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Why Rickie Fowler is American golf's next big thing

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Iain Carter | 17:21 UK time, Monday, 14 May 2012

Tom Watson doesn't make rash predictions, he prefers to use the tool of hindsight when it comes to making judgements on the modern game.

But there is no doubt that the 62-year-old American likes what he sees from his country's most exciting young golfing talent, Rickie Fowler.

Just to be clear - it's this blog, not Watson, that is making no apology for pinning that hyperbolic tag on the wide peak of Fowler's trademark cap.

Veteran eight-time major champion Watson is too circumspect to go down that route, even after a fortnight that surely signalled the 23-year-old's coming of age on the PGA Tour.

Rickie Fowler

Fowler has been tipped as one of the stars of the PGA Tour for many years to come. Photo: Getty     

Matt Kuchar may have claimed the flagship Players Championship in fine style but the past couple of weeks have belonged to Fowler. He followed up his maiden Tour victory at Quail Hollow with an inspired share of second place at Sawgrass.

They were performances to suggest he's firmly on course to satisfy huge levels of expectation that have been with him throughout his fledgling professional career.

"He has confirmed he can win and that is very important," Watson told me. "Once you have that first win it shows you that you can win again.

"They were starting to ask questions about him, but I saw at Royal St George's at the Open last year that Rickie is a real talent. He showed it there and he can win more tournaments."

Those questions were surfacing because it took Fowler 68 attempts to land his first PGA Tour victory. After all, he was the stellar amateur who could boast a 7-1 winning record from two Walker Cups. He then turned pro in 2009 and contested a play-off in only his second appearance on Tour.

Indeed, Fowler had three runners-up finishes to his name inside his first nine months as a touring pro. On that basis 68 tournaments to land your first victory is rather pedestrian and it's why there was growing concern Stateside that he might not be quite the real deal.

Anyone who, like Watson, saw the Californian at Sandwich would have been less worried. I count myself lucky to have walked all eighteen holes with Fowler in the worst of the Open's third round weather.

Rugged up in a brilliant white waterproof suit, his chin tucked beneath its collar for protection from the vile elements, the then 22-year-old completely outplayed Rory McIlroy with a stunning round of 68.

It remains one of the finest rounds of golf I have ever witnessed and it helped Fowler to a share of fifth place, his best finish in a major to date.

The quality of his shot-making and composure was something to behold and so it was not a huge surprise that he should pop up to beat McIlroy and DA Points in the Quail Hollow play-off just over a week ago.

"Ever since he was a 15-year-old, everyone said he acted more like a 25-year-old," said Fowler's father Rod.

Much of the golfing media has already heralded the start of a Fowler/McIlroy rivalry but like Watson we should be more circumspect than that at this stage.

Fowler, who beat McIlroy to win last year's Korean Open, certainly is not looking to fuel such talk. His observations show the maturity of which his dad was speaking. "I definitely think Rory and I have a friendly rivalry," he said.

"We've played against each other a few times starting at the Walker Cup. I respect his game and I feel like he respects mine. I know he wants to beat me just as bad as I want to beat him.

"But I think that both him and I would have to kind of run away and play really well for it to be just a rivalry between the two of us. There's a lot of really good young players right now."

According to Ian Poulter, who marked Fowler's card in a brilliant third-round 66 at a breezy Sawgrass, the American is not yet as good a player as McIlroy, but there is no doubting he is seriously good news for the US game.

He has a fantastic rapport with an ever-growing army of fans and has shown considerable class dealing with them and fellow pros. Fowler hung around to support compatriot Bubba Watson in his play-off win at the Masters and waited in the recorders' area to congratulate Kuchar at the Players Championship.

Ryder Cup teams can be built around such generous spirit and Fowler has already shown his appetite for the biennial clash with Europe in his debut at Celtic Manor two years ago. There he came from three down with three to play to snatch a vital half against Edoardo Molinari.

"We have a lot of exciting young American talent in the game at the moment," added Watson, who will be returning to Turnberry for July's British Seniors Open.

"Rickie Fowler has shown it with his performances over the last fortnight and there are plenty of others, like Hunter Mahan as well. I really hope this can help us in this year's Ryder Cup match."

There must be every chance when we get to Medinah in September. Fowler has been the star turn in the last spell of tournaments but Kuchar's win along with those enjoyed in recent weeks by Jason Dufner, Ben Curtis, Mahan, Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson indicate the American game is in great health.

Even Tom Watson is prepared to say as much.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    It never works that simply in golf, Anthony Kim was the next big thing a few years too.

  • Comment number 2.

    Fowler has shown a lot of promise for a while now, but the win last week was a big moment for him. He's also one of the few players around that doesn't look nervous when he's challenging at the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.

    The Ryder Cup is still too far away as players form can change, but there's certainly more American players starting to show a bit of form now. I'd love to see Kevin Na in the Ryder Cup - can you imagine how many practice swings he's have?

  • Comment number 3.

    @ 1 ethec you're right, but in terms of potential Fowler is above Kim. I was also lucky to see some of his shots at George's and they were superb, McIlroy didn't seem to have a clue alongside him.

    Think he needs to get rid of the facial hair though.

  • Comment number 4.

    Agree with ethec. Ok, he's got a decent game and he will be in with a chance of winning tournaments, maybe even a major, but there's no way we can say he will be a star for the next decade and be winning at least every year. (he does miss a few short putts though).

    He took 68 events to win. Tom Lewis took 2 to win in Europe last year and we've hardly seen him since then.

  • Comment number 5.

    Sumo82 has been tipping Fowler for great things on this blog for years...looks like its coming true! good call Sumo82.
    I like Fowler, he hits a great ball.
    On another note....Kevin Na was a disgrace. He should be banned.

  • Comment number 6.

    BiloMcT - Kevin Na has been on tour for a few years and has been playing the same way. But suddenly now, he should be banned - just because he got some coverage in a big event.

    I do agree that slow play is becoming a bigger issue and it seems there is not enough desire to deal with it, but this is just one guy and calling for him to be banned when he's been doing what he'd doing for years is crazy.

    Also Iain, is Keegan Bradley not a hotter prospect? 2 wins already, including a major? Surely he is better placed to be the 'next big thing' stateside? Perhaps because he doesn't wear stupid hats and bright orange clothing we don't hear quite so much about him.

  • Comment number 7.

    @1 The reason Kim fell from being the next big thing was two fold
    1, He got injured
    2, He got carried away and was more interested in the partying than the playing.
    American golf has suddenly found a few new stars Bubba, Ricky, Hunter, Kucher, Tiger is on the slide and these guys are the future of american golf.
    Of these Ricky Fowler is probably the stand out , not just because of his dress as Ian says in the blog in the worst of the weather at the open he stuck to it and performed where more experienced players got blown off the course.
    It will be good to see how Fowler and Mclroys respective careers pan out.
    The futures bright and it may just be Orange.
    Ps Don still waiting ?????

  • Comment number 8.

    Forgot about Keegan Bradley who is also one of the bright young things of US golf doh

  • Comment number 9.

    Ian one thing Tom Watson also commented on in an interview was that he is not sure why Mclroy blows so hot and cold. He says with his swing there is no reason why he is not more consistant. Rory for me seems to lose interest once it does not go his way, it was to windy, dont like the course, when it clicks and he is happy he is unbelievably good but when it comes to grinding it out when its not all going well he just dissapears.

  • Comment number 10.

