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PGA Tour: The Travelers + Rocket Mortgage in Detroit + 3M Open in Minnesota: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 24 Jun 2019, 8:40 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).What goes around, comes around:
I've been going to The Travelers Championship in the Hartford, CT, area for 12 years now, sometimes just for one Round, usually for two, always for Rounds 1 and/or 2. And always with my son, Father's Day and all that.
We usually try to follow one "Featured" group, one threesome of lesser knowns, or young up-and-comers.
The first year we went, 2008, we followed the young Jason Day in Round 1, having seen his second Tour event two years before at Turning Stone.
Day exhibited the swagger and range of shots that you might expect from a 20-year-old hotshot and, without much of a short game, carded a 67. But he was outplayed by a young Canadian, Jon Mills, who shot 64. And that was as good as it got in a prime-time event on the PGA Tour; now he's the newly appointed golf coach at Kent State University.
The third member of the group was a short, stocky feller who looked as if he might be a local qualifier but not much more. He missed the cut and there was no reason to think we'd hear much about him again.
But a month or so later, he won the Canadian Open, bloke called Chez Reavie. You never know!

2).The forecast for last Thursday & Friday was terrible, cool, rainy with occasionally heavy downpours and strong gusts. Turned out it was much worse. So we scrapped a plan to hang around and follow Justin Thomas and Molinari, partly because we wanted to get moving, partly because Cantlay was the third member. Plan B was to go out with some relative journeymen, but in every round you see something new:

3).In this case, there was a no-show on the first tee, Hudson Swafford, and the strange appearance two minutes after the others had hit their drives, of a golfer with a stand-bag coming off the subs bench and taking his place: Dominic Bozelli with whom we have some tenuous interest. Never seen that before.
On the fifth hole Adam Long holed a 140-ish yard wedge for eagle. And later drained a 55-foot snake. For all the highlights you see on TV, the number you see as a spectator is pretty low!
Patton Kizzire was the 3rd pro and he is slow, walks slow, does everything slow. Miserable to watch too.

4).We were going to lead off Round 2 with Tommy Fleetwood, Russell Knox and Cam Smith but, partly in anticipation of disruption of play and resultant confusion, chose to follow them Thursday afternoon instead. Really enjoyed watching the three of them, but they only attracted a couple of dozen followers which seemed strange.
Fleetwood shot an easy 66 including a couple of balls in the drink, but never seemed especially in love with what he was doing or where he was. Don't know how many water balls he hit on his way to an eventual T13 and $200K, but it must have been at least half a dozen.
Russell Knox is good to follow, always acknowledges the gallery, always, and grinds out every single shot.
And Cam Smith came in in rotten form and played like it as he grew increasingly frustrated. Don't bet on him until he shows some form.

5).Friday we kicked off with Mackenzie Hughes as he was a first round leader, playing with Homa and Berger. Not especially noteworthy except Homa getting poked in the eye by his caddie's umbrella which seemed pretty funny at the time. Unsurprisingly a needless bogey ensued. Was impressed with Homa but he's a tetchy boy and just missed the cut.
Berger blew hot and cold, not sure what to make of him, though would say that, in person, his wide swing takeaway seems much less exaggerated. Missed cut for him too, and his season looks in disarray.

6).Took an hour to go to the range and watch Kiradech whirling away in yellow shirt whilst all about him were bundled up in about four layers. Brilliant stuff! Love the way he goes at it!!
Went to see him tee off, but the highlight of that group was Richy Wrenski's caddie, "Pepsi", arranging his bottles of Pepsi alongside the first tee, very much like Rafa Nadal's obsession with neatness and organization. When finally satisfied with the formation he decanted one into a screw-top flask for on-the-go consumption. He used to leave bottles of Pepsi at strategic hiding places around the course to satisfy his fix, hole-by-hole. Don't know if he still does that - you'll remember him as Keegan Bradley's caddie for many years, and possibly his confrontation with the Mechanic at a WGC Match-Play.

7).The celebrity on the range was His Highness Steve Williams, greeted and hugged by anyone who thought they knew him. He lapped it up of course. Anyway, looks as if he's been brought in to infuse some discipline into Jason Day's game.

