ATTENTION, READERS in the 28 EUROPEAN VAT COUNTRIES: Because of the new VAT law, you probably can't order books direct from my site now. But that's okay -- just go to my Smashwords author page.
You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Michelle Is Playing Well Again

True, Michelle Wie is only part of the news from the ANA on Thursday. But the fact that she is continuing to play well is certainly big news for the LPGA.

For those of you who missed it, let me summarize the golf that the field managed to finish.

Michelle Wie during first round of the ANA

Yes, the heavy winds that were predicted came in, so there was no late coverage of the ANA on GC. Just before 6pm ET, balls began to move on the greens, one of the small billboards around the course blew out of the ground, and the local airport measured gusts of 65mph. It was too dangerous for the fans, let alone the golfers, so play was suspended. They'll start over early this morning.

Of the five players I picked earlier in the week, only In Gee Chun isn't within three strokes of the lead. That's because she is in the late-early draw and played in the worst of the wind. Judy Rankin noted that since play had to be suspended fairly early during the afternoon round, it evened out the draw somewhat. Chun is even after seven holes, so she still has time to make up some of the ground.

Michelle -- who is only one stroke off the -5 lead held by Karine Icher -- made only one bogey and her putting looked very solid. She was paired with Lucy Li, who managed a -1 round herself. Not bad for a 14-year-old amateur on a long course! It should be noted that she qualified for the tournament by winning the ANA Jr. Inspiration, and she shot even par when she played the Dinah Shore course in that event.

Fellow amateur Eun Jeong Seong made a hole-in-one on the par-3 5th and finished at -4, in the group tied one off the lead.

As for my picks besides Michelle:
  • So Yeon Ryu (my pick to win) is tied with Michelle at -4.
  • Anna Nordqvist and HaNa Jang are tied at -2.
Although it's too early to tell how things will play out, it looks as if the winds will die down before the players retake the course this morning, so Thursday's disruption may not have much of an effect after all.

While I'm excited to see Michelle playing well in a major again, the big show today will probably be Lucy Li. When she played the 2014 US Women's Open at age 11 -- ironically, the major her playing partner won -- she missed the cut. (I think she shot 78-78, but don't quote me on that.) She has a realistic chance to make her first cut in a major today, and that will almost certainly be the biggest story for GC when Friday is done. Can Lucy do it?

Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Quick Listing of Tournament Times Today

This is just a quick reminder of how GC plans to broadcast the LPGA and PGA Tour events today. Remember, the women are playing a major while the men are warming up for a major. All times are ET (Eastern Standard Time).
  • 10am: Golf Central Pre-Game
  • Noon: ANA Inspiration (LPGA)
  • 4pm: Shell Houston Open (PGA)
  • 7pm: ANA Inspiration (LPGA)
  • 9pm: Golf Central
  • 9:30pm: Shell Houston Open (PGA)
And while I'm not sure that the second time slot for the ANA is more live coverage, bear in mind that 9pm on the East Coast is only 6pm on the West Coast. We'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Martin Laird on the Bump-and-Run (Video)

This is an older Golf Digest video from Martin Laird on the correct way to play a bump-and-run shot. I like how simple he makes it here.



Please note the keys to this shot. Martin is playing from a narrow stance and the ball is positioned even with the big toe of his trailing foot. Then, he simply makes a chipping swing, no wrist action.

Also, notice how smooth his rhythm is. No jerking the club at the change of direction!

And although Martin is using a 7-iron in this video, you can use other irons as well.

One last thing: Clearly Martin is chipping a ball close to the green. You can also play a bump-and-run to the green from a long way out, using a longer backswing and even a slight amount of wrist cock, as long as the fairway is firm (think of a links course). But overall, the technique is close to that of a chip shot, which means you don't have to learn different techniques to do both shots effectively.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

My "5 to Watch" at the ANA

The first LPGA major of the year, the ANA Inspiration, is finally here. It's time to pick my potential winners (or, as I did at the Match Play last week, the likeliest might-have-beens).

So Yeon Ryu

As usual, here is my link to Tony Jesselli's preview of the event. The ANA, like the Masters, is played at the same venue each year -- the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage CA. The defending champion is Lydia Ko, who picked up her second major win here.

In many ways, I'm going rogue this week. I'm not going to choose Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, Brittany Lincicome or Lexi Thompson, despite each one being on most fantasy teams. One thing we have seen this season is that the faves aren't necessarily stepping up and getting it done. So I'm picking some players who may not rank quite as high.
  • In Gee Chun has been a bit erratic this season, but it's easy to forget that she set the all-time scoring record at the Evian last year... which also means she won the last major the women played. And she's won two majors, so the stage isn't too big for her.
  • So Yeon Ryu hasn't won in quite a while but she -- like Stacy Lewis -- has been runner-up some ridiculous number of times in the last couple of years. She's also #1 on the money list because she hasn't been out of the Top7 this season. She already has one major under her belt, and she got one of her runner-ups at Evian last year.
  • Anna Nordqvist won at the Founders Cup a couple weeks back. She has a major and, had it not been for that questionable ruling by the USGA at the US Women's Open last year, she might have made it two. And she has played well at Mission Hills before -- T4 in 2015.
  • HaNa Jang has a win and a couple more Top5s so far this season. Despite being a bit streaky, she's #4 on the money list. She doesn't have much of a record at the majors because she hasn't played that many, but when she's on, she's dangerous.
  • And for my flier, I'm taking Michelle Wie. I know -- outside of a T4 at the HSBC Women's Champions, she doesn't have a lot to show this season. But I like the way she's trending and her attitude. It's also worth remembering that she has one major, and she has played well at Mission Hills before.
And my overall pick? I'm taking Ryu, simply because she's playing so well this year and she's way overdue for a win. Like Stacy Lewis, I think So Yeon's dry spell is as much mental as physical -- but unlike Stacy, So Yeon's game is in better shape to get it done.

GC lists two TV times for Thursday's first round, noon-4pm ET and 7pm-9pm ET. I'm guessing that both might be live coverage since the event is on the West Coast of the US. I certainly hope so, anyway.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Limerick Summary: 2017 WGC-Dell Match Play

Winner: Dustin Johnson

Around the wider world of golf: Mirim Lee lapped the field to win by 6 at the Kia Classic on the LPGA; Daniela Darquea won the IOA Championship on the Symetra Tour, becoming the first player from Equador to win on either the Symetra Tour or the LPGA; Casey Wittenberg won the Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Web.com Tour; Patrick Newcomb won the Honduras Open on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; and D.A. Points won the Puerto Rico Open, the alternate field event on the PGA Tour.