    Na has admitted his problems about "slow play" and when he played with Zach Johnson he was constantly apoligising - for me this is different to "slow play"

    He obviously has a problem and he needs to deal with that - and he is probably more p****d off about it than other players who are just slow and dont care

    Fowler is a class act and I would like to think he will have a similar career to Furyk (who has a similar swing) - he has noted his problems with his short game because of his flat swing and that is something he will need to find a solution to before he is in the top 5 for a decade

    good luck to him - he is refreshing, he is humble, he enjoys his AND his fellow pro's games, he plays to the fans and gives them a lot of his time.

  • Comment number 11.

    #9

    It was something I was going to say which is maybe why Rory has already won a major and should have won the Masters - when he is good he is awesome, but otherwise he is not bothered as you/Tom Watson say - whereas Ricky is more akin to the likes of Donald who are very consistently excellent.

  • Comment number 12.

    @6 piehutt...Kevin Na has never been quite that bad in the past. i have watched him for a longtime now and he is massively worse than he used to be. He should be banned until he proves he has sorted that nonsense out. There is no place for it on a golf course. He was an absolute disgusting disgrace.

  • Comment number 13.

    Kevin Na is a disgrace to himself and the golfing pro tour!! Purposely delaying play to put his fellow players off there game, ive seen people pausing a few times when they dont feel right but what he was doing was shameful, on the tee, fairway, rough and the green, he was relentless! I'm glad he lost his head in the end, he should be ashamed of himself!

  • Comment number 14.

    I think Kevin Na should get a two event ban for his bad sportsmanship

  • Comment number 15.

    Micky good to see you back the jet set lifestyle getting too much? Seriously though mate hope your well and enjoying the golf.
    Have just listened to the full interview with Tom Watson, articulate and thoughtful. He backs the new younger American golfers to go on and produce but also commented that he feels Tiger is being hampered by his injuries. I guess the extent of the damage to his body is something only Tiger and his team really know about and to be fair he has not trailed that as an excuse for his up and down performances this year.

  • Comment number 16.

    Seems from the comments above that Bilo and mickysausage are one and the same. We already know that micky is theSorcerer but this is ridiculous!

    I think people should have more sympathy for Na, he is clearly embarrassed about his problem behind the ball and would love to be quicker, it's just his mind stopping him.

  • Comment number 17.

    a "disgusting disgrace" is terribly harsh

    nobody kicked up a fuss about Garcia when he used to twitch like a pooping dog, but I suppose it gives some people something to whine about.

    What are peoples thoughts on yet another disappointing big tournament performance from Lee Westwood.....?

  • Comment number 18.

    #17 I agree, 'disgusting disgrace' is too harsh. I don't believe Kevin Na is doing it deliberately, he seems to have a problem similar to the putting 'yips'.

    I really signed on to complain about the BBC web golf page. More than half the stories are many months old. There is a World Golf event starting this week in Spain and not a mention of it!

  • Comment number 19.

    @LordVoldemort you are also clearly The Boike Master General and Powerhitter! That has been proved over previous blogs. Me and Bilo have been on this blog long before you started creating duplicate accounts, grow up and stop being a Troll!

    Davey how's it going mate? I can honestly say i have been firmly on home soil for the last few weeks ha. Your right about Tiger, only he knows how his body is and he says its only a matter of time before he adjusts fully to his new swing, i suppose everything doesnt happen overnight.

    Garcia was nowhere near as bad as Na, this kid clearly as problems and i think until he sorts them out he should be kicked off the tour. I noticed he holds his club shaft very short too, maybe this might be a reason for some of his terrible shots

  • Comment number 20.

    Lee Westwood as been proved as a serial bottler over many past blogs and i cant see a change in this any time soon.

    What do people think about Donald doing a Westwood? Being completely out the tournament but making a late surge when he couldnt challenge.

    Na needs a 6 month ban, this will stop him ruining genuine golfers rounds.

  • Comment number 21.

    Before the Open last year I thought he was a flash kid, not unlike many. However, anyone who saw Fowlers round of golf in the very worst weather possible of The Open last year will be in no doubt that he has superstar written all over him. i followed him that day, soaked to the bone, and it was by a mile the best round of golf I had ever seen.
    Anyone who grows up on american golf and then comes over here to post a below par score when no-one else 25 players either side of him can do in one of the worlds top events tells you all you need to know about his skill.
    He will win several events unless he gets a run like Sergio.

  • Comment number 22.

    # 19

    "terrible shots" - I bet you wish you were as "terrible" as him Mickey

    I wonder if the big wigs on the Tour have offered him any help about his problem, or if he himself has taken some responsibility about it.

    Im not saying that slow play is good for the game, and if those he has played with say that his "yips" or whatever it is puts them off then the powers at be should consult Na and warn him that unless he can find a solution to his problem, however inadvertent it may be, that he will face the possibility of fines and suspension

    however the tone of the language by Micky and Bilo is nothing short of disgusting in itself. I hope these two (or one as LV says) people (person) don't have any issues in their lives that they can't solve or hinder their professional/personal lives, but if they do that others around them don't show them the same disregard as they have to someone who is a fantastic golfer but who is suffering a very serious problem which will affect his game. If his problems made him the best golfer on earth then I am sure he would be happy to be doing it all the time - but there will be nodody who wishes it would go away more than Na.

    Show some respect.

  • Comment number 23.

    Donegan covered all of this in the Guardian a week ago and my comments on his article apply here too - albeit needing adjusting for this weeks rankings. And I didn't even mention Kooch.

    "Very contrived journalism to try and use Fowler's recent victory to represent him leading the American charge to the top spots in world golf.

    Even with the mass of ranking points he would have picked up on Sunday night, there are still 12 Americans ahead of him in the rankings. 6 of them have picked up more ranking points in 2012 than Fowler. And Mahan, Simpson, Johnson, Haas and Bradley are all in their twenties and therefore part of this new wave of American talent.

    So on what level, other than boosting sales of stupid orange hats, is he leading anything nevermind a charge to the top of world golf?"

    Having said all that, I like him and if he gets close to McIlroy's level and can challenge him consistently for the next decade it would be great for golf.

  • Comment number 24.

    I lost respect for Na when he hacked about in the trees last year, ignoring his caddy, disrespecting the game, and running up at 15 or 16 or whatever it was.

    But I must admit I'm leaning towards sympathy for him at the moment. It is not really slow play as we know it and as the rules were written to combat. He is not just milling around, taking 3 minutes to line up a putt, not being ready to go when he is away etc. He's not deliberately trying to wind up his playing partner. It is a psychological problem that is affecting him particularly badly right now.

    It is pretty clear he feels terrible about it. It is also clear he is trying to fix it. He is not attempting to get any advantage from it. He pretty much sprints between shots to try and make up for it when he knows it has been a particularly bad "episode".

    I watched the Players on the golf channel and the majority of their commentators and pundits showed him no sympathy whatsoever. But they failed to mention the abuse he was getting from the punters. On both Saturday and Sunday, on a few occasions he stepped away because some clown was whispering "pull the trigger".

    I don't know why because I am a fan of Sergio, but I found his twitching much more irritating when it was at its worst. I always said that if Garcia really had (or wanted) to, he could have just teed up and struck it. Whereas Na really seems to have something in his head stopping him hitting the ball.

    Give him a break.

    On a lighter note, a lot of new crazy shouts from the American galleries when Tiger is driving. Anyone got any favourites? I enjoyed "LIGHT THE CANDLE!!!"

