From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Archive for February 2011

FTR’s URL has changed … get excited!

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Just wanted to make a note of a subtle change around these parts. As of today, FTR will be directed from a new website: I’m not making any big changes to the layout, and I certainly won’t mess with the overall feel of FTR; I’m merely moving it to a new server to drop the wordpress and start this ship out on its own course. Hopefully we strike gold, or at least find a couple sleeves of ProV1’s, along the way.

You’ll still be able to access the site from the old, but my goal is to hopefully get everyone pumped about the new site and name. I unfortunately wasn’t the only one looking for the URL. Somebody is currently trying to sell it, and I’m not the kinda guy who pays large sums for a site name … so I’m adding the “deep” to the URL and making it official.

This concludes today’s public service announcement. Now get back to work perfecting that flop shot!


Written by Jonathan Wall

02/28/2011 at 3:14 pm

Posted in Media, Random

Harbour Town on the verge of losing PGA Tour event

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This would appear to be the end of the road for one of longest running events on the PGA Tour. It’s been a shade under a year since I first chronicled The Heritage’s tournament plight, and the tournament has still failed to secure a tournament sponsor for this year’s event, leading many to believe this is going to be the last tour stop at the famed Harbour Town Golf Links.

After today’s Associated Press story, it would appear the situation is far from positive, after Ty Votaw gave the tournament an ultimatum: find a sponsor for 2012 or risk losing your event. (The The Heritage is going sponsor-less this year for the first time since 1986.)

Tournament director Steve Wilmot said it would cost about $7.6 million for a company to underwrite the event.

Votaw and Wilmot spoke Monday at the Heritage’s gathering in advance of the tournament, which will be played from April 21-24.

While commissioner Tim Finchem and the rest of the Ponte Vedra brass continue to tell everyone that the PGA Tour is positioned to succeed in the future, it doesn’t take much to find some chinks in the armor. The Heritage isn’t a major tour stop like Doral or Torrey Pines, two events that had to look for new title sponsors in the last year, but it’s one that’s been a staple on the schedule.

It’s a damn shame to see one of the tour’s oldest stops fall by the wayside, but it looks like there’s not much else they can do at the moment. There had been talk of the South Carolina legislature helping the tournament out with a $10 million lifeline in 2011; however, you can’t expect the state to help the tournament out on a yearly basis.

Without a title sponsor for this year and in 2012, it looks like the tour will have a gigantic hole to fill on its schedule.

Written by Jonathan Wall

02/28/2011 at 1:28 pm

Kaymer snood, scarf, keffiyah debate settled by a guy in Jacksonville, Fla.

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The great neck wear debate is over! Just one day after Martin Kaymer made headlines with the scarf/snood/keffiyah he wore during Sunday quarterfinal and semifinal, Florida Times-Union golf writer Garry Smits was able to settle the debate by getting the answer directly from the horse’s mouth.

Apparently, the neck warmer that was called every name under the sun wasn’t any of the above. It’s actually called a “Buff” and is used by fly fisherman as a piece of headware to prevent them from getting sunburned. The item, designed by angler Vaughn Cochran, somehow made its way into Kaymer’s hands where he immediately turned it into one of the most talked-about items in Saturday’s telecast.

Turns out Martin Kaymer of Germany, the last no. 1 seed remaining in the tournament and one of the finalists Sunday, was wearing a scarf designed by Cochran, the owner of Jacksonville-based Black Fly Outfitters. Cochran’s business, located on Beach Boulevard in the Strike Zone Fishing Center, sells clothing and equipment for adventure travelers.

“[Cochran] said Kaymer may have stumbled onto another use for the scarf, which has been sold by Black Fly Outfitters for four years.

“It protects against the sun, but it certainly could be useful for protecting against the cold,” Cochran said. “There are a number of ways people could use it. We’re thankful for the attention Martin is bringing to the product.”

Thanks to Garry Smits, we can officially let this debate die. I, for one, couldn’t sleep last night without knowing the official name. /sarcasm

Written by Jonathan Wall

02/27/2011 at 2:11 pm

Posted in Martin Kaymer, PGA Tour

Accenture Match Play’s winter wonderland won’t delay final

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No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you; that’s actually snow on the ground in Marna, Ariz., where Martin Kaymer and Luke Donaldo are expected to tee off on time in Sunday’s final.

The photo, posted by Nick Faldo earlier this morning, shows a winter wonderland of sorts for the Saguaro Desert, a sight you probably don’t see too often. Apparently, the course got an inch of snow overnight, but the good news is it should be gone by this afternoon.

According to the Associated Press, the course is supposed to be mowed prior to today’s 12:25 p.m. final, which means they obviously expect all of the white stuff to be gone by then. I know players wouldn’t have been happy playing in the snow, but how crazy would it have be to have those guys pipe one down the middle and spend the next 10 minutes looking for their ball? Each hole would probably take 20-25 minutes to finish, so maybe it’s not such a good idea.

Written by Jonathan Wall

02/27/2011 at 1:19 pm

Posted in PGA Tour

Martin “snood, scarf, keffiyah” Kaymer moves to the top of the golf world

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Call it a scarf, snood, or a keffiyah. Quite honestly, it doesn’t really matter at this point. While debates continue to rage about the name of Kaymer’s neck wear, the one thing that people aren’t debating is his place at the top of golf’s food chain. After taking down Bubba Watson on Saturday afternoon, Kaymer became the second youngest player next to Tiger Woods to become the top player in the Official World Golf Rankings.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise after the way he played for the better half of a year, lapping the field in Abu Dhabi for his third desert title in the last four years, and winning the PGA Championship in dramatic fashion, it only seemed like it was a matter of time before he took his rightful place at the top.

