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May 13 2012

12:20 AM

Notes from inside the ropes

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Kevin Na is 17th in greens in regulation for the week at TPC Sawgrass.

By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Kevin Na is very much aware that he is not a quick player. At one point in Saturday’s round, he was put “on the clock.” Two bad times in the course of a round receives a penalty stroke. Na tries to play quicker but struggles to swing. He’ll stand over the ball, ready to swing and then have to back off, unable to pull the trigger. The delay irritates Na and you can see he's mad at his own delay.

Several players use a swing trigger, either a forward press or a waggle to initiate the process. Na is trying to find a way to improve his pace and play and while it’s frustrating for Na, he’s right not to play until fully committed.

Proud papas: A person never outgrows the desire to make his father proud, and a couple dads had huge smiles on their face during the third round. Peter Kuchar exclaimed, “he’s golfing his ball today,” referring to son Matt. Meanwhile Rob Fowler stood outside the scoring building, proudly answering questions about Rickie. Sunday is Mother’s Day, but Saturday there were some proud dads on the course.

Windy: It doesn’t often work out this way, but it was windier in the morning than in the afternoon. The first wave of golfers on the course faced 30 mph gusts and par was a good score. The leaders braced for severe conditions but the wind decreased as the day progressed. The calmer conditions allowed for some separation on the leaderboard.

The dot: Each day there is a small white dot placed on the green to indicate the hole location for the next round. Caddies look for those dots and mark them in the yardage book to get an exact location. Rickie Fowler and his caddie walked to the back of the 17th green to find Sunday’s hole location. The fourth-round pin sheet will give the hole’s location but it’s important to have a visual idea of the exact spot. The 17th will be cut on the back-right side. When Rickie stands on the 17th tee on Sunday, he will know not just the yardage but will actually have a feel for where the hole is located.

Putting: Na leads the tournament in two important statistical categories. He had taken just 77 strokes for 54 holes with rounds of 24-24-29 putts. Na also leads in Strokes Gained-Putting. He’s 40th in fairways hit and 17th in greens in regulation. Na leads because of his putting prowess this week.

Pregame: Matt Kuchar spent his morning playing tennis. He and wife Sybi had a doubles match against their dads and the younger generation dominated. Matt is a very good tennis player and his wife was an All-American at Georgia Tech. With a late Sunday tee time, Kuchar plans a rematch before the final round.

Pepsi, please: I had heard this urban legend for years but was unable to confirm it until Saturday. Keegan Bradley's caddie, Steve Hale, hides cans of Pepsi around the golf course and retrieves them during the course of a round. Hale estimates he stashes 20 soft drinks during the course of a week and probably only drinks about ten of the cans. Hale's nickname: Pepsi.

Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and inside the ropes this week at THE PLAYERS Championship. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.

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