2021 PGA Tour

Jordan Spieth just bailed out right on the 13th with a driver - his ball hit the cart path, bounced over the spectator stand and rolled across the 15th green directly behind Patrick Cantlay just as he was trying to hole a 12-footer (which he missed). One of the funniest things I've seen in a PGA Tour event for a while.
 

cshea

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Thanks. I didn't realize GC came on air at 12. I was watching featured groups which was just Rahm/Munoz (good match) and JT/Kuchar (dud).
 

cshea

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I've never heard of this Rozner guy who is 2 up on Bryson.

We just got a good Bryson face when Rozner rolled in a 25 footer for a halve on 14.
 

cshea

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Rozner holds off Bryson with a ridiculous up and down on 18.

It's still hard to advance after losing a match on day 1, but this is why they went to the group format. Rory, JT, Bryson would all be flying home if it was still single elimination.
 
It's still hard to advance after losing a match on day 1, but this is why they went to the group format. Rory, JT, Bryson would all be flying home if it was still single elimination.
I think the real reason for the group format is that it guarantees everyone three rounds of competitive golf two weeks before the Masters - which in turn pretty much guarantees everyone will show up to play in the event, which wasn't always the case. But keeping the biggest stars at least theoretically alive for another day or two doesn't hurt either.

This is without question the best Wednesday on the golfing calendar, isn't it?
 

cshea

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Bezuidenhout playing Reed. First hole, Bezuidenhout asks for an offical for a judgement on an embedded ball. Silly, Bezuidenhout, pick up the ball first, then ask for a ruling!
 

cshea

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Looking forward to the Spieth/Wolff match.
This looks like a dud. Wolff is still a mess. Spieth is 2-up through 4 winning with pars, and Wolff just had to re-load on the 5th tee.

Edit: Well Wolff ends up winning the hole. Not sure why he hit a provisional (watching with no volume). Ball didn't look anywhere near lost or OOB on that hole.
 
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cshea

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Bryson is going home.

His "I hit that perfectly, how did that not go in!" routing after ever putt has been particularly annoying today.
 

Lupe Whalewatch

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Pretty cheap move by Na there on the 11th green. DJ leaves his birdie putt about 10 inches to the left, casually walks up and scoops it. Na pulls him back on to the green and says he didn't give him the putt. He was standing less than 15 feet from the hole during the whole scenario, and had more than enough time to concede what was an easy tap in.
 

cshea

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Yeah, that was odd. If Na was going to make a scene, try and take the hole. If he wanted to tsk tsk DJ, he could've just done it walking to the next tee.

Reminded me of the Kuchar/Sergio spat a few years ago. Kuchar was a dick, but at least he took the hole.
 

Average Reds

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Meanwhile, Rahm and Palmer seem to be having an interesting match, but you’d never know it because golf channel refuses to show any of it.

edit: On cue, they finally decide to show the match as it gets to 15.
 

cshea

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Yeah, they arent picking up any matches until they get to 14. And as always with GC/NBC the commercials are never ending.
 
Spieth vs. Kuchar tomorrow in a 2017 Royal Birkdale rematch. Rahm is the only top seed in a group to advance.

I love this tournament on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but very few of the matches tomorrow really make me want to tune in. Which isn't a knock on the event - that's just the vagaries of match play. But golf needs to find a way to get the best players in the world to face each other in the match play format. If the Premier Golf League were a year-long round-robin match play event with a league table, that would work for me! (Which, funnily enough, is how the Premier League of Darts works: the best 9 players in the world play each other in a double round-robin league format - 16 matches each in total - and the top 4 in the league meet one last time for the semifinals and final.)
 

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Harman is unconscious. 7 straight birdies to turn 4 down to 2 up. Also, looks like his putter head is a cinder block.
 

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Spieth vs. Kuchar tomorrow in a 2017 Royal Birkdale rematch. Rahm is the only top seed in a group to advance.

I love this tournament on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but very few of the matches tomorrow really make me want to tune in. Which isn't a knock on the event - that's just the vagaries of match play. But golf needs to find a way to get the best players in the world to face each other in the match play format. If the Premier Golf League were a year-long round-robin match play event with a league table, that would work for me! (Which, funnily enough, is how the Premier League of Darts works: the best 9 players in the world play each other in a double round-robin league format - 16 matches each in total - and the top 4 in the league meet one last time for the semifinals and final.)
I've been thinking about whether it makes sense to have byes in this tournament. If they gave the top 5 players in the rankings byes, that would have ensured that Johnson, Thomas, Rahm, Morikawa and DeChambeau would have been playing today. The field could be cut to 49, with 11 groups of 4 instead of 16. In this year's tournament, there would have been a few "names" that would have been excluded - Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Poulter.

With this format, they might even be able to get the group stage done in two days instead of three, meaning the knockouts could start on Friday and no double duty on Saturday.
 

cshea

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Horschel and Kuchar in the semi’s. Ugh. Cannot pick 2 more unlikeable players.