The question now is how long will Kaymer stay there. It took less than six months for Lee Westwood to fall from the to spot, so we shouldn’t expect Kaymer to stay at the top for a decade like Tiger Woods. But the way he’s been playing, taking down stacked fields with relative ease, makes you wonder if we’re witnessing the changing of the guard at the top.

We’ve been talking about golf’s youth movement for the last couple of years, but Kaymer made it official on Saturday. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will continue to be in the mix for the next couple of years — they’re too good to just disappear — but if we were looking for a week that gave us a peek into what the future of the game will be like, this was that week.

You had 17-year-old Matteo Manassero upsetting Steve Stricker in the opening round, as well as Ryo Ishikawa, Rory McIlroy, and Rickie Fowler all making appearances at the Accenture Match Play. The game is officially moving to a new group of players, and Kaymer is leading the pack.

With a rock-solid swing and a calm demeanor, there’s no question he’ll be around for years to come. Assuming he continues to work hard and play at a high level, we could be looking at golf’s next superstar. Kaymer seems to shy away from the spotlight, but with the way he’s been playing recently, he may not have a choice but to embrace the moment and enjoy it.

Written by Jonathan Wall

02/26/2011 at 10:44 pm

Posted in Martin Kaymer, PGA Tour

Two quarterfinal Accenture bets to bank on

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That face of indifference staring back at you from this post is how I’m feeling right now. I knew this day was coming, but I didn’t expect to post a losing record on Friday — especially after I turned off the TV thinking I had 3-2 in the bag.

Thanks a lot, Nick Watney. I can now cross you off my list of guys I’ll never hype up again. So I’m 11-4, which is a pretty respectable number when you consider I’ve had at least one underdog cash every day of the tournament. But I’m not breaking my arm to pat my back … no way! I still have TWO more days of picks to make this tournament as profitable as possible. With only four matches on the slate for tomorrow, I’m going to pick my favorite two for my readers. I’m nice like that.

Miguel Angel Jimenez (+150) over Martin Kaymer: The lone top seed left in the tournament, Kaymer would seem to be the logical pick in this spot. He’s younger, has been playing solid all week, and has the steely German stare, which is pretty damn intimidating. But I’m still not sold on Kaymer. Jimenez had been a roller coaster in his opening two matches before Friday’s demolition of Ben Crane. I think he’s peaking at the right time and the way this tournament has played out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another upset in the quarterfinals.

Ryan Moore (+120) over Luke Donald: Two dogs in the quarterfinals, you say? Why yes, I’m going with the barking dogs all the way to the bank! (Side note: I’m sorry for talking like a sports handicapper; I think three days of betting posts has clouded my ability to write a coherent sentence.) Moore has been wielding a hot putter, as evident by his brilliant performance against Nick Watney in the round of 16. Luke Donald has gone far in this tournament, but he’s always had trouble going deep in this event. I think his luck runs out against a guy who’s playing some damn good golf at the moment.

Written by Jonathan Wall

02/25/2011 at 11:29 pm

Posted in PGA Tour

Miguel Angel Jimenez gives Ben Crane a taste of his own medicine

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What goes around comes around. If Ben Crane didn’t believe that mantra before he stepped on the first tee of Friday’s third round match with Miguel Angel Jimenez, he did once he the match was over. One day after he thrashed Rory McIlroy to the tune of 8&7, Crane learned what it was like to be in Rory’s shoes, as he received an old fashioned 7&6 butt whoopin’ from the 47-year-old Jimenez.

Only in match play can you be the headlines one day, and the goat the next. I think it’s what makes this tournament so special from the other non-majors on the tour schedule. Aside from being the only tournament that’s not 72-holes of stroke play, the match play event gives us a chance to see guys grind in an entirely different manner. As JB Holmes said after his round, the tournament gives the players a chance to play the guy across from them, as opposed to playing the entire field.

It would have been easy to bank on Crane to win on Friday — especially after the way he played the previous day. But as we’ve all learned, you can never bank on a guy being a lock in match play. Jimenez had been playing sub-par golf in his first two rounds before producing a clinic on Crane. Funny thing is Jimenez wasn’t even impressed with his performance: “… I didn’t play very well. We just play very well on the back nine,” Jimenez said, “didn’t play very well on the first nine.”

That’s the way match play goes; sometimes you can afford to take a nine off and turn up the heat on the back side — provided your opponent doesn’t show up for the entire day. With eight players remaining in the field, Jimenez is the oldest golfer by eight years, and the only one in his 40’s. Not bad for a guy who sports a ponytail and enjoys tuning up sports cars in his spare time.

I’m not sure if Jimenez can get past Martin Kaymer on Saturday. But based the many ways he’s won thus far — winning 7&6, and winning a match where an official birdie wasn’t posted until the 13th hole — there’s no reason to not expect an interesting performance out of the Ryder Cup veteran.

Written by Jonathan Wall

02/25/2011 at 9:06 pm

Posted in PGA Tour