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2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational Discussion Thread

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Great field this week for Arnie's tournament at Bay Hill, even with the absence of the world's #1 and 2 players.  Anrie is paying attention

Quote:

“I’m disappointed that they are not here, no question about it,” Palmer said. “They are the top players on the Tour right now in the positions that they are in, and I am disappointed. I had a letter from Rory seeking my consultation, and he told me he wasn't coming.  Of course, that made me feel great. And if you believe that, I'll talk to you outside afterwards.”

Palmer pointed out that his trip over to the British Open in his prime helped accelerate interest in international golf.

“To think that those people are now the top international players in the world, we like to have them here,” Palmer said.

Palmer said he would be pleased to grant McIlroy’s request to meet and talk.

“I think he has handled himself very well,” Palmer said. “I don't know him really well. I have talked to him a little bit.  But I think he has done a wonderful job, 22 years old and starting a career like he has just gotten launched onto . . . I look forward to seeing him and talking to him.”

Tiger played injury free at the Tavistock Cup this week, good news for the golf world.  Is he this the week he gets his first win of 2012?

Expert Picks : Arnold Palmer Invitational

Expert
Pick order Player selected
Ryan
Smithson
TIGER WOODS . Very tough week to have the No. 1 pick. Phil is here this week, but he hasn't played Bay Hill particularly well. Even with his WD two weeks ago, it's tough to leave him on the table, no? I sure wish Luke Donald was playing.
Mike
McAllister
SERGIO GARCIA . Really wanted to go with Phil Mickelson here, but his track record at Bay Hill has been spotty in his last four starts. Sergio seems on the verge of breaking his four-year drought on TOUR, and he's had six top-10s in 10 career starts in this event.
If McAllister had the top pick ... Woods
Chris
Dunham
HUNTER MAHAN . Five top-25 finishes in as many starts in 2012, Mahan had three in a row at Bay Hill until a shaky weekend derailed him a year ago. The Urban Hunter is hitting 70 percent of fairways and greens, especially helpful on a tough track like Bay Hill.
If Dunham had the top pick ... Mahan
Lauren
Deason
PHIL MICKELSON . It's true that he hasn't been consistent at Bay Hill in the past, but he's finished in the top 30 in the last two years. Mickelson already has a win and a playoff loss this season -- I like Lefty's chances at Arnie's place.
If Deason had the top pick ... Garcia
John
Swantek
ERNIE ELS . There's no doubt that Ernie was stung by his final two holes at the Transitions, but he's a veteran with perspective who understands how well he played all week. He knows how to navigate Bay Hill, having just won there two years ago.
If Swantek had the top pick ... Woods
Helen
Ross
JUSTIN ROSE . He's already got a win and a tie for fifth during the Florida Swing. And this week is a home game for Rose, who tied for third a year ago at Bay Hill. Great ball-striker at a course built for great ball-strikers.
If Ross had the top pick ... Els
Anne
Szeker
BUBBA WATSON . Plenty of good news here: 1. Bay Hill is friendly to bombers 2. Bubba's already shown that he can score here (he tied for eighth in 2008), and 3. He's currently one of the hottest players on TOUR, with two top-fives in his last four starts.
If Szeker had the top pick ... Woods
John
Schwarb
BRANDT SNEDEKER . Vanderbilt's basketball team didn't last too long in the NCAAs, but this Commodore has shown staying power this year -- six stroke-play starts, six cuts made including the win at the Farmers Insurance Open. That's what I need in Picks.
If Schwarb had the top pick ... Mickelson
Amanda
Balionis
JIM FURYK . It looks like Furyk's putting is back on track. The Lancaster (Pa.) County native (we Lancastrians have to stick together) also has finished 11th here the last two years, so expect a strong performance from the Maheim Township alum. Go Blue Streaks!
If Balionis had the top pick ... Mickelson
Brian
Wacker
WEBB SIMPSON . Seriously, how did Simpson fall this far and into my lap? He has three top-10s this season and a few years ago tied for 11th at Bay Hill. He's also coming off a tie for 10th at the Transitions Championship.
If Wacker had the top pick ... Garcia

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Arnie sounds like a crazy person. His event is not a major championship. The presence of Luke and Rory, although nice, would still be the minor story compared to Tiger playing. If Tiger plays all 4 rounds that will be enough of a story make sure people say "Bay Hill" all weekend and certainly all year if Tiger wins.

