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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Ladies Are in Singapore

The HSBC Women's Champions event this week is in Singapore. Rather than do a preview myself, I'll just refer you to Tony Jesselli's preview over at Mostly Harmless. He always manages to do a good overview... and usually with fewer wasted words than I would!

Here's a photo of the Serapong Course (from the tournament's main page) where the HSBC will be played. Quite an exotic looking place, don't you think?

picture of the Serapong Course

As many of you know, some of the ladies were involved in a car accident last week on the way to the tournament. Although Ai Miyazato withdrew from the event because of the wreck, both Paula Creamer and Suzann Pettersen are playing. At the time I'm writing this, Creamer has already finished her first round and posted a 4-under 68. She had tweeted that she would probably be sore for a few weeks but it doesn't appear to have hurt her game much so far. We'll have to see how she holds up after several rounds.

More good news -- Ariya Jutanugarn, who had that horrible final hole in last week's event in Thailand, seems to have rebounded just fine. Her round is still in progress, but she's 3-under after 16 holes.

GC will be broadcasting the first round for a couple of hours starting at 12:30pm ET, in case you're interested in catching some of it. And you can check out the scores here if you like.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Little More Help for Ramzi

In the comments to Sunday's post Ramzi left me a question about which arm controls the downswing. I wrote a reply but afterward I thought about an older post that might also be helpful.

Much of my answer to Ramzi concerned connection, which is one of those fundamentals that Ben Hogan made popular. Back in December 2011 I did a post with some teaching on connection from Nick Faldo. You should use the link and read the original post, but I've included the video here. The section on connection starts at the 1:00 mark.

What Nick is talking about here in relation to chipping and pitching also applies to the full swing. And it's usually easier to learn full swing moves if you start by using the techniques for pitching.

Connection is the key to keeping your arms in synch with the rest of your body. By all means, try out this little drill!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Honda Classic Preview

Ah yes, I'm taking the easy way out today and giving you some Honda Classic info put together by the Tour. This is the PGA Tour's preview of the Honda Classic, the first event on the Florida Swing.

Guess who the defending champion is?


This article provides all kinds of interesting tidbits about the event, including the TV and Sirius/XM radio schedules.

The notorious Bear Trap takes center stage this week. Holes 15, 16 & 17 tend to decide the winner, as noted in this paragraph from the PGA Tour's Power Rankings article for this week:
Holes 15, 16 and 17 at the Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa -- a par 4 sandwiched by a pair of devilish par 3s -- averaged 10.391 last year. In 2011, the same holes registered an aggregate average of 11.178. Over four rounds, that equates to a difference of 3.148 strokes.
The Power Rankings article has quite a bit of info about how the Bear Trap has helped choose the winner in the last few years, as well as handicapping the field. Charl Schwartzel is their top pick. (I guess they read my blog the last few weeks.)

Just a quick note: None of last week's four finalists are in the field... but Ben Crane's there, so we got that going for us. Put on your leotards and release your inner snake shaker!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Limerick Summary: 2013 WGC-Accenture Match Play

Winner: Matt Kuchar

Around the wider world of golf: Inbee Park zipped out of the pack to win the Honda LPGA Thailand; Jaclyn Sweeney won the Gateway Classic, the Symetra Tour's first tourney of the year; Stacey Keating won the Women's Victorian Open on the ALPG; Chawalit Plaphol won the Zaykabar Myanmar Open on the Asian Tour; Jaco Van Zyl won the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour; and Kevin Foley won the Panama Claro Championship on the Tour.

Plus, for those of you keeping track, Danica Patrick finished 8th in NASCAR's Daytona 500, the best finish ever in that event by a woman... making her one of the few drivers, male or female, to have started in both the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500, the biggest races on the NASCAR and IndyCar circuits, respectively.

Kuchar holds trophy

Well, one of my original picks to make the Final Four at the WGC-Accenture made it. Of course, Ian Poulter seemed to be a no-brainer to me -- there aren't many players better than him in match play.

Other players are trying, though. I knew Hunter Mahan could hold his own. I had forgotten that Matt Kuchar had made Top5s the last two years. And Jason Day surprised me, but he's finally getting over some injuries. Those four made it to a very cold, very windy Sunday to play 36 holes. (More or less.) They bundled themselves up so they looked like little desert Eskimos and set out to shock the world.

The shocks came from more than the cold.

The four men who could do no wrong most of the week went cold Sunday. Jason Day played well, especially given that it was his first appearance. He finished 3rd overall.

Poults was the biggest shock. His putter was cold from the very start, as putts that had fallen all week lipped out in both rounds Sunday. He hadn't played in six weeks, so it may have just been a little rust that caught up with him when the conditions and emotional intensity ganged up on him. He finished 4th.

Mahan was the second biggest shock. After some amazing short game play in the semis, his long game went cold. The defending champ finished as the runner-up.

It was Matt Kuchar who handled the cold best. The boy in the Arctic blue winterwear finally cracked the finals for the first time... then he cracked the stranglehold of the expected champions on this event. With his knit cap and his hand warmers each doing their part, he casually out-thought the rest of the field and simply put his ball where he couldn't make huge mistakes.

And he didn't. He snagged his first WGC and some serious bragging rights.

So this week's Limerick Summary salutes the most coldblooded competitor in the WGC field -- on a course that was ice cold as well:
It rained and it snowed and the wind blew;
The battered survivors played right through.
First Hunter beat Ian
Then Kuch wound up bein’
The winner. (They all turned a bit blue.)
The photo came from the front page of

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Scott Piercy's Grip

I think it was GC that mentioned this during their WGC-Accenture telecast Saturday and I wanted to pass it along.

Scott Piercy uses a 10-finger grip, also called a baseball grip. (I do too, btw, and have done so for well over 20 years so I know a little bit about it.)

view of Piercy's grip

ESPN posted an article about his grip back in mid-2012 so I'll just link you to it. But I would like to say a couple of things about this much-maligned grip.

The author of the ESPN article says "My friends and a few swing instructors on tour told me that I would hit the ball left with the grip." I can tell you from experience that this simply isn't true. Given the fact that most Tour players who have a problem hitting the ball left use Vardon grips, I'd say that if your grip is making you hit the ball left (or right, for that matter) then you're using your hands improperly. Your hands should simply hold the club, not manipulate it. (Except for some trouble shots... and I've found I can manipulate the club better with 10 fingers.)

