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Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Second Web.com Tour Sunday Start

Last week it was the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic. This week it's the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic.

Zecheng Dou

China's Zecheng Dou won the Great Exuma last week and will be looking to make it two in a row at the Abaco Club on Great Abaco Island. And the PGA Tour seems to think he might -- at least, they've got him first on their Power Rankings this week. Wally Wilcox and Ben Kohles, who finished T4 and T2 respectively last week, are ranked two and three on that list.

Of course, the reason I'm telling you all of this is because the Web.com Tour is making its second Sunday start of the season. With all the excitement of the LPGA and PGA Tour events finishing up today, it can be easy to forget that the Web.com Tour coverage begins today at noon ET.

Consider yourselves reminded. ;-)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Phil's Chipping 101 (Video)

With Phil posting a 60 on Thursday and leading the Desert Classic after Friday's round, it seems like a good time to post his micro-lesson on how to play chip shots.



Please note that Phil plays ALL his chips with a 60° lob wedge. This isn't what most instructors recommend but -- as with all things in golf and most things in life -- there isn't just one way to be successful.

Phil has three basics, as outlined in the video:
  1. Keep your weight on your forward foot
  2. Keep your hands forward
  3. Decide whether to hit the ball high or low
    • Ball in front of back foot to go low
    • Ball in front of forward foot to go high
In addition, he says you can alter the height of the shot by opening or closing the clubface, but he doesn't demonstrate that here. That's probably just as well, since you need to get good at these basics before you start getting cute with the face position. Phil's basic face position is open; I'd call it roughly 45°.

Phil does NOT mention that his stance is slightly open. That causes you to swing a bit out-to-in, which is why you open the clubface. (If you use a square clubface with this technique, you'll pull all your chips.) Just watch the video and you'll see it. That's important to this way of chipping.

He uses the front edge of the wedge more than the bounce, although I should point out that it's much easier to use the bounce on a 60° lob wedge with this technique than when you're using a wedge with less loft (like a 56° sand wedge). With Phil's technique and a lob wedge -- with the face open about 45° -- you're using the front edge for the low shot and the bounce on the high shot.

Should you use this technique instead of a multi-wedge technique? It's all a matter of what you feel comfortable with. Phil has been more successful than many players with his short game simply because he uses the method that he feels most comfortable with. That's a choice you can learn from... and Phil's method is about as simple to remember as any.

You will need some practice to use it well, of course. But isn't that the case with everything in golf?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Tom Stickney on "Fake" Shoulder Turns (Video)

This post could help you in some unexpected ways. Instructor Tom Stickney did this short video to illustrate the difference between a real shoulder coil and the partial shoulder turn that less-flexible players make.



I've written a number of posts about shoulder coil, and the cool thing about this video is how well it illustrates the difference between a good shoulder turn and a bad one.

In a bad shoulder turn you try to create a fuller turn by bending your elbows, which actually decreases the length of your backswing.

But a good shoulder turn allows your elbows to stay much straighter, which widens your arc.

Here's the important thing to remember: Even if you don't get a 90° shoulder turn, it's important to get that width with your arms. That's why many Tour pros can hit the ball so far with a shorter backswing -- less shoulder turn with more arm extension creates a bigger arc than a fake shoulder turn with bent elbows.

The reason I'm posting this video is so you can discover whether you're making this mistake or not. All you need to do is get in front of a mirror and look at your top of backswing position, then compare it to what you see in this video. This is a really easy way to find out what a good shoulder turn FOR YOU feels like. Once you see what a wide arc looks like, you can practice duplicating the feel and then take it to the course.

It might even help you get some more distance AND become more accurate. It works for Jon Rahm. Give it a try!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

And Now the Women Get into the Act

The LPGA tees it up today with a new event, the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Brooke Henderson, Diamond Resorts Invitational CEO Michael Flaskey and basketball legend Ray Allen

This new event is something the LPGA hasn't had in a long time -- their own equivalent of the Sentry Tournament of Champions. It will feature 26 winners from the last two years, playing alongside 49 celebrities from business, entertainment and sport.

The scoring will be different for the two groups. The LPGA pros will compete in their normal stroke play format while the celebs will play Stableford scoring. And while the LPGA plays for a $1.2mil purse, the celebs will have a $500,000 purse of their own.

