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, May 24, 2017

HaNa Jang Is Leaving the LPGA Tour

In case you missed the news, HaNa Jang is leaving the LPGA Tour next month and will focus on the KLPGA Tour.

HaNa Jang

The reason? A simple one, one that's becoming a bigger consideration for both men and women on all the golf tours -- family. LPGA.com quoted her thus:
"I thought being world number one was the only goal in my life and that was where my happiness comes from," said the 25-year-old, a four-time winner on the LPGA Tour. "But I realized there are many more important things than that.
"Even though I won four times (on the LPGA Tour), I still felt empty inside. I made this decision because being with my family is more important to me than being the world's top golfer."
Golfchannel.com further expanded on her quotes:
"I made up my mind after seeing my mother, who's close to 70, lead such a lonely life here," Jang said. "I thought being the best in the world was my only goal. But from now on, I'll spend as much time with my mother as I can." 
Both golfchannel.com and golfweek.com also noted that Jang has had some emotional upheavals to deal with as well. Besides the well-documented accident involving In Gee Chun -- which Chun says the two have largely dealt with -- there was criticism from the Korean press and fans over the Beyonce dance celebration at the HSBC Women's Champions, which they thought came too soon after the accident. That caused her more distress than we here in the US realized.

As I said, this isn't the first time we've seen family reasons affect a player's tour decisions. Jiyai Shinn comes to mind, having left the LPGA to spend more time at home in South Korea. Both Annika and Lorena left the LPGA to start families. Several of the PGA Tour players have taken or are taking time off from their tour to deal with family problems when, in years past, they might have tried to maintain at least some kind of schedule.

Like Jang, an increasing number of players are finding that the urge to be Number One -- whatever that happens to mean for that player -- simply isn't as satisfying as they thought it would be. And perhaps the increased prize money has made that sort of decision easier to make. Add in the never-an-off-season grind of professional golf, and it's not so surprising that players are making these decisions.

Hopefully HaNa Jang's decision will bring her the peace she's looking for. And maybe we'll get lucky -- maybe she'll find that she can still play some LPGA events after all.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Lee Trevino's Wedge Tips (Video)

This clip of Lee Trevino and Billy Andrade comes from Champions Tour Learning Center. Trevino gives a few keys to getting better results with your chip shots.



First, Trevino calls this a "deceleration" shot, although Andrade says he was always told to accelerate the clubhead. Think about Trevino's reasoning for a moment, and it will make perfect sense.

If you shorten your finish -- say, waist high instead of shoulder high -- your hands don't run full speed to the stopping height and then suddenly FREEZE in place! The key here is that you don't try to think about slowing your swing. Rather, it's something that HAS to happen, based on simple physics. Your body will automatically start hitting the brakes sooner -- decelerating -- when your hands have to stop sooner.

Second, he wants you to move the ball back in your stance so you can hit down on it and catch it cleanly.

And third, he wants you to put your trailing hand more on top of the club handle -- weaken your grip. The second and third tips work together. Let me try to help you understand the logic here.

Remember, Trevino says you decelerate on this shot because you aren't firing through to the finish. This is a short shot, after all, not a full shot! Because of that, your body doesn't turn as fully or as quickly on a chip shot as it does on a full shot.

But by weakening your trailing hand, you get it in a position very much like it would achieve in a full turn... but without making the full turn. It does so without making your lead wrist "break down" and flip the clubface.

And the combination of the weaker trailing hand and the ball position allows you to swing freely without worrying about digging the clubhead into the ground and pulling the chip off-line.

The result should be a relaxed swing that hits the ball toward your target, without putting extra effort into the shot. In other words, Trevino's advice should help you use the wedge's bounce better. Give it a try!

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Limerick Summary: 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson

Winner: Billy Horschel

Around the wider world of golf: It was a busy weekend for golf! Bernhard Langer tied Jack Nicklaus's record of eight Champions Tour majors when he won the Regions Tradition; Lexi Thompson won the Kingsmill Championship on the LPGA; Stephan Jaeger won the weather-shortened BMW Charity Pro-Am on the Web.com Tour; Celine Boutier won the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women's Health Classic on the Symetra Tour; Alvaro Quiros won the Rocco Forte Open on the ET; Shugo Imahira won the Kansai Open Golf Championship on the Japan Golf Tour; Rattanon Wannasrichan won the Thailand Open on the Asian Tour; and Ai Suzuki won the Hoken-no-Madoguchi Ladies on the JLPGA (bangkokbobby has details).

Billy Horschel with AT&T Byron Nelson trophy

This was the last time the AT&T Byron Nelson would be played at TPC Four Seasons. And the course made sure to send the Tour on a memorable sendoff.

Each day the wind was different, so it played like four different courses. The greens played hard, making it difficult to hold them with approach shots. And the putts simply refused to be predictable.