I like the baseball grip because it's simple and it's a natural way to grip a club. I've heard that an overlapping grip (aka Vardon grip) helps your hands work together better than any other grip... although the most legendary players like Jones, Nicklaus, and Woods all use an interlocking grip and never seem to have a problem. (Interlock grips also put all 10 fingers on the club.) Why should a baseball grip be any less successful?

I do think a baseball grip is the best grip for players with smaller hands. Nicklaus once said that's why he went with the interlock, but I don't know if Jack Grout would have ever recommended the baseball grip because it's not as traditional. Personally, I've used all three grips and find that I control the club better with all ten fingers on the grip. When I interlock my fingers, it sometimes causes me to get my hands out of position -- a problem I never have with a baseball grip.

Finally... when Carl Rabito straightened out my swing, he never even suggested I change it. Since he's coached major winners I guess that means it's not harmful to your game. Wouldn't you agree?

So if your grip feels uncomfortable, you might be better served by a baseball grip. Or if you use a baseball grip now, don't feel like you have to change it just because it's not the most popular grip around. It's a good grip -- just ask Scott Piercy.

The photo came from this article.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

All the Number Ones Go Boom

Rory. Tiger. Luke. Louis. They're all gone.

Match play -- especially at the WGC-Accenture -- is always a nasty thing. Sometimes upsets aren't really upsets, but when the big boys go boom in the first two rounds... yeah, those are upsets.

Initially I considered calling this post Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Number One -- a play on an old country song title -- but decided it was too long. Likewise, The Number Ones Get Number Two struck me as a bit gross (though strangely satisfying). However, they spurred me to come up with possible headlines for some of the other matches.

For example, Tim Clark's 3&2 beating of Thorbjorn Olesen gave me Thunderbear Brutalized with Broomstick.

Hunter Mahan's 4&3 victory over Richard Sterne could only result in A Sterne Defeat.

Nicolas Colsaerts finished 4&2 over Justin Rose, giving me Belgian Bomber Busts Brit. (Although I also liked The Thorn in Rose's Side.)

Fredrik Jacobson's 4&3 win over Marcus Fraser could only be Down Goes Fraser! Down Goes Fraser! (The famous line uttered by sportscaster Howard Cosell after boxer George Foreman decked Joe Frazier.)

Charles Howell III beat Tiger in the first round then fell to Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano in the second, once again busting my Gary Player bracket. (I guess I'll replace him with Mahan.) For this double disappointment CHIII gets the headline First Chuck's Up, Then He Upchucks.

Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell's victories over Carl Pettersson and Alex Noren, respectively, could be considered Lepre-Cans. (A play on leprechauns, those little Irish guys with the pots of gold.) And since the two will play each other in the third round, I suppose that match could be billed as Only One Pint Left.

But in the end, two of my original picks -- Fredrik Jacobson and Ian Poulter -- are still alive and could conceivably face each other in the finals. Although Freddie is playing well enough to win, I'm pretty sure I'll be writing about The Way the Game Is Plaid.

Or perhaps, as with this post, Plaid for All It's Worth.

Friday, February 22, 2013

I Was a Week Early Picking CHIII

You may recall that I picked Charl Schwartzel and Charles Howell III at the Northern Trust Open last week... and CHIII didn't even make the cut, despite playing well in the previous weeks.

So I picked Tiger Woods as one of my Final Four at the WGC-Accenture, and what happens? He draws CHIII, who promptly busts my bracket. And to make it even worse, Howell said he's never ever beaten Tiger when they practice together.

Great time to get your act together, Chuck...

And since Charl (another of my picks) got upset as well, I'm only 2 for 4 so far. Fredrik Jacobson (aka the Junkman) and Ian Poulter are still alive, but since Poults is going to win it all anyway I'm not too distraught.

Nevertheless, I guess I need to pick new guys to finish out my busted brackets. I know most people don't do that but since I'm not playing a pool with anybody and I like to replace my bounced players, I'm going to do it.

Besides, it's my blog. ;-)

Since Jacobson is in the Ben Hogan bracket and Poulter's in the Sam Snead bracket, here are my new picks for the other two:
  • In the Gary Player bracket -- the one Tiger was in -- I'm going to take Charles Howell III. As the title of my post suggests, perhaps I just picked him a week early. Besides, it's symmetry; Schwartzel made good last week and bounced this week, so since Howell bounced last week...
  • In the Bobby Jones bracket -- where Schwartzel was -- I'm going with Graeme McDowell. In my original bracket post, although I took Schwartzel because he's been playing well, I wrote "There are several good match players here, including Graeme McDowell (who I really like this week), Rickie Fowler, and Zach Johnson." Since I had already mentioned Graeme, I'll take him as my replacement. (I do find it interesting how many upsets there were in this particular bracket.) But if Alex Noren continues to play well, Graeme could be in trouble in the second round.
Just for the record, I should point out that I could still get things right with my original picks if Jacobson and Poulter make the finals.

And as I said, Poulter's going to win it all anyway. I know I got him right. ;-)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

That's Snow Way to Start a WGC

And to think they were worried about the wind when they teed off!

The possibility of snow became much more than a possibility at the WGC-Accenture Match Play... and it did so much earlier than expected.

Of course, you rarely expect to get snow in a desert. But most people don't realize that not all deserts are hot. I was researching the Sahara Desert for some children's stories a couple of years back and discovered that scientists define deserts in much broader terms. For example, here's a little section from Wikipedia's entry for desert:
Deserts are sometimes classified as "hot" and "cold" deserts. Cold deserts can be covered in snow or ice; frozen water unavailable to plant life. These are more commonly referred to as tundra if a short season of above-freezing temperatures is experienced, or as an ice cap if the temperature remains below freezing year-round, rendering the land almost completely lifeless.
The University of California at Berkley's page on deserts says that there are some cold deserts near Arizona, "in the basin and range area of Utah and Nevada."

And while most people would say that the Sahara Desert is the largest desert on earth, it's really only the third largest. Both Antarctica and the Arctic Desert (at the South and North Poles) are the Rory and Tiger of the OWDR -- the Official World Desert Rankings.

Still it's a bit disconcerting to turn on your TV, expecting to see a hot desert in Marana AZ, and seeing this instead:

Luke Donald tweeted this pic

Luke Donald tweeted this picture with the message "Even the cacti are cold, it's a winter wonderland here in Tucson!"