I’m on Team Perez or Scheffler/Rahm.
 

cshea

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He comes across as a dick to me. Super serious and full of attention himself. The fidgeting. When stepping in to putt drives me nuts too.
 

Average Reds

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What’s the beef with Horschel?
He’s a great grinder and has a good personality. He wears his heart on his sleeve and isn’t a robot like a lot of pros. His fellow pros seem to like and respect him.

Clearly, he’s history’s greatest monster.

(edit: I kid. People can like or dislike players for a lot of reasons.)
 

FL4WL3SS

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He’s a great grinder and has a good personality. He wears his heart on his sleeve and isn’t a robot like a lot of pros. His fellow pros seem to like and respect him.

Clearly, he’s history’s greatest monster.

(edit: I kid. People can like or dislike players for a lot of reasons.)
I honestly don't know how some people here watch golf with all of the animosity towards so many players.
 
I’m not sure why this upsets you so.

If you don’t like match play, wait a week.
You've got it completely backwards: I love match play and want to see much, much more of it. But weeks like this, with big names knocked out early and lesser lights filling all four semifinal berths, are only going to make network executives (and thereby the PGA Tour) nervous about it. Which makes it that much less likely that this tournament - which is my favorite Wednesday/Thursday/Friday watch of the year apart from the majors, and sometimes including the majors - will continue to exist, and certainly makes it unlikely that match play will expand in any meaningful way across professional golf.
 

BaseballJones

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How would PGA golf change if players were on teams? You still play individually, but you also have a team score that lasts throughout the year. You go to certain events as a team, you have team awards and prize money, yet still have individual champions and prize money. So even if you're in like 45th place, your putt might still matter for your team score, which might have a huge impact on your winnings and standings.

Would players have ANY interest in that sort of thing? Because they seem to love playing on teams during the Ryder and Presidents' Cups.
 

johnmd20

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You've got it completely backwards: I love match play and want to see much, much more of it. But weeks like this, with big names knocked out early and lesser lights filling all four semifinal berths, are only going to make network executives (and thereby the PGA Tour) nervous about it. Which makes it that much less likely that this tournament - which is my favorite Wednesday/Thursday/Friday watch of the year apart from the majors, and sometimes including the majors - will continue to exist, and certainly makes it unlikely that match play will expand in any meaningful way across professional golf.
The reason is because match play sucks, especially on the last day. There is nothing to watch. There is no drama. There are no runs up the leaderboard. It's just ponderous.

edit - but you are right, the knock out rounds are great. But it's backwards and that always results in a non compelling finish.
 

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You've got it completely backwards: I love match play and want to see much, much more of it. But weeks like this, with big names knocked out early and lesser lights filling all four semifinal berths, are only going to make network executives (and thereby the PGA Tour) nervous about it. Which makes it that much less likely that this tournament - which is my favorite Wednesday/Thursday/Friday watch of the year apart from the majors, and sometimes including the majors - will continue to exist, and certainly makes it unlikely that match play will expand in any meaningful way across professional golf.
I know you have a great appreciation and understanding of the game, so please understand that it's with respect that I say I could not disagree more.

First, this tournament already features the best players in the world. The fact that the top players do not reliably escape the early rounds is a function of the nature of golf (where, unlike tennis, the difference between the first and 64th seed on any given day is not that great) and match play (which further works to blur the differences between players.) So if you claim to like match play, you should love this tournament.

Second, worrying about networks not carrying the tournament seems myopic. It's a WGC event that has been around for just over 20 years and it's not going anywhere.

This tournament is the pinnacle of match play golf outside of the Ryder/President's Cup. It feels strange to worry about the reaction of network executives.

How would PGA golf change if players were on teams? You still play individually, but you also have a team score that lasts throughout the year. You go to certain events as a team, you have team awards and prize money, yet still have individual champions and prize money. So even if you're in like 45th place, your putt might still matter for your team score, which might have a huge impact on your winnings and standings.

Would players have ANY interest in that sort of thing? Because they seem to love playing on teams during the Ryder and Presidents' Cups.
The popularity of the Ryder/President's Cup makes this an interesting question, but I tend to think that a professional team format wouldn't work. Without the reality of players playing for a "side" that is reflective of who they are/where they are from or with some other tie that binds them beyond $$$, it would lack a lot of the fire that defines those events. It may also seem contrived.

There's also the matter of scarcity (with one major team competition a year) being a catalyst for fan interest. A proliferation of those kinds of events risks dampening demand. At least that's my guess.
 
The reason is because match play sucks, especially on the last day. There is nothing to watch. There is no drama. There are no runs up the leaderboard. It's just ponderous.

edit - but you are right, the knock out rounds are great. But it's backwards and that always results in a non compelling finish.
Match play itself is great. And it doesn't always result in a non-compelling finish - that Jason Day vs. Victor Dubuisson final a few years ago had one of the greatest finales of any PGA Tour event I've ever seen. The issue is that it's not made for television.