8).We hung around to follow Viktor Hovland and his mates, Curtis Luck & Dylan Frittelli. Fun threesome to follow and hundreds of others thought so too.
Luck is great with the galleries but didn't get much out of his round and missed the cut by one. Would definitely watch him again though, bags of talent.
Hovland was making his pro debut and got off to a fast start. Interesting to follow and see how he reacted to success and adversity. Made a careless 3-putt on #7 which seemed to rattle him - he followed it up with a 7 on the par-4 10th from the middle of the fairway - rushed his shots and those strokes add up quickly. He did well to compose himself and squeeze under the cut-line.

9).Awards of the week:
Fastest golfer: Curtis Luck, always ready to hit - why isn't that a core competency?
Slowest: Frittelli, followed closely by Kizzire. Frittelli is terrible though, makes Ben Crane look quick and you'd imagine he'll be climbing the slow-play-fine rankings - if he keeps his card.
Most fan-friendly (probably because we didn't see Peter Malnati): Knox & Luck.
Most miserable: Kizzire

10).And thoughts about The Travelers:
Voted PGA Tour players "Tournament of the Year" two years' running, but doubt the fans would say the same. Lots of commercial "creep", especially the past three years, which infringes upon accessibility for the spectators.
And it's nice that they have 3,500 volunteers helping to ensure a great week for the pros, but way too many jobsworths who haven't a clue what they're doing.
And way too many golf-carts buzzing around with each driver thinking they're Max Verstappen.
But every ET Tournament Director should go and check it out - they'd learn a lot if my meagre ET experiences are anything to go by.

Two new tournaments these next two weeks: Rocket Mortgage in Detroit, moved from the DC area, and the 3M tournament in the Minneapolis area.
Will add any notes as and when.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Tue 02 Jul 2019, 1:03 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Post by super_realist Fri 05 Jul 2019, 7:58 am

Well, considering how Shotrock claims that the PGA don't get to do what they want and only get to change the hole position, what does it matter if it's 2 years or 8 months notice. All the PGA have to do in that respect is stick some stands up.

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Post by Be_the_ball Fri 05 Jul 2019, 9:28 am

Jack Nicklaus is an absolute class act -
https://twitter.com/jacknicklaus/status/1146906101415317504?s=19

Laugh Laugh Laugh

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Post by McLaren Fri 05 Jul 2019, 11:08 am

Apart from the bit where he is a vocal Trump supporter.
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 05 Jul 2019, 3:58 pm

McLaren wrote:Apart from the bit where he is a vocal Trump supporter.


Probably back in the days that Drumpf was talking about last night in his lyrical waxings about the Revolutionary War when:
"our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports" . . . . . . probably including JFK and Reagan National. Unbelievable. USA, USA


Meanwhile, the birds and eagles are flying, just like the US army back in the 1700's, in Minnesota. But today's scoring not quite so good as yesterday. Mostly Americans dominating, with Martin Laird and Viktor Hovland the best(?) of the Europeans.
Not much sign of effort by the top players, Koepka struggling early today and Phil with a dismal round yesterday. While Kevin Na pulled out his sick-note after bumbling through Round 1. Imagine all these guys are claiming this week as a "new tournament" which is a rule whose sword can be double-edged. Though it worked for Rory in Ontario.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 05 Jul 2019, 5:55 pm

Story of the 2019 edition of Martin Laird on #18:
Wonderful 234 yard approach leaving 6 foot for eagle. Three-putt par. Enough to do anyone's head in.

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Post by GPB Fri 05 Jul 2019, 9:21 pm

McLaren wrote:Apart from the bit where he is a vocal Trump supporter.

Nicklaus should hanged and flogged for exercising his right for free speech.

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Post by McLaren Fri 05 Jul 2019, 11:01 pm

GPB wrote:
McLaren wrote:Apart from the bit where he is a vocal Trump supporter.

Nicklaus should hanged and flogged for exercising his right for free speech.

