Masters Preview – BUY/SELL

Hello Friends…. Is there any more iconic line in golf? Seriously, I can’t believe that Masters Week is here. The official start of golf season, all the disrespect to the player’s championship. College Basketball is over. The NBA and NHL regular seasons are done. And, people need to find places to light money on fire. I’ll be here to stoke the flames all summer. Continue reading “Masters Preview – BUY/SELL”

PLAYERS Halftime – Potential Storylines

Been a solid few days out there for viewers. Multiple aces, birdies everywhere, and some big names at the top of the leaderboard. Pundits are giving the TOUR some flack for the course setup and scoring conditions. I think the criticism is fair from a purist’s perspective – the wind hasn’t been as advertised and the result is a course with no great defense. I think what’s lost in the shuffle with that take is the audience for this weekend. More people are tuning in, people who may watch golf a few times a year, or never at all – those people want to see birdies.

On to the important stuff – Rory, Tommy, CAPTAIN. Let’s take some guesses at what the headlines will be Sunday night.

  1. Begins and ends with Rory. 67 – 65. One bogey in 36 holes. Striking the ball like a maniac. Rory has made 5 starts this season and hasn’t finished outside the top 6. He’s 1st SG off the tee, 1st SG tee to green, and 1st SG overall (FOR THE SEASON). No he doesn’t have a win – and that’s all that people seem to want to talk about lately – but that’s a lazy take. Consistency vs. wins is a common debate in golf, but Rory’s stats don’t lie. 1st SG overall means he’s played the best golf – and he’s been doing that since the turn of the year. If Rory wins this week a lot of people are going to jump back on the bandwagon, and green jacket hype will be at an all time high. This and Tiger talk would dominate the golf news circuit.
  2. Tommy Fairways. Tommy has yet to win on US Soil – but he’s been one of the best golfers on the planet for two seasons now. His 63 at Shinnecock last year was probably the best round of golf played in 2018. Follow that with a dominating Ryder Cup performance and a great start to the 2019 circuit and here we have it. This would be the biggest win of Tommy’s career and launch him into the conversation for best in the world. Might seem like a bit of a stretch – but he’s in the JT, DJ, Rory, Rose, Brooks category with a W.
  3. Poulter. Would the crowd at 17 turn on him on Sunday? I doubt it. Americans love to hate on Poults, I think that hate fuels him. Would be a feather in the cap of great villain.
  4. CAPTAIN JIM. This would be an unreal redemption story. After an embarrassing Ryder Cup performance and a captaincy that endured plenty of scrutiny, winning the PLAYERS would be an incredible accomplishment. Reed tossed him under the bus, crazy fallout stories ensued – the team really just came out looking like a mess. What’s happened since? Jim has sneaky been playing good golf! 32nd in SG total and 2 Top 10’s this season. He’s 48 and been put through the ringer – the media would eat this story up and rightfully so.
  5. Day’s back is back.
  6. Keith Mitchell continues a hot streak for the ages – becomes the king of the Florida Swing.
  7. None of the above – Lot of talent lurking in the 5-7 range. Those guys are going to have to go crazy low over the weekend to make a move but its definitely plausible. Of that group -DJ, Rahm, and Scott stick out. Stud City – all capable of 65 or below on a given day and going completely ballistic.

The past few years Sawgrass has had runaway winners. You have to go back to the Kis, Sergio, Rickie battle of 2015 to find a second place finisher within 3 shots. Let’s hope this field condenses or we get a Tommy/Rory duel for the ages.

Check back in with you all Sunday.

 

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Long Live The King – API Recap

Wild to think the story that left Orlando this week is Rory not being able to finish off the API as opposed to Francesco taking this thing by storm with a Sunday 64. That’s just what star power does – Rory will drive clicks and Francesco is sadly viewed as just another golfer by the general public.

 

Well that golfer put together the round of the week – and on Sunday no less. Unfortunate that it took away from some of the drama of

the telecast, NBC’s slot peaked about 2 hours before prime time but you simply can’t control that. Headed into Sunday I was fired up that so many guys were within 3 shots, but those waning groups just brought no juice to the table (RCB and Wallace gave us glimmers of hope towards the end but those pushes never felt realistic.)

 

Francesco putted like an absolute maniac on Sunday – that was the difference. All in all he ended up 1st SG off the tee at the API and 4th in SG putting. The driving stat lends credence to the difficult conditions at Bay Hill – longer rough placing a larger premium on finding the fairway. Pundits everywhere made the Le Golf National/Euro leap and I don’t think they were far off, but I think it needs to be said that SG off the tee is going to be a great indicator of success no matter what the venue.

