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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Quick Hop Across the Pond

Finally! The LET joins in on the fun as they and the LPGA tee it up at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.

Defending champion Mi Jung Hur

The Renaissance Club in Scotland -- the same course that hosts the Men's Scottish Open -- will once again host the Ladies Scottish Open. This is the first of two events in Scotland, the second being the newly-renamed AIG Women's Open at Royal Troon.

We still aren't free of the pandemic's effects, of course. Defending champion Mi Jung Hur won't be defending this week, and you can be sure several other players won't risk catching the virus.

Nevertheless, the field should be pretty good. World #2 Danielle Kang, fresh off back-to-back wins in the first two events of the LPGA restart, will be joined by past champions Ariya Jutanugarn and Mi Hyang Lee, as well as major champs Hannah Green and Hinako Shibuno.

GC's coverage starts early on Thursday at 7am ET. It will be interesting to see how Danielle does as she has posted three wins, one second-place finish and two third-place finishes in her last seven LPGA starts.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Wyndham Championship

Twofer Tuesday heads home to North Carolina for this week's tournament, the Wyndham Championship.

Defending champion J.T. Poston

Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro is a classic Donald Ross design, the only Ross design that regularly hosts a Tour event. It's just a par-70 playing 7127 yards. And it's not unusual for first-time winners to get that first win here, as defending champion J.T. Poston did last year.

There's a lot on the line this week, as this is the final event before the FedExCup Playoffs and all the different points lists (and money prizes) will be finalized on Sunday. That means the real interest this week will be centered around the guys making the cut and hopefully the playoffs. And the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 competition will also get a few pros' attention.

But Twofer Tuesday is about the Top10 at this event, so let's get to it.

  • Webb Simpson is one of those players who got his first Tour win at this event (2011), and he already has two wins this season. Given that he's been T3 or better each of the last three years, and T11 or better eight of the last ten, you know who I'm picking. I need to get my stats up!
  • And I'm falling back on a player I've often picked to win when he's playing well, only to have him plagued by bad luck. Paul Casey is playing some of his best golf in quite a while, and an old-style course like Sedgefield suits him. Coming off his runner-up finish at Harding Park, I like his chances to put up another strong finish.

GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 2pm ET. It's always fun to watch the guys try their luck on a classic course and, with the loaded fields we've seen since the restart, combined with the last-minute pressure of the points lists, this should be a killer week to end the regular season.

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 PGA Championship

Winner: Collin Morikawa

Around the wider world of golf: Danielle Kang went back-to-back with a victory at the Marathon LPGA Classic; Andy Sullivan won the English Championship on the ET; Lee Hodges won the WinCo Foods Portland Open on the Korn Ferry Tour; the KLPGA team defended the OrangeLife Champions Trophy over the combined LPGA/JLPGA team; Sung Hyun Kim won the KPGA Championship; and Rose Zhang beat Gabriela Ruffels in 38 holes at the Women's Amateur.

New PGA champion Collin Morikawa finds the Wannamaker trophy has a mind of its own

Perhaps in the future my Twofer Tuesday picks should avoid municipal courses. I had Brooks Koepka (T29) and Justin Thomas (T37), who were clearly puzzled by the shots we weekend athletes have to contend with on a regular basis. Perhaps they were confused by the lack of spectators...?

  • Top10s: 15 for 38 (6 Top5, 9 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 1 for 19 events

Granted, Brooks did start the final round on the first page of the leaderboard. He simply didn't stay there. But there were plenty of players eager to take his spot.

Collin Morikawa appeared to be more eager than most.

In a field dominated by bombers -- and yes, Bryson DeChambeau proved his body changes would indeed improve his play in the majors by getting his first Top10 -- two of the Top3 finishers weren't bombers at all, but rather shotmakers and good putters. Paul Casey tied for second...

And Collin just went freaking crazy in the last five holes. A chip-in birdie on the 14th and an eagle on the par-4 16th put him out of the reach of the rest of the field.

With two victories in a month -- one at Muirfield Village and the other a major -- he takes over the #1 spot in my Ruthless Golf World Rankings. He's also only the fourth 23-year-old, behind Jack, Tiger and Rory, to win a PGA Championship. Think about this, folks: Collin Morikawa now has as many majors as he has missed cuts. That's unusual these days for sure!

Even the Wanamaker Trophy didn't know how to handle it, as illustrated in the photo above.