  • Comment number 25.

    I still think Na must be haunted by taking 16 at a hole last year. A ridiculous score for a tour pro.

    I think too much is made (on these blogs) of Fowler's great round in the wind and rain at the Open last year. Not saying it wasn't great play, but what did it win him other than a few admirers on the BBC blogs?

    He's also got a swing that will need to radically change as he gets a bit older which will be a challenge for him. He's had a good couple of weeks but let's not get too carried away with him yet - let's see him close out a major when the pressure's on.

    Mickysausage, it's totally outrageous to suggest that I'm also Lord Voldemort. It's been proved in previous blogs that I'm Sumo82.

  • Comment number 26.

    Mickey & Bilo - May I respectfully ask you to wise up and explain just which one of the rules of golf can be used to ban Kevin Na from the game? There are rules in force by which tournament officials can take action over slow play and they could use these for Na, Crane and a few others on both tours.
    Garcia was filmed regripping the club some 21 times before he played a stroke and was every bit as irritating to his playing partners but there were no calls for him to be banned.
    Rory Sabbatini can very easily act the goat on the course and has been known to upset more than one of his playing partners but again there is no talk of a ban.
    I think you have both over reacted and Bilo's comment of "absolute disgusting disgrace" is totally over the top.

    No-one died, Na self destructed and will probably continue to do so until he sorts out his issues but we, the humble spectator, are in no position to call for his livelyhood to be taken from him because it annoys us.

  • Comment number 27.

    @ 17 yorkshire_blogster...Na is a disgrace. Cant behave like that on a golf course. He is doing it for attention. There is no way in the world he has to do it everytime. He should be ashamed of himself.
    LordVoldemort....why do you always say people are other people?! this is so stupid. Look back over the blogs for years and i think you'll see i have no alter ego's. If it really bothers you that much contact the BEEB and ask them if these Users post from the same IP Address etc! in the meantime stop with your constant ' He is the same person lalala' just when two users have the same opinion! Just because mickysausage also thinks Na is a disgrace doesnt make us the same person!!!! Does that mean if Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy both thought Kevin Na was a disgrace they would morph into one individual just for having the same opinion!!!??!!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    Rory needs to improve his wedge play if he's to dominate the tour. At Quail Hollow a monster 3 wood left him less than 90 yards to a back pin. One thing he couldn't do was go long... he did and bogey followed - as did a play off... Anyone else think he goes at his short clubs with a full out swing all the time? If he had Donald's finess he really could be racking up win after win

  • Comment number 29.

    @ Bilo

    I think you need to calm your passions and for once turn the pressure gauge down and realise that you are in the wrong. I have never seen you admit it and dont expect you to start now but the general concensus is that you and mickey were out of order.

    A full statement of apology should be issued to the blog.

  • Comment number 30.

    @mickysausage....yes Luke done his usual....post a good round when he was already out of it.
    Also another shocking performance by Lee Westwood in a proper big tournament with a strong field. I'm sure he'll now go away and do well in a very minor tournament with no pressure.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ yorkshire_blogster and all other Blog users.....i have seen the error of my ways. I was fully in the wrong regarding my comments about Kevin Na. I regret the comments now. I hope you can all forgive me. It was a serious error of judgement on my part to have a go at Kevin Na.
    Please accept my sincere apologies
    BiloMcT

  • Comment number 32.

    @ 19 mickysausage

    "I noticed he holds his club shaft very short too, maybe this might be a reason for some of his terrible shots"

    You clearly know nothing about golf do you? Please explain how holding the club further down the shaft can cause a 'terrible shot'. It should make the ball fly shorter and lower, but not necessarily mis-hit or off-line. Dunderhead.

  • Comment number 33.

    @ 31

    Apology accepted with the warmest of acceptance.

    Perhaps now we can get back to why Lee Westwood and Luke Donald will never win a major........

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    I think Luuuuuuuuuuke has more of a chance than Lee. He has won some pressure tournaments in the USA even if they are relatively minor ones. He played final round superbly on Sunday to try and get back in top 4 and to world number 1 - he seems to have a bit more determination to succeed

    how is LW still world number 3.......?

  • Comment number 36.

    #34

    Grow up. How old are you?

    If all you want to do is demean the blog by posting inflammatory and pathetic comments then perhaps you should take your bat, and your ball, and go home.

    # 28

    Interesting point - do you think perhaps the "flair" element to his swing which looks fantastic is a bit of showing off - so that his long shots look good and gives people the impression he has the best (or one of) the best long games in golf (when in fact the stats prove otherwise), which can't be transformed into short shots

    whereas Donald and Zach Johnson for example have a more compact swing which is more suited to a good short game 100yds and in....?

  • Comment number 37.

    LW is number 3 cos he racks up points playing mickey mouse tournaments against what are effectively very good amateurs. He then spends all his prize money on beans which he uses to choke on when he finds himself contending in a big one.

  • Comment number 38.

    I think Rory's swing is naturally very fast so much more difficult to control flight, distance and spin on the short irons. Just look at the play off hole - Fowler's already stiffed to 4 feet and Rory is last to play - wedge to 25 feet is not good enough at the very top level.
    By its very description - a more controlled compact swing sounds will be more consistent.

  • Comment number 39.

    33 comments and only one mention in passing of Dustin Johnson.
    Injured all season but, as at next Thursday, he'll be the only American under the age of 30 with more than Anthony Kim's 3 x PGA Tour wins.
    It's really been a coming of age for Rickie Fowler, all down to a change in his putting grip which seems to have cemented the short game which has long been his weakness.
    But let's not get carried away by the Young Americans; Haas and Mahan turn 30 this month, Bubba and Kuchar are both approaching their 34th birthdays.

  • Comment number 40.

    I would suggest that it is harder for the "Young Americans" to come through the ranks as quickly as people may suggest. This is purely because there are more Professionals on that side of the pond. Up until last year the Walker cup was being won by a dominant US side. These players; Cantley (still an amateur) et al are still learning their trade.
    It may have taken RF longer to win on the PGA but don't forget he beat RMc in Korea. RF seems to be a media darling and even more so since he's had 2 good weeks - signs autographs, trendy, doesn't take himself too seriously - I think he'll win at least once more this year.

    With reference to Na. He has issues, but at least he admits as much and that is a start. [ Was it him that took a swing that for all the world looked like a full shot - missed, a la air shot - and then claimed it was a practice ? ] It's painful to do this in public, maybe he needs to take some r and r ? The whole pace of play should be subject to a review.

    @ PG...if LW played in Mickey Mouse tournaments that you allude to he wouldn't acrue as many ranking points. He supports the Euro tour and wins enough times, or finishes well up the field. I suggest he goes to these "other" tournaments for "sponsorship" reasons.

  • Comment number 41.

    @ No 3.
    At 09:17 15th May 2012, LordVoldemort wrote:

    Think he needs to get rid of the facial hair though.
    -----

    I'm sure it will blow off when plays the Open!

  • Comment number 42.

    Keegan Bradley is a much more solid player than the orange popsicle, although just as annoying. Heck he already has a major win and a PGA win; what else do you need to do to be taunted as the next best thing?

    I think the reason that ridiculous look that Ricki Fowler sports irks people is that he just does not carry it. Ryo Ishikawa's fashion sense is pretty similar, except that he is able to carry it. This whole colour thing in addition to that frizzly moustache makes him look like he is overcompensating for his short stature.

