ATTENTION, READERS in the 28 EUROPEAN VAT COUNTRIES: Because of the new VAT law, you probably can't order books direct from my site now. But that's okay -- just go to my Smashwords author page.
You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lots of Things I Wanted to Mention Today

I found several things that, while most didn't merit a post on their own, they were all things I found interesting. So here they all are...

First, tournaments. Several players are making their 2018 debuts this week and those events will be on TV:
  • Phil Mickelson makes his debut at the CareerBuilder Challenge tomorrow.
  • Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose make their debuts at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. That will be starting TONIGHT at 10:30pm ET on GC, so don't forget. (DJ's in this event also.)
  • Sergio makes his debut at the SMBC Singapore Open this week as well. If I saw correctly, that event will be tape-delayed starting Thursday night. (Patrick Reed and Pat Perez are in this event, as is Kurt Kitayama, a young American player who just got his card on the Asian Tour.) [UPDATE: I put Reed in the wrong event -- he's at CareerBuilder. And the GC coverage of the Singapore Open starts Wednesday night before the HSBC. I really got these events wrong!]
  • The Champions Tour itself debuts this week in Hawaii at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship. You get one guess who the defending champion is!
And the Tour's Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay did get finished on time Tuesday. 19-year-old Korean rookie Sungjae Im won going away. This is noteworthy because K.J. Choi is apparently his mentor... and apparently doing a very good job of it! If Im can get a few PGA Tour exemptions and play this well, he might be on the PGA Tour sooner rather than later.

Second... "wildlife." I don't know how else to categorize this, but I saw it over at and... well, it's two of my least favorite animals. Richard Nadler saw them "cuddling" while he was playing golf in Florida last Friday.

I can do without them in MY foursome, thank you very much.

Finally, Nick Faldo announced formation of the Major Champions Invitational on Tuesday. The link takes you to the video, in case my embedded video below won't play. The short version is this: The event will be held on March 12-14 (the week of Arnie's event) and will feature both male and female players in their teens from all over the world, each chosen by various major champions to be on their "teams."

In addition to Faldo, a bunch of major champions have already pledged their support. The link lists Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly, but Nick also mentioned Ernie Els and said that he hopes to get Jack Nicklaus and some others involved. Apparently the idea is very popular with the players Nick has talked to, so this could end up being a big junior event going forward.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Dr. Gio Valiante on Making Swing Fixes

Okay, that's not exactly what Dr. Gio called it... but GC didn't post the video for it and I can't remember exactly what he called it. However, it was such a brilliant insight that I wanted to write about it anyway.

Dr. Gio Valiante

Dr. Gio did two segments on Morning Drive Monday morning. GC has only posted one of them. (I've reposted it below. The first 2:40 or so is a recap of the Diamond Resorts event, then he uses that to talk about "psychological fluctuation." Sounds weird, but it's useful stuff.) The one they didn't post included Charlie Rymer and talked about his first professional tournament in a decade or so, and what Dr. Gio said struck me as incredibly useful.

He says your golf swing is made up of three parts -- the psychological, the physical and the mechanical. But here's the cool thing: Dr. Gio says you can use any of the three as "fixes" for a problem, regardless of which area is causing it! That's because a problem in any one of those areas affects the other two, so you can attack the problem from any area.

Here's an example: Let's say your having confidence issues with your driver. You hit it fine on the range but can't keep it in the short grass during a round. If you feel anxiety when you stand over your driver, that's going to cause physical problems like raising your blood pressure, which changes the tension in your muscles or the blood flow in your hands (which affects your feel). It might also cause you to develop a mechanical problem because your flexibility is affected or you just get impatient and jerky. What are you gonna do to fix it?
  • Well, you've probably hit some good drives before. So you could try visualizing those good drives -- the rhythm and how you felt when you hit them. You've hit good drives before, so there's no reason you can't do it again.
  • Or you might attack the physical tension. You could focus on slowing your breathing or relaxing your forearms.
  • Or you might do what a lot of pros do and create a go-to, can't-miss shot. You might learn to tee the ball lower and (if you're a rightie) swing left with an open clubface. That way you eliminate one side of the course and effectively double the width of the fairway.
The first is a psychological fix. The second is a physical fix. The third is a mechanical fix. And any or all of them could be effective for you.

In other words, you don't have to drive yourself nuts trying to identify exactly where the problem originates. You can simply identify the effect of the problem and adopt a fix that you're comfortable with. Isn't that cool?

Here's the video of that first session with Dr. Gio I promised. You might also find some useful help in it.