Dustin Johnson with the Walter Hagen Cup

Come on now. Is this photo really that much of a surprise?

The final day of the WGC-Dell Match Play played out pretty much as expected, albeit with a healthy dose of drama. When you make it to the Final Four at this event, you expect to see the best players bring their best stuff.

And they did. Bill Haas took Jon Rahm to the 16th hole before losing his semifinal match, and Hideto Tanihara took DJ all the way to 18 before finally losing his. Likewise, Haas took Tanihara 17 holes before finishing 4th.

But the match everybody wanted to see -- Johnson V Rahm -- delivered everything we expected, and then some. DJ built a 5up lead, only to have Rahm storm back with a chance to go extra holes at 18. If there was a downside to the match, it was the bathroom door someone slammed at the worst possible moment during Rahm's eagle chip. It may not have determined the outcome of the match, but it certainly affected Rahm's stroke.

Nevertheless, the question remains. Is this photo really that much of a surprise? After the torrid run DJ has been on -- winning (as of today) his last three events, back-to-back WGCs (a feat achieved only by Tiger before this event) and now becoming the first man to win all four WGCs -- it's hard to say that we couldn't see this coming.

This week DJ will tee it up at the Shell Houston Open, where he'll again be the favorite as he prepares for the Masters -- where, presumably, he'll be the favorite once again. Is the PGA Tour ready for yet another run by a dominant player, especially when that player has won 6 times in only 9 months, including a major and two WGCs?

All I know is that it's a challenge to keep finding unique approaches to the Limerick Summary when they're all about the same player. Fortunately, DJ keeps making history with his wins. That makes it a bit easier...
Of WGCs, he's got four;
Three wins in a row—could be more
Before DJ's through.
What's the poor field to do
When they don't know what might be in store?
The photo came from this page at PGA.com.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

They All Went Bye-Bye

Alas, even the mighty Phil Mickelson fell. He made it deeper than he has in over a decade but, in the end, even he couldn't make the Final Four at the WGC-Dell Match Play. None of my picks made it to the Sunday matches, so I no longer have a dog in the fight.

However, we are left with a fascinating foursome to contend for the Walter Hagen Cup today.

Dustin Johnson

In one corner we have a semifinal battle between Bill Haas and Jon Rahm. Haas wasn't firing on all eight cylinders when the week started, but he's found his groove now. And Rahm hasn't been out of his groove all week, not even for a moment.

In the other corner we have Dustin Johnson and Hideto Tanihara. Johnson wasn't even tied for a hole this week until well into the fifth match Saturday afternoon... and even then, he didn't fall behind. And Tanihara -- well, he's not so much an underdog as just an unknown quantity. Dustin remarked that he didn't even know who he was, but Hideto's play this week has clearly announced his identity to everyone.

And you didn't need to understand Japanese to hear him, loud and clear!

On paper, you have to expect that Johnson will face Rahm for the Cup. And if that happens, I honestly don't know who will win. Dustin has been on a roll for weeks now, but Jon has been just as solid, despite not posting a large number of wins. If I had to give one an edge, I'd give it to Rahm simply because his putting seems slightly more consistent than Dustin's.

But don't quote me on that. This is match play, after all.

And if we write off the other two players, we do so at our own risk. Haas has proven in the past to have more mettle than his easygoing manner might indicate. And Tanihara has 14 wins on the Japan Golf Tour, 3 of them coming just last year. He's not going anywhere.

This could be one of the best Match Plays we've seen in many years. I'm really looking forward to it today!

Even if all my picks went bye-bye too early.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Vagaries of Match Play

As we enter the Sweet 16 at the Dell Match Play, I admit that I'm a bit shocked.

Shocked that I still have two active picks, that is, and that they won their groups 3-0-0.

Phil Mickelson at the Match Play

I'm not terribly surprised that Phil Mickelson made it through; he's been playing well all year. Likewise, Paul Casey has been playing well for a year or more, though I was less sure he'd get past Schwartzel unscathed. And Patrick Reed's elimination was no shock either; he clearly hasn't recovered from the emotional month after the Ryder Cup when he said he was just worn out. (That's why he was my flier. I though match play might revitalize him. I was wrong.)

But when the Woodland withdrawal took out Rory McIlroy -- the one pick I thought was ironclad -- before we even reached the third day, I expected EVERYTHING to go wrong. We lost three players to withdrawals, and you just never know how that will affect the field. (BTW, you'll all be glad to know that Jason Day's mom came through surgery just fine and the doctors say they're optimistic about her recovery, according to ESPN.)

While the purpose of the round robin stage was to guarantee the big names didn't leave after only one day of bad luck, it's clear the "pool" concept hasn't made match play less volatile. I would argue that its main benefit is that more players choose to come, simply because it's not a one-day trip. Even if you get bounced by an unexpected withdrawal (or three), at least you didn't spend more time traveling than playing.

Besides, there's plenty to do in Austin TX, even if you do get bounced.

But now the whole landscape of the event has changed. Bubba, Koepka and Noren have found their games while Soren Kjeldsen, Hideto Tanihara and Will McGirt have opened quite a few eyes. Throw in the dominance of Dustin Justin and Jon Rahm, and this Match Play just got very interesting.

I just hope Phil and Paul can hang on and reach the Final Four. It's been a couple of years since I had a pick make the finals. (I think that was Victor Dubuisson, the year Jason Day won his first Match Play.) I'd like to do it again.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Chris Como's Cool Putting Tip (Video)

Although this Golf Digest video is entitled Putting Tips from Tiger Woods's Coach, Chris Como is actually talking about Jamie Lovemark's practice. And it makes my blog post today for two reasons.

First of all, this tip is just plain cool.



And second, we keep hearing that we should use our feet more when we read putts, but Como is the first teacher I've actually heard recommend putting in near-dark to help you learn how to do that.

Yeah, Tiger probably does this too. But Como doesn't mention Tiger, just Lovemark. Remember that when you trip over your putter in the dark. ;-)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The LPGA Is in Prime Time Again

It's Kia Classic time again! And, as Tony Jesselli points out in his preview, this is an extremely strong field, with the Top100 of the LPGA Priority List members teeing it up.

Lydia Ko, Inbee Park and Nelly Korda

The Kia Classic is held at the Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad CA, where Lydia Ko is the defending champion. She may find the job a bit harder this year. Last week at the Founders Cup, four of the Rolex Top5 played. All four had Top8 finishes.

This week, 23 of the Top25 Rolex players are ready to go.

