Nothing too specific to riff on, just a lot going on…
He is who we thought/hoped he was, despite the unhinged over-analysis of every swing. Today should yield more to go off of. Outside of an injury scare or a score in the 80’s, there’s really not a whole lot to read into. Surely he’ll continue to knock the rust off for another dozen rounds or so, but let’s not get stuck in the weeds of the ebbs and flows. While the networks want to see a huge initial burst, the whole thing is a #process and the preferred route is a measured, steady progression in the right direction. Thus far:
+ Swing speed unequivocally BACK.
(+) Chipping looked good. The yips never totally recede but they appear dormant, beaten back by improved #releasepatterns.
(+) Jargon is rounding into form. Rely on my own feels. Getting my feels and trusting. Am I going to have different feels. Work my way up the board. Build toward the Masters. L5-S1 and it only has maybe six degrees of rotation. On the downside he definitely left a few out there – he referred to Patrick Reed as simply “Pat,” and failed to incorporate activation, Ranger Rick, or seeing lines.
(?) Putter TBD. This will dictate his results and show whether he’s grinding on the right stuff like its the mid-2000’s.
(-) Clothing a definite mixed bag. Instead of the white belt he’s consistently worn with white hat/shoes in the past, Cat opted for a black belt on Wednesday. Thursday’s black sweater/black pants combo on the range was a sharp, however things deteriorated from there. He doffed the outergarment and revealed a troubling piece of attire that one would hesitate to label a “shirt.” Nike had ten months to scheme and dropped the ball in a big way.
To get him in the right frame of mind he had a shirt made out of the skin of Stephen Ames.
— Wipey Fades (@Bosch3333) January 25, 2018
Overall verdict: INCOMPLETE. Again, #process.
Other Torrey Takeaways
– Pat Reed’s game looked a little rusty but he still scored well. Confident he takes a step forward this year. Reed missed a huge missed sartorial/alpha male opportunity yesterday – I expected a Kansas City Chiefs “color rush” scheme in lieu of the subdued blue hues he came out in. Perhaps his hands are tied now that he’s with Nike, but anything less than aggro red for the remainder of the week is a disappointment. On a more macro level, Reed’s attire this year will be a source of fascination, namely whether they’ll look to pigeonhole into the form-fitting, blade collar side of their spectrum in an attempt to normalize that look for the “dad bod” demographic. Time will tell.
– Despite the inveterate flaws and immense what-ifs of Torrey Pines, the venue consistently provides an interesting leaderboard. In years past reading into the results prior to the conclusion of round 2 would’ve been a pointless exercise due to the split course format and disparity between North and South, but since the renovation of the North the scores continue to converge.
R1 scoring at the @FarmersInsOpen:
71.308 = North
71.615 = South
— Rob Bolton (@RobBoltonGolf) January 26, 2018
After day one the group at/within three shots of the lead includes bombers (Finau, Garrigus, List, Vegas, Haas), thoroughbreds (Rahm, Rose, Cantlay), split-schedulers (Suri, Uihlein, Molinari), exciting newbies (Lovelady, Diaz) comebackers (Bae, Every, Palmer, Mahan), horses for courses (Choi, Howell), frothy malcontents (Sabbo, Grayson, Reed), and a mini-tour God (Potter). Expanding to the group within six shots of the lead shows more of the same diversity – giddy up!
– Surprised to see Woodland and Harman struggle on Thursday as they typically thrive here (Harman, like Choi, hits fairways plain and simple). NOT surprised to see Blair and Ogilvy struggle, as both are likely unable to move beyond the architectural malpractice to focus on the task at hand. Sad!
– Thanks to the PGATOURLIVE featured Feline coverage I caught a bunch of Matsuyama yesterday and he did not disappoint. He slopped it around on the first five holes and taught a masterclass in body language.
– Speaking of coverage, can we go ahead and punt on regular tv coverage? After seeing Sky in action last week on the Euro Tour and then the sheer quality of the LIVE coverage yesterday I’m convinced that the pay model is the way to go, at least Thu/Fri. When the quality of the coverage deteriorates once 3pm hits that’s a problem.
– Pleased to see Trey Mullinax fire a two-under 70 yesterday – he’s much too talented to finish 137th in FEC standings, as he did last year. Three made cuts in a row and some nice momentum heading in to the meat of the west coast swing.
– Keep an eye on Matt Every this week and the next few (fired a first round 69). Good things on the horizon, I’m sure of it.
– Big Cat carded a Saddam yesterday.
— Tron Carter (@TronCarterNLU) January 25, 2018
– When you wake up to a text from Kyle Porter that reads “Haotong Li bucking his head!” it’s gonna be a great day. Back-to-back 66’s have him one behind Jamie Donaldson for the outright lead. I wasn’t very familiar with Haotong until his tour de force performance at Birkdale last year so I made it a point to follow up last week and was not disappointed. I can report funny as hell and possesses a refreshing disposition. A 22 year old Chinese guy with game, gravitas, and good threads – that should get the #growthegame contingent hot and bothered!
Just the 10 birdies today for @haotong_li, including these two on his final two holes ? pic.twitter.com/QjDzi7Mof3
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 26, 2018
– Branden Grace posted a 65 on Friday and finds himself two shots back and one shot ahead of the Pacemaker and Mechanic, and two shots ahead of Immelman (who seemed renewed on the range last week in AD) and Paisley (ride that heater!).
– Detry, Levy, Hatton, and Pieters are all within striking distance – make no mistake that THE EUROS ARE COMING Y’ALL. Fleetwood well within the cut-line but eight shots back. Appointment viewing this weekend, per usual.
Odds and Ends
– Continue to keep #FriendOfThePod Blayne Barber’s caddie Cory Gilmer top of mind – he continues to make small improvements but a long road ahead. Glad to see Blayne taking the week off to recharge. If you’re so inclined, here’s a little more info and how you can help.
– As you’ve assuredly seen by now, the whole Rhein Gibson-caddie deal was patently outrageous. Obviously not a good look for Rhein, but the caddie (Brandon Davis) has a reputation that precedes him and didn’t do himself any favors with his social media grand tour after the fact. Normally I tend toward #TeamCaddie, since they’re usually the ones who get shit on in the power dynamic, but both guys had blood on their hands in this instance. One #source said “the caddie is a clown but Rhein can be a real ass-hat in his own right, so they were perfect for one another.” Bottom line: I LOVE THE WEB TOUR.
– Caught some LPGA yesterday from the Bahamas – legitimately enthralling. Winds were up and ladies were flighting hitting hybrids into 147 yard par threes. Sign me up! Unfortunately play is suspended today due to the winds and will resume first thing Saturday (hopefully the winds don’t die down too much – this is a nice substitute for the lack of Web Tour Bahamas carnage). Brooke Henderson leads.
Current weather conditions @PureSilkLPGA pic.twitter.com/68dNJUYHJC
— LPGA (@LPGA) January 25, 2018
– I’ll echo SVP and give ALL the props to JRay for the Tiger-centric statistical conquest he’s been on this week:
Insane. Great work, J Ray.
— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 24, 2018
– To close things out I want to start a new tradition: take of the week. It was an easy choice this week thanks to our old buddy LD bringing the heat on Tuesday. He shut it down with this one!
Lol…Dude Perfect, five years late and lacking the same journalistic bite. On the upside, a bright career lies ahead in the PR dept of religiously-intolerant oil kleptocracies. #shills
— lawrencedonegan (@lawrencedonegan) January 23, 2018