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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Learning Golf with a Grass Whip (Video)

I've run across several videos that teach a basic golf swing using a grass whip and, while many of you will probably laugh at this, I used a grass whip when I was younger (my dad used to have one) and the principle is sound. This particular video from instructor Shawn Clement is one of the better quality ones that I found.

Take a look. It's pretty self-explanatory.

Basically, a grass whip teaches you how your arms and hands work during a golf swing. If you watch, you'll see that Shawn's lower body is working exactly as you would expect, but you don't think about your lower body. What you think about is the hand action that swings the whip, and the leg action happens automatically.

The motion is very similar to the video of a sand shot made by using the Carlton Dance that I posted a couple weeks back, except that the action is more vigorous. Both are great ways to learn what a basic but sound golf swing feels like.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tiger Is on Morning Drive at 8:30am ET

This is just a head's-up for you Tiger fans. GC announced that Tiger is going to be on Morning Drive this morning at 8:30am ET. And that means that, if GC follows their normal routine, the interview from the Hero World Challenge will repeat at 10:30am ET.


And if you're interested, GC is also reporting that Tiger will be paired with Patrick Reed for the first round, and that he'll be playing a Bridgestone ball and (most likely) a TaylorMade driver.

One thing you can count on: We'll be hearing every little detail of Tiger's first tournament this week. I actually feel a bit sorry for Tiger. I know I wouldn't want my first time back to be put under such a microscope!

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Limerick Summary: 2016 ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf

Winner: Denmark

Around the wider world of golf: It was a fairly quiet week in golf. Huilin Zhang won the Buick Open, the season finale of the PGA TOUR China; Yuta Ukeda won the Casio World Open on the Japan Golf Tour; and as I noted yesterday, Aditi Ashok won the Qatar Ladies Open on the LET.

Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen with the trophy

Although the Danish team hoisted the World Cup of Golf trophy on Sunday, it's totally correct to say they won it on Friday.

Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen blitzed the field during the second round with a 12-under 60, beating the best round of the day by a good four strokes. In fact, I think the closest anybody got to that was a 62 by the Swedes on Sunday. There were a lot of good scores shot on Sunday, by a variety of teams.

But none of them played well enough overall to make up for that 60 on Friday. There were three runner-ups (or is that runners-up?) -- France, China and the USA -- but they were all four shots back. Exactly the margin in the Danes' Friday round.

All I know to say is WOW, and to congratulate the Danish team on winning their first-ever World Cup of Golf. They brought the Kingston Heath Golf Course to its knees in cold conditions, and that kind of performance is well worth their first national Limerick Summary:
On Friday, the Danes made their move
When the fourballers got in a groove,
Shooting twelve-under par—
The week's best round by far—
For a first win no team would reprove.
The photo came from this page at

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ashok to the System

It's possible you missed this, but it's well worth taking note of the news because it may become very significant very soon. Remember Aditi Ashok, the teenager from India who made news at the Olympics and became the first Indian woman to win on the Ladies European Tour just a week or so back?

Well, she just became the first Indian woman to win back-to-back on the LET at the Qatar Ladies Open. And while there was some buzz about her before, I think it's safe to say nobody saw this coming.

Aditi Ashok receives Qatar Ladies Open trophy

We know about the shock waves Se Ri Pak sent through Korea when she won two LPGA majors back in 1998. We know about the shock waves Shanshan Feng sent through China when she won Women's PGA Championship back in 2012. And the effect of Shanshan and Inbee Park's Olympic medals has yet to be seen... but it will probably be huge.

Aditi's already making waves in India because of her last few months on the world stage. But she'll be in the US soon -- in fact, she may already be here -- because she's playing in the final stage of LPGA Q-School this week. And no matter what happens there, you can bet she'll get some sponosr invites next season. What do you think might happen if she gets a little success over here in America?

Get ready for some Ashok waves, folks. India may have just entered the golfing mainstream.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

An Old Tommy Armour Teaching Video

Here's an out-of-print instructional video by the "Silver Scot," Tommy Armour, and somebody put a copy up on YouTube. The original film was made in 1954, and it's particularly interesting because it's designed to go with Armour's teaching guide How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time... and the book IS still available.

Why am I so pleased to find this? Because Armour originally made this film to explain things in the book, so they actually give you page numbers during the video.

I think Tommy Armour's book is still one of the best instructional books around, even though it came out in the 1950s. It's a simpler approach than Hogan and it's a good way to learn the basics of a golf swing similar to the greats like Sam Snead.

Have fun with this one!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Butch Harmon on Chipping Yips

Butch Harmon shares an incredibly simple drill to stop chipping yips in this Golf Digest post. It may be hard to believe something so simple can help, but it addresses the problem directly.

Butch Harmon chipping

What is Butch's drill? Simply this: Practice chipping normally but let go with your trailing hand at impact.

I've written about this cause before, because it's one of the same problems that screws up your putting. If you flip your wrists at impact, it's because you stop turning through the shot. Your shoulders and arms stop moving at the ball, so your wrists have to finish the shot... and the only way they can do that is to flip the club.

By letting go of the club with your trailing hand at impact, your lead hand and arm will be forced to continue the swinging motion. This drill is a simple way to teach your body to keep turning all the way to your finish.

Dead simple, but the simple fixes are often the best.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving here in the US so I'm taking the day off. But wherever you live, wherever you are, be sure you take a few moments to be thankful for what you have.

What are YOU thankful for?

I hope everybody has a wonderful day!

The photo came from the site.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Primetime Golf Tonight

Ah yes, it's time for some primetime golf tonight. (At least it is here in the US.)  The ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf is being played at the awesome Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia.

And as I understand it, the World Cup is back to being a team event. Not "including" a team component, but being a team event only. I think that's good news.