Nevertheless, four men fought it out down the stretch. Past winner Jason Day, Billy Horschel, James Hahn and Jason Kokrak each struggled to take the lead yet refused to give up the chase. No lead was safe; as one man poked his nose out in front, his pursuers picked up the pace. Only Hahn managed a birdie in the last two holes, yet he fell short.

It wasn't necessarily poor putting by the players. It was just hard to match line and speed under the conditions and the final-round pressure. That became painfully obvious when Day and Horschel went to a playoff. Neither man could sink a putt to take the title.

In the end, Horschel won when Day was unable to match him for par on the second playoff hole. It was a bit unsatisfactory for both players -- you'd really like to "win" on the final hole, not just "not lose." But a win is a win and both players found positives to carry from the event -- namely, Horschel's first win since winning the FedExCup and Day's first Top10 of the year.

But let's face it -- sometimes, victory is just a matter of outlasting your opponent. And that's certainly enough for Billy Horschel to grab his first Limerick Summary in years. Way to go, Billy-Ho!
The contenders fought hard; none would yield.
In the end, two emerged from the field—
Day and Horschel. Missed putts
At last drove both men nuts;
Horschel won when Day missed. Victory sealed.
The photo came from this page at usatoday.com.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Some New Casual Golf Shoes

Back in March I did a post about new golf shoes for 2017. Now Ashley Mayo has a new article over at the Golf Digest site called 7 Golf Shoes You Can Easily Wear Off the Course.

The main problem I have with this article is the price of the shoes. (Of course, that's becoming a common problem with golf shoes. But I digress...) There's only one shoe in her list that's under $100, and that's the FootJoy GreenJoys for $70, shown below.

FootJoy GreenJoys

My original post included FootJoy Contour Casuals for $100, and both FootJoy models appear to have similar soles. In either case, FootJoy seems to be the company to check for less expensive sneaker styles. (My original post included a $90 pair from Biion but those looked more like traditional golf shoes, albeit very light.)

My personal fave from the new list is the Adidas Golf Adicross Primeknit. They retail for $115 and remind me of boat slippers.

Adidas Golf Adicross Primeknit

These appear to have some kind of cloth or synthetic knit upper rather than leather; the description says they're breathable. In any case, they have a simple stylishness that appeals to me.

The list has a fairly wide variety of styles, considering it only contains seven models. Still, it's a quick intro to the types of choices you have if you're looking for golf shoes you can wear when you're in a hurry to leave the course for the 19th hole.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Quick Guide Two-Book PDFs Are Available

The special PDFs I create for sale from this blog are finally available for purchase. Remember, if you're purchasing from a VAT country, you'll need to get the PDFs that are available from Smashwords. (Two are up there; three more to go.) My blog isn't set up for VAT purchases at this point.

RuthlessGolf.com Confident Swings Pack book cover
Confident Swings Pack
PDF $8.99
Contains Stop Coming Over-the-Top and Think Like a Golfer
Add to Cart View Cart
RuthlessGolf.com Long and Straight Pack book cover
Long & Straight Pack
PDF $6.99
Contains More Golf Swing Speed and HIT IT HARD
Add to Cart View Cart
RuthlessGolf.com Short Game Pack book cover
Short Game Pack
PDF $7.99
Contains Accurate Iron Play and The Putt Whisperer
Add to Cart View Cart
RuthlessGolf.com Smart Putter Pack book cover
Smart Putter Pack
PDF $8.99
Contains The Putt Whisperer and Think Like a Golfer
Add to Cart View Cart
RuthlessGolf.com Tee-to-Green Pack book cover
Tee-to-Green Pack
PDF $7.99
Contains Stop Coming Over-the-Top and Accurate Iron Play
Add to Cart View Cart

And of course, if you want to get all six books, the MEGAPACK is available for download. Just click on the book cover at the top of the sidebar. That's the least expensive way to get the entire set.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Lydia Makes a Statement

I said earlier in the week that I expected Lydia Ko to lose her Number One ranking this week, as So Yeon Ryu and Ariya Jutanugarn are within a mere quarter point of her. And while Lydia hasn't been playing badly this year, she hasn't won yet. With Ryu winning the ANA and Jutanugarn defending this week, I think that's a problem.

Apparently Lydia finally decided to take matters into her own hands.

Lydia Ko earlier in the week at Kingsmill

After the first round, Lydia is at -4 (T5), two shots off Lexi Thompson's lead. So Yeon is three shots behind her at -1 (T34), and Ariya another two shots back at +1 (T73). While one round doesn't normally mean a whole lot, Lydia tied her best-ever round at Kingsmill and beat her best first round score by three shots. That's significant.

