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Friday, September 10, 2010

A Busy Golf Weekend

Although it's late in the season, it's amazing how much significant golf takes place this weekend. Here's a quick overview of what we have to look forward to:

Clip art of popcornThe Champions Tour is playing its first ever event in Korea. Of note here -- Fred Couples isn't playing, which is almost like giving up any hope of catching Bernhard Langer (who is there) in the Charles Schwab Cup race. Nevertheless, this is a huge move for the Champions Tour and it's being staged at a new Nicklaus golf course which is supposed to be really tough.

The LPGA has only one event this month, and it's this weekend. The Top 5 in the world rankings are all there, even though I believe Miyazato and Shin are in danger of losing their JLPGA Tour cards because they haven't played as well over there... and this week is a major on the JLPGA. That should let you know how important things have gotten to the ladies on the LPGA; remember, Player of the Year is also up for grabs, and that gets you points toward the World Golf Hall of Fame.

And on the PGA, we have a no-cut tournament that gets you into the Tour Championship... or not, depending on your finish. And Tiger needs a Top 5 to get to that final tournament. I am personally interested in who makes it simply because there are a lot of "funky" swings in the running -- swings that aren't considered great or even desirable swings by the general golf public -- and I'm really enjoying this unpublicized competition. I'm hoping to take a look next week at how many of these "unheraled" swings on Tour make it to the FedExCup finals.

So grab some popcorn and plop down in front of the TV -- this is shaping up to be a fun weekend. And we're only three weeks from the Ryder Cup, folks!


  1. Sounds like Tiger is still having trouble committing to his swing change. In his post round interview, he said he was "getting caught between takeaways".

    As I'm practicing my new takeaway, I kind of understand what he is going through. One day I will have an awesome practice session. And then the next day, I can't find the right positions in my swing. Tiger will have a great round and then come back with a bad one the next day.

    Today was a good day for me, but unfortunately not for Tiger. He will have to have one of the best rounds of his life in order to get into the top 5. The guys ahead of him aren't going to slip up too much, so he's not going to get any help.

    I do find it interesting that the world's #1 and #2 are struggling while everyone else seems to be shooting lights out. Do you think they are putting too much pressure on themselves,are they in a funk, or do they both have too much going on outside the ropes?

  2. I think it's a little bit of everything. This is uncharted ground for either one of them -- Matt Kuchar is the favorite now, and his play isn't a fluke. He leads the money list and scoring average (if he holds on, he'll win both the Palmer Award and Vardon Trophy), and it's hard not to see him as leader in the Player of the Year race... even though Phil won the Masters. I think Phil and Tiger are both pressing right now, for this and various other reasons. (For Tiger, the season ends Sunday unless he finds something.)

    Are they in funks? Yes. Phil simply can't play within himself; he enjoys the challenge of difficult shots too much, plus he's trying too hard to compete with the young guns. And Tiger's making swing changes, which causes him to think about his swing when he needs to think about shots. (He said as much, as you pointed out.)

    And their lives outside the ropes... well, we all know about the difficulties each is facing.

    Both are correct when they say they aren't scoring as well as they're hitting the ball. It's just that the few bad shots are really bad, bad enough to kill the round. Kuchar simply isn't compounding his mistakes... and that adds even more pressure.

    As for you, up-and-down days are how we learn, aren't they? There's a period of reorganization where the brain has to create new neural pathways and learn to send the triggers in the right order at the right time. Here's a tip for when you have a "struggle day": Just back up a bit.

    If the full swing is not working, shorten it to the point where you can do it correctly. Do that a few times to reinforce the correct action, then try stretching it out to your full swing.

    If the short swing isn't working, go back to the one-piece takeaway drill (either with or without a club) and do that a few times, then start stretching it out again.

    In fact, you might want to try this even when you aren't having problems, just to tell your mind, "Yes, this is the correct way to do it."

    The problems are actually a sign of progress. The new swing is becoming familiar enough that the brain has trouble sometimes choosing it over the old swing; one feels as "right" as the other. This is where your determination to make your new swing will really pay off. Reinforce the new swing frequently, and don't get discouraged. You're getting there!