With the field as stacked as it is, and with the season's first major being played next week, this should be a very good tournament. The adjustment from the hot Phoenix desert (mid-90s F last week) to the much cooler weather of Carlsbad (mid-60s F are predicted) is already in the minds of some players, as Brittany Lincicome talked about on Morning Drive. Among other things, the greens are much more receptive and will require a more aggressive approach in order to get the ball close.

GC's broadcast tonight starts at 8:30pm ET. Tony says the first two days of the event will be tape-delayed; I suppose that's because GC will be covering the Dell Match Play during the hours when the live weekend broadcasts are scheduled to begin. At any rate, with such a strong field preparing for the ANA Inspiration next week, this one should be worth watching.

And yes, I know Jason Day's early exit from the Dell Match Play because of his mom's lung cancer was the big news Wednesday. But Jason didn't want to talk about it and, as my mom also died from lung cancer, I'm not too thrilled to revisit it either. So I'll just send the Day family my prayers and well wishes, and let it go at that.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Announcing the New RuthlessGolf.com Quick Guide MEGAPACK!

[UPDATE: The paperback version is now available as well. You can order it through all the regular bookstore channels like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. That was the easiest way to make a paperback easy-to-get and also give you folks free shipping.]

I have always loved the concept behind the RuthlessGolf.com Quick Guides. Instead of a single expensive book that touches on fifty topics but covers nothing thoroughly -- which is common in a lot of golf books -- each Quick Guide is focused on a single topic and tries to give a fairly complete lesson on how to do it properly. I think I've been fairly successful with that goal.

And apparently a lot of you agree, because many of you have bought one. In fact, many have come back again and again, buying different ones each time.

RuthlessGolf.com Quick Guide MEGAPACKHowever, since I started doing the Quick Guides back in 2012, the publishing industry has changed. What used to be a fairly simple act of publishing now requires that I do six or seven different formats of each book. So, in the future, I'll be doing my guides in an as-yet-undecided format. The existing Quick Guides, of course, will all remain in print, available as they have always been.

But for some time now I've wanted to do a special promotional ebook, one that would be available only through this blog and from Smashwords (they allow worldwide distribution without going through all the different booksellers). And since I'll be doing future books in a different format, I found myself with a unique opportunity to do just that.

So here it is, The RuthlessGolf.com Quick Guide MEGAPACK, a single collection of all six Quick Guides for $19.99. That's about 35% off the price of buying all six individual books.

As of today you can buy PDF, EPUB and MOBI editions from this page, right here on RuthlessGolf.com, and the EPUB is available from Smashwords. (PDF and MOBI editions will be coming to Smashwords as well, but those are yet more formats I've got to create! They'll show up on the Smashwords page as soon as they are available.)

Some of you may never have downloaded a book that didn't install automatically on your reader. It's actually very easy -- and if you don't learn, you're missing out on the huge number of LEGALLY FREE ebooks available on the Web. (For example, Project Gutenberg, which has sites in the US, Canada and Australia, among others, offers Harry Vardon's book The Complete Golfer.)

You'll find the buttons to purchase each format of the book BELOW, complete with basic instructions on how to load them to your devices. It's not hard at all.

And as usual, EU readers will need to buy from Smashwords since I have no process for handling VAT at this point.

PDF $19.99 Add to Cart View Cart

Most of you probably use the PDFs on your desktops and laptops, and use Adobe Reader. You already know how the system works. But if you use PDFs on your Kindle or Apple device, they are treated just like the native formats as described below.

MOBI (Kindle) $19.99 Add to Cart View Cart

Did you know that your Kindles, whether they are readers or apps, have an email address? Just log into your Amazon account, go to the "Manage Your Content and Devices" page, click the Settings tab and scroll down to the section labeled "Personal Document Settings." There you will find a list of email addresses -- the main one for your account (mine is simply called "Michael's Kindle"), as well as addresses for each separate device or app. Then just create a blank email, attach your MOBI file to it, and send your book to the main address. The book will then become available to every one of your Kindles.

EPUB (Apple iBooks) $19.99 

Add to Cart View Cart
I suppose that most ereaders use the EPUB format, but Smashwords tells me that most of you are getting your EPUBs through the iBooks Store. So if you start up iTunes, you can use File/Add to Library or just drag the book to your Books library. Then you just sync your devices like usual.

SMASHWORDS $19.99

And once again, here's the MEGAPACK page at Smashwords. As soon as the MOBI and PDF versions are available, they'll show up on that page automatically and I'll update this post as well.

So here's your chance to get all six Quick Guides at once for 35% off the regular price of buying them all. Many of you have written to tell me how much they helped you; hopefully this will make them affordable for even more of you.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My "4 to Watch" at the WGC-Dell Match Play

Yes, you read that correctly. While I would normally pick five players for a WGC, this is a match play event with a bracket. Therefore I'm picking my "Final Four."

The WGC-Dell Match Play trophy, aka the Walter Hagen Cup

If you want to fill out the entire bracket, you can download a PDF of the groupings at this link.

Of course, I rarely bother doing that. My rules this week are very simple:
I pick the one player from each "region" of the bracket who I believe will reach the "Final Four." It's unusual for more than one of my picks to make it that far, so that player will become my choice to win. And should I have the rare privilege of accurately picking more than one of the "Final Four," I'll then choose one of them as my eventual winner.
Got it? Then let's move on.

Since the brackets are no longer labeled -- remember when you had a Hagen bracket, or a Snead bracket? -- I'll simply refer to the brackets according to the highest-ranked player in each one. That means we have a Dustin Johnson bracket, a Rory McIlroy bracket, a Jason Day bracket, and a Hideki Matsuyama bracket.
  • In the Johnson bracket, I'm choosing Patrick Reed to get through. While this is a fairly tough bracket with several Ryder Cuppers, how can I not pick Captain America to get the job done?
  • In the McIlroy bracket, it's a no-brainer. Although Garcia and Rahm should be the most interesting round-robin match-up in this bracket, my money's on Rory McIlroy. He has the best record in this event of anybody teeing up. We'll also get a rematch of last year during the round-robin, as Gary Woodland is in the same group as Rory, but I expect Rory to win his group easily.
  • In the Day bracket, I'm taking Phil Mickelson. Phil's go-for-it style will either end his hopes in the round-robin stage or propel him deep into the competition. Given how he's been playing, I'm guessing he'll go far this year.
  • And in the Matsuyama group, I'm taking a flier. Although Louis Oosthuizen is in the group and I feel that he should be the favorite to emerge, I'm taking Paul Casey. The last time I took Casey, he was beaten by sickness during the Saturday matches. I think he could capture lightning in a bottle this week.
Remember, GC broadcasts the round-robin matches starting Wednesday at 2pm ET.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Limerick Summary: 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational

Winner: Marc Leishman

Around the wider world of golf: Anna Nordqvist held off all challengers to win the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on the LPGA; Hae Rym Kim won the SGF67 World Ladies Championship on the LET/CLPGA/KLPGA; Tom Lehman charged from behind to win the Tucson Conquistadores Classic on the Champions Tour; and bad weather shortened the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica's Guatemala Stella Artois Open to an unofficial 18-hole event, so the purse was split equally among all the participants and no winner was named.

