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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

How Different Will the Scottish Open Be?

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open has been rescheduled this year, from July (the week before THE OPEN) to this week in September. I can't help but wonder how different it will be.

Defending champion Bernd Wiesberger

North Berwick, Scotland usually provides some wet and slightly chilly weather for the event. We're all used to that. But I've been looking at the forecast for this week and I'm seeing temperatures predicted in the mid to low 50s F (11-13° C)  -- roughly ten to twelve degrees F lower than July.

And they're still expecting the rain. This is definitely sounding like links weather!

Defending champion Bernd Wiesberger will be there, of course, and the highest ranking player in the field will be Tommy Fleetwood, who currently sits 17 in the OWGR. There are a fair number of highly ranked players teeing it up this week so we should see a good competition regardless of the weather.

Personally, I'm interested to see how Lee Westwood fares. The field won't be used to seeing the Renaissance Club course this way and, with his experience, he could have a distinct advantage. He could really improve his position in the Race to Dubai, where he currently sits 4th.

GC's live coverage begins Thursday morning at 6:30am ET and lasts for six hours. SIX HOURS, folks! This is the first of the Rolex Series events to be played since the restart, and what a great event to get things going again!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Sanderson Farms

Twofer Tuesday takes a lunch break and stops at the Sanderson Farms Championship for some fried chicken.

Defending champion Sebastián Muñoz

The Country Club of Jackson isn't a particularly hard layout, a par-72 that plays 7462 yards with a winning score that has always been under par. But since nearly half the field -- 64 of the 144 -- has never won before, that makes this an excellent opportunity for someone to get their first PGA Tour win and card.

The defending champion, Sebastián Muñoz, was in exactly the same position last year. It's hard to go wrong betting on a first timer this week... so that's what I'm going to do.

  • My first pick is Will Zalatoris. Yes, I picked him last week and he didn't let me down, so I'm going to bet on him again. But I have an even better reason to do so. Will nearly has enough points to get his Special Temporary Membership; pgatour.com says he only needs a two-way tie for fifth. I think that will spur him on this week.
  • My other pick is Doc Redman. Very different logic on Doc though -- he has two T3s in his last three starts, one at Wyndham and one at Safeway. Inbetween he had a MC at the Northern Trust. But here's the deal: Unlike many other players, the first T3 came after a so-so week at the US Open while that second T3 came after a couple of weeks off. Hopefully that means he won't have picked up any rust. With a little luck he might get me another Top10.

GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 4pm ET. Given the easier course layout and the (let's admit it) weaker field, this week is the closest thing to a breather that players will get until probably late November. Let's see who's the most opportunistic amongst the players!

Monday, September 28, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Corales Puntacana R&C Championship

Winner: Hudson Swafford

Around the wider world of golf: This was a week for twofers! John Catlin got his second ET win in three weeks at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open; Jared Wolfe got his second Korn Ferry Tour win of the season at the Wichita Open; Carson Young got his second pro win of the season -- but first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica -- at the Jacksonville Championship; and Laura Wearn got her third career Symetra Tour win at the IOA Golf Classic. And IceCat let me know that Song Yi Ahn won her second career KLPGA title at the Fantom Classic while Chang Woo Lee picked up his first KPGA win at the Hyundai Maritime KJ Choi Invitational.

Hudson Swafford with CPR&C trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks had a few surprises for me. I had Will Zalatoris (T8) and Thomas Detry (T33). Early on it looked as if Thomas might give me a Top10 while Will barely made the cut, but then Thomas faded on the weekend while Will made a charge. I'll happily take whatever I can get!

  • Top10s: 22 for 52 (9 Top5, 13 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 2 for 26 events
The Corales leaderboard was filled with two types of players -- those seeking their first wins and those coming back on medical extensions. And to be honest, it was hard to tell who was having the harder time. No one could build a lead and hold it for long.

But Hudson Swafford, who had only two events left on his Major Medical, seemed to get it together best. He built a three-stroke lead that looked untouchable until he hit the back nine on Sunday. Poor pitches on 12 and 13 -- the latter of which was a double bogey -- and another bogey on 15 wiped away his cushion.

But that double? It was Swafford's only double of the week. And that bogey was one of only five for the entire week. Twenty-one birdies (which included the winning birdie on 17) and two eagles (tied for most during the week) were just too much for the rest of the field to overcome.

It was Swafford's second PGA Tour win, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Not just because his Major Medical was running out but because this time the Corales was a full-fledged FedExCup event, giving him all the perks that go with a regular win.

Including a trip to the Masters next April. The new dad has a lot to look forward to!

In the meantime, Hudson picks up a shiny new Limerick Summary to remind him that he's back in the winner's circle again. Congrats, man!

While most folks relaxed on the beach,
The field found themselves under siege.
By the end of the day
Hudson’s scoring display
Grabbed a vict’ry once out of his reach.