Kingston Heath

Here's the basic setup for this year's event, as posted at

There are 28 two-man teams playing this event; the scoring is 72 holes of stroke play. They'll alternate rounds of foursomes and four-balls, and the winning pair will split the $2.56million winners' check.

None of the OWGR Top5 are playing. Jason Day, defending individual champ, is perhaps the most noticeable. (You didn't really expect to see Rory or DJ or Jordan or Henrik either, did you?) But this event still carries some weight with players like Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama and Graeme McDowell, so there will be plenty of favorites to watch. did a "featured groups" post which also lists all the players from each country, so you can find out when your favorite group tees off.

And here's GC's TV schedule as listed in the article.
  • Wednesday - 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. EST
  • Thursday - 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. EST, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. EST
  • Friday - 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. EST, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. EST
  • Saturday - 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. EST, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. EST
  • Sunday - 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. EST 
Of course, GC will do some pre-game shows as well. Tonight's show starts at 7pm ET.

The player mix on some of the teams looks very interesting, so this should make for some good TV. I'm intrigued by the Italian team of Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manessaro, neither of whom is a power player. But in this format, I think they could be a real sleeper pick.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Limerick Summary: 2016 RSM Classic

Winner: Mackenzie Hughes

Around the wider world of golf: Charley Hull got her first LPGA win at the CME Group Tour Championship (Ariya Jutanugarn won POY, In Gee Chun won the Vare Trophy); Matthew Fitzpatrick won the DP World Tour Championship Dubai on the ET (Henrik Stenson won the Race to Dubai); Jordan Spieth won the Emirates Australian Open on the Australasian Tour; Brooks Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament on the Japan Golf Tour; Gaganjeet Bhullar won the BANK BRI-JCB Indonesia Open on the Asian Tour; Kent Bulle won the 111 VISA Open de Argentina on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; and Charlie Saxon won the Zhuhai Hengqing Phoenix Tree Open on the PGA TOUR China.

Mackenzie Hughes with RSM Classic trophy

Well, it took one extra hole on a cold Monday morning, but we got our second rookie winner of the season.

More than that, we got the first wire-to-wire rookie winner in 20 years. (Tim "Lumpy" Herron was the last at the 1996 Honda Classic.) Mackenzie Hughes shot 61 in the first round of the RSM Classic to take the lead, and he kept it all the way to the end of regulation.

At which point Billy Horschel, Camillo Villegas, Henrik Norlander and Blayne Barber decided to make it a five-man playoff.

Horschel unexpectedly bowed out on the first hole when he missed a two-footer in the deepening gloom of Sea Island. He said he simply lost focus and didn't take enough time over the putt, but I have to wonder if the darkness didn't have something to do with it as well. I took a peek outside during the playoff -- I live in the same time zone -- and it certainly could have been a factor.

After two playoff holes they had to call it because of darkness and come back out at 8am Monday. It was around 40°F (that's around 4-5°C) and I imagine a bit damp. Nobody even hit the green on the par-3 and Hughes probably had the worst lie of the four. But he got up and down for par then watched in amazement as, one by one, the other players missed their par putts.

The newly-married Hughes obviously cleaned up with this win, and many will say the big perk was the Masters invite. (Personally, I bet his wife is more thrilled with the invite to January's Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. HONEYMOON IN PARADISE!)

But until then, perhaps the two lovebirds can be content with Mackenzie's first Limerick Summary. (Hey, I know it's not $1.08million but I'm working on a budget here...)
Mackenzie was hot from the start
But he cooled as the last round went dark.
Four more men ran him down
But by Monday they found
That this wire-to-wire rookie's got heart.
The photo came from the wrap-up page at

Monday, November 21, 2016

And Lydia Comes Up Empty

Since the Limerick Summary is delayed a day by the four-man playoff at the RSM Classic, I thought I'd do my wrap-up for the 2016 LPGA season.

First, let's congratulate the winner of the last event of the season -- Charley Hull, who finally broke through to get her first LPGA victory. The Tour Championship is always a nice "first" to have. But I do think she deserves a bigger trophy for winning. After all, it's the Tour Championship!

Charley Hull with CME trophy

The other winners were:
  • Ariya Jutanugarn, who won the Race to the CME Globe, the money title AND the Rolex Player of the Year
  • In Gee Chun, who won the Vare Trophy and the Rolex Rookie of the Year (she locked that one up six weeks back)
Of course, the unexpected happened as well. Lydia Ko came up empty all the way around, placing second in just about every award she was eligible for AND coming up 8 shots short of winning the tournament. Lydia's struggles during the later part of the season will likely be the most talked about aspect of the whole thing, but you can't be on top all the time. Lydia joked to that she thought her clubs were sick of her and that some time apart would be good for both of them.

So Yeon Ryu feels exactly the opposite after all her swing tweaks and practice have started paying off. She might have even taken Charley to the wire if it hadn't been for that horrible break on the 17th, where her ball settled at the base of a new sidewall in the bunker instead of bouncing away. But she's in a good frame of mind so she could be one of the players to come out hot in 2017.

However, picking the hot players starting next season may not be as easy as some think. Ariya won her first five LPGA events this year... but Lydia won four and it didn't help her at the end.

Brooke Henderson told (same article as Lydia, above) that her sister was going to stay on her bag for another year. But we all know she's probably going to trim back her schedule next year, given that she seemed to run out of gas over the last few months... and yet that's no guarantee that she'll play better as the year wears on.