Marc Leishman and Family with the API trophy

As Sam Saunders chatted with Mike Tirico early during Sunday's coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the coverage momentarily switched to Marc Leishman putting out. Sam noticed it and mentioned that he thought people should watch Leishman very closely because, as he put it, Australians do very well around Bay Hill.

He couldn't have been more accurate. Leishman's putter got hot and, deftly wielding some straight drives and clever short game shots, he calmly cruised past leaders Kevin Kisner, Charley Hoffman and Rory McIlroy to post the winning score... and wait.

It was a noisy wait. Apparently young Harvey Leishman wanted a trophy to keep up with his friend Dash Day, and you could hear the questions as soon as Marc finished: "Did you win a trophy, Daddy? Did you? Can we get it now? Can we?"

Young Harvey did eventually get his wish, as you can see in the photo above. It was Marc's second PGA Tour win but the first his family was able to witness firsthand. It was especially gratifying since it got Marc an invite to the Masters -- something he had to turn down a couple of years ago when his wife Audrey nearly died from toxic shock syndrome. Do you remember that? She was touch-and-go for around a year after that.

As you can see from the photo above, Audrey is doing much better these days. She and Marc are expecting a daughter in three or four months. But Marc doesn't have to wait for his latest Limerick Summary. Yes, Sam, this Australian did VERY well at Bay Hill!
Sam called it: Australians do well
At Bay Hill. Good putting will tell
The tale on slick greens—
And it gave Marc the means
To emerge from the pack and prevail.
The photo came from the event news page at PGATOUR.com.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Kevin Sutherland Shot -8 and Lost Ground

The scores out at the LPGA event are insane. I mean, Anna Nordqvist shot -11 and still only managed a 2-shot lead! But it wasn't just the ladies who went low.

Steve Stricker, making his Champions Tour debut at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic, shot -10 Saturday. He now has a 3-shot lead over Tom Lehman and a 5-shot lead over Kevin Sutherland and Fred Couples.

Steve Stricker in Champions Tour debut

Stricker sits at -16 after two rounds. Let's put that in perspective...

Woody Austin WON with that score last year!

Steve missed the cut at Valspar last week. Apparently he decided to take it out on the old guys this week, before teeing it up at the Shell Houston Open (the PGA Tour event right before the Masters) week after next.

Of course, this doesn't mean that Stricker is going to dominate the Champions Tour the way other rookies have. But after watching him stick wedge after wedge close to the pin, and make putts like they were running in a channel to the hole, I can't help but wonder if the rest of the Champions are a little nervous.

After all, bear in mind that Stricker is supposed to be "distracted" by his duties as the Presidents Cup captain right now. What happens once he can "focus" on his game again?

I look for Stricker to get a Champions Tour major sometime soon. The golfer they jokingly refer to as a "part-timer" who's "semi-retired" shows signs of being the most dangerous player they've seen in a while.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Michelle Is at It Again!

In case you haven't been watching the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, you are missing something amazing.

Michelle Wie

First of all, the cut set a record -- 74 players were at -5 or better. A lot of big names like Lexi Thompson, Suzanne Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Minjee Lee, Belen Mozo and Paula Creamer were just a few of those unlucky enough to play this week. They're all going home.

But the players who made the cut are definitely NOT just lucky. Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis top the field at -13, Michelle Wie is part of a foursome just one stroke back, and Inbee Park leads a group of six another stroke behind them. And of the dozen players in the group I just mentioned, only In Gee Chun shot less than -5 in Friday's round. (She shot -3 to join Inbee's group.)

But Michelle is the big story again this week. Her newfound putting prowess and control off the tee have put her at -12. Ironically, she's -11 on the front nine, which was designed by Arnold Palmer. (The back nine at Wildfire was designed by Nick Faldo.) And that putting stroke of hers... well, even when she misses the putt, it looks as if it could have gone in.

Needless to say, this is a first in Michelle's career. Even Judy Rankin remarked that she had NEVER been able to say that!

Look, I'm not saying that Michelle is going to win this week. But her progress this season has been unmistakable. She missed her first cut, then went T30, T4 and now she's back in contention again. We haven't seen THIS Michelle since she won the 2015 US Women's Open... and she wasn't putting this well even then.

If she keeps this trend of improvement up, Michelle Wie might end up being the big story of 2017. And that could be VERY good for the LPGA.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Some Thoughts on the Muirfield Vote

Rory McIlroy made headlines this week (again) when he expressed his frustration with the Muirfield vote to allow women members, thus regaining their status on the Open rota. While he was glad the membership finally "saw sense" (as he put it), he wasn't impressed by how long it took them to finally get it right. The word he used was "obscene."

I think most of us agree with Rory that the concession was way overdue. But I feel that the whole debate has ignored something very basic about human beings, and that's what this post is about.
Let me be blunt about this: Although we'd all like things to be done for the "right" reasons, change is a messy operation because we humans don't like change and we are far from perfect when we deal with it. And in our frustration with the messiness of it all, we have a tendency to miss the positive aspects of the process.
Let's go back a year to the original Muirfield vote, where the required 2/3 majority was narrowly missed. I want to emphasize that phrase "narrowly missed," since I've heard it used several times by the media.

It's very easy to assume that organizations are little more than a single monolithic group of people who all believe EXACTLY the same way. But we all know that's not true, don't we? When a group we identify with is characterized as all having the same beliefs -- and we don't -- we get really upset for being "stereotyped." We complain that a "vocal minority" doesn't represent what we think, and we resent being grouped in with them.

But isn't that exactly what has been done to the membership of Muirfield?

Not every member at Muirfield voted at the original proposal. For the sake of this article, I'm going to assume that none of the nonvoters wanted women to join but didn't want to be publicly associated with that stance. I doubt that was true -- there could be any number of reasons that some members chose not to vote -- but since they didn't vote, it had the same effect as if they voted against the motion. Namely, there were fewer voters to be part of the 2/3 majority that was needed.

