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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Louis Oosthuizen on Driving (Video)

I'm only going to make two comments about this video. Take a look:



You've probably heard everything Louis says in this short video. His swing is pretty much what you'd call a 'textbook' swing.

Here's all I have to say about it: The key to Louis's swing is that he avoids extremes. Almost everything in his swing, from his setup to his swing path, is pretty much in the middle of what he is physically capable of doing. That helps him avoid most of the big problems that weekend golfers face.

But while you want to avoid the 'happy feet' he mentions in the video, Louis keeps his feet way too quiet. You don't want your lead foot to come up on your toes and twist as he shows in the video, that's for sure. But one big reason Louis fights back problems is because he keeps that lead heel glued to the ground, which puts too much stress on his lower back. Don't do that!

Except for that one thing, there's enough good stuff in this video to help you hit better drives. Enough said.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Karen Nannen on Squaring the Clubface (Video)

PGA instructor Karen Nannen has a simple check to see if you're opening the clubface during your backswing.



I know you've heard this tip before, but you've probably been told you should see a certain number of knuckles on your lead hand. But Karen isn't saying that. She just wants you to count how many knuckles you see when you address the ball and then make sure you see the same number of knuckles at the 3/4 point in your backswing.

It's not about setting your hands a certain way at address. It's just about making sure you maintain that setting near the top of your backswing so you keep the clubface square.

A simple check, to be sure. But if you're opening (or shutting) the clubface at the top of your backswing, you need to know. If you're still square at the top of your backswing, it'll be much easier to square the club at impact.

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Mental Side of Shot Shaping (Video)

I bet many of you saw this tip from Zack Lambeck on Morning Drive and, when you saw the last part, you said, "Never works for me." Today I'm going to help you MAKE it work!



You got to that final approach tip and shook your head, didn't you? Zack said that if your normal shot curves 10 yards to the right, you need to aim 10 yards farther left... but it didn't work like he said, did it? You aimed 10 yards left of the target, alright...

And then your shot curved 20 or even 30 yards to the right and you were in worse trouble than ever, correct? It never works for you, does it?

That's because you don't understand -- and nobody ever explains -- the mental side of this tip. Let me do that for you now.

The simple answer to 'why' it doesn't work is that you aren't approaching your 'adjusted' shot the same way as you approach your normal shot. When you try that initial shot that curves 10 yards to the right, you aren't trying to curve the shot at all. You're aiming at the target and your natural swing tendencies keep the ball from going where you're aimed. You're trying to square the clubface and hit the ball straight... and it just doesn't happen.

But when you aim farther to the left, that's no longer what you're doing because your mindset has changed. Now you're TRYING to curve the shot! You may be aimed 10 yards farther left but you're trying to hit the ball at your original target. So what happens?
  • You make a different swing. You don't swing where you think you're aimed; you swing a little more to the right, toward your original target. Or maybe you swing a bit more to the left and cut across the ball. Either way, the ball is going to curve more because...
  • You don't square the face. Your target is now to the right of where you think you're aimed, so the clubface is more open than before and the ball curves more than before.
As a result, you hit a bigger slice than you originally did and you don't even realize it!

So what's the cure?

It's really simple if you just think about it. When you were originally aimed at the target, you tried to hit the ball to the target and your natural swing created a fade. So now, when you set up for a new target that's 10 yards to the left; you actually have to try to hit the ball at your new target that's 10 yards to the left.

To put it another way, at first you tried to hit the green but missed the green to the right. Now, in order to hit the green, you have to TRY TO MISS the green to the LEFT! That's the mental trick that makes Zack's approach tip work.

I won't lie to you. This is going to be a tough adjustment for many of you. You are so focused on hitting to the flag that purposely hitting away from the flag is going to be hard. But that's what you have to do to make your normal miss happen when you're planning for it, instead of creating a worse miss.

And should you find that you actually miss the green to the left when you aim to the left, then it's clear that aiming left changes your swing in a positive way. So then, instead of aiming to miss the green on the left, you start aiming to hit the left edge of the green. And if that works, you start aiming to hit the green about two yards from the left edge. And you do that until you figure out where to aim in order to get as close to the flag as you can.

That may take some time. But at least now you know how to make Zack's tip work. Good luck!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Helen Alfredsson Wins the Senior LPGA Championship By Three

Juli Inkster may have started the day three strokes ahead of her, but Helen Alfredsson had the last laugh. When she could stop shivering, that is.

Senior LPGA Championship winner Helen Alfredsson

The weather at the Pete Dye Course at French Lick was cold and windy; at times it was a three-club wind. How tough was it? Juli had a two-shot lead over everybody to start the day, she shot a five-over 76 and still had a solo second finish.

That also tells you how well Helen played. There were only two rounds under par on Wednesday, and her two-under 70 was one of them. (Michelle McGann shot a 69.)

In the process, Helen joined Laura Davies as a Senior Slam winner by sweeping the US Senior Women’s Open and the Senior LPGA Championship in the same season.

You can read some detailed summaries of the event in this Golfweek article and this LPGA.com article. In addition, here's an LPGA.com video interview between Ron Sirak and Helen. As for my little post here, I'm just going to congratulate Helen on a hard-won victory and a great Legends Tour season!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Jin Young Ko's March Toward History

Today is a link to Kent Paisley's lpga.com article about Ko's amazing season... and what may be on the horizon.

