Wednesday, June 11, 2014

GOLF PICKS 2014 US OPEN


POWER RANKS 


Enough About Phil!
With Tiger Gone - it's been Mickelson 24 hours a day on Golf Channel.

 Tiger Winning by 15 Strokes in 2000

So far this year - Phil is nothing more than a Punch Line.
They Tried to Replace woods with Spieth - This Week Phil. 
12-1 for Him is a Joke.
He has an outside chance - But should be 30/50-1 or Higher.
I Covered Him for $10 
But - I Think it's more likely for him to Miss the Cut than Win.  
Phil gets indigestion when plays a good round.
He Gets full of Himself.  
He may already need an Alka Seltzer after this weeks media hand job. 
You heard it hear boys and girls -  I think Phil misses the cut.

Jordan - Serious Short Game
Thank god they are leaving Spieth Alone.
Spotlight Off Jordan Really Helps his Odds.  
If he can Handle to Disappointments the Green will Present.
He Can Throw Darts and Get Up and Down.

Legit Favorites
Watson, Mcilroy, Spieth, 
Scott, Garcia, Matsuyama
 
Don't Forget the Veterans
Jiminez, Stricker, Els,and Cabrerra
Experience and Mental Toughness

Caution!
Rock Hard - Turtle Back - Run Off Greens.
Unpredictable Hazards Below
This One is as Much About Luck as Talent.
Lets Hope Rain Softens this Obnoxious Course. 

Grab Some Young Guns and Longshots
Been Winning All Year
Good Value There
 (See Chart Above)

Cover the Field 12-1
Some Great Players NOT on the Bet Sheets

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The Real Life Tin Cup
Imagine working on hard on your golf game for a year. You develop a low handicap and register it with USGA at your local course. By the end of your 2nd year - Your average is now less than 1.4 - say (73). At that point - $150 will get you a ticket to qualify for The US Open.
You enter a Local Qualifier and place near the top. You then have one tournament left to get in - a sectional - you place high there. You're in!

That's right - Hard Work and 2 Tournaments later - you are in one of the Biggest Sporting Events in the World - On National TV. 


I commend the USGA for sustaining this policy. The PGA funds its minor league on the backs of Amateurs. Sucking them dry through the Web.com Tour for entry fees in the neighborhood of $5,000. Before Web.com and the end of Q school  - those fees got you in a PGA event - if you qualified the week of tournament. These days - that only gets you on the Web.com Tour. Shame on you PGA. Way to go USGA!


What Has "Brown" Done For You?
For a sport dominated by a political party that has yet to acknowledge the existence of Global Warming - AKA Climate Change - they sure are reacting to it in an outwardly fashion. All week the buzz about Pinehurst renovation and the future of Course Design has been "Brown". That's right - they are predicting and encouraging an end to Green Fairways and Lush Rough. Why? Water is scarce and expensive. An average course spends a quarter - to half a million a year on water.  The Spin is "How Entertaining" a challenging course if for viewers. What a Crock!  
It's about the Bottom Line - Not Entertainment! If watching an NFL game in which both teams set records for incomplete passes - excites you  - the future looks bright. 

A Level Playing Field
Most of this season - heat and wind has dried out the greens by the weekend. The Result - Great approach shots bounce off the green and the winner is determined by Luck - "Not" Skill.  I'm all for conserving water. My local 9 Hole course just turned a huge water hazard into a canyon, Good for them! It was a waste of water. Even what Pinehurst has done by not watering the "Natural" Hazard areas (below) is great. 

But - you have to strike a balance. Keep the Fairways and Greens playable. If you know the greens are going to dry out - stop with the Turtle Back Greens and increase the landing areas. And don't shave off the Greenside Rough - it's there for a reason. To keep the ball near the green - in play. Take a look at the tiny spots the players will have to hit to this week to stay on the green (below).  No one wants to see 30 under win the Open. But if Par wins - that's a scoreless soccer game. With Tiger out - ticket sales are down by 50%. Wanna make it 90% next year? Wake up and smell the coffee guys. Us ugly Americans like to see scoring!












Luck Will Have It?
As I was writing this I started feeling really stupid.  If you recall my blogs early in the season - I recommended not even betting tournaments like this. I hope I get lucky and hit another winner anyway. A guy like Spieth, Rory, Els, Jimenez, Cabrerra or Kaymer may give us a great show of Mental Toughness and Prevail. However, it is just as likely that someone will blast the ball a mile off the fairway - scramble - get a lucky bounce on the green and in essence get a lucky win.The term scrambling is not a positive one in any other sport. Unless there is a competition for Fry Cooks. 

The "Art" of golf is keeping the ball on the fairway. Sticking shots within a few feet of the pin on the Greens and Draining Puts. When that doesn't matter anymore - not sure what game we are playing.