Remember: You don't have to agonize over the exact cause of your problem. All you have to do is find a way to correct its effect on your game, and that should help you beat it.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Limerick Summary: 2018 Sony Open

Winner: Patton Kizzire

Around the wider world of golf: The European team put on a furious rally in singles to win the Eurasia Cup 14-10; Chris Paisley won the BMW South African Open for his first ET victory; Mardy Fish and Scott Parel won the celebrity and pro divisions (respectively) at the Diamond Resorts Invitational on the Champions Tour; and the Tour event in the Bahamas won't finish until Tuesday.

Patton Kizzire with Sony Open trophy

It was the longest playoff in Sony Open history. Six extra holes became the battleground for two men who simply couldn't separate themselves from each other.

The first was James Hahn, who shot a career best 62 in the final round to set the clubhouse lead at -17. Hahn has won twice before, both in playoffs, but it's been nearly two years.

The other was Patton Kizzire, who has already won once in this wraparound season -- at the OHL Classic in Mexico. The best he could do in regulation was 68, just enough to tie Hahn (who had been waiting in the clubhouse for a while).

From that point on, however, neither man could shake free from the other. They matched scores hole-for-hole, each making a heroic effort just to continue the playoff. Par, birdie, par, birdie, par... and then they reached the sixth playoff hole, the par-3 17th. Kizzire's iron shot crept off the back of the green; Hahn left himself a tricky shot nearly twice as long... and his putt from off the green came up short.

Then his putter finally let him down. He posted bogey. Kizzire two-putted for par and the win.

Patton Kizzire becomes the first multiple winner of the 2017-18 season. That also makes him the first multiple Limerick Summary winner of the wraparound season. Who will be next?
It took six extra holes for Kizzire
Because Hahn played his last round on fire!
Neither man could break free
From the other, you see,
Till Kizzire’s par won him his desire.
The photo came from this page at

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Todd Casabella on Stopping the Shanks (Video)

I know I post a lot of videos and tips about shanking, but that's because I know lots of you have this problem from time to time... and let's face it, one fix does not fit all. So here is instructor Todd Casabella's tip on how to stop shanking.

Now, let's get one thing straight. While shanks are often caused by standing too far from the ball, standing too close can cause them too. You need to identify which it is with you but, once you learn what to look for, it's not too hard to track down the cause. Todd's tip is for those standing too far away from the ball.

Todd says that standing too far from the ball causes you to lean forward and put your weight over your toes, basically falling toward the ball when you swing. To prevent this, he wants you to move the ball a bit closer, set up with your weight already over your toes, and "rock back" onto your heels as you make your downswing. It's not a dramatic move, but most problems in golf usually aren't. Anyway, if you're reaching for the ball at setup, this is a good thing to try.

This is only one of the things you can try if you have problems with the dreaded shank. But this is a simple fix and, if it works, it shouldn't take you long to integrate it into your swing -- this fix should be compatible with almost any instructor's swing method.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Why You Should Care about the Eurasia Cup

The second day of the Eurasia Cup -- Europe VS Asia, played in Kuala Lumpur -- is still undeway as I write this, but it looks as if the Euros could even things up or even lead when today is over. In fact, the team of Stenson and Fleetwood has just posted the first win of the session, tying the score at 3.5 points each.

Henrik Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood

The Eurasia Cup plays 6 fourball matches, 6 foursome matches (that's the current session) and 12 singles, for a total of 24 available points. As I write this, Europe leads three matches and Asia leads two.

So why should you care about these matches? Here in America, we're more interested in the Ryder Cup matches later this year, aren't we?

There are two reasons this event should be at the forefront of everybody's attention. First of all, the Euros are the players we're likely to see in the Ryder Cup later this year. It's a good chance to assess the competition (if you're American) or assess potential pairings (if you're European).

And second, the Asian team is a strong competitor for the Euros. While players will most likely be at a different place in their prep later this year, the Asians tied the first playing of this event (10-10) while the Euros devastated the Asian last time (18.5-5.5). It's worth noting that the last event was played in an Olympic year and the Asian competitors were probably more focused on that, given the extreme competition for an Olympic spot among Asian athletes.

I know I'm extremely interested to see how the Euros fare this week. This shows no sign of being a blowout, and I want a good look at what the US will be facing in France. This could be the best indicator we'll get.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Patrick Cohn on Breaking 100

Sometimes the hardest thing about improving your game is just getting out of your own way. That's especially true when you're trying to get past a scoring barrier.

