Sam's Commentary

May 05, 2014 Commentary Archive

The Players : Wide Open

by Sam Kouvaris
Posted May 05, 2014 ===========================================================================

As the last qualifier for The Players, JB Holmes has quite a story. He was a well-known quantity on the PGA Tour. A popular player with galleries and a two-time winner in Phoenix, one of the most raucous stops on the circuit, Holmes embodied the 'grip it and rip it" bomber style popular on Tour. Then all of the sudden he was diagnosed with a rare brain disease, recovered from that, was allergic to the resin that kept things in his head in place, and recovered from that. Hurt his elbow hitting balls trying to get back on Tour, but didn't have surgery on that until he suffered a broken ankle and figured he wouldn't be playing anyway so he finally got it fixed. Then, of course, he was back on Tour playing on a medical exemption and won one of the toughest events, getting him into the Players this year and the Masters in 2015.

Because Holmes wasn't already eligible for the Players, he pushed Ryo Ishikawa into the first alternate spot. JU's Russell Knox stays in the field of 144.

As well as he's playing; it'll still be interesting if Holmes contends this week. The Stadium course doesn't favor anybody who just stands on the tee and kills it. It's a bit too demanding in the landing areas, and the players haven't been able to overpower that part of the golf course. Yet.

That's why somebody like Luke Donald should do well here. Not particularly long but accurate and a good putter. When he won in 1994, Greg Norman shot 24-under, setting the tournament record. He took advantage of how long and straight he drove the ball in comparison to his peers. Plus his putting touch that week was impeccable. Nobody seemed to enjoy that, except for Norman and the runner-up Fuzzy Zoeller. Add Jeff Maggert to the mix and those three lapped the field. Everybody else was down near -10 and in single digits. It was enough of a low score though to change the golf course to make it harder and faster and more difficult. The funny part is that the last three years, '11, '12 and '13, the winning score has been the same: 13 under.

Look at the winners over the years and there's not one thing that binds those guys together. Some long hitters, some short knockers have won, but that week, they all were able to manage their game perfectly. "It's not a golf course for scatterguns," former PGA Tour Commissioner once told me during a round at the Stadium. I've always thought that the golf course identifies the player who has command through his whole bag. He's driving it straight, he's accurate with his irons, he's chipping well and rolling it well with the putter. That's how Justin Leonard and Jodie Mudd won here. I'm surprised Nick Faldo never won at the Stadium as meticulous as he is.

Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Stuart Appleby and Matt Kuchar (again) are likely candidates to be near the top of the leaderboard. Matt Every and Bill Horschel have the regional knowledge to contend. I'd say Camillo Villegas but he's been nowhere for so long. Harris English has played well here as well. And while Phil Mickelson said he played "two great rounds and two pathetic rounds" at Charlotte, he likes it here and of course is a former champion.

In other words, it's wide open!


Commentary by Sam Kouvaris

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ARCHIVE of The College Weekly Report

05-03-2014 - The Players Field Almost Set
05-03-2014 - Pre Draft Jaguars Ramblings
04-11-2014 - Jaguars Buzz is Real
04-04-2014 - Final Four Bigger in Big 'D'
03-28-2014 - Gators in Elite Eight: Want More
03-27-2014 - Gators vs. UCLA: Toughest Test Yet
03-26-2014 - Bradley Looking To Upgrade Team, Self
03-23-2014 - Gators Change Mindset, Beat Pitt
03-21-2014 - Gators "Survive and Advance"
03-20-2014 - Gators Ranking Doesn't Matter
03-19-2014 - Gators in Orlando For NCAA's
03-14-2014 - Jaguars Free Agency: Impressed, Not Surprised
03-12-2014 - Gabbert Gone
03-08-2014 - Gators Still "Chasing Greatness"
02-27-2014 - "Personal Foul" on the Dutch
02-22-2014 - NASCAR: Looking To The Past To Find The Future
02-13-2014 - Jax: An Events Town"
02-05-2014 - National Signing Day: "Mark Your Calendar!"
01-07-2014 - As Good As It Gets: FSU Wins National Championship
01-06-2014 - FSU vs. Team of Destiny
01-05-2014 - Fisher/Malzahn, FSU/Auburn Contrast in Style
01-05-2014 - FSU A Close-Knit Group
01-02-2014 - Jaguars Talking Vs. Doing:
Does Bradley's "Conviction" Mean Jaguars Wins Are On The Way?
2013 COMMENTARY
12-29-2013 - Decisions to Make: Jaguars Need A Lot
12-23-2013 - Meester's Day
12-22-2013 - Jaguars Don't Have Enough
12-20-2013 - Jaguars: Who Wants To Be Here?
12-19-2013 - Meeter Retires: The REAL Pride of the Jaguars
12-15-2013 - Jaguars: Three Forward One Back
12-06-2013 - Jaguars Beat Texans Again: Learning How to Win
12-01-2013 - Florida/FSU: Different Directions?
11-18-2013 - Jaguars 2nd Half: "Better But Not Good"
11-14-2013 - Locker Room Culture: Off Limits?
11-10-2013 - Jaguars Victory: A Lot More Than Just One Win
11-03-2013 - Do We Worry About Blackmon?
11-02-2013 - Florida/Georgia: It's Never Easy
10-27-2013 - Jaguars in London: Fun & Frustration:Equal Parts of Both
10-26-2013 - Jacksonville's on a Global Stage
10-25-2013 - Shad Khan "Living The Dream"
10-03-2013 - Jaguars Building for the "Distant" Future
09-30-2013 - Jaguars: Not Getting Better Soon
09-23-2013 - Jaguars Results Not Unexpected
09-17-2013 - Jaguars Ups and Downs
09-10-2013 - Not What They Were Expecting
09-07-2013 - Jaguars Give Reason For Hope
08-25-2013 - "Better and Improved": The Jaguars Buzzwords
08-21-2013 - Jaguars 2013: It's Not About Winning
08-12-2013 - Jaguars Assessment: Is "Not Terrible" Fair?
08-01-2013 - Jaguars Camp: No Surprises But Not Routine
07-26-2013 - Gus Bradley's First Camp: "Slow Down!"
07-20-2013 - Big Thinking Khan Style
06-20-2013 - Its Summer, It's Hot, No Kidding!
05-31-2013 - The Ever Expanding "Season"
05-15-2013 - The Players: One Of A Kind
05-01-2013 - Tiger At The Players
05-08-2013 - Jaguars Needs: Everything
04-03-2013 - Golf in North Florida: It is & isn't all about The Players
01-30-2013 - Players Win Games

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