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PGA Tour: "Shell Houston Open": Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:14 pm

1).Just the ticket from Jason Day last week, starting with a very scratchy performance against McDowell, who failed to capitalise even when Day started oohing and aahing about his back, free pass against an ailing Casey (deja vu from last year there), followed by a terrific weekend.

2).Hope Jason Day gets properly fit; he's too good to become a self-obsessed golfing diva. Plus, time for Colin Swatton to persuade him to play a bit more quickly; golf is not well served when its two top players (sorry Rory) are among its slowest coaches. At their present pace, one can only imagine what the R&A and/or John Paramor will make of them. Which would detract from the quality of golf they've produced these past two years.

3).And, talking of caddies: It seemed that Spieth and Greller were on different pages at various times last week, especially in the match vs Oosthuizen. Any opinions on that? Would think that, by any standards (except pay), schoolmaster Greller qualifies as an amateur caddie, but what are the pros and cons of caddies that are not necessarily steeped in the game? Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson two more who have inexperience on their bag.

4).Not much change to Ryder Cup qualifying line-ups with only Rafa CB taking any significant stride forward - the US automatic qualifiers have been largely unchanged for the past month or so; the European crew currently looks like:
Rory, Willett, Fitzpatrick, Sullivan, Stenson, Rose, Rafa, Sergio, Pieters. With McDowell, Dubuisson, Donaldson etc, even Poulter I suppose, among those not taking advantage of last week's opportunities.

5).What a pathetic performance by English golfers in the Match Play.
Not excusing other Europeans who, Rafa & Rory apart, similarly disappointed, but no point in having English patience with crapp like this:
Casey, Fitzpatrick, Rose, Sullivan, Westwood, Willett and Wood chalked up a 21-match record of: Won 6, Lost 13, Halved 2.
Especially dismal in comparison with last year when Casey, Fleetwood and Willett all reached the Q-Finals and Westwood beat Spieth!

6).It was noted by "GPB" last week that Kaymer is on the threshold of departing the owgr Top 50. Meanwhile, both Keegan Bradley and Hunner Mahan probably need good results in Houston to survive the Top 100 - wouldn't have expected either's demise a year ago, but now they're on the edge. (Both have decent records at "Houston" though.)

7).For a decade the Shell Houston Open has amounted to final foreplay prior to the big event, in this case The Masters.
The winner takes the final spot at Augusta, joining about 90-ish competitors, but none of the Houston winners to have taken their last chance at a Masters invite have come close to emulating Davis Love who scampered from his somewhat fortuitous play-off win in New Orleans to Augusta and runnered up behind Crenshaw.

8).There's a strong European representation in Houston, including "tourists" Rafa CB, Lowry, Westwood and Wiesberger. Plus Donaldson (quite fancy him this week), Sergio, Padraig and Stenson.
As a recent Houston winner you'd perhaps expect Casey to be playing but his strange schedule has got stranger so he's at home.
Spieth plays Rounds 1 & 2 with Dustin Johnson and Reed, and Rickie Fowler is also in the house.

9).It'll be another chance for Sung Kang to resume his profitable and serendipitous partnership with Fluff Cowan - but this is a bizarre opportunity for Kang, only in the field following the withdrawal of Bronson Burgoon.
The alliterative one only dropped out when someone pointed out to him that he has a wedding scheduled for Saturday, his own. More Burgoon than Bronson unless he has a death wish.

10).While we don't yet know whether Woods will turn up for more than the Spieth barbecue, we DO know that he won't be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame next year as the WGHOF has just raised its qualifying age from 40 to 50.
And they've replaced Arnold Palmer on the selection committee (with Player, Sorenstam and Lopez) with some guy called Nicklaus.
Another sign, following his withdrawal from honorary Masters starter duty, that Arnie isn't getting any younger.

Should also add that the first Ladies' Major is being played this week in California. The "Dinah Shore" is now known as the ANA Inspiration and Jody Ewart, Charley, Bronte Law, Leona Maguire, Catriona Matthew and Mel Reid are all in the field. But no Laura Davies, and no Holly Clyburn who seems to have missed out on qualification by $76.00. More golfers named Lee (8) in the field than from GB&I.

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Post by I'm never wrong Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:23 pm

Hi Kwini
Good one as usual. I remember watching Davis Love on TV (Point 7) win that tournament to get into the Masters. Tense, nervy stuff.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:53 pm

Tim Finchem is retiring within the coming year from his PGA Tour Commissioner position. Since starting 22 years ago, Tour purses are reported by golfchannel.com as having grown six-fold. Tiger obviously gave the numbers a boost, but that is one helluva legacy.
(Nothing directly to do with him, but the US has only won the Ryder Cup twice in that time. Doubt if that bothers him one bit.)

