As with every Major, predicting the winner is challenging at best. The emergence of some old champions and the rise of new ones always muddies the waters. Like the PGA Championship, I believe that this weekends tournament will be dominated my the titans of golf. With one or two exceptions, Pebble Beach will be a beast to tame, but my predictions will be the ones at the top of the leaderboard on Sunday!Continue reading
A professional golfer’s life is challenging. Yes, they are playing golf for a living and this appeals to most of us who do not. However, managing all the travel with family obligations is difficult to say the least. And before we go further, I want to acknowledge the caddies who experience the same stressors as the players with respect to being away from home most of the year. Continue reading
Wow! What a final round! Many of the pundits have listed the final round of The Open between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson as one of the greatest final rounds in any Major. It is always hard to make such a statement, but if you are suggesting such bold thoughts, I am confident that Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods’ final rounds would be contenders for comparison.
Unfortunately, I only saw glimpses of the round, but social media was afire with comments and thoughts. Phil Mickelson shot a -6 and lost by 3 strokes to the winner, Henrik Stenson, who shot a -8. Both were amazing performances and Mickelson can walk with his head held high because he was defeated by a better player in the final round. Reviewing the final round, I look for expert opinions, who I respect, to sum up their thoughts and I found one I can wholeheartedly support!
Henrik Stenson is not happy about being “put on the clock” on the 15th hole at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last weekend. He attributes to this poor play down the stretch to the ruling that his group (the last group) was out of position. This is not a usual ruling, but it generally is not enforced on the last group with the tournament on the line.
I did not watch the tournament, but Pete at White Dragon Golf has a good wrap up on Stenson’s views worth reading. We could discuss the merits of the call, but I have always viewed a rules official as someone who levels the playing field, but should not determine the outcome of any match. I am not sure this is the case at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and will sit on the fence as to whether it was the correct call or not.
What does being put on the clock actually mean? This information below is from golf.about.com. They have covered the topic pretty well. I have only cut part of the article out, so there is more about fines if you want to read on.
PGA Tour slow play rules and penalties are based on what the tour calls “bad times.” Let’s say Group X has fallen off the pace and is out of position (meaning, too much space – usually a full hole – has opened between this group and the group ahead of it).
A rules official or Tour official will notify all players in the group that the group is being put “on the clock.” Once a group is on the clock, PGA Tour officials begin timing each player. Once that timing of a group begins, each player has 40 seconds to play each stroke, except in the following cases when he has 60 seconds:
- He is the first of his group to play from the teeing ground of a par-3 hole;
- He is the first to play a second shot on a par-4 or par-5;
- He is the first to play a third shot on a par-5;
- He is the first player to play around the putting green;
- He is the first to play on the putting green.
Slow play is a problem in golf! We have discussed this topic (natural flow, May I Play Through) several times and this weekend, Rule 6-7 Undue Delay / Slow Play might have cost a professional golfer about $500,000! Yes, about a half of a million dollars! Quite a bit of cash for just a few seconds here and there.
Depending on your perspective, the ruling this weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational might seem excessive. However, from a player who has endured 6.5 hour rounds in tournaments, slow play is a problem in golf. Unfortunately for Henrik Stenson, according to his perspective (and a person’s perspective is a person’s reality) being “put on the clock” was uncalled for and eventually cost him the chance to win.
I have never been put on the clock and generally, I play pretty quick. So a couple of questions to all the readers out there: Do you think slow play is a problem in golf? Was Stenson’s slow play ruling fair? Have you ever been called for slow play? Have you ever wanted to call someone for slow play? What are you thinking?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
Recently, I wrote two articles for Pundit Arena; one called Valero Texas Open – The Most Important Tournament of the Year. For journeyman golfers, winning two weeks before the Masters has the potential to vault them into the first Major of the year. The second outlined how Professional golf stats are useless when trying to predict a winner. Just ask Steven Bowditch – he won an invitation to the Masters. He was no where on any statistical list and shot a smooth 4-over on the last day!
So how important is the Shell Huston Open? With Tiger Woods withdrawing from the Masters today, this tournament becomes even more important because of the potential to bounce the bubble guys around! The field will be tough and world-class. Some of the top 10 are resting, but notables like Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Steve, Stricker, and Matt Kuchar will be out to lead the charge. The Shell Huston Open is important, but given the field, the Valero Texas Open was the tournament for journeyman.
If the Valero Texas Open is the most important tournament of the year; then the Shell Huston Open is the most pressure packed tournament of the year! Many pundits will say no, no, no! It is definitely the Majors or the Ryder Cup. Conceding that playing in the Majors is like a pressure cooker; try being one of 50 guys fighting for the last invite to the big dance. These professionals will be riding a roller coaster of emotions, try things that only superman should try, and watching the leader board as if it was a lottery draw. The pressure will continue to build until like a balloon – POP – they are all done!
The Shell Huston Open is not just another professional event – the press to win has the potential for players to erupt like a volcano. The journeyman players will be dialed-in, ready to play, and shaking in their boots all at the same time. Should be fun to watch!
I am a grateful golfer. See you on the links!