You could safely bet that the "cream" of the Tour -- players like Shanshan Feng, HaNa Jang, Haru Nomura, Sei Young Kim, Lexi Thompson and all the others who didn't grab the limelight this past week -- will have their games ready when the Tour restarts in January, as will the usual suspects like Lydia, Ariya, In Gee, Brooke and the rest. But consider how dramatically things changed on the PGA Tour from January till now, with only Jason Day holding serve at #1 in the OWGR. The other positions have changed in a big way.

The only thing certain in life is change. Make ten predictions now, you'll probably get at least one or two correct... if you're lucky. Players who seemed "washed up" this year may re-emerge next year, and this year's "Hot List" may cool off considerably. I bet we'll see some names step up next year that we either haven't heard from before or just haven't heard from in a while.

But I am willing to bet that Lydia won't come up empty next year. I suspect that's the safest bet of all.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

But Let's Not Give Her the Titles Yet

On Friday, Lydia Ko seemed unbeatable. As I noted in my blog yesterday, the inconsistencies in Lydia's game seemed to be fixed.

And then Saturday happened. Charley Hull, who struggled at Tiburon last year, roared through the pack from five strokes back to take the lead. Brittany Lincicome and So Yeon Ryu took their spots one stroke off her lead, and Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 65 to regain the lead in the CME Globe and Rolex Player of the Year races.

Charley Hull

And what did Lydia do? Simply put, the unthinkable. The normally clear-minded teen made an uncharacteristic mistake at the 18th and dumped her 7-iron shot into the water. She shot a 1-over 73 and let at least 16 other players back into the tournament.

What happened? Judy Rankin suggested that, regardless of what her brain told her, Lydia simply couldn't resist going at the 18th flag when it was just a 7-iron. It wasn't a conscious decision; rather, it was one of those "oh my god, why did I do THAT?" moments.

Personally, when I watched the replay of the shot, I thought she tried to hit a fade -- the divot flew far to the left of her target -- and she just closed the face of the club too much. If she was trying to hit it hard and create a lot of spin, it would be an easy thing to do.

But regardless of the reason, Lydia Ko has gone from a solid chance to sweep the LPGA titles that are up for grabs -- the tournament, the CME Globe, the Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy -- to possibly losing them ALL. If you only have to avoid a hot round from one player, that's one thing. But potential hot rounds from 16 players? That's not a position you want to be in.

It appears that ABC hit the lottery. They'll be broadcasting the final round -- LIVE, by the looks of it -- at 1pm ET today. And the final round of the LPGA season looks to be a nail-biter. At least they're going out with a bang!

The question is, will that bang be the door slamming on Lydia's hopes of victory?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Well, Her Game Doesn't Look Off

Alright. Earlier this week I said Lydia's game looked a bit off because she'd been having some trouble with Leadbetter's "A Swing."

After Friday's round, it doesn't look so bad anymore.

Lydia Ko at the CME

All Lydia did during the second round at the CME Group Tour Championship was shoot a 10-under 62. That tied her best round ever as a professional, set a new course record at Tiburon, and vaulted her into the lead. As best I can tell, she was four shots better than anyone else on the course. That round put her three shots ahead of her closest pursuers, So Yeon Ryu and Ryann O'Toole.

And if she can hold that lead, she'll win the tournament, the Race to the CME Globe, Rolex Player of the Year and probably the Vare Trophy (aka the scoring title).

I'm not saying this tournament is over. Oh no, far from it. This event is filled with champions, all of whom are capable of matching Lydia's round and making up enough ground to contend on Sunday. Just to name a few:
  • Sei Young Kim is only four back, as is Beatriz Recari.
  • In Gee Chun set the best-ever major score earlier this year at -21, and she's just five back.
  • And there's a whole slew of women just six back, led by Suzann Pettersen and defending champ Cristie Kerr.
They're all capable. They all have two rounds to get it done. But it looks like they'll need some help from Lydia.

And if you ask me, Lydia doesn't look to be in a helpful mood.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Rob Strano on "Dancing" Out of the Sand (Video)

I HAD to post this. Rob Strano's GC video on how to use the "Carlton Dance" to play better bunker shots is just too good to miss!

Soft arms. Very soft arms. Soft enough that you let your elbows bend as you take the club back and then again as you swing through. Why is this good advice?

Because you want a steep swing that flattens out quickly at the bottom so the bounce on your sand wedge can glide through the sand. That's exactly what the super-soft arm action of the "Carlton Dance" allows you to do, almost without any conscious thought.

Some tips are just too cool to ignore. This is one of them.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Jim Hardy on How Not to "Get Stuck" (Video)

If you watched School of Golf Wednesday night, you saw teacher Jim Hardy and he talked a lot about using your hands. I'll be coming back to that soon -- it's something I've been really passionate about lately -- but for now I'm posting this extra video they did about how Hardy helped David Duval recently stop "getting stuck" during his downswing.

This particular case of "getting stuck" is caused by a relatively flat swing plane, as opposed to a more upright swing plane. (Hardy calls it being "horizontally loaded," which is just another way of saying the swing plane is flat.) Depending on how you try to solve it, you can either leave the clubface wide open and hit a slice OR flip your hands and forearms and hit a hook.

You need to understand that both bad results are caused by not continuing to turn all the way from the top of your backswing to your finish. When you keep turning your shoulders, you almost have to straighten your trailing elbow at impact, which causes you to uncock your trailing wrist. If you're not squaring up the face, you're slowing down your turn as you near impact.

On the other hand, if you're flipping your hands to square up the face, you're almost completely stopping your turn as you near impact. That's the only way your trailing hand can gain enough time to speed up and pass your lead hand.

What should happen is that your trailing wrist uncocks as you strike the ball -- which means your lead forearm and the club shaft form a straight line just past impact -- and then the lead forearm/club shaft combo stays in that straight line until your wrists "re-cock" as you finish the swing. It can only do that if your shoulders keep turning all the way to the finish.

