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Monday, December 18, 2017

The Limerick Summary: 2017 Indonesian Masters

Winner: Justin Rose

Around the wider world of golf: Angel Cabrera and his son Angelito won the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

Justin Rose with Indonesian Masters trophy

The last big tournament of the year, and what do I do? Get my numbers wrong. In yesterday's post I said that, if Justin Rose won, the Indonesian Masters would be his third win in seven starts.

It actually only took him six starts. Furthermore, he won by an amazing eight strokes, which Rose said was the biggest winning margin of his career. And if that wasn't enough, he won wire-to-wire in an event that was plagued by weather delays. (There were two in the final round alone.)

I really don't have words to describe how Justin is playing right now. He's at #6 in this week's OWGR, on the strength of ten Top10s in his last ten events (with three being wins, of course). The only question at this point is whether he can keep it up when the new year starts.

I, for one, will not bet against him. This was a dominating way to say goodbye to 2017!

Clearly his depression over losing to Sergio at Augusta is a thing of the past, so it's no surprise he's racking up those Limerick Summaries again. This is his second since late October and somehow I suspect there are more to come... very soon.
With his funk from the Masters long through
And his zest for the battle renewed,
This Rose runaway
Was an excellent way
To bid all his pursuers adieu.
The photo came fromthis page at skysports.com.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Will the Indonesian Masters Ever End?

Perhaps we'll have a winner by the time some of you read this, but -- for the third day in a row -- the Indonesian Masters was suspended due to dangerous lightning.

And I'm irritated.

Justin Rose

I guess this is a rant of sorts. I know that our game is subject to the weather because we play outdoors, but for some reason this week's delays seem less tolerable.

Maybe it was the video showing Justin Rose trying to tee off when a crack of lightning sounded in the middle of his backswing, right overhead, that bothers me. We expect that kind of activity to be noticed before it gets that close, don't we?

Perhaps it's because the event is halfway around the world from me, so I can't afford to stay up during an extended delay. Especially when I don't even know if play will resume.

At any rate, Justin Rose leads by five strokes after seven holes of his final round. Unless he just can't finish the round for some reason I don't see him losing this one. In fact, even if they have to throw out the final round (unlikely at this point) he was leading after the third round. I guess we'll find out soon enough if they're just delaying the inevitable.

And if so, that will be three wins in his last seven starts. Pretty amazing stuff.

If the round ever gets underway again. **sigh**

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Lexi Sidelined Until Mid-January

In case you missed it, Lexi has withdrawn from the Diamond Resorts Invitational in January, citing that recurring wrist injury of hers. Here's the tweet (@Lexi) she sent out:
I hope this isn't the start of a major problem in 2018. She was finally getting back on her game.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Duvals Defend in FL and Sneds WDs in Jakarta

Today's post is short. First, I want to remind you that the PNC Father/Son Challenge Pro-Am airs today at 5pm ET on GC. The main event doesn't begin until tomorrow (Saturday) at 11am ET on GC with more coverage at 4pm ET on NBC. David Duval and son Nick Karavites are the defending champs.

David Duval

And for those of you interested in the Indonesian Masters, which is airing live at midnight ET here in the US, you might want to know that Brandt Snedeker had to withdraw from the event after 11 holes. He was playing well in the second round but got dehydrated and had to WD for treatment. Sneds was trying to make the OWGR Top50 before the end of the year so he would qualify for the Masters, but now he'll have to find another way.

Justin Rose has just teed off as I write this and after two holes he's at -11, one shot back of Kiradech Aphibarnrat at -12. But Aphibarnrat has finished his round, so Rose has a good chance to really open up a lead before the day's over.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

John Daly on Being a Feel Player (Video)

John Daly was on Morning Drive Wednesday and he talked about a lot of things, but in this 7-minute video he talks primarily about how he approaches golf as a feel player.



John mentions a number of things but there are two I want to emphasize:
  • He thinks about swinging his sand wedge, even with a 5-iron. (Elsewhere I've heard him say the same thing about hitting driver. It shows in his rhythm.) John says he feels that he swings at around 85%. This keeps his swing smooth.
  • Before John goes out to play, he doesn't practice. He just swings enough to warm up, and he's not averse to starting his round without a warmup. (When you think about swinging every club like a sand wedge, you aren't going to strain yourself early in the round!)
Take the time to listen to this short video and watch John hit a few. Try to absorb the easy rhythm of his swing and take it to the course with you. You'll probably play much better, and with a lot less effort as well.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bobby Jones on Playing "Opponents Who Cannot Be Seen"

Bobby Jones is credited with a quote that says "Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course... the space between your ears." Given the records he set, you would expect Jones to have thoughts on the mental game.