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:51 pm

I'm never wrong wrote:Hi Kwini
Good one as usual. I remember watching Davis Love on TV (Point 7) win that tournament to get into the Masters. Tense, nervy stuff.

Further to this Kwini, I thought Anthony Kim finished third after his win. Hunter Mahan was the only other player with a top fifteen finish.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:00 pm

Yup, Kim did! But wouldn't say he was in real contention simply due to the way he closed his round - five under par over his final six holes but still finished four back.
Take your point though Grumps.

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Post by GPB Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:30 am

Spieth is playing with Holmes and Reed, not D-Johnson.

D-Johnson is paired with Finau and King Louis.

Tiger sycophants on other golf boards are screaming CONSPIRACY about the change of age requirement of the Hall of Fame.

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Post by GPB Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:56 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Tim Finchem is retiring within the coming year from his PGA Tour Commissioner position. Since starting 22 years ago, Tour purses are reported by golfchannel.com as having grown six-fold. Tiger obviously gave the numbers a boost, but that is one helluva legacy.
(Nothing directly to do with him, but the US has only won the Ryder Cup twice in that time. Doubt if that bothers him one bit.)

Tiger gets the lions share of the purse increase, but Finchem deserves a lot of the credit.
 
As a percent, Tour purses increased more from 1977 - 1996 than they did from 1996 - 2015.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:59 am

Spieth now playing with List & Reed. JB w/d.

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Post by Bob_the_Job Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:25 am

Cheers Kwini

Re 5: Mostly agree although thought Sullivan looked ok - two wins then runs into King Louie in form. Bit harsh to put him in the same camp as some of the others you mentioned who were poor. He got two of the 6 wins you mentioned - of which really only 5 were actual wins on the course, so 40% of the total English wins from 7 players.

FitzP made a mental error and talked himself up a bit, especially going in against FIGJAM. Once he got trounced there, he looked down the next two days. A bit of a lesson for him - one he hopefully learns from.
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Post by McLaren Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:56 am

GPB

Anyone know why the hall of fame entry age changed from 40 to 50?  or at least what the stated reasons were.

But the change must have happened a while back as Tiger was 40 at the end of last year.


Whatever happened to the poster who came on here looking for data on tour purses?  It will be interesting to see if he posts his analysis of the argument that Tiger caused a change in golf purses greater than that seen in other sports and relative to the economic conditions of the time.
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Post by McLaren Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:03 am

Kwini

If DJ had a trolley, it would be more useful than his current caddie (his brother?).


I know Rory's caddie is supposedly experienced but he offers nothing other than carrying Rory's clubs. It is either the case that JP could offer great advice but has been asked not to, or that he really can't offer anything. Whatever it is the relationship isn't one which improves McIlroy's scoring. When was the last time JP stepped in stop one of the McIlroy brain farts on club selection or shot choice, or helped him out with a few reads to get his putting back on course?

Rory needs a Stevie-W type who has the force of personality to be more than a chum and get the player doing the correct things on course.


As for Spieth and his caddie, I didn't notice anything on course. All I have read about the relationship is that Spieth is quoted this week saying he got a pep talk from Greller (possibly just after the Dell) which gave him a great perspective on his season so far. It sounded like they were still pretty tight.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:33 am

Bob,
Yup, Thanks for pointing that out - I had meant to highlight Sullivan's performance, as much to show how poor a fist the rest of 'em made!


Mac,
As far as I know, the WGHOF age change was just announced yesterday, due to the increase in golfers' fitness and the growing trend of them playing competitively well in to their 40's. Inductions for 2017 to be announced this autumn, but can't imagine there'll be many players eligible! Davis Love I suppose, but hopefully they can honour a distinguished course architect or two.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:21 pm

Early starters finishing their rounds in Houston; plenty of birdies and eagles but no crazy-low scores - -6 the best so far.
Lots of journeymen cluttering up the leaderboard; Europe's best so far is Jonas Blixt one shot off the lead.
Best start from Team GB is from Laird, -3 with a few holes left to play.

Mahan having another rotten day and a missed cut here would have him down to about 150th in FedEx points. Not good for a talented player but perhaps his long-time caddie, John Wood, knew the game was up when he transferred his loyalties to Matt Kuchar?

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:43 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Yup, Kim did! But wouldn't say he was in real contention simply due to the way he closed his round - five under par over his final six holes but still finished four back.
Take your point though Grumps.

I had no idea that it happened like that Kwini, got my stat from PGATour.com's First Look

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:50 pm

The way things are going in Houston, Friday will be the new "moving day" - 96 golfers currently within 6 shots of the lead and you'd think everyone will have to play aggressively to make the 36-hole cut.
Harrington one of the few who are missing out so far.