Pray for Rain.
If there is a Golf God -  Maybe it will rain every night and soften those Greens. One way or another - the world will be watching and I hope we see something amazing.


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Round 1
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Course Management
The players are not he only ones focused on Course Management. The Grounds Crew watered the greens Thursday morning and will do the same tomorrow morning. So, the afternoon wave today - will play the same softer greens - that this mornings first wave enjoyed. Expect even dryer conditions for today's morning wave when they Tee Off tomorrow afternoon.
 
I Apologize
When I first looked at the Bet Sheets - I Saw about 5 or 10 Guys that I Felt were Solid Favorites. By the time I sorted all the data -  the bet sheets were lost in the mix. On Wednesday night I was looking at Tee Times on TV and saw one name I forgot to bet or post.  All my bets were in - but at 9 o'clock at night - I ran down to the book to cover him. His name is Martin Kaymer. He was the only player to best 2 under and shot his 5 under in the more difficult Afternoon Round. He will get to play the softer greens in the morning. 1 under is a great Single Round Score for this course. If He shoots even 3 under tomorrow - His lead may be insurmountable. The scary part is that his personality and recent performances do not lead me to believe he will choke it away easily. The Course on the other hand - does not make an argument for any Bogey or even Double Bogey Free Rounds. 

Note: I just realized I did mention Kaymer pre-game in the "Luck Will Have It" Paragraph (above). Not in my Top Picks though - sorry.

Alone in His Field
Mickelson (E)
Started well at (-2) but proceeded to miss half a dozen fairways and 4 or 5 birdie puts to finish Even for the Round. I honestly believe that he enjoys the attention his shots from
the hazards bring - so much - that he neglects his Fairway and Approach accuracy.  I will say his Video: "Secrets of the Short Game" is the best I've ever seen. I recently heard Trevino has one even better, but have not seen it.  

20 Year Old Veteran
Spieth (-1)
Hit most fairways and approaches. His scrambling was only equaled by his patient veteran like course management. Only a tough, long, bogey put on 18 - kept him out of 2nd place - finishing (-1) for the Round. 



Bubba Slump
Watson (+6)
I give Watson a hard time. But, I truly think he is maturing. He is possibly the most gifted Golfer on tour. He just missed too many fairways and approach shots today. He told the media he would lay up more this week. I believe that was a mistake. Bubba - should hit it as far as you can and use his superhuman short game to get up and down. That's what he has been doing on tough courses all year - with great success. Shorter Tee shots just make those up and downs a lot longer. 

Direct TV Alert!
If you were watching the special US Open Coverage on Direct Tv today - you may have missed the end of the afternoon Round today. 
US Open coverage Continues Tomorrow Morning on ESPN at 6 AM.
NBC Continues Picks up Coverage at 12 Noon.
I guess there's some kind of ball kicking contest going on? LOL.

Here is the Full Weekend Channel Schedule:



LeaderBoard
Lemmings?

Remember the Old Apple Ad - Walking Off the Cliff Blindfolded? 
This Course is so Ridiculous - With the Possible Exception of: Kaymer,  Spieth and a Few Others - I Expect Major Lead Changes on a Daily Basis


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Round 2
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RUNNING AWAY?
KAYMER 3 UNDER ON FRONT 9 
Hitting Fairways and Greens
Up and Downs
Draining Crucial Par and Birdie Puts
 Great Course Management 
And Patience
 
NOW (-10) THRU 14 HOLES
7 SHOT LEAD!
The Tourney is Now His to Win or Lose.
He Could Par the Weekend and Still Win It.
It's Over
Unless He Crashes
And
Someone Pulls Off A Miracle.

He has Stolen the Spotlight from Phil
Will MIckelson Phone it in and Miss the Cut? 


KEN DUKE
EARLIER TODAY
HOW TO GET OUT OF A BUSH
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS


 Der Beste
 
 Just the Best. When he won the Players we all knew he had something special.
I always say, in love, friendship or business -  "People tell you what they are going to do." I guess it's true in sports as well.  Although English may be his 2nd language, Kaymer told us. "Just play Golf."  In an Era where Swing Gurus - Swing Thoughts and Media Pressure can distract the hell out of a player.  Martin made a conscious decision to put all that aside the moment a tournament begins. No swing coach with a video cam in warm ups. No Boasting "I'm Top 5!.  A Humble, Pleasant demeanor with the Media. He just put his head down a played!


Gut Picks
I will be looking at the Bet Sheet Prior to Calculating Stats each week now and Posting Gut Picks ahead of Power Ranks. Just like NFL - by the end of the season - your subconscious sees things through osmosis that the stats might miss. 

So, How do I feel about running down to the Sports Book at 9pm to add him to my bets? 
Torn, I went there to put $20 on him and decided to cover Walker and a few others instead. Only put $10 on him = $400 if he wins. So a big wins becomes a nice cover.  But at the end of the day - How do I Feel about not missing him altogether? 


