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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Mickey Wright 1935-2020 (Videos)

Another legend is gone. Mickey Wright, whom Ben Hogan once said had the most perfect golf swing he had ever seen, died at the age of 85. She holds a huge number of records in the game and did a tremendous amount to grow the game, which you can read about elsewhere. I thought it might be nice to remember her by remembering her as a teacher. Here are a couple of Mickey Wright's thoughts on the game.

Mickey Wright

This little video lets us hear how Mickey described her own concept of her swing:



And Luke Kerr-Dineen posted an article at the golf.com site with what in 1964 Mickey told Gene Sarazen was the best advice she could give on how to get more yardage off the tee. It's in this clip, starting right around the 3:30 mark.



As Kerr-Dineen writes:
Asked by host Gene Sarazen how to groove a more powerful golf swing, Wright shared one of her favorite drills.
It’s pretty simple: She places a tee about 12 inches behind her golf ball down the “intended line of flight,” or the target line.
Her goal is to simply make sure she knocks the tee away on her takeaway. In Mickey’s own words:
Knock the tee down; it will ensure I am keeping the clubhead long, low, and wide away from the ball. With this wide start, you’re automatically ensured you’ll make the biggest arc possible to the golf swing.
That's elegant and accessible to all, just like Mickey Wright was. We'll miss her. My prayers go out to her family and friends.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: WGC-Mexico

Twofer Tuesday wheezes its way up to Mexico City and the Club de Golf Chapultepec for the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson

At nearly 8000 feet above sea level the Club de Golf Chapultepec plays much shorter than its potential scorecard length of 7355 yards. Long hitters have no real advantage over the shorter, more accurate hitters, which can make for some interesting finishes on Sunday.

Although defending champion Dustin Johnson is in the field and he seems to be playing pretty well, I'm still a bit concerned how his knee will hold up on a hilly Mexico City course. So I'll have to consider my options carefully.
  • My first Top10er is a no-brainer: Rory McIlroy. Coming off a bad Sunday at Riviera, I still think he'll be in the right frame of mind this week, as he managed a runner-up behind DJ last year. He's got good memories in Mexico City and I think they'll come to the fore this week. Besides, as nice as a Genesis title would have been, winning a WGC with Brooks in the field to solidify his #1 World Ranking would be extra sweet for Rory.
But who else should I take -- a chalk pick or someone deep in the field? I've really fought with this one, because Club de Golf Chapultepec is a course that can make the best players look like fools if they don't take it seriously...
  • I've decided to take Adam Scott as my other Top10er. In many ways this is a counter-intuitive pick. Adam is coming off a hard-fought win at Riviera, one that could leave him with an emotional letdown after the high. But I also find myself wondering if lightning can strike three times, as Adam has won both of his last worldwide starts. Granted, they were two months apart... but I'm going with the hot hand. If he continues to drive and iron the ball as he has lately, he could easily pick up this WGC.
GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 2pm ET. Can Adam Scott make it three in a row? Can Rory get the job done this week? Will one of the new players on Tour get a breakthrough win? I don't know... but I feel something special is in the cards this week.

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Genesis Invitational

Winner: Adam Scott

Around the wider world of golf: Inbee Park got her 20th LPGA title at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open; Scott Parel won the Chubb Classic for his third Champions Tour title; Andrew Novak won the LECOM Suncoast Classic for his first Korn Ferry Tour title; LET player Lejan Lewthwaite won the R600 000 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour; and Michael Sim won the Coca-Cola QLD PGA Championship on the Australasian Tour.

Adam Scott with the Genesis trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks didn't do too bad at Riviera. I had Rory McIlroy (T5) and Tiger Woods (68), and Rory got me a T5. As for Tiger, those crazy greens did a number on him again this year. I really do think he'll eventually figure this place out but, even if he doesn't, he can at least console himself with the knowledge that Jack never won here either.
  • Top10s: 7 for 14 (3 Top5, 4 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 0 for 7 events
On the other hand, Adam Scott had won at Riviera before... although nobody gave him credit for it. His 2005 win at what used to be the Nissan Open was rain-shortened to 36 holes and thus not considered an official win. I'm sure that irritated him a bit; after all, it wasn't his fault that somebody left the water running waaaaay too long that year.

Well, he doesn't have to worry about that anymore. He's got an official Genesis Invitational title and all the perks that go with it.