And bragging rights, of course. That carries a lot of weight with the celebs. You need only watch the Pebble Beach AT&T Pro-Am to know that.

While there are fewer pros at this event than the men had at the Sentry, this should still be a good event. Bear in mind that players like Gerina Piller and Stacy Lewis are making their first appearances since becoming mothers, while several first-time winners will get a jump on the rest of the Tour with an extra week to get in competitive shape.

Get ready to veg out on the couch, as there is a lot of golf to watch today.
  • The Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions gets underway on GC at noon ET today.
  • The PGA Tour's Desert Classic follows immediately after at 3pm ET.
  • The Champions Tour tees off at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship (in Hawaii) at 7pm ET.
  • The second round of the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open airs at 10pm ET.
  • And if you're in the mood to stay up all night, you can catch the third round of the ET's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at 3am ET.
I predict a lot of coffee in some of your futures!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

From the Deep Blue Sea to the Desert

Today we cruise into the California desert for the Desert Classic, the event formerly known as the Bob Hope.

Defending champion Jon Rahm

In case you've forgotten, the Desert Classic makes use of three separate courses at PGA West -- the TPC Stadium Course, the Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club -- which makes it easier for the 156 pros to get around despite the shorter daylight hours this time of year.

The TPC Stadium Course, once nicknamed "Frankenstein" because of how tough it played, is also the site for the final round. Fans of the old Skins Game, which was played every Thanksgiving, may remember the course as the home of that event during the late 1980s. It's got some really DEEP bunkers.

Although I didn't originally plan to pick a winner every week, I think I may keep it up this year and see how I do. In the last two events I've picked a winner and another player I think will do well; so far I've got one winner (Xander Schauffele) and a T10 (Bryson DeChambeau) with my winners, and my other two picks have finished T4 (Rory McIlroy) and T10 (Charles Howell III). Let's see how I can do this week.

The Desert Classic strikes me as the first real "wild card" of the season since the variety of courses, combined with the "run and gun" aspect of the event (you generally need to go very low to win), tends to favor the player who throws caution to the win and just tries to post the most birdies. It's been a dozen years since the winning score was less that -20 (-17, Charley Hoffman in 2007) -- and that was when the event was a five-rounder. Hence any attempt to predict form is probably doomed to fail.

Nevertheless, I will. My picks are pretty simple.
  • Jon Rahm is the defending champion. He posted -22 and won in a playoff against Andrew Landry. Rahm seems to be in good form again, coming off a win at the Hero Challenge and a T8 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. I see no reason he shouldn't play well again. HOWEVER, he isn't my pick to win.
  • Given the wide open nature of this event, I'm going with Justin Rose to win. Rose had a 3rd at the last WGC in October, a win at the Turkish Airlines Open in November and a 3rd at the Hero. While he's coming off an extended holiday, that hasn't hurt him in past years; he routinely has Top5 finishes in his January appearances. Likewise, I don't expect his recent equipment changes to have much of an effect either.
So there you have it. I pick Rose to win and Rahm to make a good showing.

And don't forget that the Web.com Tour's Bahamas Great Exuma Classic finishes up today at 1pm ET on GC.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Worldwide Tours Are Back in Action!

Today, let's look at the European Tour. The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship kicks off the 2019 part of their wraparound season this week.

Two-time defending champ Tommy Fleetwood

Notably absent from this playing of the event is Rory McIlroy, who had already said that he was going to focus on the PGA Tour this year. But -- with all apologies to Rory -- he wouldn't have been the big story anyway.

No, the big gun this week is Tommy Fleetwood, who is going for a threepeat in this event. Only Martin Kaymer has won this event three times, but they weren't back-to-back-to-back (2008, 2010 and 2011). Fleetwood can make history this week and you can be sure it's on his mind. I'm excited to see how he handles the pressure.

Of course, this is the first appearance in several weeks for a number of big names -- Oosthuizen, Stenson, Poulter, Westwood, Aphibarnrat and Molinari, to name a few. In addition, Dustin Johnson and current world #2 Brooks Koepka have made the trip over

GC's schedule lists the first round of this event to begin TONIGHT -- yes, Tuesday night -- at 10:30pm ET. This is a Wednesday-Saturday event, so the time difference means we get to watch tonight. So don't forget!

