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PGA Tour Confidential: Sony Open

Ping Eye2
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
A legal loophole allows pros to use square grooves if the clubs in question are Ping Eye 2 wedges made before April 1990.

Bamberger: Regarding Estes, and Allenby talking about Anthony Kim, and Jesper talking about Tiger: are we entering a new age of candor from Tour players? Is this good?

Morfit: Yeah it's good. Absolutely. For us.

Herre: Could be. Not having the big dog around seems to be liberating on some level. I doubt that Bob Estes feels the need to pick his words. Now if someone had asked about Tiger playing Eye2s ...

Dusek: We've been begging for personalities and more colorful characters on the PGA Tour. Part of that is openness with the media and being willing to talk. It's refreshing.

Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Certainly fun and amusing. No different from old days, except now the locker-room chatter is spilling out into public. Shows how un-collegial the tour really is, how there are so many conglomerates (i.e., players) battling for pride, ego, dollars, etc. Just like the business world.

Morfit: Reminds me of the old yarn about lamenting your bad round in a Tour locker room: Half the people don't care, and the other half wish you'd played worse.

Bamberger: Or, every shot makes somebody happy.

Gorant: With the exception of the Parnevik thing, which was a situation unto itself, I think the candor only extends as far as the self interest. As it gets a little more cutthroat out there, defending yourself by going on offense might become more common.

Lipsey: Yes, especially with sponsorships shrinking. Guys need to make news and get noticed to get attention.

Bamberger: Traditionally, an excellent way to get noticed was to say nothing and make putts. I think we're getting into a new era here for golf, where if you're outside the norm it won't be held against you, but the opposite. See Rickie Fowler's whole look and demeanor.

Dusek: I agree. There are so many guys who are perceived to be interchangeable. Guys like Fowler or Anthony Kim stand out.

Morfit: I was asking the Sony winner, Palmer, what happened in '09, when he finished 150th on the money list. He said he had shoulder surgery in the 2008 off-season, but he also mentioned that he and his wife, Jennifer, had a baby last August. 'Baby years are almost always hard,' he said. I think that's true. Seems like Chris Riley and others have seen their games crater right after having kids. (Not that I've got anything against having kids.)

Lipsey: Baby years didn't slow down Tiger; they sped him up. ...

Dusek: Does that bode poorly for Geoff Ogilvy? He and his wife Juli are expecting No. 3 in about three weeks.

Gorant: Nah, by the third one you don't care anymore.

Dusek: Yeah, by No. 3 the pros know how to hire a good nanny.

Morfit: I think you have to be a bit bloodless, like Tiger, to have it not affect your game at all.

Bamberger: Now we've now seen one full-field tournament in the new year. What do you take from it? Ernie? Retief? Allenby? What's the one impression the Sony event leaves on you?

Lipsey: The guys we think are still stars — Ernie, Vijay, Retief, etc. — are no longer stars. They have flashes of brilliance, but nothing more.

Herre: Rick, you can probably add DL3 to that group.

Shipnuck: Stricker can still be shaky down the stretch. At No. 3 in the world, he should owning guys like Ryan Palmer.

Gorant: Interesting post-round interview, where he said he was overthinking on the greens, getting caught up reading the grain, etc. You'd think he's beyond that by now.

Lipsey: Strange that Stricker still talks like he's no. 142 in the world, humble and unassuming, like he was in the interview today on TV.

Herre: Waialae looks great on TV. Wish I was there.

Dusek: I got HDTV just in time. This was the first event I've watched at home in hi def. I could almost smell the poi.

Lipsey: Nos. 17 and 18 are awesome finishing holes — 17 is a great par 3 with views to boot, and 18 is a super fun (if easy) par 5, which always provides drama. Proves you don't need Oakmont brutality and lore to have a great Tour event course.

Morfit: I watched a lot of Rickie Fowler and Troy Merritt, who were in the same threesome Thursday and Friday. Fowler was struggling, but boy can he move it off the tee when he wants. I like his homecooked move, and that he's not obsessed with mechanics. He moves the ball right to left, sometimes too much. Merritt doesn't play a draw at all, and said he has trouble moving the ball right to left. Seems like a lot less can go wrong that way. And I love his putting stroke. He was low rookie this week, T20 after a two-under 68 on Sunday left him at six under for the tournament. His round could have been better if his 12-footer for eagle hadn't spun out of the cup on 18. Fellow rookie Graham DeLaet, like Merritt a former Boise State player, also did well, finishing five under (T25).

Evans: Sony had a good field. All those guys will be on leader boards throughout the year. But I don't know what we can really take away from it. When Phil comes back will see how the cream rises.

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