So -- not to belabor the point -- you need to make sure you turn all the way through your shot, all the way to the finish.

One last thought here, which is about the difference between modern and classic swings:

Getting stuck isn't something that the early players using hickory shafts had to deal with. Getting stuck is a problem caused by trying to load stiff shafts so you can transmit power at impact. A modern swing would have overloaded a hickory shaft, so the problem of uncocking your wrists at impact was solved totally with rhythm and tempo.

Does rhythm play a part in getting unstuck in a modern swing? Yes... but not as much as in a classic swing because rhythm can't create as much power as sheer force can, so pure rhythm can't load a stiff shaft as much as we require. A modern swing takes more muscle to uncock the wrists.

In practice, this simply means that you use Hardy's advice to solve the problem of getting stuck -- that is, you have to use your trailing hand more at impact. The classic swinger, on the other hand, would have corrected the problem with a tempo change at the top of the backswing.

If that last bit confuses you, don't worry about it. Just make sure you keep turning all the way through to the finish and you should be just fine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

My "5 to Watch" at the DP WORLD

It's not only the LPGA that finishes up the 2016 season this week. The European Tour does likewise as the Race to Dubai settles the score at the DP WORLD Tour Championship in -- where else? -- Dubai.

Rory McIlroy in Dubai

Rory McIlroy is the defending champion at this event and also the defending Race to Dubai title winner. However, at fourth in the standings, with Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett and Alex Noren all ahead of him, he'll need some help to get the money title this year.

It's interesting to note that, since 2012, only McIlroy and Stenson have won this event or the Race itself. Each man has two DP WORLD titles, and Rory has three Race titles to Henrik's one.

Personally, I think Stenson is almost a shoe-in for the Race title, given his lead. He's roughly 300k points ahead of Willett (who isn't playing well), 630k points ahead of Noren (who's on a hot streak) and nearly 1.2million points ahead of McIlroy. Unless Henrik has a REALLY bad week, I don't see anybody catching him.

But the DP WORLD title, that's another matter entirely. Here are my "5 to Watch" as they contend for the ET's Tour Championship.
  • I can't possibly overlook Alex Noren here. Noren won his fourth event in less than five months just this past week, and he's a notoriously streaky player... and clearly, this is a very notorious streak!
  • Thomas Pieters has had a wonderful year, although his hot stretch came in August. But Jumeirah Golf Estates lends itself to a long bomber like Pieters, and he knows he can get some rest after this week's over. I think he'll step it up this week.
  • Andy Sullivan has been erratic this year, but he finished second here last season. I think he has something to prove, and this would be a great time to do it.
  • Francesco Molinari has been bouncing back and forth across the pond this year, but he seems to have found his game at home. He won the Italian Open in September and is coming off a T6 in the WGC last month. And since he was T4 at Dubai last year, I see no reason his good overseas play shouldn't continue.
  • And for my flier... I like Jeunghun Wang, a two-time ET winner this year. This is his first time at the DP WORLD so I have no history to go on. But after his two consecutive wins earlier this year, his game fell off until he finished T13 at the WGC and runner-up at the Nedbank. That bodes well for this week.
I didn't pick Henrik or Rory simply because this has been a long year for the both of them and I suspect they'll both be a bit "flat" this week -- Henrik for physical reasons and Rory because planning a wedding can be a distraction.

But even if I thought they would both be sharp, I'd still be going with Alex Noren. A streak like his could run for another two or three months. Or maybe not... but I like the odds that it continues this week!

The DP WORLD Tour Championship airs on GC at 3am ET Thursday morning for three hours. It's listed again at 6am ET for two hours, and again at 10am ET for three more hours. I don't know how many of these are live and how many (if any) are replays, because the GC schedule doesn't say. But clearly there will be ample opportunity to catch at least some of the action.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

My "5 to Watch" at the CME

It's finally here. The LPGA tees it up at the CME Group Tour Championship, the final event of the season and the one with the biggest payoff. The winner of this event wins half a million dollars, and the winner of the Race to the CME Globe picks up a cool million, so it's possible to walk away this week with $1.5million.

That's not bad work if you can get it.

Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn and In Gee Chun

Unlike the PGA and Champions Tours, the LPGA's playoff system only gives the Top3 in the points race control of their destiny. This week, those three are Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn and Brooke Henderson. And where the other tours give everybody in the event a numerical chance at the big prize, only NINE players in the Race have that chance. If you're #10 or worse in points, you're just trying to win the tournament.

Not that half a million bucks is such a bad consolation prize.

As usual, Tony Jesselli has a preview post for the event at his website. Cristie Kerr is the defending champion for the event itself and Lydia Ko is the two-time defending Race winner. The Rolex Player of the Year trophy is also up for grabs, but unless Lydia wins the tournament it's going to Ariya.

My "5 to Watch" focuses on who I think has the best chance to win the tournament, not the Race. If Lydia, Ariya or Brooke wins the tournament, they take it all. But Lydia's game has been off lately -- there's talk that the Leadbetter "A Swing" experiment has caused problems and she's trying to get back to her old swing -- the Tiburon course hasn't been that kind to Ariya -- she was 30th last year -- and it's been a long season for Brooke.
  • I think In Gee Chun has a really good chance to win the tournament. Tiburon is a tight layout, and In Gee does have a US Open under her belt.
  • You can't ignore Shanshan Feng anytime the spotlight gets bright, and this is probably the brightest it's been since the Olympics. I seem to remember her doing pretty well there. She's got six Top4s in her last six events, winning her last two starts. She didn't do so well at Tiburon last year, but this isn't the same Shanshan. I expect "Jenny Money" to show up this week.
  • HaNa Jang finished second last year. She's already got three wins this year; why not a fourth? And if she does win -- well, she's #4 in the Race. If the Top3 stumble, she could easily take it all.
  • It's really hard to bet against Carlota Ciganda, given the run of good play she's had in the last month. That run includes two wins, including Lorena's event last week. I'm sure she'd love to finish the year off right.
  • And for my flier: Gerina Pillar was second here last year, making five birdies in her last six holes as she sprinted after Kerr. She has been so close so often this year, that I can't help but think she's got a great chance this time around.
And my pick to win? I got to go with Jenny Money! Shanshan Feng is clearly in the best form coming in -- even better than Ciganda -- and I think she'll be fresh after taking last week off.