  • Comment number 43.

    #10 Blogster
    Agree with most of your posts today but not your first. How can Furyk and Fowler have similiar swings? I just can't see that. Neither are a thing of beauty.
    Furyk's backswing with it's kinks and Fowler's wide and shut all the way back. Obviously both are great through the ball but neither backswing should be copied by beginners/kids.
    Also talking of swings, Kuchar's swing is incredible. How does he play the big draw when he takes the club so far back on the inside? It's hard to believe that he changed to this swing on purpose although the money stats back him up.

  • Comment number 44.

    Lee's next 3 proposed tournaments are:

    BMW, Scandinavian Masters, US Open

    then he only lists the french open in between the US and the REAL Open......surely not????

    Winnings of $237k at Wells Fargo but only $20,520 at the Players

    71 70 74 77 at the Players is a very poor return for someone of his calibre and driving skill. Especially the weekend not to push on like Luke did must be very disappointing for him.

  • Comment number 45.

    # 43

    Sorry I did not explain myself very well did I!

    I meant by "similar" only that they are quirky and not on a conventional plane - similar to Kuchar.

    I agree neither would be my choice to copy although I struggle with coming over the top on my down swing and in practise try and exaggerate a figure of 8 swing to get the downswing back on an inside line.

  • Comment number 46.

    #42 waldoski
    I think that Fowler looks great on a Sunday albeit a bit like a Super Mario figure. That look and his fine aggressive play will bring thousands of youngsters into the sport.
    The only problem that I have with it is when a big fat 40 year old yank tries to look like him from the galleries.

  • Comment number 47.

    comments being removed again by LordVoldemort.....zzzzzz........as he tries again to ruin another blog with his trolling and complaining. #
    We desperately need to hear from jimmy and mattefc.

  • Comment number 48.

    There are already too many comments to read through, but my twopenneth
    1. I think comment #1 is not too far off the mark. Fowler has won once. Yes he shows lots of 'potential' but I would say that he is being overly hyped. Yes he is good, but is he so much better than all those others listed? To take one example, look at the 2011 season that Webb Simpson had. Just because he isn't as showy, he got only moderate publicity. Had that been Fowler, the hype would have been off the charts. It begs the question why wasn't there a blog about Webb Simpson being the next big thing (or Bradley or Mahan for instance)? Because he doesn't market himself as much, or perhaps is not as marketable. There is a similar thing with Poulter. THere is lots of 'noise' around him, but at the end of the day there are a lot of lower profile players who are better than him.
    2. Kevin Na's slow play. Totally agree with 22 and 24 (amongst others). He is clearly suffering from something similar to yips. Whilst I can't compare myself to him, I can possibly empathise insofar as I have always had an issue in 'pulling the trigger' (ooer!), and consequently freeze over the ball for what seems like ages. You can see with Na that it frustrates him more than anyone - the way he berated himself on occasion. There are numerous other pro's who take ages - Ben Crane for instance. Have you seen how long Robert Karlsson stands over it before hitting? Have you seen how long Jim Furyk takes when putting? Then look at Snedeker for instance who hits it almost as soon as he's over it. They are all playing to their own tempo.
    I hate slow play as much as anyone, and yes he should try and be quicker, but the fact is that Na is trying his best and it's not deliberate. Not unlike Garcia's constant regripping habit of old. The guy is trying to make a living for gooness sake. To suggest banning him is really harsh, and in fact nonsense. I'm sure his various playing partners have sympathy with him - not sure if any of them have been asked about it? If he is going to be penalised ever then it will be in accordance with tour protocol, which I think is two warnings then a shot penalty and possibly a fine.
    One thing he could do (and maybe he does) would be to make sure he is super quick between shots, so that he minimises the chance of falling behind the group in front. As long as he stays up with them, he won't get put on the clock. However, if he falls a hole back, then he will be measured on the time he takes to execute the shot, and will probably get a penalty

  • Comment number 49.

    @9 DBF. Couldn't agree more and alluded to this aspect of rory's game when Iain called into question his schedule on a previous blog. I believe Rory is yet to develop a mental fortitude to grind out +1/+2 round when not playing well (for whatever reason). Clearly he has the physical game but the mental side of his game would, at present, appear to be flawed in this regard.
    @17 & 44. YB. Of course it must have been disappointing for Lee to shoot 74/77 the last two rounds of the Players particularly at such a top event...your point being?

  • Comment number 50.

    There is 1 very big difference between Rickie Fowler and most of the other 'next big thing' players; swing mechanics. Most of the others are obsessed by swing mechanics; RF is only concerned with hitting golf shots.

    He also seems to enjoy 'the hunt' more than others. He's has the look of someone who is more interested in winning than making a very good living. Tom Watson has always said he enjoyed 'the hunt'.

  • Comment number 51.

    Imo the yanks are finally coming out from Tiger's shadow and showing that they are good players. If we played the Ryder Cup today Olazabal would have his work cut out.
    Luckily it isn't till September.

  • Comment number 52.

    Trev #26 - very well put

  • Comment number 53.

    Kevin Na could be sorted out quite easily just use the rules of golf.


    For the purpose of preventing slow play, the Committee or rules offical may,
    in the conditions of a competition (Rule 33-1), establish pace of play
    guidelines including maximum periods of time allowed to complete a
    stipulated round, a hole or a stroke.
    In stroke play only, the Committee may, in such a condition, modify the
    penalty for a breach of this Rule as follows:

    Also I know a young golfer who I thought would be the next dominat player but as yet he seems more interested in only playing well when it suits, jetsetting off to see a girl hit a ball over the net rather than trying to grind out a score no "eye of the tiger" there.Please don`t waste all your talent

  • Comment number 54.

    "19.At 10:53 15th May 2012, mickysausage wrote:
    @LordVoldemort you are also clearly The Boike Master General and Powerhitter!"

    Dream on, china!

    By the way, post 19 is rubbish, one of your worst ever

  • Comment number 55.

    # 49

    No particular point - he has played well in big tournaments and in this one he disappointed.

    What do you think of his proposed schedule in run up to the two Opens.....?

  • Comment number 56.

    53 - Rich, exactly. The rules shoudl determine whether he is penalised and in what manner. This could then lead to him being penalised shots, which could lead to him making less money or missing cuts. Eventually he would either have to change his ways or he wouldn't make a living.

    What was quite interesting for em was the 3rd round. He kept backing off (and hit one of those pseudo air-shots as well), and also became noticably frustrated with himself, yet still hardly missed a shot. It was only in the final round when it started to affect his game (and crucially started to interfere with his putting)

    The 'Fowler is the next big thing' debate has parallels with David Beckham in some ways. A very good player but (IMHO) the hype around him far outweighed his ability. Most professionals would say that Paul Scholes is (was) a better player but the average person wouldn't even have heard of him.

  • Comment number 57.

    Lord VolderMott and Beak Master General. If you have ever had any lessons or had anything to do with golf coaching then you would know that holding your club too far down the shaft gives you less control over your swing! Hence why the majority of golfers on the majority of shots hold the club shaft near the top. Yes it is often held shorter for chips and low drive shots but if you watch NA he leaves about 5/6" of club shaft behind his hands on every shot he hits. Grow up guys and stop being Trolls on here and respect peoples opinions!

  • Comment number 58.

