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Drama will unfold at the Frys.com Open

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By Joe Romaine

GolfWRX Contributor

A season that began with such promise for so many on the PGA Tour is slowly winding down. In 2012, golf fans saw the likes of Jason Dufner and Rickie Fowler break through for their first wins and the unquestionable resurgence of Tiger Woods is finally growing old.  Time is running short for aspiring Tour players yet to secure their cards for the 2013 season.

The 2012 PGA tour leader boards were dominated by household names such as Tiger, Rory, Ernie,and Bubba.  Very little room at the head table was saved for the young players on Tour hungry for success. But while the biggest names in the game are collecting a hefty purse and appearance fees in Turkey and elsewhere, some very talented players will be battling it out in California to earn a little security and a future home on the PGA Tour.

Tiger Woods made waves in 2011 by adding the Frys.com open to his fall schedule. Whether it was a PR move or an earnest attempt to ingrain his in-progress swing change to muscle memory, it proved successful.  All the drama and stories that Tiger’s presence produces always adds excitement to any event.  The Tiger versus Rory conversation has slowly supplanted the Tiger versus Phil banter.  However, the 2012 version of the Frys.com open possesses no such drama in which the fans and media can engage. In fact, at last count, this tournament will only field one of the current top 40 on the PGA tour money list.  But what the tournament will be lacking in media frenzy, it will have in grit and determination.  The field this week only consists of two winners from the 2012 season.  Although 16 major champion titles will be represented, only three of those have occurred within the last five seasons. With such a large percentage of the field yearning for success, all the drama this week will be right where it belongs — inside the ropes and on the course.

In its short five year history, the Frys.com open has provided some wonderful, close finishes. Three of the five editions of this tournament have been decided by a playoff. That translates to this event averaging extra holes every other year. Even in 2010, an ever-so-rare non-playoff year at the Frys, the tournament wasn’t without final-round entertainment. Rocco Mediate holed a 116-yard shot for eagle on the 17th hole Sunday to secure a victory — and his Tour card — by one shot.  It was his fourth hole out (one was an ace) of the tournament. With so many participants looking to secure a Tour card, for a first win of the year, or even a first career win, the intensity, drama and pressure will be immense.

Although 2012 victors will be scarce among the field this week, there will be some familiar names and faces stalking the fairways at CordeValle Golf Club.  Ernie Els is a four-time major winner, including this year’s Open Championship, and tied for fourth at last year’s Frys. If the Big Easy has even a decent week with his putter, the familiar sight of the big South African’s name will be high on the leader board come Sunday.  Another name, albeit not nearly as familiar as Els, is Bud Cauley.  Bud Cauley joined an illustrious list of names last year by playing his way onto the PGA Tour without going through the Q-School or the Web.com tour. Cauley finished solo third last year and should have plenty of confidence returning this week.

A few other names that stand out are Nicolas Colsaerts, Gary Woodland, Aaron Baddeley and Luke Guthrie.  Colsaerts is looking to secure a 2013 PGA tour card this week. He has expressed his affinity for the American Tour and if he shows just a glimpse of what he did during his first appearance at the Ryder Cup, there is no reason to doubt his imposing presence next year in the states. The uber-athletic Woodland will look to take advantage of his gargantuan tee shots and recent work with Butch Harmon to light up CordeValle. Much like Els, if Woodland has a good week on the greens, look for him to be a threat for his second career tour win.

One player that rarely, if ever, has issues with the putter is Aaron Baddeley.  Badds needs to reverse his trend of fading down the stretch in order to pick up his first tour win since 2011. Finally, Luke Guthrie is no stranger to winning. He has two Big Ten tournament titles to his name and also won two Web.com events in September alone. With his 2013 PGA tour card all but secured, look for Guthrie to play fearless golf and continue his momentum and be near the leaders on Sunday.

This week, the absence of the spotlight and glamour that comes with the biggest names in golf will be apparent. The roars of the galleries echoing through the grounds will be replaced with more subtle claps and muted cheers. But while the stage this week at the Frys.com open has changed, the drama sure to unfold will remain the same. A large majority of the players in this week’s field will be playing their hearts out and laying it all on the line in an attempt to secure not only a Tour card, but also a role on the main stage among golf’s elite.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

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Joe Romaine is a high school math teacher and golf coach in sunny Arizona. His days are spent thinking about golf, watching golf, and relating golf to his students' math curriculum.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the United Leasing & Finance Championship

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GolfWRX stopped by the Web.com for some WITB action, Thursday. The United Leasing & Finance Championship from Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana, is the host venue for golf’s seasoned grinders and up-and-comers this week.

If you’d like a quick bite of Tour photo goodness, we’ve got you covered. Scroll for a Web.com Tour edition of “10 interesting photos.”

First up, Curtis Thompson’s motivational iron stamping is, as the kids say, straight fire

Another of Thompson’s inspiration-inscribed Cobra King MB irons

If these gentlemen aren’t doing it absolutely right, then who is?

Lee McCoy’s custom Odyssey putter appears to feature ball bearings and silicone. Singular stuff. We’ll need (much) more information…

Someone needs to untie this man, he’s trying to practice his golf swing!

The rare beanie-and-sunglasses combo

Crowd or no crowd, this marshal is doubly committed to his job

I’m not an expert, but I don’t think that’s the preferred driver setup…

Two words: Pant. Game.

Respectable lead tape application!

Check out all our photos from the United Leasing & Finance Championship below!

Thursday’s galleries

Special galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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Thursday’s photos from the Web.com Tour’s United Leasing & Finance Championship

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GolfWRX stopped by the Web.com for some WITB action, Thursday. The United Leasing & Finance Championship from Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana, is the host venue for golf’s seasoned grinders and up-and-comers this week.

We have seven galleries from the range, as well as an in-hand look at the always WITB-envy inducing Lee McCoy’s putter.

Thursday’s galleries

Special galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, where, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures and have five galleries from TPC Louisiana’s range Tuesday. We also have a look inside Ryan Ruffels bag, a peek at Jimmy Walker’s putter, a look in Brooks Koepka’s bag, and more!

Let’s dig in.

Well, this certainly is interesting, Xinjun Zhang. Not sure about the context, but not something you traditionally see on a PGA Tour driving range…

Hard not to love Ryan Ruffels’ 009M

Look’s like Michael Greller is enjoying some well-earned relaxation

Ryan Palmer boldly going where few Tour pros dare to: serif font

Roman numeral loft stamping? Savage grind? We like your style, Bud Cauley

Is this a new Wilson Staff PMP wedge prototype or a one-off thing for Ricky Barnes?

Finally, Whitney comes to a wedge

Ham & egg!

Jimmy Walker’s silver Spider

Our Tour Photographer risking the wrath of Bubba (we assume he had permission)

 

Tuesday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the photos in our forums

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