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Saturday, September 22, 2018

The First European 59... FINALLY!!!

It seems like it took forever, but the European Tour finally saw one of its players break the 60 barrier in an ET event. Say hello to English player Oliver Fisher.

Oliver Fisher with his record-setting scorecard

It only took 46 years and more than 690,000 rounds of golf. A total of 19 other players had fallen just short over that time period. But the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, where they play the Portugal Masters, will forever be remembered as the place where it finally happened.

And as usual, the breakthrough didn't come from one of the Tour's big names. (Hey, Al Geiberger wasn't a big name either!) Oliver Fisher only has one ET win and he's #287 in the OWGR. But now he's the first member of the under-60 set on the ET after a round with ten birdies and an eagle.

Perhaps the coolest part of it all is that Oliver had missed three of his last four cuts and was just trying to make the cut when he started the day. Now tied for the lead at -12, that's no longer a concern.

Start looking for a "Mr. 59" logo on his hat and bag. I know I'd have one, if it was me. After all, he's the first to do it... and they can never take that away from him. Congrats, Oliver -- well done!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Brad Brewer on the Power Fade (Video)

While Brad Brewer (an instructor with GC) is focused on teaching you how to hit a power fade -- and I'll list those key points -- I want to point out something that may be giving you an unwanted slice at the worst possible moment.

How you hit this power fade is simple -- at least, in principle. Power fades are intended to give you more control over the ball's flight, but many of you do these steps unintentionally.
  • Tighten the grip on your lead hand to help prevent flipping the clubface at impact.
  • Aim the clubface at the target, where you want the ball to finish...
  • ...but open your stance so you're aimed along the line where you want the ball to start.
  • Lean the club shaft a bit forward to create more of a downward strike, which helps lower the trajectory for more distance.
But many of you do these steps -- or a slightly flawed version of these steps -- unintentionally when you slice.

In particular, you grip the club too tightly and you do it with both hands.

When playing a power fade, you grip a bit more tightly with your lead hand in order to keep the club face from closing and causing a hook. But what does that mean? You tighten your grip to make the clubface stay open. And if you tighten your grip with both hands, there's a good chance that clubface isn't going to be anywhere close to squaring up.

Furthermore, when you tighten up, you'll tend to create a bit of a "pull swing" even if you don't open your stance. Combine that with your tight grip and the ball will have little choice but to slice, maybe even push-slice!

The first step to curing a slice is usually to relax your grip. That's why many players waggle the club before a swing. I think it's important to try and relax your entire body, since your grip pressure is probably caused by being tense all over... and that's usually caused by trying to hit the ball too hard.

You might say that understanding how to hit a power fade is the flip side of not hitting an unintentional slice. Learn how to do one, and you have a good chance of mastering the other as well.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

My "5 to Watch" at the Tour Championship

Let's make sure we're clear here: I'm NOT picking the FedExCup winner, just the Tour Championship winner. The points race is too unpredictable while the scoring is straightforward. (Which probably explains why the Tour is adopting the "staggered start" for next year's event.)

Bryson DeChambeau, Tiger Woods and Justin Rose

We've only got 30 players to choose from this week, so my odds should be a bit better than usual. (Although better odds haven't helped me much in the recent past!) And after a week off to rest and recuperate, it's hard to say whether any player's form will match how he played at the BMW Championship.

Still, I'm going to give it a go.
  • Bryson DeChambeau has won two of the three Playoff events, so I have to give him a nod. A scientific player is something new to theTour these days, and I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. You do know that he was trying to simulate morning dew on the range earlier this week, don't you? You've got to love that kind of thoroughness!
  • Rory McIlroy has won this event before, back in 2016. He knows what it takes to beat East Lake and his game seems to be back in shape. I know that everyone believes he needs a wet course to win right now but I'm not convinced. I like his chances this week.
  • Justin Thomas has firepower. I know you can say that about a lot of the players this week but JT has demonstrated the ability to unleash it more easily than any of the other players in the field -- at least, he has over the last year or so. And I wouldn't underestimate how last year's loss at East Lake irritates him. Remember, he called the $10mil a "consolation prize."
  • Rickie Fowler is something of a wild card to me. I'm still wondering just how well that injury has healed, whether he'll be able to hold up under the physical strain if he has to do something special to go for the win. He'll have the Ryder Cup in the back of his mind, after all, and he'll want to guard against re-injury. Still, he played very well at the BMW and I can't help but pull for him this week.
  • And for my flier, I'm taking Keegan Bradley. His win at the BMW was a surprise even to him, and there are many unanswered questions in the wake of that win. Has he found something, or is he still in the "lightning in a bottle" stage? Will he be too emotionally drained to get the best from his game this week? Or is he primed to win again if he can just stay out of his own way, now that he knows he CAN still win? Many questions remain, but you can't argue with wins.
It's a stacked deck at East Lake but, when push comes to shove, I'm going with Justin Thomas. While the other players have a lot going for them -- as do players like Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson, who could break out at any event -- I can't help but feel that JT has something to prove this week. And, as Rory said, JT's got a little meanness in him.