    I agree that Rory has one if not the best technical swings in Golf he does make silly mistakes with a wedge in his paws. Under pressure I think Ricky is more of a competitor, he uses his mind (golfing brain) to counter the majestic swing or Rory. Both players are excellent role models. I though it very poor that Tiger was spittting on Saturday at TPC and still acting like a petulant child.

  • Comment number 59.

    Afternoon all.

    This blog reminds me of countless other articles on how Martin Kaymer/Anthony Kim/Michelle Wie/Tom Lewis/{enter your own choice of young golfer who's had a bit of success} is going to be the "next big thing". It strikes me it's waaaaay to early to start bigging him up. But good luck to the young whippersnapper - I do like him.

    As for Kevin Na - he needs help, not punishment.

    Congratulations to Ricardo Santos for winning in Madeira too - I do believe he was one of my predictions :-)

    Anyway, I look forward to a Don247 dissection of the Fowler game - Come on Don, you know you want to.

  • Comment number 60.

    Somebody get this guy a stylist. Seriously, even for a golfer he's some state.

  • Comment number 61.

    Micksausage

    an opionion should only be respected if the opinion in question itself showed respect:

    "Kevin Na is a disgrace to himself and the golfing pro tour" - please point out to people where the respect is in this ridiculous comment

    "Purposely delaying play to put his fellow players off there game" - if this was the case he would not have been apologising to Zach Johnson, or look so uncomfortable with what he was doing

    "I'm glad he lost his head in the end, he should be ashamed of himself" - another utterly ridiculous comment

    "this kid clearly as problems and i think until he sorts them out he should be kicked off the tour" - so someone has a problem and the resolution to that is to kick him off the tour?? Outstanding contribution to the "lacking common sense" approach there

    "Na needs a 6 month ban, this will stop him ruining genuine golfers rounds"

    So mickeysausage - you command respect from others yet your outlandish and agressive posts to a young man still finding his feet on the tour in a foreign country, with crowds whispering to him mid pre-shot, with his country's expectations behind him, trying to win some of the hardest tournaments in the world, and you can't even show him an ounce of respect???

    Have a word with yourself will you.

  • Comment number 62.

    My 10 thoughts from the Players event:-

    1 - Mcilroy couldnt wait to miss the cut so he could go and watch sweet Caroline play tennis in Rome, it was always his intent too miss it, only showed up to not further tarnish his personality.
    2 - Lee Westwood yet again fails to inspire in a big tournament
    3 - Luke Donald again starts to play when it is too late to challenge
    4 - Kevin Na disgraces himself and his people by clearly trying to put off his playing partners
    5 - Tiger still trying to get too grips with his new swing, but again shows glimpses that it may all come together very soon

    cont............................

  • Comment number 63.

    6 - Harrington continues too plummet out of the world golf picture
    7 - Ricky Fowler finally becoming a major contender, but still as a shocking tash
    8 - Brian Davis still the best ball striker on the european tour
    9 - Ian Poulter makes everyone think he is going to finally win a tournament before yet again bottling under the pressure
    10 - Yet again (seems to be year after year) a chunk of the "big guns" of golf fail to finish in the top 10 at Sawgrass

  • Comment number 64.

    @55. YB. I suspect these are just the tourno's he's currently committed to? Would guess he's also take in either the Irish Open (Portrush I think this year) or The Scottish Open, which he played last year, prior to The Open. Looks bare as it stands but then rather like Iain's previous blog about Rory's schedule it doesn't really seem to have an impact on his success or not. Like most golfing fans I suspect we would like to see these guys play week in week out but clearly that isn't feasible.

    @59 84641. Congrats on your choice..I was fortunate enough to stick a pin in Santos myself so hopefully we'll both be moving up the predictions league.

  • Comment number 65.

    my thoughts on the Players 2012 is that it was genarally pretty rubbish as a tournament and Luke Donald and Lee Westwood let everybody down very badly again.
    It will be very interesting to hear what John Hawksworth thinks this week.

  • Comment number 66.

    I got it right - RM missed the cut.

  • Comment number 67.

    Wow, fiery blog !
    But i must agree with mickeysausage and bilo, Kevin Na was a disgrace.
    Many people have been on here moaning about slow play at their respective clubs and for bad sportsmanship, Na was displaying both, i don't think it was a genuine problem and it was more for attention and gamesmanship.
    Na should be dealt with by the games authorities.

  • Comment number 68.

    #62 & 63, Mickey, I was going to respond in a 10 point answer but, to be honest, I couldn't be bothered as most sensible people will dismiss your comments anyway.

    Please re-read your own comments and consider them again. Bilo has apologised for his OTT remarks you know.

    #61 YB - hear hear!!!

  • Comment number 69.

    #67 Sumo - do you really think the USPGA Tour would tolerate the behaviour of Kevin Na if they thought for one second that it was a deliberate attempt to put others off?

    Do you also think that his fellow Pro's would accept him if it was deliberate?

    I just hope you don't have any wee personal foibles that others need to tolerate in accepting you or you could be living a very lonely life.

  • Comment number 70.

    #69 Trevster!

    I can't believe it. I totally agree with you. Is the world coming to an end???

  • Comment number 71.

    #69 Trev,

    I can't believe it. I agree with you. Is the world coming to an end???

  • Comment number 72.

    MM the day shift like a fight Kevin Na is one of a few players that seem to take an age watch Keegan Bradley walking up to the ball then backing away its very bizarre to watch. Mind he does then get on with it and pull the trigger. Not sure if it was to do with slow play but watch you tube of Bubba losing it with Steve Elkington, he policed that situation himself. If the pther players playing alongside Na complained I guess something would get done. Point is he faded away and his play did not stop Kucher from winning ( 10 POINTS Jimmy).

  • Comment number 73.

    I thought that
    I thought
    I th
    I
    I thought that Kevin Na wa
    I
    I thought th
    I th th
    I
    I thought that Kevin Na was unlucky

  • Comment number 74.

    @ TrevtheTrainer how many of my 10 points can you say are not true??????????? Please answer..............................

  • Comment number 75.

    listen everyone slagging mickysausage...he is an ex-Head Blogger so he deserves respect. We all respect our current Head Blogger jimmy an his deputy daveyboyfletcher ( Legend ) so i think mickysausage is allowed his opinion and to be honest this time i agree with most of his 10 points. especially about Na...he was an absolute shocking disgrace to the game.

  • Comment number 76.

    Trev, do I think the tour would accept the behaviour of Na?
    Well they accept the behaviour of Tiger, John Daly and Troy Matteson?

  • Comment number 77.

    It would be ironic if it was Kevin Na who led to slow play becoming a big issue. While his twitching and 'freshys' were uncomfortable to watch he was genuinely embarrassed and clearly the more he thought about it, the more difficult it was to play.

    However, while Na, clearly has a confidence / mental issue others are just plain slow. They wander up to their ball, wait for their playing partner to take a shot - then they have a think about club selection, chat to their caddy, take a few swings, change club, have another chat etc. These are the guys who are the real disgrace and should be banned or fined. I'd happilly namecheck Webb Simpson as a culprit.

    Golfer's should almost always know the club as soon as they know the yardage, even with a bit of wind it shouldn't be more than a few seconds to think about it. Then between 20 to 40 seconds to address and pull the trigger.

  • Comment number 78.

    Well said piehutt.
    i vote piehutt becomes new Head Blogger. Who seconds my proposal? they clearly talk the most sense on here.
    piehutt for Head Blogger with mattefc as deputy.

  • Comment number 79.

    Bilosausage, why are you ruining this blog?