Slow Down - It's Only Friday!
Michael Lawrence voiced his strategy for the rest of the field on Thursday Night. Leader at (-5) Rest of Field (-2) or worse. Be Patient - Try to shoot 2 or 3 Under for 3 Days = (-8) or (-10) by end of day on Sunday.  If the Leader Drops 2 or 3 Shots - you're Right in it. Don't Go too hard on Friday and Miss the Cut. A Dozen of the Worlds best Players could have used that advice. The Following Player Missed The Cut Yesterday:

Luke Donald: 1 shot
Bubba Watson: 1 shot
Charl Schwartzel: 1 shot
Jason Dufner: 1 shot
Hunter Mahan: 1 shot
Miguel Angel Jimenez: 1 shot
Lee Westwood: 3 shots
Nick Watney: 3 shots


Through Their Fingers
A couple others got there and Fell. Mickelson (-2), Spieth (-3). Both got to the first page of the Leader Board and failed to Par in to stay there.

Jordan Spieth - Getting Out of Trouble - Staying Out?
Jordan (-3) and T3 at one point - played a brilliant short game again today. When he missed fairways and greens he got up and down and made clutch puts for Par or Birdie. However, he pushed 2 Tee Shots Right on 16 and 17 for Back to back Bogies to Finish just (-1). If he starts hitting Fairways and Green 60 or 70% of the time again - that short game will get him a lot of wins. I know everyone wants him to close Now - but it is the Us Open for Christ's sake. He's still Under Par - Phil is +3, Watson, Donald and Westwood were sent packing. 

Phil Mickelson - Not Overly Optimistic
Changing your Putting Grip the day of the tournament is desperate and ego-maniacal at best. It did NOT keep him form Missing short Par Puts. After a week of hearing about at Mickelson ad Nauseam - The attempt to Replace Tiger with a Great White Hope - seems to have failed again. He got to (-2) early - only to collapse to (+3). Nothing new for Phil this year - and "Spieth is the one who can't Close? Phil stated in his Post Round interview that he was "Not Overly Optimistic." With you on that Phil.

Some Stayed The Course
 
Brendon Todd (-4)
Who I did Pick in the Top 2 - Is (-4). The Sports Books didn't even give him odds and put him in the Field at 12-1 - I covered that for $20. 

Kevin Na (-3)
Made My Power Ranks and Once Again Played Patient, Effective Golf. 

Brandt Snedeker (-3)
Who I did not cover - scares me a little, as he seems to be geting back on Track after a Lack - Luster Year.

Weather On His Side
No Rain Expected and Temps in the High 80s.
The Already Merciless Greens will Dry Out.
The Mighty Will Fall. 
Par Golf Should Win This for Kaymer.
"Just Don't Look Down Martin. "

 

Can Anyone Catch Him? 
With Dried Out Turtle Back Greens - My First Answer is NO!.

If He Stalls
These 3 Are Close Enough to Make it Interesting. 
 Todd (-4)
Na (-3)
 Snedeker (-3)


Further Back?
2 Names Have the Magic to Pull Off a Miracle
Rory (-1)
Jordan (-1)


Coverage Continue NBC 9AM (PST) Saturday
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Round 3
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  __Front Nine__

On 2
Kaymer Finds Native Area
Drops a Shot

On 4
Kaymer Pulls One Left

 No Relief
This for Bogey!
Sinks It!


 On 5
Kaymer Going Native!
 OMG!
Sticks It From the Weeds!
Eagle!



__After Nine__




__Back Nine__

Trouble On 12?

UnShakeable


Jordan Spieth
Fairways Missed

After Back to back Birdies on the Back 9  
Spieth Ended with Bogies to Finish +1  
However
Once Again 
He bettered a World Class Partner
Adam Scott +3

Leaders Fall

 


Kaymer Bounces

An Eagle is the Best Cure For Bogey


 Still Der Beste

 
Coverage Continues Sunday 9 Am (PST)


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Final Round
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 Let The Scoring Begin
 Once Again - I Salute the USGA.
Pin Placements have been Moved up and Positioned for Scoring. 


Unlike the PGA - they Realize we like to see Scoring.
Good News - Bad News For Field
Good News - They Have a Chance to Score Low
Bad News - So Does Kaymer
Prediction
Kaymer Shoots 2 Under or Better, and Wins


__Front Nine__

Ricky Goes Afoul
An Errant Tee Shot and Wild Chip Led to This
He would Sink a 20 foot Put - But for Double Bogey


Kaymer Stays the Course (-9)
No Challengers Yet
Compton Closest at (-4)

Closest Challenger
Compton (-4)
This For Par

Painful Bogey!




Still Der Beste
After 9


__Back Nine__

Back to 9 Under


To Get to 10 Under

Larger Than Life


And This To Finish

 UNCONTESTED
WINNER!







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