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 Sony Open

Winner: Matt Kuchar

Around the wider world of golf: Charley Hull won the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open, the first LET event of the season.

Matt Kuchar with Sony trophy

An ice storm took out our power and TV for nearly 18 hours on Sunday, so I only got to see Kuchar's final couple of holes at the Sony. But ultimately I guess it was his final holes that told the whole story.

Matt started the week with back-to-back 63s and finished with back-to-back 66s. He had the lead going into the final round. But three bogeys in his first five holes -- three times more bogeys than he had made in the first three rounds -- might have spelled the end of his bid before it even began.

But it didn't. Shooting five-under on the back nine put the tournament out of reach to the other players, and Matt picked up his second win in three starts.

It seems the ocean breeze brings out the shark in our quiet little Kuchar. Who knew?

Now the question becomes whether a 40-year-old Matt Kuchar is ready to chew up the competition in some big events this year. I don't know yet, although this is certainly a great start to a season where the big events come hard and fast. But one thing I do know -- two Limerick Summaries in three starts bodes very well for his limerick collection.
So Kuchar’s on top once again.
When he plays near an ocean, he grins
As he sprints to the front
Of the field. Let’s be blunt:
All he lacks is a big dorsal fin!
The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Yes, the Web.com Tour Starts TODAY (Video)

As it did last year, the Web.com Tour is going to start the year with a Sunday-Wednesday event, the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay. Here's the little preview video done for the new season:



The big news, of course, is the new Web.com Tour Points System. As you have no doubt guessed, the new system mimics -- at least in most ways -- the FedExCup and Schwab Cup systems. Players will accumulate points all year, which will ultimately determine who gets the Tour cards awarded at the end of the season and after the Playoffs.

The basics of the new system are simple:
  • Official Web.com Tour events each award 500 points to first place.
  • The final Regular Season event will award 600 points to first place.
  • All Web.com Tour points will be calculated out to three decimals.
You can get a detailed overview of the system at this link. This article gives you the points breakdown for every position, both during the regular season and the Playoffs.

Here also is a link to a Power Rankings article for the Bahamas event, in case you're playing fantasy golf.

Although the PGA Tour is finishing the Sony Open today, the Web.com Tour event won't compete with it since there's a five-hour time difference between the Bahamas and Hawaii. You can watch the FIRST round of the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic on GC at 2-5pm ET today.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Importance of Shafts (Video)

In case you missed it, GOLFTEC's Brad Skupaka did this little video for Morning Drive that shows how important your shaft is. Just by changing the shaft and nothing else...



That's just under 50 more yards off the tee by changing the shaft in your driver. Only the shaft -- not the head of the driver, and not your swing technique.

And while Skupaka is going to a stiffer shaft, it also works the other way. If your shaft is too stiff, going to a softer shaft can increase your distance without any other changes.

It's worth considering. Just thought you'd want to know.

Friday, January 11, 2019

How Many Wedges Do You Need?

I admit that I love to find advice that goes against the grain. While there are good reasons that some advice becomes THE advice you should follow, there are times when the correct advice for a player isn't what you typically hear. You need to know all your options so you can choose what is best for YOU.

The four most common wedges

As I was digging through some old golf magazines, I found an article in the April 2013 issue of Golf Digest by instructor Randy Smith. It looked at some of the most common advice given to weekend golfers that was based on what the pros do, weighing just how much it really helped you if you weren't a pro.

One of those pieces of advice was "you need to carry three wedges to have a good short game."

Smith said NO. Here's why:

From 100 yards and in, you can hit pretty much any shot you need with only a pitching wedge and a 56° sand wedge. Smith recommended replacing your third wedge -- gap or lob wedge, whichever you carry -- with another hybrid that fits between your mid-irons and fairway woods. (Personally, I've found that a 13 wood, sometimes called a trouble wood, is a very useful club from the rough. The head shape slips through the grass more easily.) That gives you another long-range weapon that can help you eliminate some shots from your score.

The logic of this makes sense if you just think about it. Many (if not most) weekend players don't hit the ball a long way, so they need more clubs that travel a greater distance. Getting within 100 yards of the green is a bigger challenge for them than hitting the green from within 100 yards. They would cut more shots from their score by getting closer to the green from 150-180 yards because they have more of those shots to begin with.