    All your comments are cynical, do you never have anything positive to say?

  • Comment number 80.

    daveyboyfletcher @7, eight for six for one @59 and The Boike_Meister General:

    eight for six for one, I thought you were off on holiday, "topping up your tan". Hopefully, you haven't returned from "hotter climes" with "suspected Dengue Fever!"

    As you know, daveyboyfletcher has been pressing me to disclose "My Candidate Most Likely To" and I was holding off ( read: spinning it out) "the big disclosure" until everyone was on board.

    My "Candidate Most Likely To" is JUSTIN ROSE (... the South African-born Englishman, who now resides in Orlando, Florida.)

    Well done, maninasuitcase, daveyboyfletcher and The Boike_Meister General! You all said the same thing right from the beginning. As they say, "Great minds think alike!"

    Maybe it was "obvious", but you have to set out your criteria and see who fits them best.

    I have made up a "Justin Rose Composite" of articles/comments to support my thesis. It will follow this post.... if I can get a word or two in edgeways that is, since there's so much aggro whizzing about today!!

    BMG - You can stop reading now because the rest is just going to be too much for your brain!

    P.S. - eight for six for one, I haven't prepared anything on Rickie Fowler but, as I mentioned last week, I have been really impressed with his game and his combative attitude since the Ryder Cup and the Open (just look back the archives) and thought that he had a good chance on Sunday. Unfortunately he missed a couple of very makeable putts for birdies on the short 13th and on the last. Otherwise it could have been a very different story for Kuuuuch coming down the stretch!

    Rickie's got the Lanny Wadkin's "gunslinger game/look" about him ... he just loves to compete and beat his opponent, no matter who or no matter where. He just goes for it .. no fear, no scar tissue!

    That said, Rickie has toned down his (overly)aggressive game of late and improved his putting (by reverting to his old college cross-handed grip) so his results are really beginning to improve. He is a very level-headed and "devoted" young man ... if I can put it that way.

    Anyway, once he starts getting a taste of this "Sunday afternoon adrenalin rush", he'll be at the top of the leaderboard time and time again! He feeds off the crowd and atmosphere .... and all the kids love him and his style!!

    P.P.S - By way of an alternative to Rickie, however, I could offer you my latest (indeed last) "Rory McIlroy Hatchet/Chainsaw Massacre Job", following his (un)expected early departure from the Players Championship (.... three in a row constitutes an unenviable "hat trick of MCs" for the Boy Wonder/Blunder).

    My "insight" is anything but "constructive", but this is my last piece on Rory because the boy is just not worth writing about ... I feel he doesn't share my love, devotion or respect for the game! (Sad when you think he is the World #1 and his commitment to the game is becoming increasingly suspect!!)

    mickysausage:

    Good to see you back in earnest. I notice you've "crossed keyboards" with my old adversaries, i.e. LordVoldemort and trevthetrainer .... you're welcome to them!

    P.S. - I'll "chip in" later vis-à-vis your ten points!

  • Comment number 81.

    Here is the future of golf summed up -
    1 Rory
    2 Rickie
    3 Matteo M
    4 Jason Day

  • Comment number 82.

    LordVoldemort is clearly Tom Riddle

  • Comment number 83.

    The pro's practice SO much you would expect the pre shot routine is automatic and therefore Kevin Na's obvious anxiety reaction is quite shocking
    To see all the vitriol is disappointing
    The lad is not doing this on purpose!!!
    It is a type of the yips

    To the fan it is irritating and when Sergio and remember Tony Johnstone was doing this it gets on your nerves to watch
    We have a bloke in our society who gets all set up then just freezes for up to 20 seconds before eventually pulling the trigger. Because everyone is waiting for it someone usually gets the giggles. No one likes to play with him sadly but it's a great subject for extracting the urine

  • Comment number 84.

    ricky is very consistent and brings a new flare to golf which is eye catching not just his clothing but his swing and the way he acts.
    the rest of the u.s team are boring , bill haas, come on would you go for a pint with him ? i know i wouldnt, same goes for hunter mahan, keegan bradley and webb simpson. Ricky Fowler is what every golfer wants to be and what every golf fan wants to watch, he is exciting. stop criticising and playing down the excellence of someone who is enhancing the game of golf.

  • Comment number 85.

    Re Ricky Fowler
    He looks like a winner-always has to me
    I am amazed he has taken so long to assert himself but that he will now he has started to show he can finish the job
    Terrific tee to green and copes with weather and high stress
    His current form however is all down to putting and we all know how fickle that form can be to someone who isn't a naturally good putter
    If he had Poulter's or Ben Curtis' stroke he would be a really big deal but then one could say that of many including Lee Westwwod of course

  • Comment number 86.

    I agree ethec very good point that kim was guna be huge considering his impressive form at the ryder cup a few years ago. golf is too unpredictable there are so many talented players around. However, I hope Rickie Fowler does make more of name for himself because he seems like a sound guy. Not to mention he has i think a potential iconic figure about him if he does produce some more wins and dare i say it, a few majors maybe? Now I am a massive Tiger Woods fan what he has done to this sport has been something not many other athletes ever have done to theirs but as much as it pains me to say it, the years are slipping away from Woods to get that every elusive Jack's 18. Putting that aside when Woods does retire which may not be soon who knows he will leave a significant hole in golf perhaps forever but at least people like rickie fowler can salvage more then people realise.

  • Comment number 87.

    Don247's "Justin Rose Composite":

    From my press cuttings, I've put together a "composite" of what reporters have written about Justin Rose, which IMO points to him landing a Major ahead of his British contemporaries.

    "By winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, Justin was "the first Englishman to win a WGC strokeplay title. The £900,000 winner's cheque was an incidental to the 31-year-old who has won more than £25m in his career. This was the big-stage win for which the fresh-faced 17-year-old amateur who burst onto the scene with a fourth-place finish at Royal Birkdale in 1998 Open was always destined for."

    "In securing a one shot victory at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Justin Rose displayed a personality at peace with his game and with himself."

    "I felt comfortable at the weekend. I felt calm. I felt ready to play well,” said Rose, whose triumph in Florida was the biggest in a 14-year career and propelled him up to seventh in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    "And I felt very comfortable today. I was even kind of checking myself, even on the 18th tee, and there were very few nerves. I was thinking ‘this is not normal really’, based upon the past, but I guess it's a good sign of getting more comfortable out there."

    "One reason Rose has had success of late is his putting. More than anything, however, it comes down to confidence for Rose, whose coach Sean Foley said is, excluding Tiger Woods, the most complete player in his stable.

    "It’s just been a matter of finally putting into practice all of the things I’ve learned," Rose said. "Getting to a point in my life where I’m comfortable on and off the golf course. It’s not always just about the golf swing or how you’re putting. It’s putting your life together along with the golf. I think that’s probably what’s happened in the last two years."

    "But taking a look at the now 31-year-old Rose’s career trajectory, you’ll notice a distinct pattern."

    "His breakthrough PGA Tour win came at The Memorial Tournament in 2010. Rose followed up that triumph at Muirfield Village with another, just two weeks later, at the AT&T National at Aronimink. Winning at both Jack’s place and Tiger’s tournament is a fine way to start, but since then Rose has stepped up a gear. He has arguably won the most prestigious tournaments outside the year’s four big ones and with major-quality fields."

    "So, from Tour winner to WGC champion, all that’s missing from an ever-expanding trophy cabinet is a Green Jacket, a Claret Jug or a Wanamaker Trophy. Justin Rose has placed himself firmly in the "one to watch" category. This is a golfer going places."

