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PGA Tour: Double-Header - WGC-Bridgestone / Barracuda Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 05 Aug 2015, 2:51 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).Last week's affair at the Quicken Loans Championship looked a pretty lack-lustre affair beforehand, but turned into an interesting weekend at picturesque Robert Trent Jones GC in suburban Washington D.C.

2).Yeah, yeah, yeah, We've heard it all before:
"Something just wasn't quite there. I kept telling people I was close. There's just one(?) little thing that can turn it around. I made two little fixes and here I am."
Except that this time it wasn't Tiger Woods yacking away, it was Troy Merritt who outplayed a competitive leaderboard and richly earned his first win.


3).A bit more about Troy Merritt, another Iowan, like Zach Johnson, and an understated Tour Pro whose win appeared to be especially popular among his Tour mates.
Before Sunday, his biggest cheque was the $1M he earned as the winner of the mostly forgotten Kodak Challenge, in 2010.
And this was Merritt's first Top 50 finish since his near miss at Hilton Head in April.
No fluke though. One of the Tour's least publicised stats, but one of its more significant ones is "proximity to the hole". Merritt led that stat last week and his "proximity" of 23ft 11 inches was the best by a winner this season - by almost three feet!
He also became the first Tour player to record multiple rounds of 61 or better on Tour since Ryan Moore in 2012, and only the fifth since 1983.

4).What about the other guy who's always close, just looking for "reps" and carrying his "feels" from practice to the course? Tiger Woods, of course, and Eldrick also scored his best finish since April, T18, courtesy of a much-improved tee-to-green performance and a 2013-vintage short game. With his course experience which few had and a feeling that he might be under less scrutiny than at any event so far this year, we fancied him to play better and, except for his "moving day" effort which was backwards, he looked pretty good. But he still tries to throttle the ball when it's not necessary, which usually results in the head dip and contortions that have marred his swing for two years. It's just not necessary, Tiger, and it's what's holding you back from tournament contention.

5).Woods misses this week's Bridgestone and it's beneath his dignity to play Barracuda, in Reno, so next up is the PGA at Whistling Straits where his record is not great: T24 and T28. Depending upon his result there, "perhaps" he'll play Greensboro in a last ditch effort to qualify for the FedEx Play-Offs. Not sure of the definition of "perhaps" though.

6).One imagines he'll need to win the PGA to have an earthly of making the Presidents Cup Team, but one golfer who will be on the plane to South Korea is Steve Stricker, as Vice Captain.
Jay Haas also has Couples and Love helping him out, but one Haas who didn't help himself at all on Sunday was Jay's son Billy who played himself into an early lead by brilliantly birdieing six of his first ten holes, then butchered his way home to finish six strokes adrift. No way does Dad Jay pick Son Bill as a Captain's Choice, so a few crucial events coming up for Billy Boy, one of the very best guys to follow on the course.

7).Lots of noise-level chatter about the Presidents Cup this week with Nick Price lobbying again for a Ryder Cup-style points system in an attempt to level the playing field. Very unlikely that Tim Finchem will accede to such a request, any more than he did to similar representations from Greg Norman in years past. But one piece of good news for Nicky is that Danny Lee continued his surging form to finish T4 behind Troy Merritt and make himself an almost certain Captain's Choice, (at the very least).

8).Two Tour events this week: the WGC-Bridgestone, in Akron, Ohio, where there should be four fine days of weather and scoring, and the Barracuda Championship, in the altitude of Reno, Nevada.
This week and next (PGA Championship) will be pivotal in setting the stage for the final tournament before the Play-Offs.
As things currently stand, the following are all outside the points number expected (say 475 given that MacKenzie and Stallings are unlikely to play until October):
Goosen, Clark, Westwood, Donaldson, Ishikawa: All currently just inside the Top 125 and playing this week.
Donald, Els: Not playing until the PGA.
Schwartzel, Kaymer, McDowell, Ogilvy, Villegas, Choi, Baddeley, Blixt, Davis, Gonzo, Jhonny Vegas: Outside the Top 125 and playing this week.  

9).The Barracuda Championship is played to the "Modified Stableford" scoring system; Geoff Ogilvy revived his Tour career by winning last year and went on to play well enough in the Play-Offs to reach the Tour Championship. Andres Romero needs that sort of kick-start to put the icing on the cake of a decent summer; he's fared well here before and sorely needs a win! The same could be said about Vaughn Taylor and both he and Romero could warrant a shilling each way investment in a field of 132 where only about 60 will be competitive.