But in our condemnation of the result, we focused on the slightly-more-than-1/3 who voted against the motion, didn't we? In fact, A SUBSTANTIAL MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERSHIP VOTED TO ALLOW FEMALE MEMBERSHIP. I imagine the largest part of them were in favor of female membership all along... but overturning tradition is a hard thing in many institutions.

And clearly a large number voted to allow women simply to keep Muirfield's spot in the rota. These voters are being vilified for that. They should have been progressive, we argue, and allowed women to join simply because it's the right thing to do! But I think that's being a bit harsh. Just think about it for a moment...

A spot on the rota means you get the Open roughly once a decade. A decade is roughly 520 weeks, while the Open lasts for one week. If you're truly against having female members, how can you possibly believe that one week of the Open is worth 510 weeks of dealing with these hated female members ON A DAILY BASIS? I'd argue that these members said, in effect, that although they felt no compulsion to allow women members, THEY HAD NO PROBLEM WITH ALLOWING THEM EITHER. It was simply tradition and they'd had no reason to change. But now they had a reason, so they voted to change.

Given the normally messy process of change, I'd say that's actually a fairly progressive mindset! It may not satisfy those who want everything to happen as it would in a perfect world, but it still shows a willingness to move forward and accept change.

That's what probably happened a year ago. What happened in the meantime that led up to this week's vote?

I'd say that the "narrowly" outvoted majority -- both those who were vocal about accepting women and those who simply had no problem with accepting them -- became much more vocal at the club. How do I think that played out?

We heard that originally there were some members who resented being told what to do by the R&A. The vocal minority probably convinced them that the R&A wouldn't dare enforce the vote against the membership's will. THEY WERE PROVEN WRONG. Do you think that the members who voted to allow women hesitated to let them know that their stubbornness had cost Muirfield the Open? I don't, and I don't think it took much shaming to get a "yes" vote from them this time.

As for the true hardliners who resented letting women in, I suspect the rest of the membership made sure they felt the burden of tainting Muirfield's reputation. And I wouldn't be surprised if a few of their wives didn't let them know that, if they were too good to share a locker with a woman, they were too good to share a bed with one, as well! How many meals do you think those husbands missed? How many days did they have only dirty shirts to wear?

Yes, I suspect that happened to at least of few of them. Men who are that stubborn probably aren't the easiest to live with, and their wives had probably decided to let them know in no uncertain terms.

So Muirfield will now accept women members. Before you judge the club too harshly, simply because some of those hardliners will likely be less than friendly to the new women members, remember this:
Let me be blunt one more time: Eventually, those relics of antiquity will die from old age and no longer be members of the club. And when new members come in, they will do with the knowledge that women will also be members and there's not one damn thing they can do about it. If they don't like that, they'll go elsewhere.
In the end, Muirfield will be a place where female members are welcome for all the right reasons. It's how the rather messy process of change works in a world of imperfect human beings. Let's just be thankful that the vast majority of Muirfield members decided to embrace that process and let it take its normal course.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bobby Jones on Proper Weight Shift

I was rereading some of Sidney Matthew's collection of Bobby Jones's newspaper columns called Bobby Jones Golf Tips: Secrets of the Master and found this interesting tidbit about weight shift during the downswing. It's such a simple image that I thought I'd pass it on.

Bobby Jones at Royal Liverpool 1930 The photo at right comes from the Royal Liverpool at Hoylake's history page. It shows Bobby Jones during his Open win there in 1930, and it shows exactly what Jones said in the article I read called On the Proper Method of Shifting Weight. Note that when Jones talks about the left leg, he means your lead leg. (So you lefties can mentally insert 'right leg.')
If we but examine the styles of different golfers, even with the naked eye, it is easy enough to tell whether the weight transference has been a sway or a shift. One characteristic of the proper body action, that is to say, the shift, is that the left leg is straight at and after impact. If you want to know why this is, you have only to look at the time, which marks the left side of the body. It has been lengthened, without lifting the head, by holding the shoulder back while the left hip goes forward. The characteristic of the sway, located again in the left leg, is a decided bend of the left knee in this same area. The entire weight of the body has been thrown forward. The shoulders coming forward also prevent the straightening of the left leg, and either the knee bends more or the player fall flat upon his face. [p94]
I find this very interesting simply because Jones is writing around 1930 or so, yet he is saying the most obvious way to get a proper weight shift is to drive upward with your lead leg at impact so your lead hip and upper body don't move too far forward. Push up to move forward in your downswing properly. Sounds rather modern, doesn't it?

To drive upward on the downswing -- that is, straighten your lead knee --it follows that your lead knee has to bend on the backswing. What these two moves do is allow your hips and lower body to move freely during your swing without your upper body lurching around.

Now, how do you make sure you drive upward and don't lean forward? Jones says you "hold the shoulder back while the left hip goes forward." He means that your lead shoulder turns toward your lead heel, and that makes your weight shift properly. You aren't leaning backwards, folks -- you're just turning your upper body so your chest faces the target. (Take a good look at that photo!) This is a strong balanced move into the ball.

If you can't make this move without lurching forward, then you're trying to drive your legs too hard during your downswing. But once you get the hang of this balanced swing, you'll make better contact more often. Good swing mechanics never change...

We just forget how to keep our balance when we try too hard. ;-)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The LPGA Is Back in the US This Week

Yes, the LPGA finally begins their first US swing of the year at the Founders Cup, with its new sponsor Bank of Hope. BoH has strong ties to US Asian-American communities, so they were a logical successor to JTBC.

Let me give you a handful of facts to get you up-to-speed.

Sei Young Kim

The Founders Cup has gone from an event with an imaginary purse -- remember how silly that sounded when Michael Whan first proposed it? -- to one of the biggest events on the LPGA seven years later. You can find Tony Jesselli's preview at this link, and he says this week's strength of field rating is 82%, easily one of the strongest non-major events of the year.

The event is played at the Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix AZ, a longtime favorite destination for the tour. Sei Young Kim won last year's event with a score of -27, tying Annika for the lowest winning score relative to par at any event.

Each year this event honors some "Pioneers," women who were instrumental in the growth and development of the LPGA Tour. This week, Sandra Post (Canadian) and Hollis Stacy (American) will be the honorees.

Finally, because this event is played out near the West Coast of the US, we East Coasters get prime time golf. GC's live coverage begins at 6pm ET on Thursday night. It's a nice way to spend an evening!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tom Watson on How to Hit a Draw (Video)

Found a brand new video from Tom Watson at the Golf Digest site on how to hit a draw. Here's the video:



Tom's advice is extremely simple. First you strengthen your grip so you automatically close the face through impact.