Jin Young Ko

To put it simply, Jin Young Ko is on the verge of taking two records away from Annika -- records that defy comprehension.

Number One, she is currently ahead of Annika's record for all-time lowest actual scoring average. Annika averaged 68.697 in 2002, a year where she won eleven times. Note that this record, for which LPGA players receive the Vare Trophy, is NOT the lowest adjusted scoring average but rather the actual scoring average -- number of actual strokes struck divided by number of rounds played. (For comparison, Tiger holds the PGA Tour's actual low stroke average of 68.17, set in 2000.)

Currently, Jin Young's scoring average is 68.851. She would join Annika as only the second LPGA player with a sub-69 average. And (if I understand correctly) she plans to play four of the remaining five events on the schedule, giving her 16 more rounds on the season; Paisley says she needs only to average 68 for those rounds to beat Annika's record.

The second record? Highest percentage of greens in regulation for a season. Currently, Jin Young's GIR sits at 79.9%, 0.2% better than Annika's record and a whopping 4.7% better than Tiger's 75.2% set back in 2000.

That's right. If Jin Young can hold on, she'll have the lowest-ever GIR record of ANYBODY, male or female, in golf history.

It's worth noting that Jin Young has four LPGA wins this year, two of which are majors, as well as a KLPGA win that doesn't count toward these records. And it's also worth noting that she has already locked up the 2019 Annika Award (best majors performance) as well as another all-time record for the longest bogey-free streak on either the the LPGA or PGA Tour at 114 holes.

This could be another amazing year on the LPGA, folks. And this is only Jin Young's sophomore year...

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Twofer Tuesday: The CJ Cup

Today Twofer Tuesday sprints across the pond -- WAAAAY across the pond -- to South Korea for the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges.

Defending champion Brooks Koepka

Nine Bridges is a par-72 course playing close to 7250 yards, which doesn't sound all that long but it plays tough when the winds blow. The CJ Cup sports a limited field of 78 players and is the first of three such events in Asia (South Korea, Japan and China). The field is a blend of PGA Tour, KPGA Tour and Asian Tour players.

Brooks Koepka is the defending champion and he's in the field this week, as is the 2017 champion Justin Thomas.

My Twofer Tuesday picks have been hit-and-miss so far in this wraparound season, and I'm looking to improve my luck this week. Unfortunately, the players haven't shared my enthusiasm lately, so I'm just taking my chances and hoping the guys show up.
  • My Top10er is Viktor Hovland. The rookie is still looking for his first win and, although I don't expect him to get it this week, I do expect him to continue his string of good play. He doesn't seem to care how tough the field is or that he hasn't played the courses before. I like that about Hovland and I feel good about his chances this week.
  • And my winner is Justin Thomas. As I said earlier, he has won this event before. Likewise, his recent play has been extremely strong since he came back from his injuries earlier this year. I think he may be ready to win again.
My only regret this week is that Bernd Wiesberger isn't in the field. (Apparently he's taking the week off to celebrate.) I realize that winning back-to-back is tough, but he's been playing at an extremely high level these past few months and I think a limited field might have played into his hands.

Because of the time difference between the US and South Korea, GC's live coverage begins tonight (Wednesday) at 10pm ET. So it's almost prime time golf again this week. At least I'll get to watch most of it before going to bed!

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 Houston Open

Winner: Lanto Griffin

Around the wider world of golf: Bernd Wiesberger got his third ET win in only five months at the 76° Open d'Italia; likewise, Jerry Kelly won the SAS Championship for his third win this season on the Champions Tour; Justin Shin won the Macau Championship on the PGA TOUR China; and Shugo Imahira won the Bridgestone Open Golf Tournament on the Japan Golf Tour.

Lanto Griffin with Houston Open trophy

Once again it's the status quo for my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Scottie Scheffler (T28) to win and Henrik Stenson (MC) to Top10. Granted, it might have helped if I had known about Henrik's 3-wood before I made my picks!
  • Winners: 2 for 41
  • Place well (Top10): 18 for 41 (10 Top5s, 8 more Top10s)
  • Overall Top10s: 33 of 82 (18 Top5s, 15 more Top10s)
As it turned out, it was a good week for those without any PGA Tour wins on their resumes (or CVs for you readers outside the US). It all came down to Mark Hubbard, Scott Harrington and Lanto Griffin. Griffin had the 54-hole lead, Hubbard was in second and Harrington was three shots off the lead.

They stepped onto the 16th tee all tied, with the 18th -- which was playing harder than the hardest hole on Tour last season -- still ahead. Griffin went one-under on those final three holes to win by one. He said he felt absolutely calm as he stood over the 6-foot par putt on 18 that locked up the win.

The emotions that poured out after it dropped surprised even him, I think. The realization that he had finally achieved his childhood dreams of playing in a final group, getting a win and getting the chance to play in two majors all at once was overwhelming. His phone rapidly filled with congratulation texts and he said he couldn't wait to celebrate with his friends and family.

He'll have nearly three years of Tour eligibility to do so. So I thought I'd kick it all off with a slightly different Limerick Summary than usual -- one that comes from his own words, albeit rearranged to fit the form. Enjoy the win, Lanto. You earned it!
“A dream,” Griffin said at the end.
“All I wanted since childhood, and then
I achieved it today.
It seemed so far away;
Now I can’t wait to share it with friends.”
The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.