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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Brooks Koepka's Warm-Up Routine (Video)

The PGA Tour posted this video a couple of months back, showing how Brooks warms up before a round. The video begins 44 minutes before his tee time and even tells you exactly how many shots he takes with each club.



I'm not going to go through this video step-by-step because I really can't make it much simpler. I simply thought some of you might be curious about his pre-round routine, especially since he told the media that he is very meticulous about his routines, both on and off the course.

I don't know that it will make you a three-time major winner, but this is what works for Brooks.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Limerick Summary: 2018 PGA Championship

Winner: Brooks Koepka

Around the wider world of golf: Kristen Gillman beat Jiwon Jeon to add a second US Women's Amateur to her record (the other was in 2014); Trevor Cone won the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic; Corey Pereira won the ATB Financial Classic on the Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada; Lauren Coughlin won the PHC Classic on the Symetra Tour; and Team Sweden3 (Cajsa Persson and Linda Wessberg) won the gold medal in the women’s team golf event at Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course on the LET.

Brooks Koepka with the Wanamaker Trophy

Let's get a couple of things out of the way first, before I forget them.

Teaching pro Ben Kern was the only club pro to make the cut and he finished at T43 (-3), the best finish by a club pro in 13 years. Can't forget the club pros, especially when they play that well!

And both Adam Scott and Tiger, while neither won, should leave Bellerive with a huge confidence boost. Adam proved to himself that he actually can putt. And Tiger actually broke some of his own major records, which says something for how far he's come in less than a year. (Among other records, his 64 was his lowest score ever in a major.)

But the star of the show was Brooks Koepka. His performance was amazing, put him into some rare company at the Majors Club, and almost certainly locked up the Player of the Year award. But you'll be hearing about that all this week, maybe all winter until the Masters next April.

Let's talk instead about how this victory likely changes the competitive landscape on the PGA Tour for the next few months.

With three majors under his belt, Brooks has tied Jordan Spieth and lapped his buddy Dustin Johnson. Even Rory is only one ahead of him now! With this victory -- three of his last six majors -- Brooks has established himself as the "it" golfer of 2018. He's the Golden Boy now and, while he won't be #1 on the OWGR after this win (he will ascend to the top of my own Ruthless Golf World Rankings), there's no question that he's the man to beat going forward.

And with the FedExCup Playoffs and Ryder Cup just ahead, 2018 could get even better for him.

So I'll simply add my Limerick Summary to his haul this week. And I'll do it without a lot of fanfare -- that seems to be how Brooks does things lately.
Hey, Jordan and DJ—step back!
Make way as Brooks gives it a whack
And steps into the record books.
Hist’ry belongs to Brooks;
Now HE’S the head of the pack.
The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Brooks Looks Dangerous

I have nothing profound to write today, just a few thoughts that are banging around in my head.

Brooks Koepka

First, as the title of this post says, I think Brooks Koepka is very dangerous. The long day on Saturday, along with the extreme heat, plays into his hands. Bear in mind that Brooks didn't have to come back out on Saturday morning and, adding that to his fitness level, he is probably the freshest of the players going into the final round today. He's a hard man to bet against.

Next, the slim two-shot lead Brooks carries into today's round could vanish in an instant if he sprays a few shots. When you start thinking about how many players are within two or three shots of the second spot -- guys like Tiger, Rahm, Fowler, Woodland, Day and Thomas -- a Koepka win is NOT a given.

Finally, don't sleep on Adam Scott. I know the bad rap his putting has given him, especially since the anchoring ban took effect. But Adam's got everything else he needs to run the tables at Bellerive, and all he needs is 18 good holes of putting on greens that aren't all that tricky. And that isn't such a long shot, when you think about it.

One thing is for sure. While the rains prevented the PGA from getting the conditions they wanted for their last August major, they managed to give us a really tight, really competitive leaderboard for Sunday. And I'm not sure a fan can ask for more than that.

But Brooks Koepka certainly controls the outcome here. If he can post, say, a 65 -- just one shot better than Saturday, when he stumbled a bit -- he's going to make it really hard for anybody else to catch him, let alone pass him.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Bobby Jones on the Feel of a Golf Swing

This quote comes from the book Bobby Jones on Golf. It sort of goes against the grain of most modern thought, but I think a lot of golfers would find the game much simpler if they believed this legendary golfer.

Bobby Jones with the Grand Slam trophies

Here's the complete quote:
There is nothing occult about hitting a golf ball. In fact, although the application may be a bit more complicated, we use no more than the ordinary principles of motion we encounter numberless times every day. Once started upon a correct path, the club will tend to hold to its course until outside forces cause a change.

The great fault in the average golfer's conception of his stroke is that he considers the shaft of the club a means of transmitting actual physical force to the ball, whereas it is in reality merely the means of imparting velocity to the club head. We would all do better could we only realize that the length of a drive depends not upon the brute force applied but upon the speed of the club head. It is a matter of velocity rather than of physical effort of the kind that bends crowbars and lifts heavy weights.