No need to flog him but I find openly supporting Trump when you have a fair bit of influence pretty unsavory. It isn't for the mere fact of exercising his free speech but what he chose to do with his speech.
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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 06 Jul 2019, 1:11 am

85 players make the cut at TPC Twin Cities, so plenty of mdf's after Round 3.

Not quite so bad as suggested at the John Deere, but still a pretty weak field.

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Post by robopz Sat 06 Jul 2019, 1:13 pm

kwinigolfer wrote: Imagine all these guys are claiming this week as a "new tournament" which is a rule whose sword can be double-edged. Though it worked for Rory in Ontario.
Kwini... As a first-year event, neither the Quicken Loans or 3M Championship can be used to fulfill the "new event" requirement.

By the way... Would like to give a shout out to the UK weather gods... The weather couldn't have been any more glorious for the week we've been here so far... We've been on the dead run since we got here, but now we're chilling out in Plymouth (Crownhill Fort) for a few days before making our way up to Scotland.  I've been having an awesome time being just a tourist...

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 06 Jul 2019, 1:37 pm

robopz wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote: Imagine all these guys are claiming this week as a "new tournament" which is a rule whose sword can be double-edged. Though it worked for Rory in Ontario.
Kwini... As a first-year event, neither the Quicken Loans or 3M Championship can be used to fulfill the "new event" requirement.

By the way... Would like to give a shout out to the UK weather gods... The weather couldn't have been any more glorious for the week we've been here so far... We've been on the dead run since we got here, but now we're chilling out in Plymouth (Crownhill Fort) for a few days before making our way up to Scotland.  I've been having an awesome time being just a tourist...


Thanks for the update robo, Good job with the weather, too. Hopefully Scotland will be as gorgeous for you as England's Green And Pleasant Land.

Very surprised that Quicken Loans / RMC counts as a new event; I thought it was just a relocation.
I wonder, therefore, what the incentive is for top players to "compete" this summer, almost all of them turning up somewhere but just going through the motions?

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Post by Plunky Sat 06 Jul 2019, 1:40 pm

Plymouth ? Hope you've have the obligatory stroll around the barbican and The Hoe and had your picture taken at The Mayflower Steps !

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Post by robopz Sat 06 Jul 2019, 2:01 pm

Kwini... Not sure all the ins-and-outs as to why, but the Tour is booking the RMC as a new event. I assume the relocation is just part of it, but losing Invitational status might have had something to do with it as well. Also, TWF in effect owns "the National", and it's not impossible there might be efforts to revive it somewhere down the line. (Unlikely though I think it is)

Detroit getting a decent field didn't surprise me, but Minnesota being as strong as it is is somewhat of a surprise with it's much lower purse. In the end I think it's a lot to do with players positioning themselves going into the FedEx playoffs thus feeling they can't take too much time off. The bonus money pool has officially gone from "Insanity" to "off the charts insane". And seeing how it's all a cumulative measure, bad finishes can't hurt a player, but good ones can sure help.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 06 Jul 2019, 2:09 pm

Plunky,
Is the barbican new(ish)?
I don't remember it from the 3 months I lived on The Hoe!


Threesomes off both tees (for TV I suppose) for Round 3 of the 3M Open.

85 golfers make the cut so there'll be a 54-hole cut this evening.
Not many Europeans travelled to Minnesota and those who did are not getting a sniff of the leaderboard. Only Viktor Hovland (T23) in the Top 40, even the in-form Slovakian is on his bike.
Hope Adam Hadwin wins for Oh Canada.

Thanks for the update, robo, hadn't considered the "Invitational" aspect. (Among other things.) Bon voyage.

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Post by robopz Sat 06 Jul 2019, 2:12 pm

Plunky wrote:Plymouth ?  Hope you've have the obligatory stroll around the barbican and The Hoe and had your picture taken at The Mayflower Steps !
Went to the Barbican area this morning & had a wonderful breakfast (except for the black pudding part...:-). We're here thru Monday so I'm sure we will be ferreted around to more of the notable tourist destinations. My host brother-in-law is a member of some historic trust thing, thus we are saying inside of Crownhill Fort. The place is otherwise closed this weekend, so we have it to ourselves. Pretty awesome. Later on today about a dozen of my wife's extended family genealogy crowd are coming in for a potluck  and research comparing session. Not my cup of tea so some of us may be making it into town. I dunno yet.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 06 Jul 2019, 7:24 pm

Hungry like a Wolff:
Young gun du jour Matthew Wolff -8 for his first 14 holes and up to second.