The tape-delayed GC broadcast starts at 4:30pm ET on Thursday afternoon. But at least Sunday's final round will be live on ABC at 1pm ET.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Limerick Summary: 2016 OHL Classic at Mayakoba

Winner: Pat Perez

Around the wider world of golf: Carlota Ciganda won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational on the LPGA; Paul Goydos won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship but Bernhard Langer won the Cup itself (his 4th time, but his first in the new format) on the Champions Tour; Samuel Del Val won the Argentina Classic on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; Taewoo Kim won the Putian Open on the PGA Tour China; Hideki Matsuyama won the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters on the Japan Golf Tour (that's his 4th worldwide win this season); S.S.P. Chawrasia won the Resorts World Manila Masters on the Asian Tour; Aditi Ashok (remember her from the Olympics?) became the first Indian winner of the Hero Women’s Indian Open on the LET; and Alex Noren won the Nedbank Golf Challenge on the ET (that's his 4th win in less than 5 months!).

Pat Perez with OHL Classic trophy

The Associated Press report (which I found at the Charlotte Observer site) had this cool quote from Pat Perez about how he played his final round at Mayakoba:
"I had an attitude that I can't really repeat, but I had a lot of thoughts going on."
I think that pretty well sums up the Pat Perez we all know and love. He continued:
"The main one was I wanted to stay aggressive. I knew if I just stayed aggressive I was seeing the line great on the putting green. ... This type of grass and these greens, if you can get it on line you can make them.
"I just saw the line, I thought I could make them all and I just had a confidence. I had an entirely different attitude than I would have had a few years ago. It was definitely a different win than last time. Last time, I was a little more scared coming down the stretch. I didn't really believe and this and that. This time, I really had like this calmness, kind of like a madness to get it done."

Read more here:
A kind of madness to get it done. Man, I wish I could say I felt that way about more things in life! And that madness manifested itself as he went -5 in his first 8 holes. At 40 years old and after several months of rehab from shoulder surgery, what else would we expect from him?

Pat Perez has stated that he feels like an underachiever, that he should have won more than he has. A lot of pros feel that way, even the ones who have had more success than Pat has. Perhaps that's a characteristic that successful athletes share. But it seems that Pat has decided to do something about it, now that he's been away from the game for a while.

In fact, he said that he probably needed the break. That after wondering if he would ever be able to come back from surgery, something inside him began to burn, to want to play the game again... and with it came a belief that he not only would play again, but that he would be better.

He said he didn't expect to win so soon, but he knew it would come eventually. Now that it has, he expects it to happen again. And perhaps it will. After all, he's proven to himself that he's back.

And not only is Pat back in the winner's circle, but he's made his first foray into the ranks of Limerick Summary winners. (His only other win came a few months before I started this blog.) So welcome to the Big Time, Pat. Here's your Limerick Summary!
Pat Perez played with passion and fire
Borne of months spent in thwarted desire
While his surgery healed…
And that fire was revealed
As he took it deep, down to the wire.
The photo came from this page at

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Blair O'Neal on Hitting Long Irons (Video)

My, how times have changed. When I was a bit younger, if you mentioned "long irons" you were talking about 2-irons or 3-irons. In this GC video, Blair O'Neal has tips for hitting 4-irons and 5-irons... and calls them "long irons."

After reminding you to trust the iron's loft to get the ball up in the air, Blair's three tips are:
  • Move the ball a little bit forward in your stance
  • Make a sweeping swing with the iron
  • Take your time making the swing
I want to say a bit more about that last tip, since it can help you hit any club in your bag better, but especially your longer clubs.

If you've ever used a hammer to drive a nail, you know what it feels like to "wait on the hammer" as you swing it. Try to rush the change of direction, and you'll be rewarded with a sore wrist and maybe a sore thumb when you miss the nail completely! The weight of the hammer's head almost demands that you take your time, that you don't rush that change of direction.

Although a golf club isn't as heavy, the extra length of the shaft (as compared to a hammer) causes your golf swing to feel the same way. Try to rush the change of direction and you might hurt your wrists... but you'll almost certainly mis-hit the ball. If you want to compare the two, try swinging a hammer a few times and then try to duplicate the feel with a golf club. (Use short backswings to start. Once you get used to it, start lengthening your swing.) It's amazing how close the two movements feel!

Once your swing has changed direction and the club is on its way down, you can swing almost as hard as you want and you'll still have a decent chance to get a solid hit. But you have to give that change of direction enough time so you make a smooth transition from backswing to downswing. If you do, you'll hit all your clubs -- but especially the long ones -- much better.

And just for the record, that's what the old timers were talking about when they said players need to "feel the clubhead."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Bill Moretti on Improving Your Pitching

One of the great things about electronic publishing is that books never have to go out-of-print. Some of the big publishers have begun republishing books that they had originally stopped printing. And because self-publishing is so simple, many authors have started republishing their books that the big publishers have stopped publishing.

