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JB Holmes - Strategy on 18 at Torrey Pines

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JB Holmes was 239 yards from the hole in the fairway:

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-10 was in the house, and he sat at -8. He needed an eagle.

I think that, given the conditions, he chose incorrectly. He was much more likely to be able to hole a shot from around the green than to hole a wedge shot from 100 yards. I think the stats would back that up pretty easily, even accounting for the presence of a backstop.

The ONLY reason to not just blast the ball toward the back of the green is if you literally think there's more than about a 10% chance of the ball finding the water. For someone with JB's power, I'd think that's almost a non-issue - hit it into the grandstands, take your drop, and give yourself a 20-yard chip from the rough with the green filtering the ball down to the hole.

I think this one's almost open and shut, even accounting for the backstop, unless he's feeling REALLY good about his 100-yard wedge game and REALLY bad about his short game at the time.


But let's also, since this is just a mental exercise, pretend or assume JB didn't think he had a shot that would go 240+ yards to the middle-to-back of the green/rough.

Why lay up to 100 yards? Why not 65? You'd still be almost 20 yards short of the water.

Well, given the unique features of the hole, this is a case where backspin DOES matter, and the ability to create it, to help spin the ball back down the backstop, is relevant. A shot from 65 yards with less spin requires a finer touch - the ball has to land short of hole-high to have a chance, and a yard or two too short and it'll bounce off the front and go back into the water.


So, I feel like the choices should have been:

  1. Hit the middle to back of the green (if it bounces into the back rough, fine).
  2. Lay up in the fairway to 100 yards, left-center of the fairway.
  3. Lay up some amount closer and/or farther to the right.

Unfortunately, JB chose "4. Lay up in the primary rough after taking five minutes to decide against the better option, #1."

:-P

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For a guy who could probably hit a high 4 iron 240, I thought to lay up was a very dumb move. Even if he hit a wood and bounced it off the grandstands, he gets a drop at worse and could hole a chip or putt from the fringe. Waste of time and terrible decision. 

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Obliviously, JB hasn't read LSW.
We had the same scenario in 2016?
He had a chance to reach in two and chose to layup and ended up losing the tournament to Day. 

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I think he choose the right option. Everyone over the green seemed to end up long and on the front left where Noren had the putt for the win. His best shot of holing was what he wanted to do but layed up in the rough. It's easy to play  monday am QB now though. He ended up making birdie anyway which made him some more cash.

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Agree with those who say he should have gone for the green in two.

He pulled the right club to start with. Good lie, no problem reaching. The wind did come up, but he still took too long. He should have hit the five wood. Even if he didn't stay on, he would have been closer.

 

Edited by dbuck

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If all he wanted to do was WIN, then he had to go for it. He clearly has enough power to reach the green from there. He might even be able to muscle a long iron there with some height on it. The odds of holing out from 100 yards is much less likely than from a short game shot from around the green.

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17 minutes ago, MuniGrit said:

I think he choose the right option.

I don't think he did. You're being swayed by the fact that he almost holed out. Well, so did a lot of people who were chipping from near the green, throughout the day.

Plus, you're ignoring the chance that he could have had a putt.

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He definitely should have went for it especially since he could probably hit a long iron/hyrbid into that green with no real issues. He wouldn't lay up on a 240 yard par 3, why more or less do that yesterday with the tournament on the line.

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I think he made the wrong move. But what about undue delay? That was his biggest wrong move, should have cost him a penalty.

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There's no way it was the correct decision. Even if he was playing for 4, not 3, it's not the correct decision. They said on the broadcast that only two people who went for it in two did not make a birdie. But you have very little chance of holing out a wedge shot compared to a putt or chip of any length. To take all that time and go with the wrong decision. Jeez.

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These guys want to WIN.  So risking sole 4th or tied for 4th is probably not even a consideration at all....So it's eagle, or 'settle' for a top 5 finish (both are great, so that's not the issue).

Go for the green in two if you want an eagle.  Either way, it's likely he'll need a very difficult pitch or chip for eagle.  Why not greenside down a rolling line that EVERYONE has studied since last year?