The LPGA has done a post with the various scenarios where each player will take over -- or in Lydia's case, retain -- the Number One spot. It's a lengthy list, and confusing. But here they are:
-------
There are several possible scenarios for each player to be ranked No. 1 following the Kingsmill Championship:
  • If Lydia Ko wins, she will remain No. 1
  • If either So Yeon Ryu or Ariya Jutanugarn win, they will become No. 1
  • If Ko, Ryu and Ariya finish T2, Ko will remain No. 1
  • If Ko and Ariya finish T2 AND Ryu finishes 3rd or worse, Ko will remain No. 1
So Yeon Ryu could take over No. 1 if any of the following scenarios (12th or better finish) occur:
  • Ryu is T2 with Ariya AND Ko finishes 3rd or worse
  • Ryu is 2nd alone AND Ko and Ariya finishes T3 or worse
  • Ryu is 3rd alone AND Ko and Ariya finishes T4 or worse
  • Ryu is 4th alone AND Ko finishes 6th or worse AND Ariya finishes 5th or worse
  • Ryu is 5th alone AND Ko finishes 11th or worse AND Ariya finishes 6th or worse
  • Ryu is 6th alone AND Ko is not in top 14 AND Ariya is not in top 6
  • Ryu is 7th alone AND Ko is not in top 18 AND Ariya is not in top 7
  • Ryu is 8th alone AND Ko is not in top 24 AND Ariya is not in top 8
  • Ryu is 9th alone AND Ko is not in top 30 AND Ariya is not in top 9
  • Ryu is 10th alone AND Ko is not in top 40 AND Ariya is not in top 10
  • Ryu is 11th alone AND Ko is not in top 50 AND Ariya is not in top 11
  • Ryu is 12th alone AND Ko is not in the top 61 AND Ariya is not in the top 12
Ariya Jutanugarn could take over No. 1 if any of the following scenarios (7th or better finish) occur:
  • Ariya is 2nd alone AND Ko and Ryu finish T3 or worse
  • Ariya is 3rd alone AND Ko is not in top 5 AND Ryu is not in top 3
  • Ariya is 4th alone AND Ko is not in top 8 AND Ryu is not in top 4
  • Ariya is 5th alone AND Ko is not in top 14 AND Ryu is not in top 5
  • Ariya is 6th alone AND Ko is not in top 21 AND Ryu is not in top 7
  • Ariya is 7th alone AND Ko is not in top 29 AND Ryu is not in top 8
-------
I think it's interesting that So Yeon Ryu has the most potential scenarios to take over the top spot, but Lydia still has a tremendous amount of leeway to prevent her from doing so. I mean, there are scenarios where Lydia can keep her spot just by making the cut. It's insane!

As I said, one round doesn't determine anything. But Ariya is currently below the projected cut and Ryu needs to get past 52 other players -- plus Ko -- to win. (Yes, the top of the leaderboard is absolutely packed after the first round.) If Lydia merely plays solid golf for the rest of the tournament, she's going to be hard to catch.

And that may be the biggest statement Lydia Ko can make this week. I certainly heard her loud and clear.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Quick Look at Byron Nelson's Swing (Video)

Since the AT&T Byron Nelson starts today, I thought I'd give you a quick lesson on how he hit the ball so straight. This is his swing in 1945, when he set all those records.



This video starts with a regular-speed swing, then runs it in extremely slow motion. There are other videos that use this footage, but this one made it easier to see both of the things I want to point out.

First thing: Everybody talks about Hogan's waggle, but there are other ways to start your swing. This video clearly shows how Nelson bent his trailing knee toward the ball to start his backswing. He's not the only player to have done this -- Gary Player comes to mind -- but he may have been the first.

Second thing: And this is the key to his accuracy. You know how every teacher tells you to start your hips before you start your shoulders, so you can increase the angle between your shoulders and hips on the way down to increase power? Nelson doesn't do it! Instead, you can clearly see that the angle between his shoulders and hips doesn't change. In fact, his upper body moves forward, toward his target.

Personally, I'd rather you didn't move your upper body so far forward as you start your downswing. That causes you to lose some clubhead speed. But Nelson starts with so much weight on his lead leg that it can't really be helped -- he has to move away from the target during his backswing or he'll reverse pivot during his downswing. You'll want to keep your weight more centered when you address the ball so you don't have to move your upper body so much.

However, keeping that shoulder-hip angle fairly constant as you start your downswing is a key to increasing your accuracy. When you increase that angle, you do increase power -- but you also alter your spine angle, and that changes your downswing plane, sometimes dramatically. (This dramatic change is a cornerstone of Hogan's downswing, btw. Virtually every good ballstriker's downswing plane is a bit flatter than the backswing plane, but a big change costs you accuracy.)

While you may lose a bit of clubhead speed with this move, you'll also hit the ball more solidly. Given the design of modern equipment, that will add some distance on its own.

And just for the record, the Nelson approach is easier on your lower back as well. More accuracy means more consistent ball contact, and less back pain means... well, less back pain. It's a win-win situation.