Lots of players were tweeting pictures of the snow -- between the snowball fights, that is. And there was plenty of snow to photograph; I heard there was as much as three inches.

But leave it to an Ian Poulter tweet to cut right to the crux of the matter: "What's the problem lets play. Hahahaha"

Ian Poulter tweeted this pic

The tournament is supposed to get back underway sometime today, and getting things done by Sunday shouldn't be a problem. After all, the first round has a relatively small total of 64 players and the numbers are cut in half with each successive round.

As for me, I've decided to be philosophical about the whole thing. GC has the LPGA tournament in Thailand scheduled to air starting at 9am ET, so there should be plenty of golf on the green stuff. And as for the match play...

On the bright side, at least all four of my picks are still in the tournament.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Will It Be the PGAnchored Tour?

I first got wind of this Monday, but now it looks like the proposed ban of anchored putting styles may be in for a rough ride.

I'm going to pull some quotes from this article. By all means you should take the time to read the entire piece!

As you may have heard on GC's Golf Central (and it's quoted in the ESPN piece), 13 of the 15 members of the PGA Player Advisory Council -- I'll just call it the PAC from here on -- told Tim Finchem on Monday afternoon that they didn't agree with the proposed ban. And that is something that was totally unexpected by most of the people who follow this sort of thing.

The article quotes several players, including Steve Stricker, Tiger Woods, Joe Ogilvie, and Jim Furyk -- all of whom seem to consider dissension with the USGA as nothing out of the ordinary, and perhaps even reasonable.

In fact, if you saw Tuesday's Golf Central you heard several of the facts mentioned in this article. Stricker, for example, is quoted in this article as saying:
"But I can see the tour adopting the rule saying that it's OK for players to use a long putter. And we have probably a couple other rules out here on our hard card that are different from USGA rules, too. And that wouldn't be any different, I guess."
And then "hard card" is defined:
A hard card is what sometimes is referred to as "conditions of competition." For example, the tour often will allow players to lift, clean and replace the golf ball in the fairway during wet conditions. The USGA does not allow for such preferred lies.
GC had talked at length about the hard card situation.

Part of the reason this is an issue is a perceived fairness issue -- that is, anchoring has been allowed for 40 years or so and it's a bit late to change things for players who have been using it for a while. Anchoring is much older than that, however; some of you may remember a post I did back in December about "Diegeling." I included a picture of Leo Diegel anchoring a putter way back in 1924. Diegel won two majors using the technique.

Of course, there's a concern that we'll enter a "Wild West" period with anchoring allowed in some events and not in others. If the PGA Tour decides to make a local rule allowing anchoring, we might see a time where you could use a belly putter in most PGA Tour events and the PGA Championship and possibly the Masters, but not in European Tour events, the US Open (run by the USGA), or the Open Championship (run by the R&A). And what about the Australasian, Sunshine, and Asian Tours? This could be a real mess.

Perhaps the most interesting thing I read in the article was this:
Stricker said information over the last few months has changed his view. He still doesn't like long putters, but doesn't like the idea of a rule -- not after the long putters have been allowed for the last 40 years.
"Information over the last few months has changed his view." That may end up being the biggest bone of contention, since the USGA and R&A say they decided to pursue the ban because of the information they had. What is the info that Stricker is referring to, and how is it different from the "official" info that started this whole debate? Whose facts are the REAL facts?

The battle lines are being drawn. It looks like more than putting strokes are going to be anchored!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Bracket Racket

The talk about the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is underway! Tomorrow the first round begins, and you can download your own copy of the brackets here.

In the meantime, let me make my picks for the Final Four. Given the vagaries of match play, I'll probably be blown out of the water by the end of Wednesday, but I'm going to give it a try anyway.

The Bobby Jones bracket is headlined by Rory McIlroy but, in my typical style, I didn't go for the Number 1 seed. There are several good match players here, including Graeme McDowell (who I really like this week), Rickie Fowler, and Zach Johnson. However, I'm taking Charl Schwartzel to come out of this bracket. And it's not just that Charl has been hot lately. I like players that don't make many mistakes, and Charl has been awfully consistent. When you consider that one or two bad holes may not hurt you in match play, that makes a player like Charl very attractive as a pick.

In the Gary Player bracket, headlined by multiple Accenture winner Tiger Woods, the competition will be fierce. Several Ryder Cuppers are in this side of the draw -- such as Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer -- as well as defending champion Hunter Mahan. Nevertheless, I'm taking Tiger to get it done. With his short game in better shape and a 2013 victory already in his pocket as well, I think he's primed to do well.

The Sam Snead bracket is headlined by 2011 champion Luke Donald and has a mixed bag of players, with Paul Lawrie (don't overlook him), Steve Stricker, David Toms (always a threat here), Nick Watney, and Adam Scott. The ThunderBear, Thorbjorn Olesen, makes his Accenture debut in this bracket as well. However, this one's a no-brainer for me. I have to take 2010 champion Ian Poulter, although I don't know how much of his late-2012 mojo he's got left.

Finally there's the Ben Hogan bracket, headlined by Louis Oosthuizen. This bracket may be the most unpredictable of the lot, since this one has the most unpredictable players in the event. You have Matt Kuchar, K.J. Choi, Keegan Bradley, and Justin Rose... but you've also got Hiroyuki Fujita, Thongchai Jaidee, Ernie Els, and the Belgian Bomber, Nicolas Colsaerts. Sergio's also in this bracket, and I really wanted to take him because I like the way he's been playing... but I can't. I've got a feeling something weird is going to happen in this bracket, so I'm taking the Junkman, Fredrik Jacobson.

So there you have my Final Four: Charl Schwartzel, Tiger Woods, Ian Poulter, and Fredrik Jacobson. I have no idea who would ultimately come out on top. But this would give us Woods VS Poulter in the semis. What more could you ask for? (Granted, a Garcia VS Woods final might be nice, but don't say McIlroy VS Woods. Poulter carried McIlroy at the Ryder Cup, so give me the big boy!)

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Limerick Summary: 2013 Northern Trust Open

Winner: John Merrick

Around the wider world of golf: Jiyai Shin won the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open on the LPGA/LET/ALPG (yes, three tours co-sanction the event); Bernhard Langer won the ACE Group Classic on the Champions Tour; and Darren Fichardt won the Africa Open on the ET/Sunshine Tour. And for you racing fans, Danica Patrick won the pole position at next week's NASCAR Daytona 500, becoming the first woman in history to do so in any NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Way to go, Danica!