In the book Bobby Jones Golf Tips: Secrets of the Master there's a section called Thoughts on the Mental Side. It focuses on statements by a player named Olin Dutra and his struggles with his mental game. I won't quote the entire thing, but Jones made a few interesting statements:
It is difficult for a person who has not been mixed up in these things to understand what it means to play a competitive round against opponents who cannot be seen. In an open championship one's imagination runs wild. A burst of applause or a cheer from a distant part of the course is always interpreted as a blow from some close pursuer, when it may mean no more than that some obscure competitor has holed a chip shot while another player's waiting gallery happened to be watching. It may not mean a thing, and even if it does, it can't be helped. But it is difficult to view it that way. One always feels that he is running from something without knowing what nor where it is.
That's certainly a problem that pros may face, though rarely would a weekend player deal with it. But then he says this:
I used to feel just at Dutra did -- that while I might make mistakes, that others would not. I remember looking at the scoreboard before the last round in the 1920 Open and deciding that I must do a 69 at the most to have a chance. Actually a 73 would have tied. I had some such lesson every year until I finally decided that the best of them made mistakes just as I did.
Reread that first sentence -- Jones used to feel "that while I might make mistakes, that others would not." That is a telling comment, and one that I think more players should consider.

You may not have thought about it, but the belief that what you do isn't good enough often has nothing to do with your ability, but with your over-estimation of another's ability. You struggle not because you're a bad player but because you (unrealistically) think everyone else is better than you. And modern golf teaching has a tendency to reinforce that mindset, telling you that unless you work your butt off, everyone else will pass you by.

I got news for you. It's simply not true. And if you try to live by it... well, Tiger Woods did that and the damage to his body has thus far cost him a few years and numerous surgeries.

I'm not saying you shouldn't try to improve. But trying to beat a nonexistent competitor, especially an unrealistically perfect opponent, is a sure way to sabotage your own game. Here's what Jones concluded:
The advice which Harry Vardon is supposed to have given to keep on hitting the ball, no matter what happens, is the best in the long run. It is useless to attempt to guess what someone else will do, and worse than useless to set a score for yourself to shoot at. A brilliant round or a string of birdies will not always win a championship. The man who can put together four good rounds is the man to watch.

No man can expect to win at every start. Golf is not a game where such a thing is possible. So the plan should be to play one's own game as well as possible and let the rumors and cheers fly as thick as they will. [p128]
Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that setting goals is bad, nor that it's wrong to set a scoring goal for a round. Having such a goal may help you focus better, as long as you give yourself the freedom to fail. But Jones here is talking about pushing yourself to shoot an unrealistic score because 'the other guys are going to take it low.' You don't know that! And I think about what Butch Harmon said on Morning Drive last week, that Rickie Fowler's problem is trying too hard on the weekends rather than just going out and doing what he knows how to do.

So if you want to improve your game, stop measuring yourself against those unrealistically perfect opponents who can't be seen. You might be surprised at just how good you become once you stop playing with them.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The New Video Protocols

In case you missed it, on Monday the USGA and R&A finally released their new "video protocols" for dealing with -- let's be blunt here -- TV viewers calling in to report rule infractions. Here's your quick guide to what's involved.

First, here are the USGA video protocols page and the R&A video protocols page. And here is the link to the brief video clip (embedded below) from Morning Drive announcing those protocols:



Now, the short version is this:
  • One or more officials will watch the broadcast to monitor possible rules violations.
  • Nobody is going to take phone calls reporting said violations. (At least, that's what it sounds like.)
  • The only video that will be accepted is the broadcast video. No phone or camera videos.
  • And a local rule eliminating the two-stroke incorrect scorecard penalty will be enacted as a bridge to the 2019 official rule.
Sweet, simple and to the point. The language is a bit wordier than that, but that's the gist of it.

The page with the Morning Drive video also has a number of other videos related to the issue, since quite a lot of time was devoted to it. Even Thomas Pagel spent considerable time answering questions.

I see a couple of potential issues that might have to be dealt with as this protocol goes into effect in January:
  • First, I suspect the monitoring officials may end up being stationed in the broadcast trucks to better monitor all of the network cameras, in an effort to catch potential problems as soon as possible. If so, there will almost certainly always be more than one official on duty. Even if you only watch a single TV showing the broadcast, you don't want anybody getting distracted for a moment and missing the very thing they're looking for!
  • And second, I'm under the impression that any person physically at the event -- players, caddies or fans -- will be able to report things they see to the officials. If so, they may have to rethink the camera/phone video ban since that would provide instant feedback about the legitimacy of the report.
Having said that -- and knowing that every new protocol generally needs some tweaking -- this is a major step forward. Pagel said that their feedback from the pros had been mostly favorable and that the pros were in favor of infractions being reported and penalties enforced, even if those penalties had to be enforced in a later round. It's that extra two-stroke incorrect scorecard penalty that most of them found to be unacceptable.

For those of you who are afraid that some penalties will be missed, let me just say this... they will. Even in sports where the events happen on a relatively small playing field -- like a basketball court or a football field -- infractions are not only missed in real time but even in the replay reviews. Because we are human, there is NO WAY that all the infractions will be caught or even properly dealt with, and we'll just have to accept that. We'll just have to do our best and accept the results.

And once any little bugs have been worked out, I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised at how well it's going to work simply because our sport is unusual in that most of us want the correct ruling to be made, even if it goes against us. As Lexi Thompson tweeted regarding the new rule, "I am thankful that no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future."

All I can say is "amen to that."