Then you control the trajectory this way:
  • Raise your lead shoulder and move the ball forward in your stance to hit it high.
  • Lower your lead shoulder and move the ball back in your stance to hit it low.
I definitely think you'll want to practice this before you take it out on the course. Some players will have a tendency to hold the face open and hit a slice -- it's easy to get concerned about hitting a duck hook with the stronger grip. You'll want to practice in order to find the right amount to strengthen your grip.

You'll also need a bit of practice to make sure you don't hit the ball fat or thin when you change your shoulder angle. Changing the shoulder angle could change your swing plane if you aren't careful.

But this is yet another method of hitting draws that has been successful for one of the game's legends. If you haven't found a consistent way to draw the ball yet, you might want to give this one a try.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Limerick Summary: 2017 Valspar Championship

Winner: Adam Hadwin

Around the wider world of golf: S.S.P Chawrasia successfully defended his title (by 7 strokes!) at the Hero Indian Open on the ET; and Brandon Matthews got his first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica win at the Molino Canuelas Championship.

Adam Hadwin and fiance Jessica hold Valspar trophy

The honeymoon can wait, Jessica. It's Azalea Time!

Adam Hadwin has been popping up on leaderboards for quite some time now. He's got several mini-tour wins, as well as a couple of Web.com Tour trophies. You may remember a nice run he made at the Canadian Open a few years back. He's played well enough to garner sponsor exemptions on the Big Tour, but success in the form of a Tour card had eluded him until this year.

Success is not eluding him anymore. For anybody who hadn't noticed him before, a 59 at the CareerBuilder Challenge announced his arrival on Tour very loudly. While the 4-stroke lead with which he began the day slowly faded away under Patrick Cantlay's relentless assault, Adam got the chance to win on the 18th that he said would be enough for him. And it was -- now he's got that elusive win as well.

As a result, the victorious Canadian will be trading a honeymoon in French Polynesia for a trip to Augusta Ga. I know, ladies -- it sounds like a step down to me also, at least in romantic terms. But the azaleas will be in full bloom, and who knows? His very supportive and understanding fiance may be very happy with the much larger diamond she'll no doubt be sporting at the Masters.

Adam, alas, will have to settle for his first Limerick Summary. Not as flashy, but perhaps just as satisfying:
The first win's the hardest, they say;
For Adam, it sure looked that way!
His lead of four strokes
Slowly went up in smoke…
But he hung tough and carried the day.
The photo came from this page at the Vancouver Sun site.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I Bet You've Never Heard This "Secret" Before!

Everybody's always looking for a secret, a silver bullet that will give them THE KEY to a great golf swing. Today I've got one that I doubt you have ever heard before.

It comes from a 2004 book by John W. Barrett called Such a Little Secret. It centers around an old BBC broadcast of the Open Championship, with commentary by Peter Alliss and Henry Longhurst, where they discussed "The Secret" as it was being demonstrated by some player who Barrett couldn't remember.

Anyway, according to the Dynamic Duo, "The Secret" is illustrated by this diagram from the book:

The Secret: using the trailing ear as your rotational axis

To restate "The Secret" so both lefties and righties can use it, "Swing around a still trailing ear." To quote Barrett:
In any focus of concentration, the smaller the focal point the greater is one's sensitivity to it. To continue to use the word ear would do, and in a television broadcast it was probably a more genteel choice than use of the vernacular. Distilling the focal point down to the quarter inch diameter of the aural canal, however, will give a golfer a far sharper image in the mind than the more vague outline of the whole of the right ear. [p57]
Look, am I saying that this is "The Secret" to fixing your golf swing? Absolutely not. I don't believe there's one technique that will make you the next Jason Day or Rory McIlroy. If there's a secret, it lies in relaxation, balance and rhythm.

Still, some of you might find some use in this idea of swinging around your trailing ear. You won't reverse pivot or sway during your backswing if you use it, but your head will still have some freedom of movement. You won't drive too hard toward the target on your downswing because, if you do, your head will get pushed away from the target and you're going to fall over backward. And you'll finish in a balanced position -- you need only to look at the drawings above to see that.

So while I don't believe this is "The Secret" to good golf, I do think it's an image that might help some of you who are struggling to stay steady over the ball during your swing. Take it for what it's worth.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Ben Shear's 5 Week Fitness Program

Golf Digest has run two articles by their fitness advisor Ben Shear, which I'm linking here as 5-Week Program, Part 1 and 5-Week Program, Part 2. These 12 exercises -- 6 in each article -- are supposed to get you in golf shape in just 5 weeks. A crash course, if you will.

I don't know if I believe they will work that fast, and I think 12 exercises is definitely nearing the limit of how many you should try to do during a single workout. (Personally, I would prefer a limit of 7 or 8 exercises.) Still, this is a good mix of exercises if you're looking for a new routine.

Diagram #1: 90-90 Knee Drop
There are 3 mobility exercises:
  • 90-90 Knee Drop (pictured above)
  • Bretzel (what a strange name!)
  • Shoulder Wall Slide
3 stability exercises:
  • Medicine Ball Lift
  • No-Arm Side Plank
  • Dead Bug
3 strength exercises:
  • Bulgarian Split-Squat
  • One-Legged Glute Bridge
  • One-Legged Row
and 3 power exercises:
  • Rotational Jump
  • Vertical Leap
  • One-Legged Lateral Jump
The stability and strength exercises all require equipment of some sort, but you may find items around the house that you can substitute.

Shear says you can do all 12 exercises in less than 30 minutes, which is a reasonable amount of time to devote to a workout. And he says to do two sets of 10 reps for each exercise, which is also a reasonable number if you're going to do this many different exercises in one session. If you try it, just make sure you don't move so fast that you hurt yourself, trying to finish within that 30-minute session.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Fangs Were Sent to the Wrong Course

I'm in shock. I've been trying to follow the play at the DLF Golf and Country Club (the course for the ET's Hero Indian Open in New Delhi) and the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook (where the PGA Tour is playing the Valspar Championship).

And it's clear that the DLF is the course with the bite!

The 550-yard par four 14th at DLF

For example, I believe this is the 550-yard par-four 14th at DLF. This hole played to 4.91 strokes during the first round! According to the ET's site, this is the hardest hole on the tour so far this season.

So far, there are only 18 players under par. ONLY 18! And there are 15 players who are double-digits OVER par! The worst score is +17... AFTER ONLY ONE ROUND.

Compare that to the Copperhead course. There are 55 players under par, with only a handful (six) yet to finish the first round. And the worst score is a mere +6.