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Post by McLaren Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:40 am

Has the term "scripting" always been used to describe what the players will wear on each day of a tournament?


I am new to the term, but my twitter feed is full of Masters scripting's?
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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:53 am

Not sure Mac but it does seem to be a relatively recent thing to have collections unveiled for big tournaments. I've seen adverts for adidas with J'Day, Sergio, and DJ highlighting the outfits they will be wearing at the US Open, PGA etc.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:04 am

If these golfers with their (supposedly) snazzy outfits were playing at Augusta this morning, their designs and colours would be drenched, as Augusta seems to be getting shellacked with "strong storms". Wouldn't be surprised to read of damage in the area.
Could be lightening in the Houston area too, with heavy showers around South TX; no idea yet if they'll interfere with tee times. EDIT: Off on time, bullet dodged.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:26 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by McLaren Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:28 am

Maybe some 606'ers could post their scripting's for upcoming medals?
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Post by I'm never wrong Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:53 am

McLaren wrote:Maybe some 606'ers could post their scripting's for upcoming medals?

I might wear THIS

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:06 pm

I'll follow my inner Tim Herron:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/grill-room/herrons-masters-scripting-features-bee-suit-hoverboard/

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:20 pm

A bit presumptuous from Lee Westwood? Or just a preemptive strike??
He fancies the Ryder Cup Captaincy for 2020 at Whistling Straits: "I'd love to do it. I think I'd be the right age. I'd still be in touch with the players." etc.

Does that mean Thomas Bjorn is in pole position for "Paris"? Robert Karlsson never seems to be mentioned as a possibility, so seems the ET inner circle excludes him.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:41 pm

Quite windy in Houston today - opening cut-line following Round 1 would be -2.
But expect some scoring carnage if wind-gusts crank up as expected.
Hope the course is set up sensibly, not the sort of thing one can take for granted.

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Post by LadyPutt Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:29 pm

Good news that Danny Willett became a dad (to Zachariah James) on Wednesday after the baby arrived early. Now he'll be OK for the Masters - and probably glad to get away so he can have a few nights uninterrupted sleep!
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:44 pm

Never "glad to get away" from a new baby!

Good news from California too, for Catriona Matthew who lies one shot off the lead after Round 1 of the ANA Inspiration, Charley Hull another couple of shots adrift.

Not much excitement so far today in Houston; early birds though from Love and Lovemark - no word as to whether brother and one-time bagman Mark Love is caddieing for Davis . . . . .

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Post by Davie Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:17 pm

Round 2 suspended due to "inclement weather"?

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:38 pm

Lightning in the area Davie, always brings them off.
But it should be "clement" enough now and they're warming up for a 5.00 p.m. start, Bracknell time.

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Post by GPB Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:19 pm

Bhavik Patel leading the Web-com event in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Should he win, it will probably generate some publicity for the Web-com tour.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:23 pm

Harrington +9 over his last ten holes, +5 on today's two Par-5's played so far. Westwood also slipping afoul of the cut-line.

GPB,
Patel publicity? Of the PED variety??

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Post by GPB Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:24 pm

There will be no 11th hour Masters Lifetime Ryo Ishikawa exemption this year.

http://kyodonews.net/news/2016/04/01/55447


Ryo Ishikawa's return from a lower-back injury will not be before May, sources close to the Japanese golfer said Friday.

Ishikawa was diagnosed of lumber discopathy after pulling out of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February and has been absent from the PGA Tour since. He is currently rehabbing in Japan.

"I have to have a better understanding of my body and be able to control it so I can improve my swing," the 24-year-old said on his official website

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Post by GPB Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:13 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Harrington +9 over his last ten holes, +5 on today's two Par-5's played so far. Westwood also slipping afoul of the cut-line.

GPB,
Patel publicity? Of the PED variety??

Yes, first player to be suspended for PEDs and then win.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:17 pm

Looks like Westwood needs some PED's; as it is, he seems to have booked himself an extra two days' practice in Augusta. Putting stat's for his "efforts" so far have been horrendous.
Team Ireland also on their bike, presumably a tandem, though the thought of Shane pedalling away is pretty unpleasant. Plenty of drive-throughs on the road to Augusta Shane. Needs brewski thruskis more like.

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Post by GPB Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:27 pm

Danny Willett's wife delivered the baby boy this week, Zachariah.

I guess he will be at Augusta next week.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:35 am

Danny Willett may be headed for The Masters, but it sounds as if Tiger Woods will be missing out.
Field now about 90, give or take.

Good to see Laird and Donaldson playing well in Houston; in contrast to their English and Irish counterparts.

Round 2 to wrap up Saturday and most likely some DNF's in store late Saturday. Good forecast thru Sunday so tournament will finish on time.