It's easy to say that Adam isn't the best putter on Tour and that both Matt Kuchar and Rory McIlroy -- his co-leaders entering the final round -- probably should have beaten him. But Adam's record when he has a piece of the 54-hole lead is nearly as good as Rory's, and his iron play was the best of the best this week. On Sunday he was the only one of the three to post an under-par round.

And that was enough.

It was Adam's first PGA Tour win since 2016, but he won the Australian PGA Championship just a couple of months back. Maybe he's found something he thought he had lost; maybe you just can't keep a classy player down. At any rate, Adam picks up his second Limerick Summary in as many months. Who knows what 2020 may hold for him?
The first of Scott’s Genesis crowns
Did not count; the rain had come down
So hard, play was stopped.
But not this time! He topped
The whole field with four masterful rounds.
The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Inbee Park on Putting (Video)

You've seen her putt. Even as I write this, she's putting on a clinic Down Under at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Let's see what she has to say:



For many of you, Inbee's admission that she only looks at the ball as she putts is probably a shocker. It seems logical that, if you want to make a lot of putts -- especially long ones like Inbee so often does -- you'd be really concerned about your line and your stroke.

But Inbee says that looking at the stroke interferes with her ability to judge distance... and distance control is the key to having tap-ins when you don't make the first putt. (In case you didn't know.)

Inbee is perhaps the best putter in the game right now. If she's eliminating as many thoughts from her stroke as possible -- after all, once she gets lined up she's just looking at the ball and feeling the correct distance -- then maybe you're making your putting stroke too complicated. Simplify, simplify, simplify and perhaps you'll make more putts!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Nick Faldo on Bunker Play (Video)

Nick Faldo's advice here is to copy the pros. Watch how various pros get out of the sand and then try to mimic all the methods that appeal to you. Here, take a look:



Nick specifically demonstrates methods used by Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros and Ernie Els. See how each player takes some of the same basics, like opening the clubface and thumping the sand, then adds their own twist to get the results they want? You can do the same thing, and that's exactly what Nick suggests here.

But I want to focus on a little something that Nick did to make Ernie's method work better for him. See how he lifts his trail heel so he's standing on his toes? He says he does that to get his trailing shoulder a bit higher and thus prevent hitting the ball fat. But it also helps him incorporate part of the Player method -- if he's on the toes of his trail foot, he has to put more weight on his lead foot.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but it's also one of the quickest ways to learn a new skill... you know, like getting your ball out of a bunker. Don't be afraid to experiment with different methods to find the one(s) that work best for you.

Friday, February 14, 2020

A Quick Champions Tour Reminder

Don't forget that the Chubb Classic starts today. Miguel Angel Jimenez is the defending champion.

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez

This event is played on The Classics at Lely Resort, in Naples FL. It's the fifth longest-running event on the Champions Tour (33 years) and Chubb Limited is the longest title sponsor (23 years), so this is a well-established event.

And since Jimenez is the Schwab Cup standings leader at this point in the season, this is a likely spot for him to increase his lead. But it won't be easy, as he not only has to face the usual cast of suspects but also new Tour members Tim "Lumpy" Herron, Robert Karlsson and Thongchai Jaidee. You know how new blood seems to take to the Champions Tour... just witness Brett Quigley's win in only his second start. (He's there this week as well.)

GC's TV coverage begins today at noon ET. Given the depth of the field and how well established this event is, we should get a pretty good tournament.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Keeping Your Spine Angle Consistent (Video)

This video from the SirSwingsAlot channel on YouTube offers a simple thought for maintaining your spine angle throughout your swing.



This thought of swinging your trail shoulder under your chin through impact is something that may or may not come easily to you. It requires you to be aware of how your body is moving when you swing. But it's a useful way to feel that your spine is holding its angle to the ground without becoming too hung up on swing mechanics.

But if you're having trouble finding this feeling, here's something that might help: In order to swing your trail shoulder under your chin without straightening up, your weight will need to shift slightly to your lead foot and leg. This is actually something you do naturally when you turn to the side under normal circumstances; it's only when you start thinking "oh my, I've got to swing this golf club" that you start hindering your natural movements!

So if you think of swinging your trail shoulder under your chin and ending up balanced on your lead leg, there's a good chance you'll find this move pretty easy to do... and pretty easy to do consistently as well. Try it with half-speed swings at first and, once it starts to feel comfortable, start working your way up to full speed. Staying level during your swing may be easier than you expect!