John Merrick

At the start of the final round at Riviera, my decision not to pick defending champion Bill Haas as a favorite to win looked like a mistake. Shortly after the turn I looked psychic. One of my picks, Charl Schwartzel, finished T3 and only one stroke out of the playoff. (At the time I picked him I didn't know he grew up playing on kikuyugrass.)

Under no circumstances would I have picked either Charlie Beljan or John Merrick to win this thing. Beljan has one win -- he won at Disney last year while fighting a well-publicized battle with panic attacks -- and Merrick hadn't won on the Tour at all. (I'm not counting Tour wins.)

Perhaps they wouldn't have picked themselves either. The leaderboard certainly got clogged up quickly enough. At times there were 7 players separated by a single stroke. No one seemed capable of taking a lead and holding it.

I guess the only thing that seems predictable at Riviera is sudden death... that goes exactly 2 holes. The drivable par-4 10th IS sudden death at this tournament! If the Tour is worried about technology requiring holes to be too long, just let course designers study Riviera's 10th. Last year Haas drove it long and pitched back to the green; this year that strategy didn't work for Beljan. Merrick snagged his first win by playing it short and safe... and barely won it with a par.

You know, Hogan reportedly didn't believe putting should be part of the game because he wasn't a very good putter. It amazes me that Riviera, a course where putting is so important, became "Hogan's Alley."

So this week's Limerick Summary salutes the California boy who made good at Hogan's stomping grounds and thus got an invite to another course where Hogan played pretty well:
John Merrick grew up in South Cali;
He proved that he knows Hogan’s Alley.
And this, his first win,
Is his ticket to en-
Ter the Masters. He won’t dilly-dally!
The photo came from the Northern Trust Open main page at

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Legendary Rumble

After Lydia Ko and Jiyai Shin finished the third round of the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open in a tie for the lead at -17 -- and several shots ahead of the rest of the field -- GC decided to do a live broadcast of the final round. After all, if Ko won she would be the first amateur ever to win two LPGA events.

What GC got may not have been what they expected, but it was pretty cool all the same.

In the first two holes Ko went double-bogey, bogey to fall 4 strokes behind Shin, who went birdie-par. By the end of five holes Ko had added 2 birdies and Shin a bogey, leaving them separated by a single stroke. Those two would go back and forth for the remainder of the round.

The unexpected came from Yani Tseng, who started the day 8 strokes back and made things worse by starting her round with a bogey. She then mounted a charge, shooting birdie-birdie-birdie-par-eagle in her next 5 holes and adding 3 more birdies on the back nine. She posted -7 on the day, finishing at -16.

In the end, Lydia just couldn't get back the form that set a course record -10 in the first round. She struggled with bogeys the rest of the day while Shin popped in birdies at 14 and 15 to reach -18.

Shin won at -18, while Yani blew everyone away with a runner-up finish at -16 and Lydia managed a solo third at -14. Still, GC must be pretty excited. They took a gamble on a historic finish and ended up with an exciting battle between two legends and a legend-to-be. Plus we learned a few other things:
  • Jiyai Shin showed that she's finally healthy again and ready to play.
  • Yani Tseng proved that she's not ready to give up that #1 position without a fight.
  • And while Lydia Ko didn't make the history most folks expected, she's now won 3 of 13 professional starts. That's pretty heady stuff for a 15-year-old amateur.
All-in-all, it sounds pretty legendary to me. Looks like the 2013 LPGA season is off to a strong start.

The photos came from the player profile pages at

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Look at Charl's Hands

While Charles Howell III missed the cut at the Northern Trust Open, my other pick -- Charl Schwartzel -- isn't letting me down. He's only 3 strokes off the lead after 2 rounds.

I've looked at Charl's swing in detail before, but I thought I'd point out a little something that some of you may never have considered. This video is a Nike Golf video with Charl's own commentary.

If you look at the video around the :48 second mark, you'll see Charl's hands at the top of his backswing. That's our focus in this post.

Charl cups his wrists at the top. He says he really believes in this position, although many players do the opposite. (I assume he's referring to the cupped wrist position used by players like Dustin Johnson, and not the flat position recommended by many instructors.)

While I really like Charl's swing, most of you probably shouldn't be using this cupped position. Why? Because Charl says it helps eliminate the left side of the fairway.

In other words, it prevents him from hooking the ball.

If you struggle to hit a draw, this wrist position is going to make it much more difficult for you. I'm pointing this out because most weekend players, if they aren't using the flat wrist position, naturally tend to cup their wrists... and naturally hit a slice.

The flat wrist position -- that is, at the top of the swing you could hold a ruler against the back of your lead forearm and it would also lay against the back of your lead hand -- is a neutral position that makes it easier to hit the ball straight. The cupped wrist position a la DJ -- that is, the back of your hand would bend away from the ruler -- encourages a hook, especially if you have a tendency to stop moving your lower body before you finish your followthrough.

So if you're struggling with a slice, you might want to check for cupped wrists at the top of your backswing. It works for Charl Schwartzel, but it might not be the best choice for you.

Friday, February 15, 2013

NEWSFLASH: Yani Bitten by Kobra!

Lydia Ko
While my predictions for the Northern Trust Open didn't start out all that great -- Charl Schwartzel is -2 (5 off the lead) and Charles Howell III is +2 -- Lydia Ko wasted no time beginning her chase of the Rolex World Number One.

Yani Tseng played alongside Lydia in the first and second rounds. Yani started her year with a promising -5 in her first round.

Lydia countered with a -10 in a round that included 3 bogeys.

As I write this Yani and Lydia are well into their second round (they've finished 65 holes). Yani is currently -6 and Lydia is -14.

Mariajo UribeIn Wednesday's post about the possible contenders for Yani's throne this year, I mentioned Lydia, Stacy Lewis, and So Yeon Ryu as my most likely challengers. Stacy sits at -3 after 2 rounds and So Yeon is -1 after 1 round (she hasn't started her second round yet). Both may be a bit rusty; in fact, Stacy said that she hadn't played in 2 months. (I assume she meant competitive rounds, not practice rounds.)

Jiyai Shin
But I'll tell you who isn't rusty. Jiyai Shin is at -14 after 2 rounds and Mariajo Uribe is at -15 after 16 holes in her second round. (So Uribe is leading at the time of this writing.)

