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PGA Tour’s Florida swing start of run-up to the Masters

February 20, 2016

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The PGA Tour’s Florida swing, which begins next week with the Honda Classic, no longer is considered the unofficial start to the season. But, Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel argues, it is the unofficial start to the major championship season and “carries extra cachet as players turn their attention to the Masters in early April…‘You can't show up hitting the ball poorly on any of these courses and get away with it,’ said former world No. 1 David Duval, now a Golf Channel analyst. ‘You have to really be on top of everything from the driver all the way through. That’s what makes it such a good run-up to the start of the major season with the Masters.’”


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Amateur Charlie Danielson, a junior at the University of Illinois who made the cut in the Northern Trust Open, learned to play at a course called Krooked Kreek. “So, you could excuse him if he came into the opening round a little starry-eyed,” ESPN’s Jason Sobel writes in this story on Danielson. “You could excuse him for such pinch-me moments as these: ‘I saw Jordan Spieth yesterday at the hotel. I was in an elevator with Adam Scott. I talked to Patrick Rodgers.’”

“The guy who used to be Justin Leonard finally reached the crossroads,” columnist Mark Whicker of the Los Angeles Daily News writes on Leonard, who is in contention at the Northern Trust Open. “He hasn’t gotten into the past five Masters. He has made only one of the past five U.S. Opens. Despite his 12 tournament victories and three Ryder Cups, he wasn’t qualified to stay on the 2016 PGA Tour on the basis of his 2015 play. He had to use a hall pass, a one-time exemption for career money winnings ($33.6 million). Leonard had a session with brain coach Julie Elion, who told him, in take-no-prisoners language, that he had to start golfing harder. He looked at the crossroads. Then he went to the slopes. ‘She told me to put the time in,’ Leonard said. ‘And I moved to Colorado, just so I can’t practice.’”