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The Tour Report

April 20 2012

10:04 PM

Notes from inside the ropes

By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent The Grip: Ben Curtis came into the Valero Texas Open struggling with his putter. He was ranked 183rd in Strokes Gained - Putting this year. This week he was ninth in the statistic during the opening round and took just 23 putts in Round 2. Why the difference? Curtis moved his right hand a little more on top of the putter. The subtle difference got him more on top of the ball and allowed him to release the putter head. Curtis is bogey-free through 36 holes and has putted beautifully. He'll begin Saturday's round with a great deal of confidence -- and probably a two-shot lead. Smiling: It was a pleasure to watch David Mathis finish his round. He had a huge smile on his face and was excited to be interviewed. At 8 under, he is in the midst of the best tournament of his PGA TOUR career. Mathis had made just one cut in his first 11 tournaments starts this year, so it will be interesting to see how he performs on Saturday with a late tee time. Matt the Machine: If you haven't seen Matt Every play much golf you would think he is rushing his shot and is nervous. That's not the case. Every plays at a very rapid pace no matter how he stands in a tournament. When in contention at the Sony Open in Hawaii this year, he breezed around the golf course. Every walks into his shot while his follow competitor's golf ball is still in the air. He's not nervous, it's just his usual routine. Wind Direction: Following a 110-minute rain delay, players found a very different golf course at TPC San Antonio. The wind had not only increased, it had also changed direction. The wind was gusting out of the north, the exact opposite of the predominant wind. That meant some holes that normally required a short iron, now had to be played with a 5 iron into green complexes that were designed to accommodate 9 irons. TPC San Antonio is a very difficult golf course when the wind comes out of the north. Run Up:
Several greens at TPC San Antonio have openings in front that entice golfers to run the ball onto the putting surfaces when the wind howls but that's now always possible. The course has elevated greens. If a player tries to keep the ball under the wind and run it onto the putting surface he his hitting into the hillside of an elevated green. It takes a great deal of luck to pop the ball into a hillside and have it release perfectly toward the cup. Players are left with the alternative of playing the ball high in the air and working it into the wind. The margin for error significantly decreases when the wind blows at TPC San Antonio. Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.