And Jiyai is #8 in the world rankings, about 3.6 points behind Yani. I guess I'll have to add her to my list.

I know it's early in the year but it's not looking so good for Yani right now.

The photos of (in order) Lydia Ko, Mariajo Uribe, and Jiyai Shin came from player pages at the website.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Despite My Record at Picking Winners...

I'm going to take a shot at the Northern Trust Open. Usually I limit my somewhat humiliating efforts to majors, but Riviera is a historic track and the tournament has been running continuously since 1926.

Such a storied tournament deserves my best -- if ultimately futile -- attempt, don't you think? Actually, I should say attempts. In majors I typically pick 5 possibles; this week I'm picking 2.

The safest pick would be Phil Mickelson. Phil has 2 wins and 2 runner-ups since 2007, the best record of any player in the field. In addition, he's already won once this year, at Phoenix. Consequently, it makes no sense for me to pick him.

Bill Haas, the defending champion, and Keegan Bradley, last year's co-runner-up with Phil, are both in the field and would also be good picks. (In case you didn't know, the three of them have been grouped together for the first two rounds.) I'm not picking them either.

Can you sense a pattern to my logic? ;-)

However, Charles Howell III won at Riviera in 2007 (Phil was 2nd that year) and he has a 2nd himself, way back in 2003. And CH3 is playing very well so far this year, with 3 Top10s in 4 starts.

I like CH3's chances. He's playing more consistently than I've seen him play in a long time.

My other choice is someone who, to my knowledge, has NEVER played Riviera in his life. Charl Schwartzel is making his Stateside debut this week and, given that he may be the hottest player on the planet right now, I don't think his unfamiliarity with the course will be that much of a problem.

So there you have it. I pick Charles Howell III and Charl Schwartzel as my faves to win the Northern Trust Open this week. Coverage begins today on GC at 3pm ET and again at 6:30pm ET.

Let's see if these boys can make me look as good as Bubba and King Louis did last year at Augusta.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Is Yani Ready?

The siege of the Tseng Dynasty resumes this week. Is the Empress ready for battle?

That's the big question as the new LPGA season begins. As Tony Jesselli noted in his preview of the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, several players -- including world #2 Na Yeon Choi -- won't be there. But #3 Stacy Lewis is, and she's only about 1.7 points behind her. That could be easily made up in one tournament, and I think Stacy is the player most people expect to catch Yani.

If Yani is to be caught, that is.

But Stacy isn't the only player with the chops to catch her this year. #6 So Yeon Ryu, whose praises I've been singing for the last year or so, is in the field this week and she's just a bit over 3 points behind Yani. While it would be nice to see an American take the top spot for a change, I think Ryu has as good a chance as Lewis to catch Yani.

If Yani is to be caught, that is.

And Lydia Ko is in the field this week also. I know the 15-year-old is well over 6.5 points behind Yani, but she's won 3 pro events in the last year. (And the US Women's Amateur, no small feat in itself.) Plus she's beat Lewis and Jiyai Shin while playing with them in the final round at last year's Women's Canadian Open. I think we have to consider the possibility that the Kobra could put the bite on the Empress -- maybe even this year.

So the LPGA's first tournament of the year -- the first round is on GC tomorrow from 12:30pm till 2:30pm ET -- definitely has its share of intrigue. Stacy Lewis, So Yeon Ryu, and Lydia Ko are all in the field, and I think all of them have a decent chance of catching Yani this year...

If Yani is to be caught, that is.

Lucky for us, the chase begins tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Strike of the Kobra

Lydia Ko has a US Women's Amateur and three pro tournaments under her belt... and she's not even 16 yet. She's not a big hitter; she just thinks her way around the course. But she's got a nice solid swing that all weekend golfers can learn from.

I've been looking for video footage and photos of her swing but not having much luck. Her website is supposed to have a swing sequence, but it's being rebuilt. However, I found the following photos at the forums (they're blown up much larger there). Let's take a look at her move through impact:

Lydia Ko at impact
Lydia Ko after impact

Lydia stays connected a la Ben Hogan during the bottom of her swing. That just means that her upper arms stay pretty close to her chest as she turns through. I'll come back to that in a moment.

Notice that she doesn't push her hips forward the way most weekend golfers do. See how her lead hip never moves outside of her lead foot in any of these photos? Her hips are turning because her trailing knee stays flexed all the way through -- her lower body doesn't "lock up" and stop turning. The flex in her trailing knee allows her trailing hip to keep moving. Because of this lower body movement, Lydia stays balanced and has good footwork. It's just a function of staying loose and keeping out of her own way.

Now, back to her arms. Look at the very first photo and focus on her trailing elbow. See how it's still bent? That's why her wrists are still cocked in the lower part of her swing! A lot of you are straightening your elbow at the start of your downswing; that's called casting. That's when you lose your wrist cock.

At the top of your downswing your lead elbow is fairly straight and your trailing elbow is bent; you can see that if you look in a mirror. As you start your downswing, none of that should change. Just let your hands and arms drop from the top of your swing until your trailing elbow is near your side. That's when you straighten your elbow! (And, btw, once your elbow is near your side, you can straighten that elbow as hard as you want and you'll still hit the ball solid. The connection with your body that I mentioned earlier will help keep your arm and club on line.) Just look in the photos and see what Lydia's doing.

Learning to drop your arms like that is hard for some people. It feels as if all the movement is happening at your shoulder joints. But if you let them drop to start your downswing, you're going to make a lot of your swing happen automatically -- your weight shift, your footwork, your balance, the whole thing.

You can learn to strike like the Kobra. It's not about trying to hit the ball hard; it's just about letting gravity take its course.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Limerick Summary: 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Winner: Brandt Snedeker

Around the wider world of golf: The Kobra is at it again! 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko won her third pro event, the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open on the LET/ALPG, making her the LET's youngest winner ever; Rocco Mediate won the Allianz Chanpionship, his first event on the Champions Tour; and Richard Sterne won the Joberg Open on the ET/Sunshine Tour.

Sneds holding his trophy

Brandt Snedeker is clearly out of his mind.

In his five PGA starts this year he's finished 3rd, T23, T2, 2nd, and now a win. (In the last two weeks before this win, only Tiger and Phil beat him.) He's 82-under for those events. Six of his last nine finishes have been Top3s.

And yet he doesn't seem to be any more excited than usual.