10).And so to boring old Firestone CC and the "Bridgestone", where the past two winners will be sitting out the action.
Tiger Woods would love to be here, the site of 10% of his titles.
And Rory McIlroy would love to be defending his Championship and earning his second WGC in three months.
At least Rory is waxing somewhat optimistic: "Working hard every day to come back stronger #don'tmindthegrind". Let's hope he'll make it to Whistling Straits and give the US Media something else to speculate about apart from Jordan Spieth's pursuit of an "American Slam". !!


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Wed 05 Aug 2015, 4:37 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by I'm never wrong Sun 09 Aug 2015, 10:52 pm

Did Super say he'll do a forfeit if Lowry won a PGA tournament or a Major? Seem to think it was a Major. Lucky for Super.

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Post by pedro Sun 09 Aug 2015, 11:01 pm

I'm never wrong wrote:Did Super say he'll do a forfeit if Lowry won a PGA tournament or a Major? Seem to think it was a Major. Lucky for Super.
Well the thread is there in case s_r feels like it... Or maybe it was just luck of the Irish?

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Post by sirbenson Sun 09 Aug 2015, 11:13 pm

Awesome win Shane Lowry!!!!!!!!!

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Post by Shotrock Mon 10 Aug 2015, 2:02 am

Great win for the IRISHMAN!! Well done Shane.

Rory ... Shane ... Irish Olympic contingent looking strong!

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 10 Aug 2015, 2:56 am

Indeed Shotrock! Wonder if McDowell fully understood the possible implications of Lowry's win when he congratulated him so effusively??!!

Westwood finally secured a spot in The Barclays, but Donaldson, Donald, Ishikawa, Schwartzel, Villegas, McDowell still have a lot of work to do to get there. Goosen's finish at the Barracuda Championship should squeak him into the Play-Offs.

I believe Lowry now becomes eligible for the Play-Offs but not sure how that works. Does he bump out #125? That wouldn't seem quite right.


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Post by GPB Mon 10 Aug 2015, 3:11 am

Actually Shane is not qualified for the playoffs.  At least not yet.

WGC events are treated differently than regular PGATour events. Its part of the closed shop mentality but faux FEDEX points earned in WGC's do not count unless you have full member privileges and Lowry had not earned that distinction yet.

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/golf-central-blog/despite-wgc-win-lowry-not-fedex-cup-playoffs/

So unless Shane earns about 250 pts in the PGA (and Wyndham if he plays) we won't be seeing him at Barclays.

When Spieth won John Deere two years ago, all his previously earned points were credited to his account.  Because none of them came from WGC's

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 10 Aug 2015, 4:19 am

Ha Ha! So CBS was incorrect. Better edit my PGA Championship thread!
Arcane for Shane. Probably all for the best in the long run as he can concentrate on Ryder Cup points.

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Post by MustPuttBetter Mon 10 Aug 2015, 5:07 am

Ewen Murray on Sky was incorrect too in that case as he also said Lowry would be in and well positioned in the play offs
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Post by super_realist Mon 10 Aug 2015, 7:56 am

Well done to Big Fat Shane. I always thought he was a 3 round player, but he's pulled off a big one here.

Maybe he's shaken off the "over-rated" tag a bit.

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Post by pedro Mon 10 Aug 2015, 8:20 am

super_realist wrote: I always thought he was a too round player,
Fixed it for you.

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Post by Roller_Coaster Mon 10 Aug 2015, 9:35 am

pedro wrote:
super_realist wrote: I always thought he was a too round player,
Fixed it for you.

clap

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Post by kouchi Mon 10 Aug 2015, 11:51 am

McLaren wrote:Kwini

I know of the factors contributing to his poor play, I was hoping to create a timeline of the events.  It is important to remember that during 2013 he was easily the best golfer in the world and was only hampered be nerves in the majors.  What was the path from that position to his current horrendous form?

Remember that it is not that he has declined in form since his car crash, but that he got back to the top of the game and then suddenly and catastrophically lost form in 2014.
Some leads and a small timeline on Tiger's battle to get things back on track can be found here:
http://www.skysports.com/golf/news/12040/9933827/tiger-woods39-career-since-2013-wgc-bridgestone-invitational-victory

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Post by McLaren Mon 10 Aug 2015, 12:14 pm

Thanks Kouchi.
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Post by kouchi Mon 10 Aug 2015, 12:24 pm

... and some insights on when and how Tiger teamed up with new 'swing consultant' Chris Como:

here, here & here

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Post by McLaren Mon 10 Aug 2015, 12:28 pm

Will Tiger's fall to the ground in the 2013 Barclays come to be known as the moment his career was finished.

But it was not until December 2014 that Como became his swing consultant. Leaving me wondering if there could be any other reason for his massive drop off in form which we have seen from February 2014 onward?
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