Jay Townsend - March 3, 2012


European Tour Analyst Jay Townsend is at PGA National this week for The Honda Classic. When Tiger Woods made bogey on the 2nd hole, it was because of distance control where he hit his second shot over the green and could not get up and down. The fact that he had 10 fewer putts on Friday than on Thursday does not suggest putting problems. Instead, it suggests putting inconsistency and Tiger simply needs more rounds in order to make his putting more consistent.

Lee Westwood is playing with Tiger for a third straight day and as a seasoned veteran, Jay doubts that Lee is bothered in the least by this. He actually enjoys playing with Tiger but Lee is probably more concerned with how badly he is putting this week. Tee to green he is playing very well at PGA National but he putting continues to hold him back. When he is putting well, it is hard to beat Westwood but he is not putting well right now and he has put in many hours with his swing coach to try to improve.

Paul Casey is making his 2012 worldwide debut next week at Doral after missing two months due to injury. Townsend thinks that it will be tough for Casey to make the Ryder Cup because there are fewer automatic berths and at #25, he will have to climb all the way to #12 or better to have a chance to qualify via the World Points List. He doubts that Casey will play on the European Tour enough to climb from 41st to 5th so the World Points is his main route to the team and to get on the team, he will have to win.

He doubts that possible 2013 Q-School changes will impact European players because if European Tour members perform well on the world stage, they will earn invites to Majors and WGC events in the U.S. which could lead to a few more sponsor’s invitations to PGA TOUR events. It will impact players in Australia and Asia much more. He does not think the system is broken but the PGA TOUR did not ask him when they designed the changes for Q-School.

It is all about putting with Justin Rose and he was hot with the putter when he won twice in 2010 in a Ryder Cup year. If his putter stays hot, he has a good chance to win but it is all about the putter for Rose. If he is not putting well, he does not have a chance.

It is obvious that Tom Gillis is the underdog on Saturday as he surrounded by Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy and while Gillis can play, he has a couple of daunting opponents in the two British players and it would be hard for anyone to say that Rory McIlroy is not the favorite today.