualty so far being Brandt Snedeker who is resting a hip problem. 40 x owgr points to the winner. Luke Donald will be in the field looking to continue a relative resurgence, and McDowell too following glimpses of form at St.Andrews.

One interesting addition to the field is Emiliano Grillo, who earns entry via his Top Ten finish behind Piercy in Alabama.

Forecast pretty good for Glen Abbey, just a chance that weekend thundershowers could interfere but otherwise mild and pleasant.

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Post by GPB Tue 21 Jul 2015, 5:57 pm

Kwini:  Robo just told me that GMAC US Open exemption got extended through 2016 when he won the 2013 RBC Heritage.

So he is exempt next year, but he is going to have to play a lot more tournaments because he is not exempt into any WGC events or the Masters, The Open, or PGA next year.

Westwood will have a 50K paycheck in his back pocket from the B-Stone, and I think that will be enough to be in the top 125 of the money list regardless if he misses out on the Playoffs.  So he has a tour card next year.

465 FE points is my best guess with 6 tournaments left (including Reno)

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 21 Jul 2015, 6:32 pm

Yup, Agreed about McDool - we'd spoken about that before.

Good point about Westwood; one or two others will come into that category.
EDIT: Westwood (12) is also likely to be short an event if he doesn't squeak into the Barclays field; but Kaymer (10) REALY needs a top result!

I agree 500 FedEx points might be too high, but would be surprised if it fell to 465. How's about a 475 compromise?!

How did you make out on my Will Wilcox stats insight? I had him as my Barbasol one-and-done so that compensated for a waste of Stenson at St.Andrews. WW is up to Number One in All-Around now! Think last week might be a high-water mark as he moves on through courses that are less familiar to him, but maybe worth looking at again for Greensboro.

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Post by GPB Tue 21 Jul 2015, 6:45 pm

Hey, I am on the WW Express Train!!

But I will tell you that Draftkings is onto him.  His salary is relatively expensive in regards to OWGR ranking.  This week he is priced at $9200 (long with Tony Finau).

Meanwhile GMAC is 8900, Delaet is 9000, Mahan 8800, Stricker 8700, and Piercy is 8500.

Their algorithm is something I really haven't figured out.

I guess popularity is keeping Woods at relatively high prices, while performance is driving Wilcox price up (he was 6800 at JohnDeere).

Of course Field Strength is a factor too.

Jonathan Byrd had a pretty good week at Greenbrier, but he is priced very low at 5900.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 21 Jul 2015, 6:49 pm

Trouble with Jonathan Byrd is that he has no upsides. Though he too might be worth watching at Greensboro.

First glance suggests a thin field at Quicken Loans; Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose and Gary Woodland are the only "names" advertised as far as I can see.

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Post by GPB Tue 21 Jul 2015, 7:12 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Trouble with Jonathan Byrd is that he has no upsides. Though he too might be worth watching at Greensboro.

First glance suggests a thin field at Quicken Loans; Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose and Gary Woodland are the only "names" advertised as far as I can see.

DK forces you to look for value in journeyman, if you want to go with Chalk players.  If I can get a ~T40 finish from Byrd, he is worth drafting at $5900.    Looking for Diamonds in the Rough.

IMO, having six players make the cut is just as important as picking the winner.  That said, if I could pick 5 of the top 10, and the 6th player missing the cut, I will also take that.

I played in the Millionaire Maker Game last week ($20 entry) and I won $35.  There was ~177000 entries (I finished about 16,800th) being six legged and picking Zach Johnson.  Others on my team were Casey, Stenson, Furyk, Kuchar, and Frankie.  I didn't take any of the top 4 priced players.


The guy that won picked Zach, Hideki, Oosty, Spieth....and DUVAL AND SCHNIEDERJANS.

Spieth was the highest priced player and Oosty was 6th so he was forced to pick two of my fellow Alumni (DD & Ollie) to meet the salary cap.  If they didn't make the cut, he probably would have been down with me.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 21 Jul 2015, 8:50 pm

GPB,
Without looking at the Draft King board, I'll offer you McGirt and Hadwin to over-perform this week!

EDIT: Wilcox withdraws from Glen Abbey claiming wrist injury - expected to play at Quicken Loans National.

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Post by Bob_the_Job Wed 22 Jul 2015, 9:05 am

Re Wilcox "claiming" not "citing" - is there some doubt about the injury?

I'd not noticed this guy but due to your post I'll keep an eye on him. Also due to your post I have a certain D, C and G guitar riff stuck in my head, so thanks for that Wink
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Post by Davie Wed 22 Jul 2015, 9:30 am

Bob_the_Job wrote: Also due to your post I have a certain D, C and G guitar riff stuck in my head, so thanks for that Wink

Hope Neil Young remembered :P

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 22 Jul 2015, 11:18 am

Bob,
The weird thing about Wilcox's w/d is that he hastily added that he'd be ready to go for next week's action outside Washington.

He has a very unusual, upright swing. A narrow stance, slightly open, and then an upright version of Nick Price's quick swing. You'd think anything slightly off would result in a big miss, but this year, at least, he's been nails.

Anyone interested in his background should read the post I linked (very much a sanitised version I think!) in the fifth post above.


Neil Young played here on Sunday - he looks awful these days, "Old man, look at my life," and all that. Purpose was to get publicity for his anti-Monsanto rants, but apparently he put on a great show - which is not always the case!

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