And while most pros use three wedges, there are a number who use one wedge for almost all their short game shots -- Phil Mickelson is one who immediately comes to mind. And using two wedges -- one for short-sided shots where you need to hit the ball high and stop it quick, with a second wedge for the normal approach shots where you can use a little run -- can be a very simple thing to learn.

Let's be honest here. Most of us don't practice enough to hit shots as accurately as the pros do. Just being able to put the ball in the middle of the green would improve most of our scores!

So that's an equipment issue that you should consider as you prepare for the 2019 golf season. Set up your clubs to help improve your game, not to copy the pros.

The photo came from this page at golfalot.com.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

What? No Ryder Cup Talk?

Not yet. Padraig Harrington is going to be a great captain, but I'm waiting until the US captain -- who will most likely be Steve Stricker -- gets picked. That's when it'll be a more interesting discussion.

European captain Padraig Harrington with Ryder Cup

Plus we might get some vice-captain picks to discuss as well.

For now, I'll just give you a link to a very entertaining BBC interview with Harrington and remind you that the Sony Open airs in prime time tonight at 7pm ET.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Dean Halford on Chipping with a 3-Wood (Video)

In this video PGA pro Dean Halford demonstrates how to play a chip shot with a 3-wood.



I think the key thing Halford says here is that you don't need to "hit" the ball. Combined with the longer shaft, that means you make a shorter smoother swing. Getting past that "hit impulse" is part of the reason you need to practice this before you try it on the course.

You might wonder, with all the instruction on chipping with hybrids and such, if using your 3-wood is really such a useful shot. After all, since the 3-wood's shaft is nearly the longest in your bag, it's going take a bit more practice than the other clubs. And this video was made back in 2014 -- a large number of new clubs have come on the market since then.

I say you should just ask Tommy Fleetwood. This next video was shot at the 2018 Honda Classic.



I think the reason that a 3-wood is a useful chipping club is twofold -- first, the head is so large that it makes good contact much easier; and second, the extra shaft length means you don't have to make a long or powerful stroke, which also improves your ability to make good contact.

That's something to consider when you're looking to improve your short game.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Still in Hawaii

The first full field PGA Tour event of 2019 is the Sony Open, held this week at the Waialae Country Club on the island of Oahu.

Defending champ Patton Kizzire

Waialae isn't particularly long, a mere par-70 measuring 7044 yards. But it's known for its winds and for often becoming a putting contest. For example, Patton Kizzire won last year with a birdie barrage in his playoff with James Hahn, and who could forget Justin Thomas posting a 59 the year before? And since this is the only home the Sony Open has ever had, we can be pretty sure that past performances are something of a guideline in choosing favorites.

So, emboldened by good fortune (and no small amount of foolhardy confidence) when I picked Xander Schauffele to win last week, I'm going to tempt fate and try again this week. For those of you who are looking for help, perhaps for a fantasy team, the Tour posted their own power rankings at this link. As with last week, although I'll pick a winner, I'll also pick a second player who I think should finish well and could even win.

My pick to win is pretty simple. Since the Sony Open winner usually putts extremely well and the best putter in Hawaii last week was Bryson DeChambeau, I like his chances to put up a good showing this week. Despite all the wind at Kapalua, Bryson shot par or better every round; if he can keep up the good work on the greens, I like his chances.

And I'm going to pick Charles Howell III to put up another strong tournament. Why do I say another? Because he has two seconds, two thirds and two fourths in 17 trips. When you add in the confidence he must have after his win at the RSM Classic late in 2018 and his T14 at Kapalua last week -- that's not a course I would expect him to play well at -- I think this is an opportunity for him. He just needs a good putting week to match up with his ballstriking.

Because of the time difference, we've got prime time golf again this week. GC's live coverage is listed to start at 7pm ET on Thursday night, and I suspect the Pre-Game Show will start perhaps an hour earlier. With Spieth back in action, as well as Vijay Singh, this could be a very entertaining tournament.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions

Winner: Xander Schauffele

Around the wider world of golf: Unless there was a tournament in Asia I don't know about, the PGA Tour was the only game in town.

Xander Schauffele with Sentry ToC trophy

This is a somewhat disturbing beginning to 2019. Those of you who follow my blog know my record at picking winners is none too good. (I have, at times, even apologized to players in my blog for picking them to win and therefore jinxing them.)