I expect to see some junkyard dog from him this week!

The Tour Championship begins its GC broadcasts Thursday at 1pm ET. And PGA Tour Live will be streaming starting at 10am ET, if you've got their app.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How to Win the FedExCup

Today is just a link to's summary of how every player in this week's Tour Championship can win the FedExCup. (Obviously if you want to win the Tour Championship itself... well, you just shoot lower than anybody else. Duh!)

Points leader Bryson DeChambeau

Points leader Bryson DeChambeau has the easiest route, of course. All he has to do is win the Tour Championship and he takes it all. But mathematically he can finish as low as T29 and still win the $10mil FedExCup. It just depends on how the other guys play. (Bear in mind that the only way he has no chance at all to win the Cup is if he finishes alone in 30th place. I'd call that unlikely.)

But as simple as Bryson's road is, Patton Kissire's road is complicated.
  • Wins the Tour Championship and ...
  • DeChambeau finishes in two-way tie for 29th or worse
  • Rose finishes T-9 or worse
  • Finau finishes in three-way tie for 3rd or worse
  • D. Johnson finishes 3rd or worse
  • Thomas finishes in three-way tie for 2nd or worse
  • Bradley finishes T-2 or worse
  • Koepka finishes T-2 or worse
That's tricky but not impossible. Still, I like Bryson's odds better.

Anyway, you can check out your favorite player's chances at the link. In addition, you'll find pairing times and such. Take a peek if you feel so inclined.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Limerick Summary: 2018 Evian Championship

Winner: Angela Stanford

Around the wider world of golf: Wu Ashun won the KLM Open on the ET; Paul Broadhurst won the Ally Challenge on the Champions Tour; Sangmoon Bae won the Albertsons Boise Open on the Tour; Danny Walker won on the the Freedom 55 Financial Championship on the Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada; Nico Echavarría won the Sao Paulo Golf Club Championship on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; Hyemin Kim won the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout on the Symetra Tour; and -- dual events here -- Viraj Madappa won the Take Solutions Masters and Sanghyun Park won the Shinhan Donghae Open on the Asian Tour.

Angela Stanford kisses the Evian trophy

In a tournament with a dozen interesting storylines, it was a longstanding one that won out.

Solheim stalwart Angela Stanford is finally a major champion, becoming the second-oldest woman to do so. She turns 41 in November and had almost given up hope of winning a major, given how the "junior" players have dominated lately.

But Angela is a grinder -- it's part of the reason she's been on six Solheim Cup teams -- and her dramatic four-hole finish with eagle-double bogey-birdie-par got her in the clubhouse tied with then leader Amy Olson. She thought she had lost.

Then the unthinkable happened. Olson doubled the 18th to finish one shot back. A shocked Stanford cried, so emotional that she could barely talk.

It's no secret that her mom is fighting cancer again, or that her mom told her to come play Evian anyway because "that's what she does." What we didn't know was that Angela's mom had given her some swing advice earlier this season, advice that apparently was just what she needed Sunday.

Of course, another award was given out after the tournament. Ariya Jutanugarn won the Annika Award for the best record in this year's majors, but I doubt that Angela is particularly worried about that. She's too busy heading home to party with her family.

But I have a surprise for Angela. Because of the way tournaments fell this week, Angela also snags a rare Limerick Summary... and she's waited long enough for it, don't you think?
Pundits say, “the ball don’t know your age.”
Sunday, Angela proved that’s the case!
Though she’s creeping past forty,
Her game was still sporty
Enough for the Evian stage.
The photo came from this page at

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Dan Martin on Practice Swings (Video)

Yes, Sherman, let's crank up the Wayback Machine and travel back to 2012 for today's golf tip. (That's a Mr. Peabody reference, for those of you who missed it.) PGA insructor Dan Martin has a really cool one for you.

Most of us are aware that our practice swings are usually much more balanced and rhythmic than our actual swings. Martin's suggestion here centers on one very good reason why that happens.

When you make a practice swing, you usually don't hit an actual ball. (If you do, that may be one reason your scores are so high!) As a result, you think about flow and not about the actual ballstriking... and there's a really good chance you don't even realize where the ball would have to be positioned in order for your practice swing to actually hit it.

The great thing about this drill -- making a practice swing on the range, noting where the divot is and then placing the ball in that spot for your actual shot -- is that you can do almost the identical drill out on the golf course. The obvious difference (if I actually need to point it out) is that, once you note where your divot is, you can't move your ball when you're on the course. However, you CAN note the divot position and take your stance so the ball is in the same spot relative to your feet.

This is a drill I think will open your eyes to the real differences between your practice swing and your actual swing. And that knowledge might make a dramatic difference in your game without much extra practice at all! What more can you ask of a drill?