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I sort of predicted earlier in the season for Tiger to win at Bay Hill if he wins anywhere, since it's in his backyard and a course he's dominated so many times.  He's won here a few times with his B game, by his own admission.

It all depends on the putter.  And of course, whether he can still walk on Saturday and Sunday.  Given his recent relapses in both categories, I'm going to have to say he's a long shot this week.  If I have ten picks, one of them might be Tiger.

I'm going to have to go with Ernie or Bubba this week.  Their games are sharp, both have been very close recently, and both are reeling for a win.

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Bubba was on Morning Drive this morning.  They questioned how he could be leading the Tour in GIR but only 40th in putting and then indicated putting was the reason he wasn't winning.  Surprisingly he had what I thought was a good response.  He basically said the stats are meaningless because a higher GIR just means he's landing on the green but that it's not usually in the best position to putt.  He said guys with lower GIR would have higher putting averages because they are coming in with a wedge or short iron and hitting closer to the pin versus him driving the greens on short par 4's and hitting the green in 2 with a long iron or wood on par 5's.

He did say he's working on his putting but he doesn't put any value in the stats because they don't reflect the actual circumstances within the rounds.

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Maybe to you

Originally Posted by sean_miller

Arnie sounds like a crazy person. His event is not a major championship. The presence of Luke and Rory, although nice, would still be the minor story compared to Tiger playing. If Tiger plays all 4 rounds that will be enough of a story make sure people say "Bay Hill" all weekend and certainly all year if Tiger wins.



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Originally Posted by newtogolf

He said guys with lower GIR would have higher putting averages because they are coming in with a wedge or short iron and hitting closer to the pin versus him driving the greens on short par 4's and hitting the green in 2 with a long iron or wood on par 5's.


I agree that high GIRs don't necessarily translate to proximity and thus easier putts, but I don't know how many times Bubba actually finds the putting surface on these types of shots to that greatly affect his ability to hit the GIR. Surely his distance off the tee more than offsets the few times he finds the putting surface in one or two on par fours and fives by leaving him with shorter clubs into the greens of most of the other holes .

Know what I mean?

Bubba hitting PW while everyone else hits 8-rion into a par four should more than offset the few times a tournament he finds the green in one or two on a par four or five.

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Originally Posted by k-troop

I sort of predicted earlier in the season for Tiger to win at Bay Hill if he wins anywhere, since it's in his backyard and a course he's dominated so many times.  He's won here a few times with his B game, by his own admission.

It all depends on the putter.  And of course, whether he can still walk on Saturday and Sunday.  Given his recent relapses in both categories, I'm going to have to say he's a long shot this week.  If I have ten picks, one of them might be Tiger.

I'm going to have to go with Ernie or Bubba this week.  Their games are sharp, both have been very close recently, and both are reeling for a win.



Watching Tiger closely this year... He hasn't put 4 consecutive solid rounds in.  Maybe this is the weekend he does it?  Maybe not?  But when he does, he will win.

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I didn't think of that, but what you wrote makes sense.  I guess his putting isn't as good as he'd like people to think then.

Originally Posted by iacas

I agree that high GIRs don't necessarily translate to proximity and thus easier putts, but I don't know how many times Bubba actually finds the putting surface on these types of shots to that greatly affect his ability to hit the GIR. Surely his distance off the tee more than offsets the few times he finds the putting surface in one or two on par fours and fives by leaving him with shorter clubs into the greens of most of the other holes.

Know what I mean?