The photo came from the tournament page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

How Your Dominant Hand Squares Your Clubface (Video)

Unless you're someone like Phil Mickelson who swings with his dominant hand as his lead hand -- that is, he's a righthander who swings lefthanded -- you probably have trouble squaring the clubface because you use your trail (dominant) hand and arm incorrectly. This drill from Chris Ryan will help you fix that problem.


You may need to watch this video several times before you understand what Chris is saying. The simplest explanation is that your trail elbow needs to be bent when you hit the ball BUT what you're actually doing right now is straightening it before you ever hit the ball. Another way to describe this move is that your trail elbow leads your trail hand into the impact zone.

Yeah, it sounds weird. But that's the way you throw a ball at hip level, what we sometimes call a 'sidearm' throw. And that's the motion that Chris is trying to teach you with this drill.

For most of you, this is going to take a little work to learn how it feels when you hit the ball. Let me add a couple of thoughts.

  • This drill works very well when used with the L-to-L drill. (I know, I say that about almost every drill. But it's true because the L-to-L drill is a basic move in a powerful, accurate golf swing.) When you start hitting balls using this move, incorporate this 'leading elbow' move into the L-to-L drill. You'll be very happy with the results.
  • And while Chris wants you to throw the ball at the ground during this drill, you may find it makes more sense for you to also try throwing the ball toward a target in front of you, the same way you'd try to hit the ball toward a target with a club. This has the added advantage of teaching you how to place your trail hand on the club's grip in order to know you've squared the clubface. And once you can do that, it's a simple matter to learn how to open or close the face a bit to hit a fade or draw.

No matter what your golf swing looks like now, you can always learn how to aim the clubface with that swing. And once you can do that, your score will start to drop because the ball will end up where you wanted to play from -- which, if you want it in the fairway, will be a lot better place to play from than the rough!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Mike Sullivan on Playing from Bermuda Rough (Video)

Mike Sullivan runs a golf school in Raleigh NC, a couple of hours from where I live. Here are his tips on how to play from Bermuda rough, both near the green and beside the fairway.


Beside the green probably didn't throw you at all. If the ball's on top of the grass, great -- you can just chip it. But when the ball has sunk down into the heavy stuff, it's all about the bunker shot -- hit behind the ball and let the grass lift the ball out.

But out in the rough beside the fairway is a bit trickier. Mike says if the ball is less than halfway down in the rough, you're likely to get a flier. But if it's deeper, you're likely to lose distance so you should take a longer club and make more of a controlled swing in order to make better contact.

The coolest tip from this is his warning that, when you try to swing hard out of deep rough -- which is when you really need to hit close to the ball in order to make decent contact -- you're more likely to hit the ball fat and flub the shot. This is a mistake you often see, even from the pros. Don't make the same mistake!

In my opinion, the tips for around the green are pretty much no-brainers. But when you're out there in the rough after a poor drive, I think these tips might not be the whole story -- the condition of the rough has to be considered as well, since thin dry rough behaves a bit differently from thick juicy rough. Keep that in mind.

Still, these tips are a really good place to start when you're standing over an almost invisible lie in Bermuda rough and trying to choose a club.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Cindy Miller on Stopping Your Slice (Video)

Some of you may have heard of this drill, but it's something you can use on the course as well. In this video LPGA pro Cindy Miller shows you how to fight off a slice.


Slices are caused by leaving the clubface open at impact. You all know that, I'm not telling you anything new.

As you can see, in this drill basically all you're doing is closing your stance. But this is an extremely closed position because you're trying to give your hands more time to square the clubface.

The trick to this drill is WHY you're leaving the clubface open, which means this may actually be overkill for some of you and will cause you to hit a draw or even a big hook. If that's the case, you can adjust how closed your stance is.

Many of you are moving forward too much during your downswing. I know, you've been told you need to do it but you're doing it WAY too much. This super-closed setup is going to tone down that move without you really having to think about it.

Note also that Cindy hasn't changed her ball position at all. It's still just inside her lead heel. However, she has closed her stance so much that the toes on her lead foot actually point a little bit behind the ball. That forces your body to slow down its turn just enough for your hands to catch up and square the clubface.

This is going to feel weird, I know. But that's because you aren't used to using your hands properly during your downswing. That's really what this drill teaches you, much like the L-to-L drill I write about so often. (That's the link to the most recent post I did about it.) But Cindy's drill goes straight to the full swing while the L-to-L drill starts with your short game.

Once you get the hang of squaring the clubface you won't need this drill anymore. But it's a nice thing to have in your arsenal. After all, sometimes you just HAVE to draw the ball...

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Paul McGinley on Strategy (Video)

No commentary today, just a Golf Monthly video with Paul McGinley playing three holes with an 18-handicapper to teach him some basics on scoring. Enjoy!