Today I have some tips from just such a book. It's called Turn Three Shots into Two, by PGA teacher Bill Moretti. My hardback was published back in 2002 and is no longer available, but the book is back out in an electronic edition. The Kindle version is just $4.99 so I imagine that's the going price in other electronic versions as well.

Moretti's book is about how to best use the various aspects of your short game to lower your scores. And in the section on pitching, he lists four common errors that weekend players often make.
  1. Getting too ball-oriented. Simply put, you focus too much on the ball and the lie... and then you make an awkward stab at the ball. Moretti suggests making a few relaxed practice swings where you just brush the ground to get an idea of how fast to swing, then address the ball, take one last look at your target and JUST HIT THE BALL. Don't obsess over making the perfect shot; focus on making a smooth one.
  2. Getting the ball too far back and your hands too far forward. This just delofts your wedge and creates a very low shot. Moretti also says this will tend to cause pulled pitches -- that's something you want to avoid! He says that placing the ball near your lead heel is always a good rule of thumb. He also says you should remember that, with a narrower pitching stance, the ball may appear to be farther back than it really is.
  3. Overaccelerating the stroke. This is something that you've heard me harp on frequently. This is what causes you to jerk shots. Moretti says this so eloquently: Acceleration should never be forced. He wants you to focus on your swing rhythm, and he says that he's never seen a successful pro with a short backswing and a long followthrough.
  4. Finally, he cautions against using your wrists too much. There will be some wrist movement in your swing; it's part of what creates your rhythm. But your hands, wrists and forearms work as a unit: you don't want to be hitting at the ball with just your wrists. Moretti says that a lot of what weekend players think is wrist action is actually done with elbow bend. "Soft" wrists tend to flex naturally when the arms move properly.
The beauty of these tips is that they aren't matters of technique as such. Rather, they're about a faulty mindset -- focusing on hitting the ball instead of swinging toward the target, improper setup, trying to swing hard when you should swing smoothly, and interfering with natural motions by tightening your muscles when you should relax them.

If you focus on the proper things, many of these problems will simply disappear from your game.

In many ways, these tips can be summed up in one phrase: Stop trying so hard! Relax and enjoy playing this game we love so much -- or, as some athletes from other sports put it, let the game come to you. You'll find the game a lot more rewarding if you do.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Always Let the Mongooses Play Though (Video)

In case you folks missed it, this tweeted video from the European Tour's Nedbank Golf Challenge is just too cute for me not to post it.

Clearly these fellows were on a snake hunt and not about to be distracted by a mere golf tournament. I applaud their dedication.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

You Won't Be Seeing Lorena

It's not often that I write about something you WON'T see. But alas, there will be no coverage of this week's LPGA event, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

Lorena Ochoa at pro-am

The Ochoa (can we call it that? like the Dinah?) is played in Mexico City and has the smallest LPGA field of the year, with only 36 players teeing it up. Still, it's official money and CME points, so for the players who are there, it could be a big deal.

The defending champion, Inbee Park, isn't there because she's still on the mend, hoping to be ready for competition in 2017. In case you haven't seen her statement (reproduced in this post at, she says that she has begun hitting balls again but is still being cautious.

And as usual, Tony Jesselli has done a preview for this event over at his blog. He says this is the weakest field he has ever written about since beginning his blog, so that may have contributed to GC's decision not to televise it, even in tape-delay. But if you want to keep up with the action, here's the link to the event leaderboard.

I still hold out some hope that GC will at least show a few highlights during Golf Central each night. In the meantime, I guess we'll have to be satisfied with ET and PGA TOUR action this weekend.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Several Instructors on the Takeaway and Top of Backswing (Video)

I found this brand-new article at the Golf Digest website. Hank Haney is quoted in it, and he says that "wrist roll" is ruining many players' tee shots. He describes how to learn what a proper top of backswing position feels like. It's a short article so it won't take long to read.

Here's the drill Haney recommends:
Take your grip and set up. Pick up the club towards your torso, just using your wrists. If you kept going you'd hit yourself on the forehead with the club, but here stop when the shaft is parallel to the ground. Now, do a full body turn, and look at your position at the top. You’re back on plane -- and your wrists are in strong angles instead of that floppy, rolled over nonsense.
Please note that when Haney says the shaft is parallel to the ground, he means the head of the club is hanging behind you, so you're raising your arms up to their position at the top of your backswing.

And be aware that this isn't just for your tee shots. This move will help you square up the clubface on every shot you make.

In case Haney's verbal description seems a bit hard to follow, I did a post back in 2011 that included a video from K.J. Choi's instructor Steven Bann demonstrating this very drill. There are three videos in that post, but here's the one from Bann:

As you can see, this is an old drill that more players should learn. For those of you who wonder how you can just "cock your wrists upward" and still get a tilted swing plane, remember that your trailing elbow has to bend as you reach the top. That bend is what creates the tilt in your swing plane.

And in case you wonder how you make a normal swing that gets to this top of backswing position, here's my post from all the way back in 2010 on how to make a one-piece takeaway. It will teach you how to get the shaft in the proper position when the club is around waist high.

Using these various resources, you can learn how to get to the top of your backswing with your club on plane and without excessive wrist rotation. It really is a simple move to learn, and it doesn't require your to rebuild your swing. That's always good news!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My "5 to Watch" at the Schwab Cup

Well, it's finally here. This week we'll see the final event in the inaugural Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs -- the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

The schwab Cup trophy

This event will be played on the Cochise Course at Desert Mountain, which is in Scottsdale AZ. If this course sounds familiar, that's because it was the home of the Tradition for a dozen years (1989-2001). Billy Andrade is the defending champion of this event, although Bernhard Langer is the two-time defending champion of the Schwab Cup itself.

And Bernhard would have already locked up his third straight Cup if it weren't for this new playoff format. However, he's #1 on the points list even after the reshuffle this week, so he's the favorite to win the yearlong race again.