However, last week I picked Xander Schauffele to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions... and he did. That means I'm one-for-one in my picks so far this year.

A disturbing thought indeed.

Not so disturbing for Xander, of course. He reminded me less of a young golfer and more of an experienced hunting dog who, having caught a whiff of his prey, tracks the helpless creature all the way to its lair where it drops at his feet, exhausted. All he did was come from five shots back -- the largest deficit ever for a winner at Kapalua -- and tie the course record of -11 to beat Gary Woodland by one.

Of course, he did it with a birdie on the final hole. It was that kind of day for Xander.

I'm not going to give Gary the hard time he received from most of the analysts. I thought he did enough to win -- let's not ignore the fact that Xander set a record for largest come-from-behind win at this event. Xander simply did something unbelievably clutch that no one expected.

No one but me, of course. Very disturbing indeed!

Still, it's a wonderful start to Xander's 2019. He not only adds to his win total, but also to that highly desirable total of Limerick Summaries won during a career. I wonder when the Tour will add a stat for that?
For Xander, this round was a dream.
He came out of nowhere, it seemed,
To take Woodland down.
Xander ran him to ground
And then finished him off at eighteen.
The photo came from this page at golfweek.com.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Rory's Driver Change

Rory McIlroy has been tinkering with his driver for a few months now. He tried different shafts in his TaylorMade M3 460 driver back in November, as detailed in this golf.com article. But now he's changed to an entirely new driver... and apparently it's working.

TaylorMade M5 driver

This article at nationalclubgolfer.com from earlier this month talks about some of the changes made by various players, and Rory's new TaylorMade M5 driver (with a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White shaft, if you're interested) gets considerable coverage. And on Saturday Rex Hoggard posted some details about how Rory's using it at the Sentry this week.

Rory apparently refers to it as his "low driver" and has adjusted the sliding weights to help him eliminate a right miss that plagued him most of 2018. The new setup allows him to hit a low fade that he feels confident he can put in the fairway when necessary. After three rounds, Rex reports:
McIlroy said the low fade off the tee still travels more than 300 yards, and he’s put on an impressive show this week in Maui where he’s No. 1 in the field in strokes gained: off-the-tee and fifth in driving distance.
“One of my goals for the year is driving accuracy. I want my driving accuracy to get up into the 60 percent number. It hasn't been there in a couple years,” said McIlroy, who has hit 30 of 45 fairways this week.
If Rory can just get that putter of his working -- and pgatour.com says he has also added "a new TaylorMade Spider copper-colored prototype putter" to his bag -- then we could be seeing a resurgence of the "old" Rory this year.

He's certainly on the right path. He's only three shots back of leader Gary Woodland and, as we've all seen in years past, anything can happen in the final round at windy Kapalua.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Derek Hooper on "Effortless Power" (Video)

I really don't care for the phrase "effortless power." I prefer "relaxed speed," which is a better description of what you're creating. At any rate, in this video Derek Hooper demonstrates a drill to help you create more clubhead speed with less grunting.



This drill, in many ways, duplicates the kind of movements I've covered in my original L-to-L drill post and also the towel-snapping drill post. The idea is to develop speed the way an Olympic athlete does -- by keeping your muscles as relaxed as is practical and letting the natural physics of a swinging club create clubhead speed.

One thing I would urge caution about -- I've said this before, in other posts -- is overdoing the lower leg action. When Hooper demonstrates this drill in slow motion, he naturally overemphasizes the action of his lower body. Your lower body automatically starts moving in the downswing before your upper body does; that's just the natural way physics work in a golf swing.

If you stay relaxed, your lower body will naturally move first, and the amount it moves will be dictated by the speed of your swing. If you tighten up, especially through your trunk, then that natural motion will be hindered.

In other words, the less you think about moving your lower body first, the more likely you are to do it... and do so properly.

Hooper's video shows a good way to get used to the motion (without a ball) and then get used to hitting a ball with that same motion. Trying to control the direction of the ball before you get comfortable with the feel of a strike can cause you to tighten up, which will affect your leg and hip action. After you get the feel of hitting a ball this way without worrying about your aim, you should find it pretty easy to start hitting it where you want it to go. The key is to keep that relaxation as you swing.

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Great Flagstick Experiment Starts Well

Bryson said he was going to do it... and it appeared to work. Granted, it's only one day and it was very windy, but his stats are certainly going to draw some attention.