But I know how to handle it for sure. I just pump out another Limerick Summary. Collin's building a nice collection of them for someone so early in his career! [UPDATE: And please forgive me, Collin -- you aren't the only guy to bobble the prize! I accidentally put UCLA when I should have put Cal Berkeley. I hope this corrected Limerick Summary works for you!]

Just like Rory and Tiger and Jack,
For Collin there’s no looking back.
Went from Cal-Berkeley play
To his first PGA
At just age 23. He’s no hack!

The photo came from this page at golfweek.usatoday.com.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Homemade Training Aids to Improve Contact (Video)

I know some of you really like to use training aids to improve your swing, so here's GOLFTEC's Nathan Morris with some ideas on how to create your own training aids. Maybe it will give you some ideas on how to design your own custom training station.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Chipping from Thick Greenside Rough (Videos)

Since the pros at Harding Park struggled so much from the rough on Friday, I thought it might be worthwhile to look at chipping out of really thick greenside rough.

I've linked an article at pgatour.com that describes the basics of "thick rough chipping", but apparently they didn't care enough about it to keep links to the photos that are referenced in the article. Still, the description is very thorough and hopefully a couple of videos will provide the necessary visuals.

One thing you want to remember when reading this article is that they assume you're righthanded. Anywhere you see the word 'left' you should mentally substitute the word 'lead.' That way, you lefties out there can follow the instructions as well.
We'll start with a brief video from Bradley Hughes.

The other video is from Kelly King and goes into a bit more detail.

The main keys you need to remember are:

  • You want to keep your iron shaft more vertical than normal so you can use the toe of the club to hit the ball. That way you don't get caught up in the rough so badly.
  • This means you want to keep the grip more in the palm of your lead hand.
  • The net result of these two keys is that you're going to make a putting motion without a lot of wrist break. (The grip simply won't let you use a lot of wrist action.) That will make for a more consistent contact as you hit the ball.
  • At address the ball should be in the middle of your stance or just slightly back of that and the shaft should point at your belly button. Your weight should stay on your lead side all the way through the swing from start to finish.
  • And make sure you swing hard enough that the club doesn't stop in the grass. You have to swing hard enough to get the club all the way out of the grass; if you just stick the club in the grass, the ball isn't going to come out. For shorter shots use more loft; for longer shots use less loft. The loft will determine how high the ball flies coming out of the rough; learning how much to use is just a matter of practice.

If you follow these keys, the ball will "squirt" out of the rough and run across the green to the hole. That's what you want!

Even the pros struggle when faced with thick greenside rough. That doesn't mean it has to wreck your score if you just keep the basics in mind.

Friday, August 7, 2020

The Chunk and Run Shot, Part 2 (Videos)

Yesterday I posted Dave Pelz's instructions for hitting a chunk and run shot from the bunker. Today I've got four short videos from four different teachers, each demonstrating their approach to the shot.

Each of these chunk and run shots uses the basics of the Pelz shot, but each has that teacher's own twist on the technique. Between the Pelz instructions and these four demos, you should be able to find a technique that works for you.

The first video is from Sandy Jamieson.


The next video comes from Scott Mahlberg.


Here's one from Anne Cain.


And this video is from Mitchell Spearman.

Four different teachers, four slightly different approaches. Try them all and pick the one that suits you best!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Chunk and Run Shot

The chunk and run shot is simply a sand shot that's hit fat on purpose. I found this Golf Magazine article where Dave Pelz explains the basics.

Dave Pelz hitting chunk and run sand shot

Here's a summary of what Dave says in the article.
  • This is a 20- to 40-yard greenside shot for use in a shallow bunker. If the lip is too high, this is the wrong shot. And you need room between the bunker and the hole for the shot to run.
  • Don't use your sand wedge. Dave recommends a 7- to 9-iron.
  • Use your normal setup and open the clubface only a little, just enough to keep it from digging into the sand.
  • Make your backswing about half its normal length and hit four or five inches behind the ball. Remember, you want to hit it fat on purpose!
  • Dave says you're pushing the sand into the ball, not slipping the club under the ball to throw the sand upward. So don't flip your wrists.
  • For a 20-yard shot, finish with your hands around waist high. For a 40-yard chunk and run, make a full finish.
  • Let that baby RUN to the hole!
This is a shot that takes some practice but, hey, how hard can it be to hit the ball fat? Just experiment a little and find out which club works best for you.