I like to think of a golf club as a weight attached to my hands by an imponderable medium, to which a string is a close approximation, and I like to feel that I am throwing it at the ball with much the same motion I should use in cracking a whip. By the simile, I mean to convey the idea of a supple and lightning-quick action of the wrists in striking – a sort of flailing action.
That doesn't mean that strength isn't useful, only that it's used to create speed rather than create power. It's a different way of thinking about golf.

And most players would probably be longer and more accurate if they tried to swing as Jones suggests, rather than pretending to be cavemen (or cavewomen) beating a mastodon to death. I'm just saying...

Friday, August 10, 2018

David Frost on Getting Out of Bunkers (Video)

This GC video, with David Frost's quick lesson on getting out of bunkers, was shot at St. Andrews in the Road Hole Bunker. But there's something you might misunderstand here, so let me point it out to you.



First David gives you some general strategy tips. You can get those yourself; they're pretty simple.

The steps to getting out of the bunker are equally clear.
  1. Turn the club in your hands, then take your grip. That way you'll be less likely to flip the club at impact.
  2. On your backswing, make sure the heel of the club gets up higher than the toe of the club.
  3. On your downswing, hit just behind the ball and don't flip the club.
That second part is what I think you might misunderstand. I bet you'll try to twist your forearms on the way back, to make sure you twist the heel over the toe. BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO! If you grip the club with the face open, the heel will AUTOMATICALLY move above the toe when you swing back. You don't need to rotate your forearms at all to get the face in the correct position all the way through to the finish.

If you try to twist your forearms, you'll add inconsistency to your swing and make it harder to hit the sand properly with the sole of the club. As long as you keep turning your shoulders all the way through the shot, you don't need to twist your forearms at all.

David says this tip will help you get out of the bunker first time, every time. You may not always get the ball real close but, with just a little practice, your next shot will be a putt. For most of us, that's a major accomplishment!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Remembering Jarrod Lyle

When Jarrod announced a few days back that he had stopped his cancer treatment, I decided not to mention it because I felt there was more to the story. I would wait until we knew something more solid.

Now we know. Jarrod quickly went into a coma and he passed Wednesday -- at least, it was Wednesday here in North Carolina. I suppose it was early Thursday in Australia. Either way, it's clear that he was in worse shape than the initial reports indicated.

Jarrod Lyle

How much has this touched people? You would expect the golf media to report his passing, but a quick Google search will reveal that wider media groups, ranging from People Magazine to CNN, picked up on this quickly, sometimes only minutes after his wife's tweet. Jarrod may not have had the celebrity status that many other pros do, but it's clear he will be missed by many many people from many walks of life.

He was only 36.

In case you haven't heard, a number of fundraising sites have already been launched to help care for Jarrod's wife and two daughters. His friend Tripp Isenhour set up a page at GoFundMe.com called "Jarrod Lyle's Girls" that you can be sure is a legit fund (it's a shame we have to worry about such things these days) where you can go if you want to help. I'm sure you'll find others as well.

I never met him, but I will remember Jarrod Lyle. My best wishes go out to his family and friends.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

My "5 to Watch" at the PGA

It's the final PGA Tour major of the year, the 100th PGA Championship. It's being held at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis MO, and it looks to be hot and wet for its final playing in August.

Defending champion Justin Thomas

Everybody has a favorite this week, a player who they believe is a clear favorite to win, yet the only thing we know for sure is that the PGA almost always surprises us with an unexpected winner. Still, when you're trying to pick "the guy," it's really hard not to take the players who are in the best form or have a special skill that suits the conditions -- which, no matter how hard they try to find something different, is almost always length off the tee.

Nevertheless, I shall press on and try to do better this week than I did at the Ricoh last week. (Seriously though, Minjee Lee looked really good until Georgia Hall discovered the afterburner switch and torched the field.)
  • I have to take defending champ Justin Thomas as one of my picks. While it's unusual for a player to follow a win at a big tournament with a win at a major, JT has been in great form all season -- perhaps better than most of the players in the field -- and seems to be relaxed coming into this week. While I can't predict how his game will go, I like his mental state. That could make all the difference by Sunday.
  • Likewise, I have to take Dustin Johnson for similar reasons. These two are battling it out for #1 in the world every week, or so it seems, and have a total of five wins between them in 2018. (DJ has three, JT two.) The soft course conditions really could help him this week, and his ability to shrug off bad shots might give him an edge when guys start hitting balls into that deep wet rough.
  • Rory McIlroy. Two-time PGA champion. Wet conditions. Need I say more?
  • Tommy Fleetwood keeps knocking on the door, and eventually it's going to give way. He's not getting anywhere near the attention he should, given how well he's played, and I like the way he's flying under the radar this week.
  • And my flier is... Ian Poulter. Not the 42-year-old you expected, right? But Euro Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn put the word out Tuesday: He wants to see "something" from Poults, and that may be just the thing Ian needs to get over the hump and get a major. He's coming off a T12 and a T10, which I think would truly qualify him as a surprise winner.
And my pick is... Poulter. I can't help but think the Ryder Cup is just the tonic Poulter needs for his ailing history in majors.

Bear in mind that the PGA isn't televised by GC, but rather by TNT and CBS. TNT coverage begins Thursday at 2pm ET.