Coffee with Rouge: Valspar Championship

Happy Sunday to all- hoping to add some flavor to your Sunday morning ritual with a couple tips for improving your game. In addition, this segment will also include a brief review and key players to watch heading into the final round of the tournament at hand.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • weekly post every Sunday
  • incorporated theme of the week (or upcoming couple weeks)
  • article or link relating to the theme of the week
  • key points of the article or video summarized
  • recap of any major news stories from the week
  • a preview of round four of the current tournament in progress as well as predicted champion

Theme of the week: Swinging Smooth Off the Tee

How we’re improving: On the tee w/ World #1 Dustin Johnson

Key Takeaways:

  • What DJ Uses: TaylorMade M5 Driver (10.5). Last year he used TaylorMade M3 (10.5). 4 wins on tour 2018.
  • What DJ focuses on– (1:00-3:00)
    • increasing ball speed, reducing spin
  • DJ bombs a couple drives- (3:35-4:30)
  • Focuses on a miss that is “over cut, hates the miss left…” this driver allows him to keep misses where he wants them
  • Initial numbers Drive 1:
    • Carry: 305 yards
    • Total 319
    • Club Speed: 123 mph
    • Ball Speed: 181.6 mph
    • Height 144.8 feet
  • Drive 2 Analyzed:
    • Carry: 316 yards
    • Total 343
    • Club Speed: 123 mph
    • Ball Speed: 182.7 mph
    • Height 109.9 feet
  • “Swinging well, club is staying a little bit lower, a little bit longer.” More width makes it easier for him.  (6:15-7:00)
  • Wrist Position (7:15-8:00): naturally has his wrist bowed, which helps him get club back down to where he wants it. Claims to have the bow wrist naturally when his club is parallel to ground.
    • his club face is square in his eyes… not closed. Perception is reality.
    • only matters if you can get club in the right position at the bottom
  • Speed (9:00): gets speed from training, but has always had speed. Big difference in having speed and being able to control speed.
    • “doesnt know if he has ever hit a ball full 100%”
    • generally swinging 85-90%
  • Major preference (12:30-13:00): of all the Majors, he wants to win The Masters…

What we’re watching: Round 4 of the Valspar Championship

Who we’re watching:

Favorites to win-

Paul Casey (1)- Paul has been consistent as ever this week. His title defense (Valspar champion 2018) is off to a great start and he will be heading into Round 4 with a one stroke lead over DJ. Coming off 66 Friday and 68 Saturday, “The Champ” will be looking to keep his momentum in order to hold off some experienced vets (Donald, Oosthuizen, Furyk).

Dustin Johnson (2)- Once again, we find DJ back in the mix. After a solid finish at the PLAYERS (T5), Dustin has seemed to have hit his stride. In recent weeks, Dustin has refined his game and caught fire with the putter. His improvements on the green and consistent ball striking allow him to be in contention every week on tour. As much as I anticipate Rory to steal the show in two weeks at the Masters, I would not be surprised to see a green jacket on DJ by day’s end on April 14th.

 

Experienced vets making runs at the Valspar Championship-

For some reason, we have seen an uptick in veterans contending for tournament wins on tour this year (Vijay-Honda Classic, Furyk- PLAYERS, Donald-Valspar??). Last week, we were able to see Jim Furyk step up to his ball on 18 and hit an approach shot within 5 feet to get into the clubhouse with the solo lead. If not for McILroy’s solid finish, Furyk would have been crowned at last week’s PLAYERS.

  • Donald (T4, -6), 2011 World #1 looks good this week. Another -3 round should land him in a good spot for a title run if Casey, DJ, Kokrak falter on Sunday.
  • Oosthuizen (T6, -5), if not for his two blemishes on Saturday with a bogey on 16 and 18, Louis would have been two shots back of the lead today. With that being said, we’ve seen Louis possess the ability to go low here at Innisbrook and I wouldnt be surprised if he fired off another (-4) or better round in the final leg of this year’s championship.
  • Furyk (T6, -5)- He’s back again! I don’t quite understand how a guy that can only carry the ball 230-245 yards in the air off the tee is competing with the big boys out there on the course, but Jim has found something in recent weeks. The 48 year old is swinging like he’s 30 and as long as his confidence is there, and his body doesnt give out, I would anticipate another Top 3 run for the US Ryder Cup Captain

 

Sleeper of the week-

Sungjae Im (T5)- my projected pick for the Arnold Palmer Award at the end of the year has found his groove of late. The slow swinging rookie is four shots back from the lead and will be looking to capture his first title on tour this weekend.

Prediction-

Dustin Johnson- I don’t think Casey will get the job done today and to Casey’s surprise, holding off DJ will prove to be a tougher task than that of holding off Tiger in 2018. Old guys don’t have the stamina to run with DJ and as a result DJ fires off a (-5) round and wins by two at the Valspar Championship. Casey posts a meager (-2) in his final round and finishes tied for second, losing by two.

 

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