With other prodigies Morikawa, Luck and Niemann in the Top Ten. Viktor Hovland seems to have hit the buffers. Like the rest of the Europeans who are treading water or in reverse.


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Post by GPB Sat 06 Jul 2019, 7:30 pm

Mac, So if a person has a fair amount of influence, he (or she) should not openly support the President?

That's whack!

Tiger played golf with Trump (and Nicklaus) earlier this year (and AFAIK Tiger has never played with Obama).

Seeing that Minnesota is in the Central Time Zone, I think they would have started well before 7 am if they had gone with two-somes with 85 players and to get done before 6 pm EDT. That is a lot of coverage for volunteers and staffing.

IIRC, the Sentry ToC in Maui counts as a new event for Rory. Spieth and Poulter got dinged for not playing new events last season. It looks like Poulter has played two new events this season (ToC and Sony) while Spieth has played 4 new events (Shriners, Mayakoba, Farmers, and RBC Heritage)

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 06 Jul 2019, 7:58 pm

Pleased to see Daly has been denied use of a cart at Portrush by the R&A. He's still playing, Shanks's Pony-style.

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Post by robopz Sun 07 Jul 2019, 1:06 pm

Plunky wrote:Plymouth ?  Hope you've have the obligatory stroll around the barbican and The Hoe and had your picture taken at The Mayflower Steps !
Mayflower steps? Well... I tried... {{{Sigh}}}PGA Tour: The Travelers + Rocket Mortgage in Detroit + 3M Open in Minnesota: Notes from the Ballwasher - Page 2 Receiv10

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Post by robopz Sun 07 Jul 2019, 1:10 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Pleased to see Daly has been denied use of a cart at Portrush by the R&A. He's still playing, Shanks's Pony-style.
Glad the R&A didn't have to consider the ridiculous misuse of American ADA law Daly used to get a buggy for the PGA Championship. R&A made the right decision, and the one the PGA wishes they could have.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 07 Jul 2019, 5:44 pm

Nice final round from Martin Laird, 65 with 100% greens in regulation but negative "strokes gained putting" of one stroke per round for the week.
Still plenty of work to do to keep his card but this should translate to about a Top 30 (EDIT: Top 40, These guys are good!); every little bit helps. If he made every putt inside 4 ft that he missed, it'd be a Top Ten at least.

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Post by pedro Sun 07 Jul 2019, 9:08 pm

robopz wrote:
Plunky wrote:Plymouth ?  Hope you've have the obligatory stroll around the barbican and The Hoe and had your picture taken at The Mayflower Steps !
Mayflower steps? Well... I tried... {{{Sigh}}}PGA Tour: The Travelers + Rocket Mortgage in Detroit + 3M Open in Minnesota: Notes from the Ballwasher - Page 2 Receiv10
They’re simply trying to block the emigrants from returning.

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Post by Plunky Sun 07 Jul 2019, 9:58 pm

Ouch that looks ugly -- I suspect that they're tarting it up in readiness for the big anniversary next year. Plymouth Massachusetts probably has a bit of scaffolding up too.

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Post by McLaren Sun 07 Jul 2019, 10:14 pm

Wyndham Clark seems to be doing a pretty good Sergio impression out there. He just needs to choke and it will be complete.
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Post by Shotrock Sun 07 Jul 2019, 10:50 pm

I realize all Euro eyes are on the young Hovland, but the even younger Yank Wolff more impressive this weekend. A shocker.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Sun 07 Jul 2019, 11:26 pm

That, that was good golf. What a finish
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Post by GPB Mon 08 Jul 2019, 2:23 am

IIRC, there has not been a playoff on the PGATour in 2019.  Last playoff was Howell's win in the 2018 RSM, last official PGATour event of 2018

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Post by beninho Mon 08 Jul 2019, 6:49 am

So another youngster breakd through very early in his career. Are players better now then before or is there just more opportunity for young players to play.