However, I'm not picking the winner of the yearlong race. No, I'm picking the winner of the Schwab Cup Championship event, and that could be a very different matter. We've seen it happen plenty of times in the FedExCup Playoffs, haven't we?

As with the FedExCup, if any of the Top5 win this event they take the Cup. So, with that caveat in mind, here are my "5 to Watch" for this week's Champions Tour event:
  • Scott McCarron is #2 in the points list, primarily because he's on a roll. In his last five events he's gone runner-up in a playoff, T10, T30, T6 and won in a playoff. He has hit his stride at just the right time, and I won't be surprised if his go-for-broke mentality gets him in the winner's circle this week (as it has twice this year already). And of course, being #2, if he wins he takes the whole thing.
  • Colin Montgomerie is #3 in the points list. He hasn't played quite as well as McCarron but his last five events are a win in a playoff, T35, T7, runner-up and T16. Again, if he wins this week he wins it all.
  • Joe Durant is #4 in the points list and is arguably playing the best of any player without a win in the last few weeks. Let's go back SIX weeks and look at his finishes: 4, T28, T10, T7, T6 and T10. Durant, like Monty, has a win this year, so he also looks to be on form.
  • Tom Pernice Jr. is #8 and has one win this year... but that win was the first Playoff event! His last three events are T9, the win and T13. I could see him doing it again this week.
  • And my flier is Tom Byrum. No wins this year, #11 in the points list and hasn't been particularly consistent this season... but he must have found something. He has a T3 and a runner-up in a playoff in his last three starts. A little confidence can do some seriously good things to a player's game, and Tom just may make his first Champions Tour win the Tour's Championship.
I can hear the questions now -- since I left out two of the Top5 -- so let me take them one at a time.
  • What about Langer? He's #1, has a win and three runner-ups in his last six starts, and four wins overall this year. But I'm a bit concerned about that knee injury. It may turn out to be nothing -- he did finish T6 this past week -- but T6 isn't a win and that's what I'm interested in here.
  • What about Jimenez? The Most Interesting Golfer in the World is #5, has one win and seven more Top4s this season. But he hasn't played well in the playoffs this far, and I'm afraid he may have tired himself out just before the big events.
While I wouldn't be surprised to see Bernhard win it all, my pick for the week is McCarron. I just don't think it's smart to bet against the hot hand, even when that means betting against Langer.

Of course, I don't have any money riding on this, either. I'm not that stupid. ;-)

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Limerick Summary: 2016 Shriners Hospitals Open

Winner: Rod Pampling

Around the wider world of golf: Scott McCarron won the Dominion Charity Classic on the Champions Tour; Daniel Nisbet won the Clearwater Bay Open on the PGA TOUR China; Shanshan Feng won the TOTO Japan Classic on the LPGA; Beth Allen won the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open on the LET; Thorbjørn Olesen won the Turkish Airlines Open on the ET; and Hideto Tanihara won the HEIWA PGM Championship on the Japan Golf Tour. And of course, in college golf earlier in the week, the Illinois men and the Duke women won the East Lake Cup.

Rod Pampling celebrates his win

In the Bible, in the book of Ecclesiastes, ninth chapter, eleventh verse, it says something like the race isn't always to the swift, nor victory to the strong.

I can think of no better way to describe Rod Pampling's victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. It's been a decade since Pampling won, and he's been struggling with his game. He was being chased down by young powerhitters like Brooks Keopka and not-quite-as-young major winners like Lucas Glover. The folks at GC were debating how the 47-year-old Australian would deal with the unfamiliar pressure. I guess you'd say he was considered neither swift nor strong.

But from all accounts, he dealt with it pretty well. Four birdies in the last six holes isn't what you expect from someone who's struggling, is it? Rod summed it up best in this post:
“I don't want to go out with people thinking, oh, Pampling, he's still out here just filling in the numbers. I knew I could still win out here, and this is fantastic, and it justifies the hard work we've put in. So I'm looking forward the next few years."
In fact, after his win he said he thought he might have a couple more PGA Tour wins in him before he goes to the Champions Tour. And why not? With this win, he's exempt all the way until he's 50. And if his short game stays anywhere near as hot as it was this past week in Vegas, I see no reason why he shouldn't win again. There are plenty of venues that suit his game just fine, thank you very much.

So Rod, it's my pleasure to salute a man who reminded the young guys that there's more to this game than just bomb and gouge. I believe this is your first-ever Limerick Summary... and you deserve it!
Who says that the old guys can't play?
Who says youth and power win the day?
When his short game heats up,
Rod can fill up the cup
With the best of 'em. That's what I say!
The photo came from this page at

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Shanshan Feng on Track to Win Back-to-Back

At the time I'm writing this, the LPGA still has a few holes to play in the TOTO Japan Classic. But barring a major collapse, Shanshan Feng is about to win back-to-back tournaments for the first time in her career.

Shanshan Feng

Shanshan has finished the 13th hole and is -3 for the round, -14 for the tournament. That puts her four shots ahead of So Yeon Ryu, Sun-Ju Ahn (the defending champ), HaNa Jang and Soo-Yun Kang. Ariya Jutanugarn, who was only one stroke back to start the round, is +2 for the day and now a full six shots back with five to play.

I wouldn't bet against Shanshan at this point. She was -3 for the last five holes in the second round, and par in the first round. It appears that the final stretch likes her!

As for the Jutanugarn/Ko battle for the Player of the Year, things couldn't go much better for Lydia. After two slow days that left her 1-over and down around 56th place, Ko has posted at -2 for the tournament. While that's not enough to get her any POY points, Ariya's +2 round has dropped her out of the Top10. If that holds, she won't get any POY points either... and that gives Lydia another chance to catch her next week.