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Post by raycastleunited Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:10 am

McLaren wrote:

I know Rory's caddie is supposedly experienced but he offers nothing other than carrying Rory's clubs.  It is either the case that JP could offer great advice but has been asked not to, or that he really can't offer anything.  Whatever it is the relationship isn't one which improves McIlroy's scoring.  When was the last time JP stepped in stop one of the McIlroy brain farts on club selection or shot choice, or helped him out with a few reads to get his putting back on course?
.

You have no idea how much he contributes. He may have saved Rory from many more brain farts.

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Post by raycastleunited Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:13 am

kwinigolfer wrote:I'll follow my inner Tim Herron:

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/grill-room/herrons-masters-scripting-features-bee-suit-hoverboard/

Funny!

I want to know where to get a Ryder cup poncho

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:46 pm

7.45 a.m. Houston time for the Round 2 restart. Imagine they'll begin Round 3 off the 1st and 10th tees about 10.30 CDT.
Yesterday's winds have subsided so a little bit of an advanatage for those close to the cut-line, while guys like Sergio wait (anxiously? or do they just want to go to Augusta??) to see if they get overtaken and cut.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat Apr 02, 2016 2:39 pm

Reprieve for Sergio and Rafa and at least they'll get paid, possibly be grouped together in Round 3?

Three-putt bogey at the 18th for Jamie Donaldson, but his 68 is still tied for the round of Round 2. This could be a crucial weekend for the man from Pontypridd (and Macclesfield) as a top finish will go a long way to securing his card for next season.

There'll be a further cut at the end of Round 3 as 80-ish pros tee it up today and those not in the top 70 and ties will be shown the exit.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:22 pm

I thought 7 / 11 was a convenience store - not for Jonas VBlixt who horlicksed his way through #4 & #5, 7 (double bogey) and 11 (septuple bogey).

Stenson now top European and you'd think this course was right up his street. C'mon Henrik!

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:24 pm

According to NBC the past two winners of the Shell Houston Open have both come from 6 strokes behind entering Round 4.
28 golfers within 6 shots of the lead.
Sergio imploded and he's headed East. Not much better from Donaldson and Laird but super rounds from Rafa CB and Stenson.

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Post by pedro Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:34 am

kwinigolfer wrote:
Does that mean Thomas Bjorn is in pole position for "Paris"? Robert Karlsson never seems to be mentioned as a possibility, so seems the ET inner circle excludes him.
Would've thought Paris was between TB and lw1. But I think TB is more involved with the ET in general, and past RC's in particular, and will get the Paris gig.
Karlsson seems a bit derailed.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:16 am

Hi peds,
"Karlsson" was just a trial balloon.
But Europe will need to acknowledge the Swedish contribution before much longer, not many have even held VC recognition, I think perhaps Haeggman and Forsbrand.
Agree, TB for Paris.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:30 pm

Alright, While I'm watching the Saints beat Leicester, the boys in Houston will be teeing off in chilly (well, 40's anyway) morning temps, but in otherwise pristine conditions. Sunny, should be dry and the winds of the past few days seem to have subsided.
Plenty of low scores - can Stenson continue the run of non-American Tour winners?

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Post by GPB Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:09 pm

Tony Finau is American!   Very Happy

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:04 pm

Very Happy

Rafa the only early starter to be making a meaningful move - into the Top Ten now; hope he can keep it up.
Wasted chance for a decent result from Martin Laird - seems a long time since he put four solid rounds together.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:26 pm

Looks like Spieth is one-upping Rafa.
Was going to bet against him at The Masters but might have to think (as if that ever did any good) again.
The last thing DJ and Henrik wanted to see today in their rear-view mirror.
EDIT: According to Shot link, that's about 110 feet of putts made in Spieth's first 7 holes. Rolling Eyes

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:37 pm

Russell Henley has missed his last five cuts and has failed to earn a single owgr point so far in 2016, about the highest-ranked pro to be playing full-time to draw a blank so far.
Only makes sense, then, that he's in the Houston lead.


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Post by GPB Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:18 pm

Westwood got his first OWGR points of the year last week at that match play.  Then again, almost every player got OWGR last week.

RCB has nearly cinched a STM status (if he wants it).  Only needs a two way T6.

A three way T2nd should be enough for a 2016-17 PGATour card.  That would put him at 477 Faux FEX points  (it took 464 pts last year to get into Top 125).  Obviously a Two way tie or solo 2nd will be enough.

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Post by I'm never wrong Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:24 pm

Dustin Johnson took a 3 wood to a par 4 307 yard hole. He reached the green and nearly the same level as the pin. I wish.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:26 pm

But lw1 hasn't been playing full time . . . . .

Terrific from Rafa. Very interesting final round. Hopefully Henrik will turn interesting into exciting.

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