I've pondered all sorts of solutions in the past for how you could make head-to-head golf work for TV. For starters, I think the bare minimum number of groups you need on the course on the final day is four; there's too much dead time with just four players in two groups. You could get there in several ways:

1) Have more consolation matches. There are stroke play events like the Stenson-Mickelson Open Championship duel a few years ago in which you know there's a 99% chance the winner is going to be one of two players from the outset, but just having those other shots to watch and see who will finish 3rd, 4th, 5th etc. helps fill the dead air and make the broadcast palatable. So everyone in the top 8 or 12 or whomever keep playing until the end.

2) Have match play up until 8 or 12 or 16 (etc.) players qualify for a final-round stroke play shootout, with everyone starting on the same score (which is what The International, the modified stableford event at Castle Pines in Colorado, used to do back in the day) - or, after a group stage like we had this week, give anyone with a perfect 3 points a one-shot lead over everyone with 2.5 points, a two-shot lead over everyone with 2 points, and a three-shot lead over anyone sneaking through with 1.5 points.

3) Ditch the match play format in favor of medal-match play - i.e., head-to-head stroke play, like they used to use in US Open playoffs and at the old Dunhill Cup in St. Andrews. That keeps the head-to-head format intact but guarantees that every match will go at least 18 holes, and preserves the possibility of wild swings late in a match that could change the outcome. (And then the segue to a final-round stroke play shootout wouldn't seem so abrupt.)
 
So if you claim to like match play, you should love this tournament.
I do love match play, and I do love this tournament - as I keep saying over and over again. But a) tomorrow's format is still very unfortunate, because having only four players on the course will leave a lot of dead air. And b) with the four players in question having qualified for the semifinals, the TV ratings will be abysmal. I wish I shared your optimism about the event's future; I don't think it's going anywhere immediately, but I wouldn't put it past Jay Monahan and the powers that be to consider ditching it in the future.
First, this tournament already features the best players in the world.
It features the best players in the world, but the very best players never face each other. The best combined seeding of any knockout stage matchup this year will be 33 (#3 Rahm vs. #30 Scheffler); we did have #8 Hatton vs. #18 Westwood and #9 Simpson vs. #17 Casey in the groups, but again, those aren't the matchups that casual golf fans really want to see either. Again, I thought there was plenty of drama this week, especially yesterday...but I'm not sure that's enough to convince the average American golf fan.
The fact that the top players do not reliably escape the early rounds is a function of the nature of golf (where, unlike tennis, the difference between the first and 64th seed on any given day is not that great) and match play (which further works to blur the differences between players.)
Well...if I were the Commissioner of Golf, the PGA Championship would go back to its original format of 36-hole matches from start to finish. Because the issue isn't so much that match play itself blurs the difference between players as it is that 18 holes is a lottery in which the ability of the better player doesn't have enough time to assert itself. I know this is entirely unworkable within the modern professional golfing calendar, of course...but the reason that the final day of the Ryder Cup is the best day in golf is that you're taking the combined total of 12 matches - all of which matter equally, and which combined together do tend to give enough of a sample size as to which *team* is best, even if each individual 18-hole match is a lottery.
 

johnmd20

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Match play itself is great. And it doesn't always result in a non-compelling finish - that Jason Day vs. Victor Dubuisson final a few years ago had one of the greatest finales of any PGA Tour event I've ever seen. The issue is that it's not made for television.

2) Have match play up until 8 or 12 or 16 (etc.) players qualify for a final-round stroke play shootout, with everyone starting on the same score (which is what The International, the modified stableford event at Castle Pines in Colorado, used to do back in the day) - or, after a group stage like we had this week, give anyone with a perfect 3 points a one-shot lead over everyone with 2.5 points, a two-shot lead over everyone with 2 points, and a three-shot lead over anyone sneaking through with 1.5 points.
You got that right, the last day is legitimately bad television. And that is the problem. Because I watched on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and loved it. Today, I had it on the side TV. The small one.

But I do love that idea above. That would and could be pretty cool. Of course, making it a team even would also be cool, but as noted, I think that would be hard to pull off. It's a great idea but it doesn't seem feasible.
 
You know where match play would work really well? The FedExCup playoffs. Imagine a situation in which the penultimate stroke play event of the playoffs ended on Saturday, and instead of the top 30 players all automatically qualifying for the Tour Championship, you instead had the top 15 automatically qualify and had the next 30 players in the standings play off for the last 15 spots: #16 vs. #45, #17 vs. #44, and so on down to #30 vs. #31. 18 or, better still, 36 holes of meaningful match play (or medal-match play, if you must), with every match having real meaning and potentially real drama. And the top 15 get a day of additional rest to prepare for the finale at East Lake.
 

Lupe Whalewatch

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I've been thinking about whether it makes sense to have byes in this tournament. If they gave the top 5 players in the rankings byes, that would have ensured that Johnson, Thomas, Rahm, Morikawa and DeChambeau would have been playing today. The field could be cut to 49, with 11 groups of 4 instead of 16. In this year's tournament, there would have been a few "names" that would have been excluded - Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Poulter.

With this format, they might even be able to get the group stage done in two days instead of three, meaning the knockouts could start on Friday and no double duty on Saturday.
I like this idea a lot.