He broke the tournament record by one shot with his win at Pebble. He shot 5-under on the first 7 holes Sunday, and easily shot a 7-under final round to win by two. He's going to be #4 in the OWGR this week.

And yet he doesn't seem to be any more excited than usual.

He's got a 700-point lead in the FedExCup race with a current total of 1282 points. Let's put this in perspective, folks: Last year Tiger led entering the four playoff events with 2269 points after 15 events, and at the same point Brandt was 19th with 1194 points after 18 events. This season Brandt Snedeker has earned more FedExCup points in 5 events than he did in 18 events last year! And as if that weren't enough, he's less than 1000 points behind Tiger's total... and Tiger had 3 wins! Two more wins would put Brandt over Tiger's total in half the events!

And yet Brandt doesn't seem to be any more excited than usual!

What else can I say? This week's Limerick Summary salutes the hottest golfer on the planet right now. I'm telling you, he's out of his mind...
Brandt lost out to Tiger and Dustin,
Then last week Phil left him a-lustin’
For someone to stumble.
But Brandt's been too humble;
The boy’s got a game he can trust in!
The photo came from the front page of

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Ruthless Golf World Rankings: February 2013

This month's RGWR includes an extra tournament because I used all of February 2012 results plus last week's tournament, which was technically a February 2013 event. I generally don't include tournaments from the same month in two separate years in my RGWR posts, but it only affected one player -- Phil Mickelson. Phil had a lot of Top5s anyway, and Top5s have figured prominently into this month's list because of limited play by the top players.

In addition, after Rory and Tiger I have a logjam of players with 2 wins. That's another reason this month's RGWR is so dependent on Top5s. In fact, right now Top5s seem to be a better indication of who's hot than wins do.

Here are the RGWR criteria:
I focus on the last 12 months of play -- that's long enough to see some consistency but short enough to be current. Every player in the RGWR won at least once on either the PGA or European Tour. The OWGR rates consistency over the last 2 years, so I see no reason to rank that; my RGWR says if you're a top player, you've won somewhere recently. My priority list (based on quality of field) looks like this:
  1. majors, TPC (PGAT), BMW PGA (ET), and WGCs
  2. FedExCup playoffs and prestige events (like Bay Hill and Dubai), the latter often determined by the history and difficulty of the course
  3. other PGA and ET events
I put extra emphasis on recent form -- 2 wins separated by 6 months don't carry the weight of 2 wins back-to-back -- and I make some allowance if you're recovering from injury or serious sickness. Also, remember that I count Top5s as a separate category from wins; if you see a player has 3 Top5s, those are seconds through fifths only.

I assign points to tournaments this way:
  • Majors: 10 points
  • TPC & BMW PGA: 8 points (yes, I'm calling them equals!)
  • WGC: 7 points
  • Prestige events: 5 points
  • Regular wins: 3 points
  • Top 5 finishes: 2 points
  • Other wins: 1 point
I give full credit (not in point value, but they carry the same weight as "official" victories) for wins on the "minor" tours like the Nationwide and Australasian Tours provided the winner has a current win on the PGA or European Tour. These wins will count only as "regular" wins and not "prestige" wins, no matter how prestigious they may be for their tour, because they generally don't have the field strength of a regular PGA or ET event.

I don't count the Grand Slam of Golf as a win in my rankings. I've decided that 4 players isn't a large enough field to give it the weight of a win against a larger field. However, I do take a win there into consideration in my rankings, much as I do money title or scoring awards. Other limited-field events (up to maybe 24 players or so) are counted as wins if the player also has an official win on the "big tours" but they only get a single point. The OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup (the 2-man team event) counts in this category.

And because of a strange quirk on the ET site, I've decided I have to specifically state that a tournament win can only count once. Therefore, to avoid possible confusion, I'm just telling you that the RGWR says you can only win a tournament once at a time.

As usual, although the point totals (and even the number of wins) a player has affects my rankings, they don't override my personal opinions. It's my ranking system, after all:
  1. Rory McIlroy: 5 wins (1 major, 4 prestige, 3 awards), 6 Top5, 45 points. Of course, Rory is solidly in this spot for now.
  2. Tiger Woods: 4 wins (3 prestige), 5 Top5, 28 points. Tiger has also settled in for a while, especially after adding a win at the Farmers.
  3. Louis Oosthuizen: 2 wins (1 prestige), 7 Top5, 22 points. I predicted 2013 would be a better year for King Louis. He already has a win this year and continues to post Top5s.
  4. Sergio Garcia: 2 wins (1 other), 6 Top5, 16 points. Sergio won in December and has had Top5s regularly over the last 12 months.
  5. Lee Westwood: 2 wins (1 other), 8 Top5, 20 points. Lee seems to have settled down after moving his family to America and is posting Top5s regularly now. I suspect he'll begin winning again soon.
  6. Dustin Johnson: 2 wins (1 prestige), 4 Top5, 16 points. DJ won in Hawaii to start the year.
  7. Charl Schwartzel: 2 wins (1 other), 4 Top5, 12 points. Charl had two double-digit victories in December.
  8. Phil Mickelson: 2 wins (1 prestige), 6 Top5, 20 points. Phil has been playing well and, of course, added the win at Phoenix last week.
  9. Brandt Snedeker: 1 win (1 prestige), 6 Top5, 1 award (FedExCup), 18 points. The Tour's Top5 machine is leading the FedExCup again after 3 Top3s in the last month.
  10. Ian Poulter: 1 win (1 WGC), 6 Top5, 19 points. Poults hasn't played much since winning the WGC-China in November, but after the show he put on in 2012 I'm willing to cut him a little slack.
Players to watch:
  • Justin Rose has 7 Top5s during the last year, and quite a few of them have been in the last three or four months. He's poised to start winning soon.
  • Chris Wood finally broke through in January with a win on the European Tour. I won't be surprised if he begins playing more consistently and picks up another win.
  • And James Hahn is finally starting to show his abilities. With two final-round 62s in four starts, I wouldn't bet against him this year.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Can Sneds Get a Win This Time?

It just seems appropriate. After yesterday's post looking at Brandt Snedeker's swing, what does he do but jump right back into the fray. In his last 4 tournaments, Sneds has posted a third and 2 runner-ups.

Sneds at AT&T

After 2 rounds at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am -- which is a mouthful all by itself -- he's tied for the lead at -8. As an article at said (it's also the source of the photo), he could have a good chance this week since those last 2 runner-ups have been behind Tiger and Phil.