 

You can find great recaps all over the internet – so let’s get into what caught my attention.

 

PGA TOUR LIVE THOUGHTS:

 

Leaving live coverage to show me a stream of Scott Langley walk to the range at TPC sawgrass is downright egregious. Phil I can live with. Even Nick Watney chipping I can tolerate. Scott Langley’s strut from the parking lot? Stop. Please Stop. (No offense given Scott – not one bit).

 

JT Poston was in the morning featured group along with Rickie Fowler. Getting paired up with Rickie attracts a lot of fan fair, bigger crowds. I think normally JT would have been juiced up to get some TV coverage, but yesterday was just a rough day for the man. He was getting crushed, mental errors and some bad luck – started putting up big numbers. What really impressed me was how JT handled himself out there. No he wasn’t smiling at every turn – and yes there were some looks of exasperation – but he never for a second lost control. He held his head high, and made some birdies on the back nine. A lot of players in that scenario can quickly lose their minds, they’ll start swearing off camera and go full dickhead. JT rose above that – all capsulated perfectly on the 15th tee when a fire truck and ambulance made the rounds right in front of the tee box. I wish LIVE caught exactly what he said to the crowd, but he had them chuckling. In what must have been one of the tougher rounds of his career, the kid showed his true character. Good luck at The Players this week JT, I hope this post makes it to your inbox.

 

Keith Mitchell played his ass off again. I know he probably wanted more down the stretch but based on what we’ve seen over the past two weeks this guy isn’t going anywhere. Funny what getting back to bermuda and having the length he has can do to a player. With minimal rough this week at TPC Sawgrass keep an eye out for the former bulldog.

 

Gmac had a rough Sunday. Like a really rough Sunday. The ejection on 4 was particularly rough to watch. A popular narrative headed into round 4 was Graeme’s ability to qualify for the Open at Portrush with a good round, but it simply wasn’t in the cards yesterday. I hope he continues to play good golf (he made the cut, posted some good numbers, has shown a touch of form lately) – and if you can’t rally around a guy like Gmac then you’ve got issues.

 

BEST SHOTS FROM SUNDAY (I WAS ABLE TO WATCH)**:

 

  1. Molinari’s chip in for birdie on 8 after relief
  2. Molinari’s putt on 18 to get to -12
  3. Sungjae’s approach from the bunker on 18

 

RANDOM THOUGHTS:

 

As I watched Hovland putt in with the flagstick on 18 yesterday I was wondering if any major college rules incidents had transpired thus far in the spring season? Don’t really have the means to investigate, but if anybody has any good stories please pass along. I imagine golf twitter would have brought any transgressions/issues to light – so that leaves me wondering if the amateurs/student athletes have their shit together more than the pro’s?

 

This isn’t anything new – but JaniKing absolutely owns the player towel market. I’ve noticed this for a while, and yesterday I finally did my first google search (in all honesty with intent to make a purchase), only to realize this is just a well orchestrated corporate marketing caddy strategy. Learn something new every day. JaniKing incepted me, I’ll admit it.

 

Streelman’s backwards/tilted adidas sunglass look is absolutely absurd – just crazy enough to work.

 

Mizuno is fully back. Between Kirk going low yesterday to Lucas Glover’s resurgence – I’m not sure any brand has had a better year than Mizuno. Lot of rumblings they designed Francesco’s blades that he just put in the bag this week (and won with) – check the twitter archives. Oh and lest we forget Abe being on the precipice of greatness. It’s obvious that Mizuno dumped more dollars into sponsorships, but just from my naked eye view I feel like they’ve gotten the best ROI.

 

Jeff Maggert losing by 1 shot this Hoag Classic might be the story of the weekend. I’m sure if you found your way to this site, and to the end of this review – you’ve seen his 5 putt on the 18th green Friday afternoon. We’ve all been there, just absolutely broken. Difference between us and Maggert is he goes out on the weekend and shoots 63 and 65 to earn a T3 finish.

 

In regards to Arnie it’s great to see this event get the credit it deserves. There were rumblings after the king passed that players would start to skip the API. With a strong corporate sponsorship, elevated status, and some scheduling favoritism – this event is set up for long term success. I’m glad NBC continues to make Arnold’s memory a focus of the telecast. His legacy is something I think we all understand from a high level – but something I as a golf fan need to learn more about and pay respect to.

 

We’ll fire up a Players preview this week – thanks for reading.