Sorry I’m Not Sorry – Tough Golf

Call me a masochist, but I absolutely LOVE when the golf course (maybe mother nature too?) gets the best of these guys.  I like birdies as much as the next guy, but it’s refreshing to see these guys struggle once in a while.  I have heard commentators say things like the tournament directors don’t want to embarrass the players and things like that, but that’s all bullshit.  If the course is impossible and everyone’s over par, no golf fan thinks any less of the players. If anything, it’s actually a discussion point and something that generates interest in the game, something that is inherently beneficial to the players. (See 2004 US Open at Shinnecock)

But when the going gets tough, what I really love is that it really shows me the golfers who have balls. Sure, you can be mentally tough when you’re 5 under, but what about when your goal on every hole is par; how do you handle that? Can you grind it out and be patient for 18 holes? Because at the end of the day, they all play the same course, and those that handle that mental side of things the best, tend to get the best results.  It’s why a guy like Graeme McDowell can make up 30 places in the leaderboard just by hanging tough with a -1 round on Friday.  I will gladly root for guys like that all day. It’s going to be a good weekend of golf.

CHRIS

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US Open South – AKA Friday at Doral

No use trying to commentate on the Friday carnage at Doral. This sums it up just fine.

JON

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Because … Locks

When it comes to locks and golf, we here at Under the Number tend to get a little competitive. As Steve mentioned in his Locks blog last week, he is tracking his successes and failures in terms of dollars.  As a fellow wagerer, I could not pass up on the opportunity to make my own bets and see how I stack up against our resident gaming expert. I will spare you my nonsensical thoughts related to the “why” when it comes to my picks, just know that all of these are rooted in hours of strenuous research….

Graham DeLaet to win: 40-1 ($100 to win $,4,000)

Harris English to win: 33-1 ($100 to win $3,300)

Jordan Spieth to win: 25-1 ($100 to win $2,500)

Ryan Moore top 10: 11-2 ($50 to win $275)

Peter Uihlein top 10: ($50 to win $1,050)

CHRIS

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Big Break Florida – Knowing Your Audience

After a few cocktails the other day Steve, myself and another friend found ourselves flipping through the channels when we landed on pure golf dude gold … Big Break Florida. Now I’m not a fan of reality TV. Sure maybe the first Survivor was interesting and growing up you could waste some time watching the original season of Road Rules and the Real World, but with most of TV filled with self-important reality crap these days I could really care less. But Big Break Florida is an exception. Group of pretty attractive women (for the most part), competing in various golf challenges, in very small outfits … winning all around.

Now this isn’t great TV and certainly it isn’t even great golf, but it is just another example of the Golf Channel completely understanding their target demographic. These women, their outfits and the commercials for Johnny Walker are not a lucky coincidence. Just like Holly Sonders and Lauren Thompson aren’t mistakes and lucky casting choices on Morning Drive.
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Listen I’m not going to complain about any of this, but these folks know what they are doing and can count on this loyal viewer to keep watching. (FYI: Big Break FL on at 9 PM on Mondays). You’re welcome!

JON

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WGC Cadillac – Locks for the Week

Hey, thanks Rory.  Looked like I was going to have a nice $800 payday last week before Rory threw up all over himself… again.  I think long term this is a good thing for Rory, but for my bank account, not so much.

Last week:  $220 on the line
Winnings:  $0
Total:  -$250 (Season -$220)

ADAM SCOTT –  Win (12-1)  $100 to win $1200
I’m sure Scott will be a popular pick this week but I’m rolling with him because he has a perfect trifecta of ingredients that I think are important that week.

1) He has great course history at Doral.  He’s finished T-6 or better twice in his last three starts.  I know it is not the same course, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

2) Not every hole has change and he has the best, most experienced caddie in the game.

3) He’s playing really well.  Had 4 rounds under par last week at a tough PGA National.  He is right on schedule.

JORDAN SPEITH –  Win (25-1) $100 to win $2500
There’s no question he is a huge risk this week, but with no cut at Doral I love him in a one-and-done type of league.  There are a ton of reasons why I like him this week.  First, nobody has a tournament history on this course, so any advantage the veterans may have on him this week is basically gone.  If anything, Jordan may have an advantage because he skipped the Honda to play practice rounds over the weekend in Miami.  I LOVE how he played in his best finish of the year, a T-4 at the AT&T, after shooting a 78 on Saturday.  He battled back with a 67 on Sunday.  I know he had a mini-mental breakdown at the match play, but I’m not worried about it.  This kid is going to win a big one soon.