This week Tiger's not around and Phil's at -2, 6 shots back.

In addition, Sneds is playing with amateur Toby Wilt, an investor with Capstar Bank who lives in Nashville TN (where Brandt also lives). The team is only 3 shots off the lead of the pro-am teams, so Sneds is looking to win twice at Pebble.

I love Brandt's answer when he was asked what his goal is this week:
"Not do anything stupid," he said. "Unfortunately, I don't do it very often."
Since he's leading the FedExCup points race so far, I'd have to disagree with him. He's not making many mistakes this year, and I don't expect him to start now. I'm looking for his first win of 2013 to come Sunday night.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Brandt Snedeker in Slo-Mo

There's a lot of interest in Brandt Snedeker's swing... and with good reason. Brandt's move is very simple and very well-balanced. I've dug up a couple of slo-mo videos to help you pick out some of the keys to do the same.

This first video comes from 2010 -- an analysis by Peter Kostis:

I want you to notice that A-shape Kostis has drawn along Brandt's sides at address. See how he stays within them throughout his swing? He's turning his hips, not sliding them. The consistency of his body over the ball is a big part of his consistent contact with the ball.

He makes a one-piece takeaway and his right knee (aka his trailing knee) stays reasonably stable. It doesn't slide sideways away from the target because he isn't pushing his hips sideways. No, his hips are turning and moving farther away from us, back away from the ball.

When Kostis talks about his hips "bumping" toward the front line on the downswing, I want you to pay attention to his crotch. (OK, stop thinking dirty out there!) The top of the A-shape formed by his legs doesn't really move forward that much. Rather, most of that "bump" is caused by his hips turning. When he actually hits the ball, his legs are only slightly closer to the target than they were at address.

Here's a much newer slo-mo from 2012:

I think the most interesting thing about this newer video is that Brandt's driver no longer gets to parallel at the top of his backswing. And if you watch closely, you'll see where he loses some of his club head speed -- when he changes direction at the top, his wrists actually uncock slightly as he starts his downswing.

But I wouldn't let that little problem stop you from copying Sneds's swing. After all, he's already got three Top3s this year and he's only 2 shots off the lead at Pebble after the first round.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bill Murray: Golfer and Sea Captain

Or perhaps he's working with the railroad now, given that cap he's wearing. But he looks conspicuously like a sea captain to me... and given that Pebble Beach is on the ocean, I suppose that makes sense in a Bill Murray sort of way.

Bill Murray and Andy Garcia

Captain Murray was shivering his timbers Wednesday at the celebrity challenge event before the pro-am proper. Those lambchops he's wearing remind me of somebody, although I can't remember who. If he had the full beard, I'd say it was the Gorton's fisherman.

If he had a pipe, he could be some British actor playing a detective from Scotland Yard. (In which case his partner should be either J.B. Holmes or Bubba Watson.)

Bill Murray close-up

Instead, Bill is back as D.A. Point's partner. (They won the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, you'll remember.) And according to GC's website, the pregame show starts at 2:30pm ET and the tournament coverage starts at 3pm ET.

I wonder how he'll accessorize during the tournament? Full yellow rain slicker and hat, maybe? And fishing waders with spikes -- just the outfit for golfing at Pebble.

The photos came from this photo collection at

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Skunk Spray Makes You Run Faster

Since Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens was accused of having ordered deer antler spray and Vijay Singh admits to actually using it, I've been compiling my own list of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) that professional sports organizations should start testing for.

Please understand that I have no idea what banned substances these "drugs" might contain. All I know is that they clearly enhance physical performance in various ways.
  • Skunk spray: Even animals that get sprayed with this stuff run faster than normal. One nice thing about skunk spray is that it would be pretty easy to test for: Just sniff the athlete.
  • Habanero chile peppers: It's impossible to sleep for quite a while after ingesting one or more of these little babies. Isn't that the very definition of a stimulant?
  • Buckthorn, senna extract, aloe vera, castor oil, etc: All of these are laxatives. In fact, all laxatives should be banned. Anything that forces you to run, whether you want to or not, should be considered performance-enhancing. (I had to take milk of magnesia often when I was little, so I speak from experience.)
  • Altoids: Anything that can make the hairs inside your nose stand on end has to be one heck of a stimulant.
  • Farts (from any source): According to SPIKE TV's show Manswers, it's possible to freeze farts, thereby concentrating them. (Does anybody find it strange that the name of the biochemist they spoke to is Michael Myers? Or that the freezing expert's name was Wiener?) Farts are a sort of reverse-PED, as they enhance the farter's performance by decreasing the performance of nearby competitors. Doesn't that give the farter an unfair advantage?
  • Oysters: Just ask James Bond. He says they increase performance and he should know.
I suspect there are many other unregulated PEDs used legally by athletes. These are just some I'm familiar with.

As for that deer antler spray, that just sounds gross to me. Besides, I thought most guys were horny enough to begin with...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Phil's Putting Changes

On Monday's The Golf Fix Michael Breed had some observations about the changes Phil has made to his putting stroke. I thought I'd add my 10 cents to the discussion.

I don't guess it's any secret that I'm not a fan of the claw grip. (Or any variation of it either.) It's not that I don't think it will work -- I'm sure many of you use it and, if it works for you, you should stick with it -- but I don't like the way it keeps your trailing wrist rigid. It takes extra practice to develop your feel when your wrist is rigid. It's a more mechanical way to putt. But I understand why so many players like it -- it has fewer moving parts.

The big thing Michael talked about is how Phil's previous forward press had the same effect as moving the ball position. Let me explain that for those of you who don't understand what I'm talking about.

A forward press is when you move your hands slightly toward the target before starting your stroke. Phil used to make a large one, and that caused him to move his upper body. When his upper body moved, his shoulders and hands moved as well. If the ball were directly below his chin when he addressed the ball, after his upper body moved his chin was behind the ball. It was like moving the ball position forward in his stance during his swing.

Result? The club face wasn't square when it hit the ball, so the putt started on a different line than he originally aimed down. That's why instructors want you to stay steady over the ball.

One other thing: Because Phil has stopped moving his upper body, he changed the loft on his putter from 5 degrees to around 2 degrees. That's probably not a good idea for most of you. Unless you putt on PGA Tour-quality greens, you need the extra loft because most greens aren't as smooth. The extra loft helps you get the ball up on top of the grass.