Bryson DeChambeau putting with flagstick in

I'm linking you to Golfweek's article about Bryson's first round because they give a tremendous amount of detail about the round, the kind of details you need if you're going to make sense of his experiment.

I know more than a few of you will be interested.

To sum it up, he left the flagstick in about half the time while topping the field at 3.868 Strokes Gained: Putting on Thursday. Let's put this in perspective. In this new wraparound season, Bryson has had exactly four rounds in which his putting had been measured... and his average SG: Putting figure was .087 strokes. That put him 92nd on Tour.

But think about it this way: In one round his SG: Putting total was 44 times better than his average after only four rounds. FORTY-FOUR TIMES! Yes, this is going to get some serious attention from players looking to improve their putting.

Again, this is only one round. We shouldn't draw sweeping conclusions from the results. But if Bryson continues to leave the stick in and his putting holds up -- bear in mind that almost any consistent improvement is better than .087 SG: Putting -- this rule change could become a bigger deal than anyone expected.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Rory Starts His US-Centric Year

When Rory announced his intention to play less on the European Tour this year, to say it caused a bit of a stir overseas would be an understatement. I'm linking to Rex Hoggard's article about Rory's decision because it goes into some detail about why it's happening.

Rory in media tent

Personally, I think Rory's logic is quite sound. He's trying to play deeper fields with more world ranking points and, as Hoggard records:
“Taking up residence in the U.S. last year, being a permanent resident, I made the decision that this is where my life is going to be, this is where I'm going to live,” McIlroy said on Wednesday at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. “My focus has always been the biggest events in the world since I got into that top 50, but even more so now just because of wanting to travel less and wanting to spend more time at home when I can be at home.”
You can't be much more blunt than that, and I think it's good -- if not popular -- reasoning. No matter how fancy your travel accommodations, large time zone changes take their toll. And let's be honest about it, Rory is much more comfortable on PGA Tour setups where the conditions are pretty much the same from week to week. I think the variety of European Tour events can result in players having more skills, but most of the big events on both tours are closer to PGA Tour course setups.

Playing primarily on the PGA Tour should make him better equipped for the big events, both in terms of course familiarity and less physical stress. We'll get a chance to see if he can truly reap those benefits as the year goes on.

Hoggard's article is really good, so I'd recommend you pop over and read it. I'm going on record that I think he's going to have a nice comeback this year since he's got his personal life and his health settled, and this week should be a good start for him.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

At Last! LIVE GOLF!

The new year finally gets started in Hawaii with the Sentry Tournament of Champions. While Tiger isn't expected to play, we still get most of the winners from 2018, including first-timer Rory McIlroy.

Brooks Koepka

If you've read any of the "expert picks," you've probably seen that Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas are the favorites, with Jon Rahm and Marc Leishman also being mentioned. That's understandable, as all of these players have been in pretty good form lately.

But I think it's a bit odd that other past winners like Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson are getting no love at all. And what about the hot players like Bryson DeChambeau or Satoshi Kodaira (who has won three times in the last year, once on the PGA Tour and twice on the Japan Tour)? It's hard to go wrong picking almost any player who's made it to Hawaii, as the course isn't that penalizing to poor driving -- which, after the holiday break, just might be a common sight.

Still, I'd just like to mention a couple of players who I think are being overlooked.

Xander Schauffele certainly has as much power as anybody in the field, as well as some experience winning on big courses. With three wins since July, I think he deserves more attention than he's getting. He's my favorite of my two picks.

And it's a mistake to think Rory McIlroy won't have a good showing there. While he's never played this event before, this is a course that sets up very well for him -- especially so if his driver is working well. And let's not forget that he likely feels the need to prove something after a couple of lackluster seasons. (Personally, given his marriage and the injuries he's had during that time period, I'm not surprised his game has been off a bit.) I won't be surprised at all if he ends up holding the trophy.

I like both of these players this week. And with prime time coverage starting Thursday night at 6pm ET, I like this event as a nice way for us fans to ease back into the TV habit.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

I won't have this chance for another century! Rather than post a picture that says "Happy 2019" I decided to post the video of Steely Dan's hit Hey Nineteen, which seems rather appropriate to me.



I hope you all have a great first day of 2019, and tomorrow we'll get back to the business of covering golf!