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Golf - Good Walks Spoiled

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With the first major of the year at Augusta but weeks away, and the Ryder Cup later in the year, thought it was about time we had a dedicated golf thread, both for discussions of the pro game and our own hacks around club tracks.

 

At least that's what I'm hoping, I can't be the only person here that likes wasting time getting annoyed by a little white ball, can I?

 

Anyway, golf. It's magic.

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I'm sure we've had a golf thread at one time or another, but a new one is surely welcome. I, for reasons I can't really articulate, enjoy watching golf and sometimes trying to play it.

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Yeah, find it the most relaxing of sports to watch (alongside Test Match cricket). Great at the moment with such a spread of talent vying for honours. Already shaping up to be a fantastic season, even though think the US will take back the Ryder Cup this time around.

 

Pretty useless at playing it, but try and get out a couple of times a month even so.

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The Masters this weekend or currently now on sky sports, live action from the driving range and putting green.  I like watching golf but not that much.

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It's overkill but do admit to having a fascination with watching pros do drills. Recently went to the Desert Classic and spent a while watching players on the range. Quite impressive seeing the drills they do, and the shape and accuracy they have.

 

Excited for the Masters, always looks so good on TV. No idea who to back, will have a look at those in the 33-40/1 range and pick an each-way.

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Ooh, Masters weekend. Ace. It always feels a bit too early in the season for me to have any idea who is likely to do well but I'm not a betting man anyway.

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Jordan Spieth has absolutely lost it big time, taking 7 on the par 3 12th. Lee Westwood now has a fantastic chance! 1 off the lead. Go on, Lee!

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Underlines again that handling pressure is as much a skill as driving, pitching and putting in golf. In practice Spieth would hit the 12th green 9 times out of 10. To hit the drink and then fat a wedge straight in again is just extraordinary. He handled himself admirably though, having to hand over the jacket when leading for so long must have stung.

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I think we can safely say that the reason Speith capitulated was because, after the 10th, I decided to stick a quid on him a 1/6, just for shits and giggles. Who would have guessed he would go from 5 up to losing by 3 with only the back 9 to go? McIlroy knows all about that!

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And so this weekend brings about the so-called '5th Major', The Players' Championship at Sawgrass, FL. Really it's just an excuse for one of the most iconic holes in golf to get an airing.

 

The 17th is a relatively short par 3. 132 yards from the tee, a pitching wedge for 99.9% of pro golfers. With that club in hand they should be playing to the pin pretty much every time they play the hole. But factor in the water and pressure, the hole can make for some spectacular moments, and thanks to the hole's position on the card, it can often make or break a round. One of golf's great holes.

 

sawgrass17-847-chriscondon.jpg

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Jason Day cards a course record-equalling 63 to lead by 2 shots from Justin Rose. That's some pretty spectacular golf from the Aussie. He birdied the 17th, btw.

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I suppose he's every right to be concerned, and you can't really police where mosquitoes go (unless they build a complex system of giant nets over Brazil) but disappointing one of the world's best won't be there for golf's return to the Olympics.

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Anyone watching The Open? Conditions have worsened today, so seeing the pros have to try and adapt, which is always fascinating. Nowhere near 2008 levels but the wind is picking. Cut currently projected at 2+.

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Is this thread just for watching or playing as I'm looking to make a triumphant return after picking up a set of Ping Eye 2s on the weekend for the princely sum of twenty quid, these were the clubs I lusted after when playing way back in the late 80's as a kid, people seem to rate them still but I've also read that they are banned from competitions. I checked out the Ping website on checking them but was still unsure if mine are they ok ones or the banned ones? All probably moot as I doubt I'll reach the competition level.

 

Going to get a few lessons booked in I think too.

 

 

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Think it can be for both really. I'd like to play again but I have no idea how I'd find the time and I don't know anyone local to play with anyway so it'd be solo to start with, makes it even less enticing. I manage about four rounds of little 9 hole courses a year at the moment (when I go visit my parents and take my dad out, really) and do enjoy it despite being pretty crap.

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Yeah I know I'll be crap that's why I'm going to have some lessons and try and get the basics down and have a few sessions on the driving range before I hit the course, it's not something I'll be able to devote a huge amount of time to which is what you need to do to improve.

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Ping Eye 2s were the clubs my dad handed down to me :wub:

 

Only replaced them last year, with the intention of getting somewhere close to my previous handicap (18) but haven't got out anywhere near enough this year.

 

Lessons are a good way to go, but practice makes all the difference, and it's a fair old time commitment. Mind you, when the old man was still around, he'd practice chips and putts at home with those plastic balls instead of going to the range. Every little helps I guess.

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So then, it's Ryder Cup time, and the US will be looking to prevent Europe making it 4 wins on the bounce at the fearsome Hazeltine National.

 

Darren Clarke has gambled on debutants, with 6 rookies for Europe, and their overall ranking average is markedly lower than 2014 (27.75 Vs 20). This makes the US heavy favourites, but with the tanning at Gleneagles and the Miracle at Medinah still fresh in the memory, do Europe retain a psychological edge over the star-spangled team, or will the inexperienced European's wilt in the pressure cooker intensity that is the Ryder Cup?

 

The action kicks off on Friday at 1:35pm UK time, with both sides looking to make a statement in the opening round of Foursomes. Can't. Bloody. Wait.

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Agreed.

 

Beauty of the weekend is the team element is an unknown quantity until they tee off. Just won't know how each side will gel together.

 

Think the US win by a couple of points, but by no means certain as I might be with similarly skewed odds.

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Okay, scratch that, Europe taking an absolute beating and it's only the first session.

 

Already need something special to

ensure this isn't 'The Hammering at Hazeltine'.

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Europe are doing better at the moment, up in three, down in one.  If they can hang on to those three points, and go in 5-3 down from the day, that would be a decent fightback.  This is a very good USA team though, and they seem focussed on winning it this time, if only to avoid losing four in a row.

 

edit - This is brilliant.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/golf/37523199

 

 

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Much-improved second session, the rookies out there stepped up but my goodness Stenson was imperious. Rory Mac looks so, so fired up too, giving the crowd plenty :lol:

 

Ryder Cup delivers.

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