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Jerry Foltz - February 7, 2012

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He was shocked to see Kyle Stanley win so soon after what had happened at Torrey Pines. You never know how such a loss will affect someone and it is always possible that the negative effect will be permanent. The fact that he won the very next week shows a lot of toughness on Stanley’s part but also acknowledged how damaging it could have been if did not win when he was in a position to do so.

When it comes to Spencer Levin, if asked Jerry would advise Spencer to listen to his father who is a very good man but also take the good things away from Scottsdale because although he lost in the final round, he did a lot of things right last week. His choice of 5 iron for his 3rd at 15 in the final round cost him the tournament and if he had played a little differently the result might have been different as well.

You can sense when someone is hanging on with their swing in pressure moments and he did not see that in Spencer Levin but he added that he had never been so emotionally invested in someone as he was on Sunday with Spencer. He did not sense any kind of panic on Spencer’s part and feels that his caddie Mike Hicks would have intervened had that been the case. Levin looked good early but after a couple of mistakes and bad breaks, things changed and he finished third.

He can understand the pressure involved with having a big lead versus having to mount a large comeback. No player ever wants to be known for blowing a big lead in the final round and there is a certain amount of pressure involved with that. He talked to Steve Stricker about that exact subject during the Hyundai Tournament of Champions last month and Stricker went on to win the season-opening event on the PGA TOUR at Kapalua.

The LPGA Tour is making its 2012 debut this week in Australia and when he looks ahead, he thinks that the biggest storylines include whether or not Yani Tseng can continue her dominance from 2011. She had an amazing year and it will be a tall order to follow up that year. He also wonders about what Lexi Thompson will do. She has so much potential and he feels that she is as grounded and as level-headed as any teenager he has ever seen. Foltz also thinks that any success Lexi has will inspire success in Michelle Wie. Once Wie graduates from college, he thinks that we will see some of her best golf because she will be free to focus on golf only. Between Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer, he expects Kerr to have a better year but Creamer could have a strong year as well. Melissa Reid and Caroline Hedwall are two Europeans who Foltz feels will make a large impact on the LPGA Tour when they play more in the United States.

Tiger Woods is making his 2012 PGA TOUR debut this week in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Foltz feels that it is surprising whenever Tiger is not on the leaderboard on Sunday no matter what he has gone through over the years and expects Tiger to be in contention this week at Pebble Beach. He likes the swing changes that Tiger has made under Sean Foley and also feels that some are being a little premature in saying that he is “back.” He is confident that Tiger will have a good year but he is not ready to say that Tiger is 100% there yet.

When it comes to the question of distractions during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am due to celebrities, shuttles, small practice facilities, and slow play, they certainly exist as rounds are very, very long and the greens can be very, very slow. Tiger has won that event once but does not think that Tiger will be as impacted by the distractions as others might be.

Johnson Wagner has gotten off to a great start in 2012 and he was someone who Foltz had said would play well at Kapalua. He thinks that Wagner seems to playing like he is freer than he has been in the past and he felt that way back in 2011 when he won the Mayakoba Golf Classic. When he won the Sony Open, he seemed to be very comfortable on the course and was joking around with people including Foltz. He understands that the mustache is something to joke about and he is more than willing to play along.

There are a number of possible changes for the way you can earn PGA TOUR cards starting as early as 2013 including making the Nationwide Tour the only way to get to the PGA TOUR. Foltz feels that there are very few losers in this proposal because it strengthens the Fall Series events and the Nationwide Tour as well as making it easier for PGA TOUR veterans to earn their cards back. He is also supportive of the idea of applying would-be earnings for amateurs and non-PGA TOUR members to possibly earn PGA TOUR cards for the next year. There are many players who earn their PGA TOUR cards through Q-School who would be over the moon if they earned full status on the Nationwide Tour. When you look at the players who earned their 2012 PGA TOUR cards in Q-School, a large number of them had already played on the Nationwide Tour. The fact that a young player out of college can play his way into the 3-event series makes this proposal much more palatable but there is also value to having at least a few cards available via the Q-School route.