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5 things we learned on Saturday at The 2018 Masters

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If ever there was a moving day at The Masters, this was it! Paul Casey and marker Jeff Knox set the tone by moving around the course in 3.5 hours, in the day’s first pairing. With rain delays always on their minds, the field seemed to play with greater urgency, even when recovering from trouble. By day’s end, the leader was the same guy who led after 36, but the field had circled the wagons to ensure a Sunday to remember. Let’s assess the 5 things we learned on Saturday at the Masters.

1) Captain America might add green to his color palette

For a guy who has bled red, white and blue to rally the troops, on multiple occasions for Team USA, Patrick Reed has a shabby record in major events. On Sunday, he’ll have his finest opportunity to put that reputation away for all time. Reed made one (see below) then two (see above) eagles on Saturday afternoon to grab a three-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy, his Sunday playing partner. As if either needed additional motivation, the two faced off in one of the great mano a mano duels in Ryder Cup history, at Hazeltine in 2016. Let’s raise a glass to a reprise on Sunday at Augusta.

See the clubs Reed has in his bag this week

2) Rory McIlroy v.2018 is different from v.2011

We all remember v.2011, curly hair and boyish, nearly hitting a ball into one of the guest cabins left of the 10th fairway. This Rory, 7 years older, wiser, more mature, is ready to win, to complete the grand slam. He’s even a bit luckier, but the luck of the Northern Irish can only impact one shot per hole (see below)! The OW Rory recovers from trees, pine straw, azaleas, you name it. On Sunday, he’ll need to blend patience and urgency to perfection, to finally capture the event so many predicted for him, so much earlier in his career.

3) Can El Vasco control his emotions one day more?

If there is a Rory v.2011 in 2K18, his name is Jon Rahm and he is the greatest Basque hope since Chema, Jose Maria Olazabal. Rahm would love to join JM as an Augusta champion. Saturday saw Rahm birdie his first two holes, eagle the 8th, then add three more chirps on the back nine for a bogey-free 65 (Fowler and McIlroy also posted that number.) If Rahm can play another round without blemish on Sunday, it will be hard to keep the green jacket off his broad shoulders. Zorte On!

4) Is it Finally Fowler?

In 2014, Fowler finished in the top five of all four major tournaments, winning none of them. He tied for 5th at last year’s U.S. Open and PGA Championships. It’s safe to say that Dick Fowler, P.I. is about done with coming close. He has a Players Championship and would love to set the menu for next year’s champions’ dinner. If you’ve not paid attention, Fowler may exhibit the greatest combination of putting confidence and putting skill on tour. This pairing will serve him well in round 4. Will Rickie show up in all-orange as usual on Sunday, repping his OK State Cowboys? Would he serve chicken, rice and broccoli at next year’s dinner? Who knows? Fowler is due, and his 1-eagle-5-birdie-0-bogey (sound familiar) performance on Saturday might be the catalyst for his first major title as a professional.

5) Only one guy in the elite eight has a green jacket

We know that Henrik Stenson (5th place at -7) has an Open Championship on his resume, but only the left-hander at 6-under (T6) of the top 8 has a green jacket. Let’s say that Bubba Watson goes out and shoots 64 tomorrow, to get to 14-under par. Will it be enough? Doubtful. Too many great golfers, and one of them has to reach 15-under by day’s end…right? OK, let’s try this prediction: either Bubba Watson wins his third Masters OR we have a first-time winner. Yup, we’ll bet the house on that one.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Bob Parson Jr.

    Apr 8, 2018 at 11:36 am

    I already provided you with evidence on your prior article. Be a NY snowflake and block me if you wish. If you can handle the truth, then perhaps I’m better off not reading your bias junk.

    Can’t help you if you are not willing to have an honest discussion.

  2. Caroline

    Apr 8, 2018 at 1:39 am

    Great Masters, a handful of hopefuls tomorrow…still the saddest part of the week is that John Daly in the parking lot of Hooters pitching his wears…there is a man that should have won the Masters 20 years ago but could not get out of his own way.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 8, 2018 at 5:38 am

      I watched Daly play the NCAA Championship as a freshman at Arkansas, in 1986 at Bermuda Run CC in Advance, NC. Silly long, unbelievable talent. He was a joy to watch, but we suffered with him along the way. He seems happy, doing what he does: plays Champions Tour, hangs out, sells stuff. Godspeed.

  3. AndyK

    Apr 7, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    I’ll be surprised if Rory doesn’t win.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 8, 2018 at 5:41 am

      I’ll be surprised by whoever wins!! There is no one that I would call the favorite: with the exception of Bubba (as mentioned above) none has any personal experience with winning at The Nursery. Rahm is the only, early-20s in the top 8, so all have calloused souls. I think it will go to a playoff.

  4. Man

    Apr 7, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    What did we learn from this article?
    Nothing. It’s garbage. I thought it was going to something we didn’t know about some inside information or some history about Day 3 in comparison, but no, it’s just some garbage about some heresay and everything we already know or are thinking about.
    Sheesh

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 8, 2018 at 5:43 am

      I know what I learned: no matter how well I THINK I’ve put something together, it’s not enough. I’ll keep trying, Man, and hopefully, we’ll win you over one day. Thanks for commenting.

    • Bob Parson Jr.

      Apr 8, 2018 at 11:37 am

      Well said, that’s why you are the Man!

  5. Bob Parson Jr.

    Apr 7, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Rory McIlroy is going to clean the gutters at the Butler Cabin with Patrick “The Cheat” Reed.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 8, 2018 at 5:46 am

      I don’t think that that word means what you think it does. You’ve associated Reed with cheating, but you’ve failed to offer up any support for the nickname. If people call me “the stick,” it suggests I’m a really good golfer, or very thin. Have you got anything, or do I have to block you?