    "Given his impeccable tee-to-green game and clear ability to prevail under pressure from a top-class field and on a course with its claws out, Rose’s best shot might just come at a US Open. Watch out, Olympic Club."

    Sir Nick Faldo says this about Justin Rose:

    "He does everything right and has done for a while now," Nick said. "He looks a bit technical at times, but I'd be the last person to criticise him on that score. Has he enough experience of being right in the thick of it on the final day and thinking, 'Wow, that's what it feels like?' That might be the next step for him."

    With everyone's expectations now much higher, Justin disappointed a lot of people at TPC Sawgrass by shooting a first-round 76, but he said:

    "I don’t ever seem to be able to make putts around here so I tried a different strategy. It was nice. I got it back to respectability today, managed to shoot under par (68), and took some good feelings away."

    "I gutted it out to make the cut, which was important. I haven’t missed a cut all year and didn’t want to start here. I was pretty motivated for that round."

    Rose pointed to his putting as the culprit for his disappointing showing.

    "I find it hard to see the lines on the greens here," said Rose, who ranked near the bottom of the field this week in the all-important Strokes Gained-Putting statistic. "The whole week revolved around the putter and the frustration builds from not making putts and it can bleed into the rest of your game. When you’re not making putts — that’s what it boils down to."

    Rose, in fact, switched to a broom-handle putter in the final round to shoot a 71.

    "It’s going to be a long summer of golf,” said Rose, “but I feel like my game is in good shape."

    Conclusion: Obviously I have selected the quotes/passages which fit my argument, but Justin Rose has all the necessary qualities to go on and become a Major Champion. He has beaten top-class fields on top-class courses so I feel he is about to take the next step and become top of the class because he is a class act (.... see what I've done there?)

  • Comment number 88.

    Its all got rather heated today. Its only golf, anyone would think its important.

    I have to admit that this blog strikes a little bit of sensationalist reporting which i dont say too often, If ever of Iain Carters blog.

    There is a lot to be admired in Rickie Fowler and like most other people, if not everyone else I expect these last couple of weeks to be the springboard further success, but he could well go another 68 events without a win, by which time another "next big thing" will be on the scene and Rickie will be the forgotten man. Two Good weeks doesn't make him a great golfer, however we have all seen the potential for him to be a great golfer.

    On Kevin Na - I only watched Saturday and therefore my comments are only related to what I saw, but his 3rd round display was really admirable in my opinion in terms of the guts, determination and fight that he showed. I think some of the more incendiary and aggressive remarks about him are regrettable and i dont have much time for them to be honest.

    Its worth noting that Na had hit is 2nd shot on 16 and was walking down the fairway towards the green as he watched Kuchar dunk his ball in the water on 17 so he was keeping up with the group in front (I was always taught as a kid, the barometer of how quickly you should play is "keep up with the group in front, not just ahead of the group behind") So his overall speed of play wasn't too bad. Clearly Kuchar wasnt too badly affected by it.

  • Comment number 89.

    Don,
    Was Rose's broom-handle (hadn't actually seen that, interesting news!) to blame for only shooting 71 or for shooting 71 when it could have been plenty more?

    Only ask because he enjoyed two hole-outs for eagle, one on a par 4, one chip-in on a par 5.

  • Comment number 90.

    Incidentally there will be a prediction update later on so feel free to start getting your picks in now.

  • Comment number 91.

    Interested to see some people think I'm being sensationalist. The point of the blog is to highlight what I think is a coming of age for someone who has shown plenty of potential. I don't agree with the parallels with Kim because of the maturity Fowler has shown - the same can't be said of Kim. The blog points out that Poulter doesn't think Fowler is as good as McIlroy yet and that Tom Watson is guarded in his opinions - I'm not sure those points would have been mentioned if I was being sensational. Fowler is, though, a very promising golfer and given his charisma, maturity and the fact that he's now won he, IMHO, offers the most exciting all round package in the American game.

  • Comment number 92.

    BiloMcT, mickysausage et al:

    Regarding Kevin Na, he has always been a slow player but, since last year, he has also been trying to make swing changes, which have made the "Na equation" even more complicated than before.

    He wants to play his shot but, because of all the negative/insecure thoughts running through his head, he's literally frozen over the ball. He wants to "pull the trigger" but he can't "commit to the shot" as they say.

    He is not deliberately time wasting as you suggest, but Na's more like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car, he just can't move for fear of his life ... ,in this case, hitting a bad shot. Add in a dash of Sunday afternoon pressure and you have a recipe for complete disaster. It is a form of "yips" (as other people have already said) which affects his whole game not just his putting.

    Of course, all these practice swings and nervous displacement exercises have a negative effect on his playing partner's game. Zach Johnson was none too pleased that he couldn't play at his normal rhythm; he got a bit frustrated, dropped a few shots and slipped back in the third round.

    Kuuuch, on the other hand, said that he was a very patient guy by nature and had prepared himself for the situation before he went out with Na in the last round. However, he felt it very unfair that he should be penalised for being "on the clock" because of his playing partner's inaction.

    The governing bodies will have to take a serious look at the Kevin Na case and at slow play in general (.... but remember these golfers are playing for hundreds of thousands of dollars every tournament so, of course, they usually err on the side of caution and take their time.)

    Do you think Tiger's suggestion to penalise players "on the clock" by giving them penalty strokes will work?

    "Strokes is money," says Tiger so, in essence, it should be an incentive to speed up "slow play" ... because lost prize money would then show up in the all-important ranking lists, such as the FedEx Cup etc.

    Tiger also said that "the pace of play" is not just a Tour issue but a golf issue because of the construction and length of golf courses. You have a build-up of groups on reachable par fives, which then has a "tailback effect" ... just like on a motorway ... with everyone stuck/parked on the tee, in the fairway or on the green with practically no forward movement. Everyone is waiting and getting more and more frustrated .... meaning that the enjoyment is going out of the game.

    At the TPC, some groups were taking nearly three hours or more to play nine holes. Of course, players like Jason Day and Ben Crane are famously slow ... as was Bernhard Langer in the past.

    What is the solution? Grin and bear it ... or do something about it?

  • Comment number 93.

    Iain Carter @91:

    Compared to me, you're a saint vis-à-vis sensationalism!


    kwiniaskagolfer @89:

    I was watching live@ on pga.com all four rounds. In Rd 3, Justin missed a three-footer on the 13th hole and didn't look very comfortable on the greens, which is quite uncharacteristic for him ... especially given his good recovery round on Friday.

    Then on the Sunday, to my great surprise, he was out with this broom-handle putter. I'd never seen him use it before; indeed I didn't even know he was experimenting with it, like Big Phil or Jim Furyk last year. However, he seemed to be holing out better than with his normal putter, so I would say it helped him to his 71.

    When I wrote my "Candidate Most Likely To", I saw what Justin had said about the difficulty he has on the greens at TPC Sawgrass, finding his lines etc. (see my "composite" above). I don't know if this is a permanent switch or just an emergency measure.

    Justin's playing Robert Rock in the Volvo this week, so we'll find out then!

  • Comment number 94.