I just don't know what to think. Granted, this doesn't compare to the legendary "Massacre at Winged Foot," aka the 1974 US Open. Hale Irwin won that one with a +7 score. But when I heard that the DLF is a new course this year and that it would be difficult, I NEVER expected it to be this hard. Especially not when compared to the Copperhead.

The Hero Indian Open bears watching this weekend. A new legend may be in the works!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Tom Stickney on How to Stop Slicing Your Irons (Video)

Golf Magazine has an article called 3 Easy Keys for Sticking Your Irons... but that's not what I'm interested in today. It's not a bad article, but I'm more interested in the video tip that heads the article.

The video is called Irons: Eliminate Your Slice for Good. It's a tip from Golf Magazine Top100 Teacher Tom Stickney. I've embedded it here; you'll probably want to run it full screen.



You've probably heard this tip a hundred times -- keep your upper arm close to your body as you hit the ball. But I want to give you a new thought that might help you make more progress when using this tip.

Stickney says those sliced irons are caused by a disconnect -- your arm separates from your body -- so you want to keep your armpit tight against your body. A common drill for this, which Stickney doesn't mention here, is putting a glove or towel in your armpit and trying to hit the ball before you drop said glove or towel.

But let's look at this a bit closer.

When you hold something in your armpit, you're keeping your entire upper arm against your chest. The key here is keeping your lead elbow close to your side. Your elbow is closer to the club, so keeping your elbow close to your side should actually be easier than holding something in your armpit.

So try this drill: Make some practice swings -- half-swings are fine -- by letting your lead elbow stay close to your body all the way back, even letting it bend. (This is easier if you keep both elbows close against your body and let them both bend. That's an old Hogan drill.) Then let both elbows straighten as you swing the club down toward impact. In order to keep your lead elbow close to your side, you'll need to keep turning your body toward the target after impact and let your lead elbow bend as the club comes up. This will teach you the correct body movement to keep your lead elbow close.

You see, your lead elbow moves away from your body -- it disconnects, as Stickney says -- because you stop turning your body before you actually hit the ball. If you keep turning your upper body and hips -- because they all need to keep moving -- your lead elbow will stay closer to your body and you won't get that huge disconnect.

It shouldn't take you long to get comfortable with this drill. It will probably feel a bit weird if you haven't been turning through impact, but that won't last long. Then you can start making your regular backswing, and letting your lead elbow move closer to your side at impact. Then you can feel as if your lead elbow is bending as you finish, just as you did in the drill.

Soon you'll not only stop slicing your irons, you'll pick up some distance as well. It'll help with your woods also. It's just good technique.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Golf Digest's Best Golf Shoes List

With the weather finally improving somewhat, many of you will be looking for new golf shoes. Today I have a link to Golf Digest's slideshow of their favorite golf shoes of 2017.

Some of the new 2017 golf shoes

Personally, I like some of the new spikeless shoes that you can wear off the course, like these Biion Patterns. They are extremely light, at 8 ounces. I think I could even get used to the psychedelic look. The $90 price tag is nice as well.

Biion Patterns

And this Ecco Cage Pro Boa has the coolest-looking lugged soles I've seen. But the $230 price tag is a bit high for my taste.

Ecco Cage Pro Boas

The Footjoy Contour Casuals are very nice as well, and at $100 are reasonable. I just wish they were as light as the Biions.

Footjoy Contour Casuals

Those are three of my faves, but there are 36 different types in the slideshow. Well worth a look if you're in the market for new shoes.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Step on the Gas to Stop a Sway

This is a simple tip that I use with my own swing. It helps stabilize your lower body without creating a lot of tension in the legs and hips.

Here's a photo of Jack Nicklaus from an old Golf Digest article about the takeaway. What I want you to notice is how his trailing foot is angled slightly away from his target. You can actually turn your foot a bit farther back than Jack; Arnie did, and he was a power hitter as well. This older post has a video of Arnie's swing; you can see this position at the :22 second mark.

Jack Nicklaus starting his backswing

You've probably seen this address position recommended if you aren't as flexible but need a bigger hip turn. But the position is useful for far more than that.

It can be very difficult to "dig in" with the inside of your trailing foot to keep your hips from sliding away from the target and causing a sway. But if you angle your trailing foot back like this, you can stabilize your lower body by merely "stepping on the gas" -- that is, pressing down with your trailing foot as if you were pressing the gas pedal in your car.

Instead of digging in with the side of your foot, this position allows you to press almost straight down with the ball of your foot. It uses your trailing calf muscles more than your hip muscles, which reduces the strain on your hip.

With this position, it's much easier for your trailing hip to move backward, away from the golf ball, instead of sliding sideways away from the target. That creates a better turn away from the ball while keeping your upper body positioned over the ball during the swing.

It's an extremely simple move, but it's also extremely effective. And as I said, it doesn't place nearly as much stress on your trailing hip as the more common "square" trailing foot setup does. I've found it much easier to do consistently. Try it -- you might like it.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Limerick Summary: 2017 WGC-Mexico

Winner: Dustin Johnson

Around the wider world of golf: Inbee Park amazed everyone with a dominating final round to win the HSBC Women's Champions on the LPGA; and Dean Burmester got his first win at the Tshwane Open on the ET.

Dustin Johnson with WGC-Mexico trophy

Well, I was almost right when I picked Jon Rahm this week. Rahm made a late run and actually had the lead after15 holes, but couldn't hold it to the end. Neither could Ross Fisher, who also made a run.

Then Tommy Fleetwood made an even later run at the lead, posting -13 (a single stroke back of the lead) and putting himself in position to win if the leader happened to stumble.

But Dustin Johnson didn't stumble. Despite a balky putter and the occasionally unpredictable shot caused by 7600 feet of altitude, DJ casually tapped in for the win on 18, becoming only the 6th player to win in his first event after becoming World #1.

There's not a whole lot to be said about DJ's ability anymore. Are we really surprised when he steps up and closes out another event? We're more likely to be stunned by his ability to deal with adversity, the way he did when his ball got caught in a type of tree that never catches balls, only to drop it after he had already played a new ball.

With his play over the last year or so, DJ is clearly rewriting the odds for the upcoming majors. It's just a question of how he'll putt in those events, isn't it? With his second win this year and his fifth in the last nine months, it'll be hard to bet against him in the next few events -- which, of course, includes the Masters. I'm guessing he'll skip this week and play Arnie's tournament next week.