Dr. Patrick CohnYou can find Dr. Patrick Cohn over at Peak Performance Sports, where he helps athletes in a number of sports. But he's become pretty well known in the world of golf, in no small part because Bob Rotella was one of his mentors. He's also written a couple of books on golf. Today I pulling some stuff from Going Low.

Cohn devotes fairly large sections of the book to breaking 100 (or 90) and breaking 80. Here's some of what he had to say about trying to break one of those first barriers and you're facing that first tee shot of the round:
A tee shot is tough enough, but it is even more difficult when this is your first shot of the day and you think everyone in the clubhouse is watching. The first tee shot can often make or break a round, because it sets up your performance on the the first hole. First-tee jitters can turn a straightforward shot into the most difficult shot you'll hit all day.

You may have experienced two different types of first-tee jitters. The first is the friendly kind of butterflies characterized by excitement and anticipation. This is a good feeling of anticipation of the start of the round. You feel excited to play and ready to get going. These butterflies can help you play better by getting you focused. You are excited, your heart is pounding faster, and your focus becomes more acute. The pros often experience this type of butterflies and interpret them as necessary for playing well.

The second kind of first-tee jitters is the type that makes you have a sinking feeling in the pit of your gut. Your mind races, your heart rate accelerates, your palms sweat, your muscles tighten, your blood pressure increases, and you get an uncomfortable feeling in your stomach. If you feel anxious or afraid, your performance suffers, because it makes you physically tense and cripples your ability to focus. A golfer feels this when he or she is afraid to hit a bad shot or embarrass him- or herself, or is afraid of losing the match on the first hole. Once you experience "bad" jitters, you become obsessed with the uncomfortable feelings, which distract you from what you need to focus on.

The first kind of jitters is helpful to your performance, but the second can be detrimental to your game. If you experience "bad" jitters, the first step is to address your fears. [p138-139]
No, that's not the entire section but it's enough to get us started.

The key here is to identify which kind of jitters you're feeling... and the difference is easier to see than you may at first believe. The first is focused on the game, the second is focused on YOU. The first is focused on the joy of playing, the second on what other people will think of you -- or rather, your worst imaginings of what they might think of you.

I am reminded of this quote from the late humorist Ethel Barrett:
We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.
She was right on the money. We all think we are the center of the universe, but most people don't give a damn about what we do... unless it affects them in some substantial way. A botched shot doesn't diminish you as a person. And if you hang with folks who think it does... well, why are you hanging with them? You need to find some friends who have a life!

If you want to break through a scoring barrier, the first step is to get a life of your own. Your value as a person isn't dependent on a golf score. Think about what Pat Perez said, that he's playing better simply because he doesn't care as much. It's not that he isn't trying to play well. Rather, he is free to try to play better because, if he fails, he knows it's just one day's score. It's not about HIM.

Once you wrap your mind around that simple truth, you've taken the first step toward breaking your personal scoring barrier.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Some Newsy Bits about Various Events

With so much golf getting underway this week, I thought I'd post a few notes I've picked up that may affect your viewing choices.

Newly redone par-5 13th hole at Waialae

First, Sony Open: The above photo is from the new tee on the redone par-5 13th hole at Waialae. The tee has been moved up so the hole can play as a 477-yard par-4. I believe they've redone three other holes as well, which should give the players at least a moment's pause to reconsider their strategies. Starts later today (Thursday).

Next, Diamond Resorts Invitational: The biggest news here is that this will be Gerina Piller's only event this year. She's 23 weeks pregnant -- most of you already knew that -- and she told the Morning Drive crew that she's taking the entire rest of the year off. If you want to watch her play, this week is your only chance in 2018. Starts Friday.

Then, Eurasia Cup: When I mentioned the BMW SA Open in yesterday's post, I forgot that the Eurasia Cup will also be played this weekend, except it starts on Friday. It's been played in Malaysia the last two times. (You guys do remember that it's a Ryder Cup-style event between Europe and Asia, right?) This is only the third edition of the event, and Europe is the defending champ. If you want to see Henrik Stenson, this is the event you want to watch.

Although I can't find it on GC's TV schedule, they did say they would be carrying it -- as I remember, right after Morning Drive. Presumably, that will be Friday morning.

Finally, Tour: The first couple of Tour events will be carried on GC. The first one, the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, starts Saturday and runs through Tuesday. This is part of the Tour's attempts to get new viewers by finishing between the other tours' events. You may remember the horrible weather that affected this event last year. That unpredictability could make for another interesting event this year.

Those are the main things I wanted to mention. Forgive me for not posting times, but I'm not certain I trust the schedule at since the Eurasia Cup isn't even listed. If they are carrying it (as they said), there have to be some incorrect listings in the schedule!