Bubba hitting PW while everyone else hits 8-rion into a par four should more than offset the few times a tournament he finds the green in one or two on a par four or five.



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Originally Posted by iacas

I agree that high GIRs don't necessarily translate to proximity and thus easier putts, but I don't know how many times Bubba actually finds the putting surface on these types of shots to that greatly affect his ability to hit the GIR. Surely his distance off the tee more than offsets the few times he finds the putting surface in one or two on par fours and fives by leaving him with shorter clubs into the greens of most of the other holes.

Know what I mean?

Bubba hitting PW while everyone else hits 8-rion into a par four should more than offset the few times a tournament he finds the green in one or two on a par four or five.



Isn't that what the "putts gained" stat is supposed to reflect?  How you're doing relative to the field on putts of similar distance?

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

I didn't think of that, but what you wrote makes sense.  I guess his putting isn't as good as he'd like people to think then.


Yes. But I don't blame Bubba. Athletes need to protect their egos by shifting blame or rationalizing things.

Originally Posted by k-troop

Isn't that what the "putts gained" stat is supposed to reflect?  How you're doing relative to the field on putts of similar distance?


Well, Bubba is 144 out of about 190 in that stat. So, despite what he says, his putting stinks.

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Originally Posted by iacas

Well, Bubba is 144 out of about 190 in that stat. So, despite what he says, his putting stinks.


Precisely.  I saw Bubba's interview this morning and he went on about GIR stats (which I agree isn't a proper evaluation) when the real putting stat that's equally fair for everyone, strokes gained (which fixes the GIR and Total Putt) stat issue), shows he absolutely does stink at putting...he'll start winning and maybe win this weekend once that's addressed.

As it peratins to Bay Hill, the expert pics are good ones however, I wouldn't be surprised if another "out of nowhere" person like Martin Laird wins again like he did last year.

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Originally Posted by iacas

Yes. But I don't blame Bubba. Athletes need to protect their egos by shifting blame or rationalizing things.

Agreed.  He also said - somewhat facetiously - that he blames his caddy for all of his missed putts.  Then he put on a giant grilled cheese sandwich and danced.

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Pretty steady round by Tiger so far. AK has put together his usual round of ups and downs so far. He can go on some incredible birdie runs, but usually throw a bogey or double in here and there. If he got rid of those bogies, he'd be a big contender. Looking good so far though. Back nine: Par - Birdie - Birdie - Bogey - Bogey - Birdie - Birdie - Hole in one - Par

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I quite fancy Justin Rose - who, by a remarkable coincidence, is -3 after 16.

Re: The Absentees. Not sure I understand Arnie's annoyance. that Donald guy isn't even in the Top 10 of he FedEx Cup, and that's what really counts, right? ;-)

they're not playng the Trophee Hassan II on the European Tour this week, either. I understand (in part) the Great Mr P's annoyance; everyone wants the best possible field for their tournament. I can also assure him that the British, in particular, are grateful for the fact that he came over and played the British Open when a lot of Americans didn't. So did Sam Snead. And Ben Hogan, come to that. And Jack Nicklaus. And Gary Player. And Lee Trevino. But Arnie put a lot of promotional effort in, as well, and that effort is reflected in the fact that he kept on getting a big gallery and huge cheers right up until he couldn't play any more.

It only took the PGA Tour another 34 years after Arnie's first trip over to add the Open to the PGA Tour schedule and I have no doubt that he and Jack were in no small part responsible for that. it was a great relief - we didn't have to pay start money to get them over here any more. Shame more Americans didn't show up (and still don't show up) for other events, such as the Scottish Open, the Irish Open, French, Spanish, etc, and the WGC event at The Grove a few years ago (but Tiger did). They're all quite big events in their own right, with history and heritage and everything. But I guess these guys are independent contractors, they have a heavy schedule and you cannot make them play every week. Something has to give, I suppose.

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Another tournament best watched with the sound turned down in order to avoid Kelly Tilghman's sickening sycophancy sucking up salaciously to "the king".

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