Will these young players peak s lot earlier and not have the long careers.

Or is golf now easier, so any player who can smash the ball can come and compete at the highest level straight away.

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Post by super_realist Mon 08 Jul 2019, 8:21 am

beninho wrote:So another youngster breakd through very early in his career. Are players better now then before or is there just more opportunity for young players to play.

Will these young players peak s lot earlier and not have the long careers.

Or is golf now easier, so any player who can smash the ball can come and compete at the highest level straight away.

Why do people start sentences with "so" these days? It's bad enough when you hear people speak like that, with the high intonation at the end, interspersing every word with "like". Worse when its written.


"Today we have John Smith to talk about Brexit and the impact on the UK car industry, John what are your views on the matter"


"So.……." mad  mad  mad  mad  mad  mad

If you need time to think and ruminate, get a pipe, it worked for Harold Wilson

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Post by beninho Mon 08 Jul 2019, 9:06 am

So, thanks for you input. It was insightful.

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Post by McLaren Mon 08 Jul 2019, 9:17 am

Ben

It probably has something to do wit the US college golf system being more professional than most professionals.

They coaching, fitness and general preparedness of college golfers makes them ready at what used to be considered young for golf.
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 08 Jul 2019, 12:06 pm

Very impressive this week.

How will they fare when they're not playing with fairways 50 yards wide, and they have nothing to lose? And they'll likely have similar conditions this coming week at the John Deere.

But there are heralded players coming out of college every year:
Who will emulate the Tigers, Phils and Jordans of this world?
And who will be Cody Gribble, Smylie Kaufman or Jamie Lovemark?

Whichever way you look at it, the European Tour is not throwing up such talent at similar ages.



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Post by McLaren Mon 08 Jul 2019, 1:36 pm

Kwini

As far as I can tell all the good junior players in the UK aim to get into US college golf teams. The wierd thing is some of them are getting at least partial scholarships while not being all that good.

I am sure super will know a few players in this boat.


The point being that if they start coming back maybe the European tour will increasingly be populated by Europeans trained up in US colleges. This might already be the model.
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 08 Jul 2019, 2:46 pm

McLaren wrote:Kwini

As far as I can tell all the good junior players in the UK aim to get into US college golf teams. The wierd thing is some of them are getting at least partial scholarships while not being all that good.

I am sure super will know a few players in this boat.


The point being that if they start coming back maybe the European tour will increasingly be populated by Europeans trained up in US colleges. This might already be the model.


Mac,
I thought the ET already is "populated by Europeans trained up in US colleges"?
Obviously it works nicely for many, from Casey and Donald, to McDowell and Noren, Knox to Rahm.
And dozens more on the ET.

Helps some, hinders others, you just never know!

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Post by McLaren Mon 08 Jul 2019, 2:58 pm

Yeh agreed, as I said this probably already the standard model.

What might be different now to even just a few years ago is that it is not only a handful of elite UK golfers giving the US college system a go but a slightly lower standard of player as well.
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 08 Jul 2019, 4:22 pm

GPB wrote:IIRC, there has not been a playoff on the PGATour in 2019.  Last playoff was Howell's win in the 2018 RSM, last official PGATour event of 2018


Only a fraction of an inch from breaking that streak with Morikawa - I heard the comment on the air but couldn't tell whether this is a record.
And the Tour has been fortunate (skilful) at avoiding(?) Monday finishes also.

The new bloke on CBS did a good job - assume MacAtee is working Wimbledon?

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Post by GPB Mon 08 Jul 2019, 5:57 pm

Heard a podcast that opined that the newest generation of golfers (Wolff, Hovland, etc) probably has not taken too many lessons without a Shot-Tracker.  So they are getting instant feedback with Video like they have for the last 20 years, now they are actually getting technical data like launch angle, ball speed, and spin rates.