STEVE STRICKER – Top 10 (4-1)  $100 to win $400
I just love the value.  Steve crushes top 10s.  Crushes them.  He played 13 events last year and was top 10 in 8 of them.  Invest.

MATTEO MANASSERO –  Top 10 (10-1)  $50 to win $500
Certainly a gamble, but I’m going to bet on his recent form.  He played well at the match play before getting bounced in a close match with Jason Dufner and was T-13 last week at the Honda after a final round 67 (tied for best of the day).

DARREN FICHARDT- Top 10 (21-1)  $50 to win $1050  I have an unhealthy love for South African golfers in big events so it’s really a natural fit for me.  Darren has been a on a nice little run recently on the Euro tour with two top 10’s in his last two events.   The Euros seems to do well in WGC events, and at this price, a worth investment.

STEVE

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Par 3 Tourney + Old Dudes = Why Not

The PGA Tour recently announced that the Champions Tour will be holding a special tournament at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, MO. What is the “special” tournament you ask? Oh just a bunch of old dudes dominating a Par-3 course. They will have a 54-hole, 2 man competition on a Jack Nicklaus designed Par-3 course. I don’t know about you but Champions events look like a great time. Low key old guys who can still play just goofing around and winning some cash. So why not add a little twist and excitement. I love watching the Par-3 competition on the Wednesday before the Masters so you can see guys skipping it across the pond and actually enjoying themselves, so I might just tune in and watch this thing. Also in the brief review of the resort it is 1. gorgeous (see pic above) 2. amazing golf (Jack course, Arnie practice facility, Tom Watson putting green) and 3. Maybe only reason besides good bbq to go to Missouri. Anyways I’m all for these gimmicky events … as long as they are for the grandpas of golf.

JON

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MMGP – Knee Jerk Reaction

Tiger – So who is the “real” Tiger at this point? Is it the guy who won 5 times last year and is #1 in the world or is it the guy who hasn’t done shit in his first three tournaments played this year and walked off the course on Sunday with a back injury?  Honestly, I have no idea and wouldn’t be surprised by anything.  How can you be really? If he wins next week and follows it up with a Masters win nobody will be shocked, but the same thing can be said if he sits out the rest of the year. My prediction, he wins 3 tournaments this year, but no major…

Russell Henley – Congrats to Russell Henley for picking up his second victory on Tour..blah blah blah.  Now while there is nothing inherently wrong with Russell Henley, let’s be honest, this was very disappointing.  For starters, Rory completely blew this one by going 5 over par through 17 holes. Then, after he lost the lead and was trailing by one stroke to the leaders, he hits an AMAZING approach shot that left him in a position to eagle 18 and win the tourney, but missed the putt. Then in the playoff with the power group of Knox, Henley and Palmer, he AGAIN goes into a bunker and can’t get up and down, allowing Henley to win with the sole birdie on the hole.  So again, good for him, but I’ll look forward to next week where I’ll more than likely be able to provide positive identification of the the winner if he’s put in a police lineup.

Sergio! – I love what I “saw” out of Sergio this weekend.  I use quotation marks for the simple fact that I did not “see” him swing the club once despite going -7 after round 1 (Rory went -1 after round 1 for comparative purposes).  Of course I would have seen more if he had actually been in contention.  Classic Serdio, he shoots +2 in conditions where many were going low, but really battled in tough conditions over the weekend and played well enough to finish T8. Normally I would say this is a good sign for next week’s WGC event and the majors, but this is just Serge being  Serge. Playing well enough to keep a good ranking, but doing so when the chips aren’t on the table.

*Matthew McConaughey! – Sorry, it’s late and I switched over to the Oscars after the Bruins solid win over the Rangers.

WGC – Speaking of the WGC-Cadillac, why do they play it just two weeks after the WGC-Accenture?  I love these events as they bring the world’s best together, but they just seem too close together.  There aren’t any new story lines (save Tiger’s back) and it still feels like it’s too early in the season to load up on important events.  These events exist to increase interest and excitement, so burying them in February and March seems like it misses the point.

McIlroy, Reed, English and Russell Henley – These are the four players who are under 25 and have multiple victories on the PGA Tour.  Three of the four exist in relative obscurity, but they also serve as a reminder of just how competitive the game has become.  There are so many talented players these days that each week’s winner has become harder and harder to predict.  As a fan of the game, I love this, but it certainly poses a challenge to sponsors trying to identify the next big thing.  In the past there were a handful of players who made sense to hitch your wagon to, but as parity continues to take over, it becomes more and more difficult to identify guys who can not only play, but also sell.

CHRIS

 

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