Laying up absolutely, on purpose, effectively eliminates the chance for that lucky landling that feeds close or even leaves a difficult putt instead of a difficult pitch/chip.  So he's gambling on a single option instead of the chance to pick from a couple results.....all closer and no worse than what he was attempting to get.

Either way, he's a pro, his caddie is a pro.  He needs to learn to pick his shot and love it and go for it - in less than 4 minutes for sure......

 

Noren made the right choice, JB will next time....

Edited by rehmwa

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12 minutes ago, MacDutch said:

I think he made the wrong move. But what about undue delay? That was his biggest wrong move, should have cost him a penalty.

There's another topic for that. ;-)

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He played for second. No way laying up to 100 yards is a better play, he has to know that. I mean really, I wish I knew the percentages of 50+ yards hole outs compared to chip ins or long putts holed. I am sure there are a lot more chip-ins and long putts made than there are hole outs from 50+ yards.

You would think he would know the advantages of going for the green, but maybe he doesn't. It still shocks me still how often the announcers say things during the broadcast like "he needs to layup to a good yardage." I mean didn't you hear them say Jason Day hit his layup on the first playoff hole hole too far so he couldn't spin it? That was right before hit hit it to 3 feet.:doh:

Edited by NM Golf

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

I don't think he did. You're being swayed by the fact that he almost holed out. Well, so did a lot of people who were chipping from near the green, throughout the day.

Plus, you're ignoring the chance that he could have had a putt.

In my opinion he made the right decision just had poor execution. He could have had a putt but a putt from back right has about zero chance. When I was watching it though I saw a lot of people almost holing that 100 yard shot out. The chip shots and putts I saw were not getting that close. He gave himself the best chance to make eagle and not cost himself a ton of money.

On a side note Noren caught that touring pro break when he hit over the green. They always have the stands to bail out into.

1 hour ago, DeadMan said:

 Even if he was playing for 4, not 3, it's not the correct decision. 

Day birdied the hole 5 straight times laying up.

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14 minutes ago, MuniGrit said:

In my opinion he made the right decision just had poor execution.

In my opinion, he did not make the right decision at all. It's more likely he'd have holed a chip, pitch, or putt than hole out from 100 yards, even if he managed to keep it in the fairway.

The stats would back me on that, and by more than enough to account for the unique green shape and hole location, I think.

14 minutes ago, MuniGrit said:

He could have had a putt but a putt from back right has about zero chance.

That's a higher percentage play than a 100-yard shot from the fairway.

As is a putt from the middle right. Back left. Middle left. Etc. The list goes on.

14 minutes ago, MuniGrit said:

When I was watching it though I saw a lot of people almost holing that 100 yard shot out.

And yet none of them holed it.

But I'll tell you what… I'll give myself a 60-foot putt, and you give yourself a 100-yard wedge shot, and we'll see who holes out first… I'll even putt lefty.

14 minutes ago, MuniGrit said:

He gave himself the best chance to make eagle…

He didn't. You saw a very small sample of the shots people were hitting.

14 minutes ago, MuniGrit said:

On a side note Noren caught that touring pro break when he hit over the green. They always have the stands to bail out into.

That's another reason to blow it long in two.

14 minutes ago, MuniGrit said:

Day birdied the hole 5 straight times laying up.

Holmes needed an eagle. (And he made a par or two in there, too.)

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4 minutes ago, MuniGrit said:

Day birdied the hole 5 straight times laying up.

No, that's not true. He laid up in regulation and made par. He made birdie once in the playoff by going for it.

And again, the CBS announcers said that only two players didn't make at least birdie when they went for the green in 2.

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12 minutes ago, MuniGrit said:

On a side note Noren caught that touring pro break when he hit over the green.

and the stands were still there when JB was 'thinking things through"........

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He must not have remembered last year when some guy won with an eagle from the back fringe:

I agree with all who say he made the wrong decision, but I disagree with those who say he was playing for second place.  There’s no reason not to believe him when he says he thought that his strategy was the right strategy.  He was just wrong. ;)

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