The top 1% of these players can synthesize everything to make minute improvements.

===========

Kaymer failed to earn a exemption into the Open Championship.  and he is not exempt into the ST Jude.   He is #131 in FEX list.  He has only played 12 events.  If he wants to play his 15 events, he needs to come over and play Barbasol and Reno Tahoe and Wyndham to be sure.

IMO doubtful

==========

And the Tour has been fortunate (skilful) at avoiding(?) Monday finishes also.

Both skill and luck. Weather has been crazy bad for a lot of the USA this year.

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Post by McLaren Mon 08 Jul 2019, 7:24 pm

GPB

Obe thing I have wondered is whether a swing honed with ball and club head data is more effective than the picture perfect swings of the previous generations. Think Adam Scott vs Wolf, BDC, Hovland. Some of these newer guys have the quirk of Furyk but the length of Rory.
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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 08 Jul 2019, 7:49 pm

GPB,
The alternate list is taken from the owgr listing as of the date of final qualifying (whatever it's called). Apparently Korhonen & Pavan have just followed that route in, and Kaymer must only be a place or two away from them.
I think he'll take his chances . . . . . but believe he's at Wimbledon today! One Major that he can get into.

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Post by McLaren Mon 08 Jul 2019, 10:28 pm

Should have added it is 90's video sculpted swings vs today's trackman data swings.
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Post by GPB Mon 08 Jul 2019, 11:40 pm

Ok, suppose he does play at Portrush, he still needs three more tournaments. Portrush, Tahoe, Greensboro just in case he doesn't qualify for Northern Trust.

If he doesn't get 15 tournaments, IMO he should be suspended from playing PGATour events. He has thumbed his nose at the PGATour too many times.

ICYMI, Ryo Ishikawa won the Japan PGA event this past week


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Post by kwinigolfer Tue 09 Jul 2019, 12:58 am

GPB wrote:Ok, suppose he does play at Portrush, he still needs three more tournaments.  Portrush, Tahoe, Greensboro just in case he doesn't qualify for Northern Trust.

If he doesn't get 15 tournaments, IMO he should be suspended from playing PGATour events.  He has thumbed his nose at the PGATour too many times.

ICYMI, Ryo Ishikawa won the Japan PGA event this past week



Let's just see how it plays out.

Meanwhile, Fred Ridley planning to invite Ishikawa to Augusta.

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Post by GPB Tue 09 Jul 2019, 2:39 pm

Daly's WDs from Portrush, after a Brown Recluse Spier bite. Replaced by Kevin Streelman

GolfChannel is reporting that the next alternates are Sabbatini, Harman and Kaymer.

I believe they are using this weeks OWGR rankings for the Alternate list, because Harman was behind Kaymer last week, ahead of him this week.

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Post by super_realist Wed 10 Jul 2019, 8:21 am

McLaren wrote:Kwini

As far as I can tell all the good junior players in the UK aim to get into US college golf teams. The wierd thing is some of them are getting at least partial scholarships while not being all that good.

I am sure super will know a few players in this boat.


The point being that if they start coming back maybe the European tour will increasingly be populated by Europeans trained up in US colleges. This might already be the model.

Mac, there's been a ton of players from St. Andrews area who have gone to America only to completely bottle it once they are there.
I don't know a single one who didn't come back early. I blame the Scottish mentality. They simply weren't prepared to screw the nut. Ironically they come back thinking they actually made it as Tour Pro's and strut around the place like peacocks with their twitter and Instagram accounts behaving like they're Ian Poulter. Tragically funny and their games don't seem to transition away from St. Andrews either. Stick them on a tight course and they're hopeless. You can spray it anywhere at St.Andrews and still be on fairway.

The only player from the area to make it in recent times is Connor Syme, and he didn't go to college in America at all as far as I know.

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Post by McLaren Wed 10 Jul 2019, 10:02 am

Super

I think a lot of the players who go across only get a 2 year offer initially. It is possible they are coming back after not getting offered a place after that. Although whimpering back to his mothors bossom didn't do matty "pissypants" fitzpatrick any harm.
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