    Ricky Fowler - very weird swing but so aggressive through impact, its actually quite exciting to watch. Very stark comparison with Kuchar who is so languid. I agree that RF may have to change that swing a bit when he's older, it looks like it puts a huge amount of pressure on his body, but he likes the pressure and it would be good to see him challenging a bit more from now on.
    As for Rory, he just hasn't worked out Sawgrass yet. It is a bit tight and not easy to get out of trouble witha wonder shot here or there. Poeple say he can't be bothered all the time, and why should he be? He's not a machine. In thelast 12months or so, he's won 3 times including probably the toughest major, come second 5 times and been out of the top ten a handful of times. If he is having an off day or doesn't fancy it and still have this success, who are you to criticise? Why should he be expected to have the same intensity and drive every time he tees it up - only someone who is obssessed would do that in any walk of life. I quite like his laid back attitude, and that's what makes him seem a more rounded likeable person.
    As for poor Kevin "Apocalypse" Na, he has my sympathy. He was clearly tormented out there, particularly on the final day. He needs some help because he looked like he was suffering out there from the very first tee. Did anyone see his face att hat time? He looked like his eyes were going to bust out of his head. I think he just couldn't handle the pressure for some reason and it did him in . He did well to go round in 4 over in that state. It obviously didn't affect Kuchar and it looked like he strolled home when everyone else was falling away.
    I don't think much can be read into the results at Sawgrass - eg look at KJ Choi - he won it last year and missed the cut this year (and hasn't done much else either). Stenson won it and then virtually disappeared. Garcia won it and then did nothing on the US Tour. Kuchar is consistently up there in the top ten, but he has only won 3 times on the PGA Tour and he is 34. Its not a good barometer of how a player is doing in the general scheme of things. So no big deal for Westwood and Donald not to challenge there.
    I watched a lot of the tournament and I thought it was quite boring. I felt there wasn't much drama and it was all a bit flat. Let's hope a few more big players really hit form for the rest of the majors. It was good to see Ben Curtis playing well again. Not particularly exciting player, but a g

  • Comment number 95.

    I think he will be a great player, and good for the game, kids seem to love him and want to dress like him. I say Ricky the world is your oyster

  • Comment number 96.

    Mickey - 6&10 are reasonable.What's your point?

  • Comment number 97.

    I'm going to "swerve" the KN debate as it's already cause enough havoc by all accounts!!
    With regards to the blog and RF, I like him as a golfer/person, and think this could be his breakthrough year!!?? Lets see if he can challenge in the 3 big ones left this year?

    @87/92 ..Don.....RE: Rose...What major(of the 4) do you think he's more likely to win/contend?

    RE: Woods...I happen to agree (well I would wouldn't I!) with what TW said in relation to slow play. I do remember though a few years ago him & good old Padraig being put on the clock (apparently because of the 3 time major winner!!) by John Paramor, which, subsequently ended in PH "blowing up" on the par 5. Tiger later blamed JP for PH's implosion!!??

  • Comment number 98.

    unreal some of the c r a p on here about rory.. firstly fowler has only won once on tour..just once n sixty eight attempts
    some sad rory blows hot and cold... thirteen top five finishes in sixteen events ,,,really...
    WORLD TOP RANKED PLAYER. END OF.. FOWLER HAS WON ONCE... AND ALL OF A SUDDEN HE S BETTER THAN RORY

  • Comment number 99.

    mickysausage @62 and 63:

    Well, you know me, I'll take time to give you:

    My 10 thoughts about your 10 thoughts from the Players event.

    1. Regarding the McIlory kid, I'm in total agreement with you. Plus, G-Mac always seems to be there making excuses to cover his young stablemate's rear end. Of course, G-Mac knows how important it is to keep the press/sponsors on side. Rory, however, has more important things to do (like "shopping" in Rome) so it's a case of: "Let's get out of here, ASAP.!"

    2. Regarding Lee Westwood, TPC Sawgrass just highlighted the obvious weaknesses in Lee's game. Despite trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, the very unbiased American commentators on pgatour.com's live @ were asking just how long the World's #3 could compete/survive at the highest level with such a poor short game and highly suspect putting.
    His good driving and iron play can only get him so far. In fact, all the players who finished at/near the top of The Players leaderboard are recognised as being straight hitters and good/great putters - Kuuuch, Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Ben Curtis and Luuke.
    3. Luuke had trouble with his sinuses on Thursday so he was a bit under the weather and got off to a slow start. However, he fought back well and scoring a record 30 on the back nine in the last round to nearly get himself into the mix and lead in the clubhouse for a couple of hours was good play. Nearly, however, is not good enough. "Close but no cigar!", as they say.
    4. Kevin Na was not a disgrace ... watch the interviews and read the reports on pgatour.com. The guy has a real problem inside his head and is trying to overcome his "demons". There's nothing deliberate about it at all but, if you happen to be his playing partner, like Zach Johnson in Rd 3, it is very exasperating to say the least!
    5. Tiger has a very glum expression on his face these days even after scoring a birdie. IMHO, it all stems from his family situation. It said on pgatour that he took his kids to school then drove two hours to get to the course ... after that he had to think about the swing changes etc. The key question here is: Is his heart still in it?
    6. Padraig has tinkered with his swing so much he has lost the pot of gold he had at the end of the rainbow. He believes he is getting closer, but his scores tell another story ... a bit like Tantalus. That record 10-under-par 61 at the Transitions Championship in Florida was perhaps his swan song.
    7. Rickie Fowler has the looks, the game and most importantly the stones to become golf's Little Big Man. He knows his destiny awaits him but he's not rushing things ... because he's a clever, well educated and extremely well mannered young man; in short (and in shirt), a credit to the game!
    8. You have been singing the praises of Brian Davis for quite some time. He's there or there about nearly every other tournament these days. He was near the top of the leaderboard at the Players, although he finished off a bit tired looking, putting his ball in the water at the 17th in the final round. He will win on the PGA Tour soon.
    9. After his first-round 65, IP was already planning to buy a Ferrari Enzo. Two double bogeys early in his second round cooled off his over-heated motor/mouth however. IP should learn to take it step by step and not allow his very active mind to run off way ahead of events on hand.
    In Rd 3, despite three-putting the last for a 66 in difficult conditions, Rickie Flower gave IP an absolute lesson and IP (71) - outdressed and totally outplayed - IP didn't like it one little bit!
    10. TPC Sawgrass is not a "bombers' course". It's all about "mental golf". Patience, accuracy off the tee, intestinal fortitude and, when needed, taking your medicine wins around this track so that all the straight hitters and good putters rise to the top. Keep the ball on the fairway, hit it on the green, then putt it into the hole .. easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

    P.S. - I saw "your" Martin Kaymer momentarily playing the 17th, ... apart from that he always seems to do the disappearing act. Yet, when I look at the European Tour List, MK is currently third without ever "having set the heather on fire" this year. How does he do it ... the Good German?

  • Comment number 100.

    57 Mickey - not sure why you are having a go at me about this gripping down lark. I never made any comment on it?

    88 Jimmy - the second half of your post is absolutely spot on. I was cringing for Na as he battled with himself but as I alluded to, he still managed to shoot a good round and it didn't seem to affect his shots (when he eventually hit them) nor his putting. sadly it seemed to affect him more on Sunday.

    It reminds me not only of the yips but of the so called dartitis that Bristow and others suffered from when they couldn't let go of the dart. The psychologists amongst you (Don?) will have some scientific explanation for it, but in layman's terms it is presumably just massive anxiety and not 'feeling ready' to let the shot go.

    If anyone honestly thinks it was in any way deliberate then they need their head seeing to.

 

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