But for now, I'll just give him yet another Limerick Summary and wonder what may be ahead for the World #1...
He started the week Number One
And, now that the tournament's done,
DJ's still sitting pretty
In Mexico City,
Where "the top" means you're close to the sun.
The photo came from this page at the UK Telegraph site.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

One Simple Tip to Improve Your Greens Reading

Jacob Spott is a PGA professional in Abingdon, Virginia and this post from his blog has a lot of information about reading Bermuda greens. I want to focus on this specific tip because I think it will help a lot of you.

Grain around the cup

See that jagged, chewed-up edge of the hole? That's your tip-off to the direction in which the grain is growing. Here's what he says:
Two things to remember around the hole:
  • Sharp edge of cup = high side of the hole or fast side
  • Jagged edge of cup = low side of the hole or slow side
It is important to pay attention to the grain around the hole because, let's say, you are putting from the lower left corner of the picture, your putt (even though it might look straight) will break to the right. If you are putting from the upper left corner, it should be very fast down grain with little break.
The jagged edge of the hole is jagged because the roots of the grass were growing from inside the hole and they got chopped off when the hole was cut. As you're looking at the photo, the jagged bit runs from around 1 o'clock to 4 o'clock, so the grain is headed to the right of the photo.
.
Jake's post has a lot of good info about reading graining Bermuda greens, so make sure you take a few moments to read it.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

More About Shorter Drivers (Video)

Around a week ago I did a post about Rickie Fowler going to a shorter driver. I've also found a Morning Drive video featuring Master Club Fitter Randall Doucette about what you should consider if you go to a shorter driver.



The video is self-explanatory, but here are a couple of high points.
  • Improving your ball contact with a shorter shaft can actually give you more ball speed than a longer shaft will.
  • When you first change shaft length, it may take some time to become consistent with it. That's because you may have developed compensations in your swing that affect it even after you get the shaft that's correct for you.
Doucette also says there are two important questions you should ask when you go for a driver fitting:
  • What kind of distance can you realistically expect with a properly-fitted driver?
  • Which is more important to you -- the distance or the ability to control where the shot goes?
And just to give you some perspective on the two shaft length changes that precipitated this discussion on TV:
  • Rickie changed his driver to 43.5 inches, which is the current standard for a 3-wood and was the standard for a driver back in the 1980s when steel-headed drivers became popular.
  • And Jimmie Walker changed his to 42 inches, which matches Harry Vardon's driver back in the late 1890s and early 1900s.
Even if you don't have one of the new adjustable drivers, it's easy enough to grip down an inch or two on your current driver to see how it affects your driving. It's worth testing to see if you get better results. You might even improve both distance AND accuracy!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Blasts from the Past

Thursday gave us a resurrection of sorts as two players on two opposite sides of the world managed to find their games again.

Lee Westwood

Down in Mexico, Lee Westwood posted 8 birdies and 4 bogeys as he joined the lead group. It's been a while since Lee played this well in a WGC, but he noted that the course was playing a bit more like a European Tour event and he's been focusing on the ET for a couple of years now, trying to get his game back in shape.

Looks like it's working to me. I'll be interested to see how he does today, now that he has some expectations.

And over in Singapore, Michelle Wie had the solo lead after the first round at -6. It was Michelle's first lead since her win at the US Women's Open a couple of years back, highlighted by improved putting.

As I'm writing this, Michelle is no longer in the lead -- she's T3 (-8) after 11 holes, having picked up a couple more shots in the second round. But for someone who has struggled with injury and putting woes for a couple of years, this must seem like miraculously good play to her.

In a year where the youngsters are monopolizing the scoreboards, it's kind of neat to see these two players back at the top of their respective leaderboards. Hopefully their good play will continue and they'll find their way back in the winner's circle... maybe even at a major. Their timing is certainly right for it.

And fortunately, both events are being broadcast so we can see their reemergence right before our eyes.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Primer on the New Proposed Rules of Golf (Video and Links)

The full extent of the changes that are being proposed to the Rules of Golf caught everybody a bit offguard, I suppose. Rather than try to sum them up -- after all, the restructuring changed things from 34 to only 24 Rules, and Thomas Pagel says it may actually be more dramatic than the numbers say -- I've just decided to give you some online references you can check to get a handle on what we may see going forward.

First, here's a video from Morning Drive, featuring Mike Davis and Thomas Pagel, with some of the discussion:



That page also has links to some other videos, plus the link to this page, which seems to be the clearest explanation of the proposed changes that I've found. The changes are presented in a table that's very easy to read. IF YOU'RE JUST GETTING YOUR FEET WET, THIS IS WHERE I WOULD START.

Here's a brief article from PGATOUR.com that contains some of the immediate responses from Rory McIlroy, as well as the Tour's stance on the changes.

This USA Today post by Christine Brennan is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I can't say that I disagree with her. Her point is that golf has other problems that are more pressing in terms of increasing its popularity, although it's clear that she's in favor of the proposed changes.

Golf Digest has put together this 31-slide presentation of the proposed changes.

Likewise, Golf.com has posted this article with their take on the project. This article is one of the longer ones I found on the topic.

Here is the USGA's official hub page on the whole modernization project. And here's the R&A's page, in case you're "across the pond" and would prefer their site.

One last link: Jeremy Schilling sent me the official iTunes link to his podcast interview with Thomas Pagel from a few weeks back. You can also pull up the original link at Jeremy's blog, which is listed in my bloglist over in the sidebar.

That should be enough to satisfy all your desires to discover the ins and outs of the projected changes. Remember, we've got roughly six months to give the USGA and R&A our feedback.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

More LPGA Action Tonight

After a few weeks of "middle of the night" golf for us here in the US, the LPGA will finally be on in prime time again as the HSBC Women's Champions airs from Singapore.

Defending champion HaNa Jang

HaNa Jang will be defending her title at a new course -- the Tanjong Course at the Sentosa Golf Club, rather than last year's Serapong Course. You may remember this event primarily for HaNa's "cover" of Beyonce's All the Single Ladies dance on the 18th green.

In a way, the HSBC is a WGC for the women -- an invitation-only, no-cut event with just 63 players. The Top20 from the Rolex Rankings are in the field, so it's definitely top-heavy.

And yes, Inbee Park is teeing it up again this week. Apparently her hand held up fine during last week's tournament, which is good news for all us fans.

As usual, you can get a complete preview of the event over at Tony Jesselli's blog.

The live broadcast begins on GC at 10:30pm ET tonight. Looks to be about four hours of coverage if you're awake that long. The West Coast of the US will have prime time golf the whole time! But even for us East Coasters, it's a lot more than we've had lately. Yay!