Those are the basic putting changes Phil made that helped him destroy the field at TPC Scottsdale -- less forward press (to reduce upper body movement) and less putter loft (a change most of you probably shouldn't copy). If you think they'll help you, give them a try.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Limerick Summary: 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open

Winner: Phil Mickelson

Around the wider world of golf: Karrie Webb won the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters on the ALPG/LET; Shiv Kapur won the Gujarat Kensville Challenge on the Asian Tour; and Stephen Gallacher won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on the ET. Plus, if you're interested, the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl (that's American Football's World Championship, in case you live in a part of the world where they only play soccer).

Phil with trophy

In case you think it's strange to mention the Super Bowl in a golf tournament summary, I should remind you that the Waste Management Phoenix Open is always played on Super Bowl Sunday and they set up the tournament so it finishes in time for the golf fans to get to a TV. It's part of their attempt to attract a good crowd despite being scheduled against another sports event.

I believe they said that, the last time Phil won this tournament AND the Super Bowl was held in New Orleans, the Ravens were in the Super Bowl and they won. It appears that it happened again!

Phil would have noticed because he's such a big sports fan. And like the Ravens, he led the tournament from start to finish. And also like the Ravens, he wasn't the favorite coming into the week after his poor finish at Torrey Pines last week. (I believe the 49ers were favored by 9 points or so, for those of you who are interested.)

But sports teams -- and Phil Mickelson -- have a tendency to defy expectations.

Phil flirted with records all week -- a 59, the 36-hole scoring record, and a 72-hole scoring record, to name a few. (Johnny Miller said that shooting 9-under on the par-3s may have been a record as well.) Phil even got through the week with just a single bogey and a single double. Has he ever done that before?

Was the sudden change of fortunes because of that emergency lesson he got from Butch Harmon? Or the time spent with Dave Stockton, working on his putting? Or was it that new Callaway driver he raved about all week? Does it matter, as long as he keeps it up for the majors?

Just imagine... Tiger, Rory, and Phil (among others) all in contention at the majors this year! Wouldn't that be something to see? The Ravens might enjoy it as well; a Phil win seems to be a good omen for them!

At any rate, this Limerick Summary salutes a surging Phil Mickelson who continues to leave us with the eternal question: What will Phil do next?
Phil played Torrey Pines without passion,
Then found a new driver for mashin’
The ball. Thus inspired,
He went wire-to-wire
And gave pros at Scottsdale a bashin’.
The photo came from the tournament page.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dead Hand Wedge Shots

Long ago, back when I first started this blog, I did a series of posts on playing a deadhand approach shot, a la Steve Stricker. You can still find that series listed on the Some Useful Post Series page.

However, the technique is useful for all manner of iron shots where you need accuracy. Here's a video from with a simple demonstration of a deadhanded wedge shot.

You control the length of the shot by the length of the swing and, if necessary, by choking down on the club.

The key here is keeping your wrists and forearms relaxed during the stroke. That's what allows you to get the cocking and uncocking action of the wrists consistent time after time... and that consistency is the source of your accuracy.

This is a simple shot that takes very little practice to learn but can really add some versatility to your game. If you don't know it yet, learn it now!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What Will Phil Almost Do Next?

Sometimes I almost feel sorry for Phil Mickelson.

Phil chippingYeah, I know that sounds silly. The guy's won multiple majors, racked up more tournament wins than maybe 10 players in history, got money coming out the wahzoo, and will go down as one of the greatest players ever. And yet he could have had more.

This week has been no different.

Thursday he almost shot a 59. Instead he made a good putt and got a ridiculously unfortunate lip-out. He didn't do anything wrong, he just got a bad break.

Then Friday he almost set the record for the lowest 36-hole score ever in a PGA Tour event. Instead he hit his tee shot in the water on the 18th and made a double bogey. I can't say I fault his logic -- he thought his driver would end up in a fairway trap so he hit a 3-wood instead. He thought the 3-wood would be enough.

But it wasn't.

It's not like he's having a bad week. This is only the 3rd time he's shot 60 in his career, and he still shot 60-65 to tie the WM Phoenix Open 36-hole record. And he still ended up with a 4-shot lead going into the weekend. Most of us would pay good money for those 36 holes.

And yet if Stan Lee had created Phil instead of Spiderman, his catchphrase probably would have been "with great power comes the potential for great disappointment." Phil does amazing stuff and yet we so often feel that he's fallen short. I don't know what it's like to be so good at something that, even when you blow everybody else out of the water, the news is how you fell just short of something. I'm not sure I'd want to live my life that way, anyhow... but that's life for Phil Mickelson.

And that's why I almost feel sorry for him. I can't wait to see what he almost does next... but I find myself hoping that, after such a great start, he doesn't almost win the tournament.

The photo came from this article.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Phil Didn't Get Booed

First... in my defense, the incorrect times I included in yesterday's post came from GC's TV schedule and they were still incorrect Thursday when I doublechecked them after the broadcasts were already on. So scream at them! (I know I did, but I don't think they heard me.)

Anyway, when I turned on GC at 3:30 for the pregame show, Phil was finishing up his round and I got to see the final putt... for a 59! Here's the putt:

You gotta love Bones dying there on the 9th green. (Watch from the 1:20 mark. Bones is on the left, just behind Phil.) It's hard to believe the ball could make a 180 around the hole and stop so close without falling in.

Phil shot 60 back in 2005 at the WM Phoenix Open and won, which should bode well for him. You'll note that the graphics say this 60 ties his career low, but he did shoot a 59 at the Grand Slam of Golf a few years ago. (He had a putt for 58 at that one.) I guess the PGA doesn't count the GSoG as an official tournament. I know I don't count it in my stats.

Here's Phil's complete scorecard for the first round. Not bad for a guy who couldn't make anything at Torrey:

I guess I should mention that Phil credited his good play to a new driver he put in the bag this week. It's Callaway’s new RAZR Fit Xtreme driver that he says he can hit with his iron swing -- I assume he means he can hit down on it instead of trying to sweep the ball off the tee -- and it flies pretty straight. Here's the quote, from this article:
"This driver spins so low that I can have more loft on the club, making it easier to hit," Mickelson said. "It really could be a revolutionary club for me."
If you want more details on the driver, check this article.

In the meantime, we'll see if Phil can keep it going. He's already 4 strokes ahead of anybody else. If he keeps on like this, he may avoid getting booed all week.