Shanshan still has her four-stroke lead after 14 holes... and Ariya's lost another stroke. It appears that the POY race is still alive.

And that Shanshan's gonna make some personal history.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Martin Hall on Swinging Freely During Your Drive (Video)

This is an extremely simple mental tip -- well, simple to say but maybe not so simple to do. This Martin Hall clip aired on Morning Drive the week Russell Knox was defending at the WGC in China. It's a driving tip Russell got from Lynn Marriott at VISION54.

Mental tips like this, despite their simplicity, can be unimaginably difficult to use under pressure. That's why you need to spend a little time practicing them on the range before you try them during a round.

Why is this "imagine you're driving your ball into the ocean" swing thought so difficult? It's because your actual drive MEANS SOMETHING TO YOU. You can do the practice swing where you aren't actually hitting a ball just fine but, once you set your driver behind that teed-up ball, your mind simply says, "HEY, BUDDY. THIS TIME IT'S FOR REAL." And if you've been having trouble hitting the fairway anyway, that's all it takes to tighten you up.

And once you tighten up, there's a good chance you'll miss the fairway again.

It may help you to remember what Martin says in the video -- namely, that you won't hit every ball perfectly by doing this. However, your overall percentage of fairways hit will go up. This is an "improvement" drill, not a "do it perfectly" drill.

And this is one place where all my recent posts on learning to square the clubface by using your arms and hands more will help you. The ball goes where the clubface is aimed at impact. If you focus on squaring your clubface instead of steering the ball, that's where the ball will go. It may curve a bit if your swing path is off, but it will still curve toward the spot where your clubface is aimed.

Where the ball lands is what matters. This tip should help you land it where you want it to land, and land there more often.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The LPGA Hops to Japan

This week the LPGA is in Japan for the TOTO Japan Classic. There are only two tournaments left after this one -- Lorena Ochoa's event in Mexico next week and the Tour Championship in Florida the week after.

As usual, Tony Jesselli has a preview of this week's event at his blog.

Sun-Ju Ahn holds TOTO Japan Classic trophy

Sun-Ju Ahn is the defending champion at this event, although I'm uncertain that she's the focus this week:
  • Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn are both playing, and Lydia still trails Ariya by 13 points in the Player of the Year race. Lydia beat Ariya last week but didn't finish high enough to get any points.
  • Shanshan Feng is coming off her first win of the year -- not counting the Olympic Bronze Medal -- and seems to be in good form for the remaining tournaments.
  • As Tony points out in his blog, Japanese star Haru Nomura is after her third win of the year.
  • And in case you didn't know, there's always a big competition between the Koreans and the Japanese when playing on either's home soil.
This is only a three-day event, and we get tape-delay coverage here in the US. On the bright side, today's coverage starts at 10am ET on GC so at least we'll all be awake to see it.

And remember: The Top3 in the Race to the CME Globe can win it all with a win at the Tour Championship. Currently those three are Ariya, Lydia and Brooke Henderson. Brooke isn't playing this week because she finally took a week off, but she's so far ahead of fourth-place Sei Young Kim that these three are probably going to be the Top3 at the Tour Championship.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Martin Hall (and Gary Player) with a Sand Play Tip (Video)

First off, congratulations to the Illinois men and the Duke women on their victories at the East Lake Cup (And also congrats to the Chicago Cubs for breaking their 108-year win drought at the World Series!)

And now for a quick refresher on how to "strike the match" when you hit a sand shot. This Golf Digest video from Martin Hall is a couple of years old, but I like the way he teaches the "strike" in this one. I don't think I've ever actually HEARD the strike as clearly as I do in this one.

I would suggest you try this at home, using a plastic-covered cushion. That's what Hall is using; if you can find one of those old sleeping mats like the ones kids used for nap time in elementary school, that would be perfect. But any kind of cushion with a slick surface should work.

Once you can get that little "zipping" sound Hall gets, you've got this technique down.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Golf Digest Tests DeChambeau's Single-Length Clubs

Today I'm linking to Golf Digest's test of the new single-length Cobra clubs designed with Bryson DeChambeau. There are two sets, the King F7 and King Forged Tour, and the testers compared the new models with the original models.

Bryson DeChambeau

The article mentions a set designed by Bobby Jones in the 1930s that used pairs of matched-length clubs; I was aware of the design but not that they had actually been produced for sale in the 1980s. At the other end of the spectrum, the article explains small things such as how the single-length design affects dispersal patterns and distance gaps between clubs. It's these sorts of little details that make this a very thorough article, a sort of a history of this idea as well as a listing of both the advantages and disadvantages the testers found.

I found this article to be very interesting, a nice explanation of the pros and cons without dropping into heavy technical lingo. I don't know that this idea will catch on but, as the authors of the article said, it may stimulate the design of future clubs that are easier to hit. Give the article a read; you won't be wasting your time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Just a Reminder about the East Lake Cup (Video)

Just a reminder that the match play portion of the East Lake Cup starts today at 3pm ET on GC, with a one-hour Pre-Game Show starting at 2pm ET.

Scottie Scheffler and Andrea Lee

Today they play the semi-finals. For the men, Vanderbilt plays Oregon and Texas plays Illinois. For the women, Stanford will play Washington (a rematch of the NCAA Finals) and Duke will play UCLA. I've included a GC video of the pairings, in case you want the details before you watch.

And in case you didn't hear, Scottie Scheffler and Andrea Lee won the men's and women's individual titles on Monday. GC will be rerunning some of Monday's coverage today starting at 11am ET.

I know a lot of you aren't interested in the college teams, but this is great if you want to see some good match play.