      • Bob Parson Jr.

        Apr 8, 2018 at 11:34 am

        I already provided you with evidence on your prior article. Be a NY snowflake and block me if you wish. If you can handle the truth, then perhaps I’m better of not reading your bias junk.

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19th Hole

I wasn’t ready for the 2019 Rules of Golf

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We weren’t ready. We thought we were, but we weren’t.

For the last year, the USGA reminded us that in 2019 Rules of Golf were coming, but we didn’t listen. We heard the flag stick could remain in and we heard that you could take a penalty drop from knee-height.

But we didn’t listen.

I bet none of you have even practiced using your putter to flatten the entire green between your ball and the cup. You can do that now.

I’m also sure that you and I will continue to hover our club in all hazards, er, penalty areas. Yeah, we’re calling it a penalty area now.

The USGA went to the extreme depths of changing words all to simplify the game for you.

I don’t think the USGA listened either.

The rule changes were intended to speed up play and simplify golf for amateurs. Seems like a good idea. In turn, they may have bamboozled the PGA Tour while confusing the only amateurs who kind-of, sort-of knew the rules.

The pros didn’t need a new rule book, the amateurs just needed a simple one.

Us “locals” as the USGA refers to amateurs, do have one extremely fluid perk. When hitting a ball OB, or following a lost ball, you can drop with a two-stroke penalty instead of walking back to the tee. This of course, is dependent on your course, head professional, tournament conditions, and other factors including and not limited to what phase the moon is in.

If that’s somewhat confusing, read up, ask about your local rules, and buy a few extra sleeves. Reason being, in 2019, the limit on searching for a golf ball has been cut from five to three minutes.

2019-rules-of-golf

But wait, there’s good news.

Thanks to the USGA, if you accidentally move your ball as you frantically high-step through fescue, it’s no longer a penalty! What an exciting 180 seconds that will be!

If you somehow don’t find your golf ball in the hazard penalty area, the USGA tried to help us out, which they did, yet regrettably took away a more iconic portrait on the golf course.

The rigid, stoic stance and forceful drop of a ball at shoulder-height.

And we let it happen.

Now, we’ll watch a defeated man deliberately bend to his knees and gingerly drop his ball…Which, by the way, appears to be a convenient way for cheaters to “take a drop” that ideally doubles as “identifying my first ball”.

Don’t even get me started on the back issues this could flare up.

We heard in late 2018 that Bryson DeChambeau would use the flagstick when the odds were in his favor. He even laid it out simply for us.

“It depends on the COR, the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick.”

Simple.

We didn’t listen Bryson, we didn’t believe. We also have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

But hey, as Bryson would say, don’t hate the player, hate the game. Yeah, he’d clearly never say that, but here’s to hoping!

We heard he would do it, but we didn’t believe it. We had to see to believe. What we saw was DeChambeau first in strokes gained putting in the very first round he was allowed to do it.

Obviously, this trend will continue for DeChambeau, and others may join in, because what is golf if not a constant chase for a marginally better opportunity at success.

Watch your back, because those others that may join in could be closer than you think. You may turn around to find a fellow member asking for the flag on their next 12-footer.

It should be a fun year of commentary and confusion at your local club and on the PGA tour. Professionals will have constant questions for rules officials, and commentators will consistently question Bryson’s methods.

There is one real question I hope is answered this April.

What will we do when Bryson banks in a downhill putt at No. 2 of Augusta?

Will we be ready? Will Augusta?

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News

Stewart Cink pens multi-year deal with Ping

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Ping Golf has announced that six-time winner on the PGA Tour, Stewart Cink, has signed a multi-year deal with the company.

The deal will see the American play a minimum of 11 Ping clubs, as he looks to end an almost decade long winless streak on the PGA Tour. Cink had previously been an equipment-free agent (having been a Nike man prior to that) although he had been using Ping clubs for the majority of the last season.

Speaking on the addition of Stewart Cink to Team Ping, company president John K. Solheim stated

“Stewart has a long track record of success and overall consistency, evidenced by his wins, top 10s in majors, and the fact that he has competed on five U.S. Ryder Cup teams and in four Presidents Cups.

“He has instant credibility, and we know him well because he has played Ping irons for many years. Our tour staff has been impressed by his professionalism and his knowledge of equipment. We’re delighted to be associated with Stewart.”

Cink will make his first start as a Ping staff player at this week’s Sony Open. According to the company, the 2009 Open Championship winner is expected to have Ping’s G400 LST driver, G400 fairways woods, i25 irons and Sigma 2 Arna putter in the bag this week at Waialae Country Club.

No details of the financial terms of the arrangement have been disclosed.

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Equipment

Charles Howell III’s winning WITB: 2018 RSM Classic

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Driver: Titleist TS3 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue 65

Fairway woods: Titleist TS2 (15, 21 degrees)
Shafts: Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Black 8X, Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Black 9X

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB 4-iron, Titleist 718 AP2 (5-7), Titleist 718 CB (8-PW)
Shafts: Project X LZ 6.5 (hard stepped)

Wedges: Vokey SM7 (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 (proto)

SEA ISLAND, GA – NOVEMBER 17: Charles Howell lll tees off on the eighth hole tee box during the third round of The RSM Classic at the Sea Island Resort Seaside Course on November 17, 2018 in Sea Island, Georgia. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)

RELATED: See what members are saying about CH III’s equipment in the forums.

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19th Hole

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