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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Helen Alfredsson Wins the Senior LPGA Championship By Three

Juli Inkster may have started the day three strokes ahead of her, but Helen Alfredsson had the last laugh. When she could stop shivering, that is.

Senior LPGA Championship winner Helen Alfredsson

The weather at the Pete Dye Course at French Lick was cold and windy; at times it was a three-club wind. How tough was it? Juli had a two-shot lead over everybody to start the day, she shot a five-over 76 and still had a solo second finish.

That also tells you how well Helen played. There were only two rounds under par on Wednesday, and her two-under 70 was one of them. (Michelle McGann shot a 69.)

In the process, Helen joined Laura Davies as a Senior Slam winner by sweeping the US Senior Women’s Open and the Senior LPGA Championship in the same season.

You can read some detailed summaries of the event in this Golfweek article and this LPGA.com article. In addition, here's an LPGA.com video interview between Ron Sirak and Helen. As for my little post here, I'm just going to congratulate Helen on a hard-won victory and a great Legends Tour season!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Jin Young Ko's March Toward History

Today is a link to Kent Paisley's lpga.com article about Ko's amazing season... and what may be on the horizon.

Jin Young Ko

To put it simply, Jin Young Ko is on the verge of taking two records away from Annika -- records that defy comprehension.

Number One, she is currently ahead of Annika's record for all-time lowest actual scoring average. Annika averaged 68.697 in 2002, a year where she won eleven times. Note that this record, for which LPGA players receive the Vare Trophy, is NOT the lowest adjusted scoring average but rather the actual scoring average -- number of actual strokes struck divided by number of rounds played. (For comparison, Tiger holds the PGA Tour's actual low stroke average of 68.17, set in 2000.)

Currently, Jin Young's scoring average is 68.851. She would join Annika as only the second LPGA player with a sub-69 average. And (if I understand correctly) she plans to play four of the remaining five events on the schedule, giving her 16 more rounds on the season; Paisley says she needs only to average 68 for those rounds to beat Annika's record.

The second record? Highest percentage of greens in regulation for a season. Currently, Jin Young's GIR sits at 79.9%, 0.2% better than Annika's record and a whopping 4.7% better than Tiger's 75.2% set back in 2000.

That's right. If Jin Young can hold on, she'll have the lowest-ever GIR record of ANYBODY, male or female, in golf history.

It's worth noting that Jin Young has four LPGA wins this year, two of which are majors, as well as a KLPGA win that doesn't count toward these records. And it's also worth noting that she has already locked up the 2019 Annika Award (best majors performance) as well as another all-time record for the longest bogey-free streak on either the the LPGA or PGA Tour at 114 holes.

This could be another amazing year on the LPGA, folks. And this is only Jin Young's sophomore year...

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Twofer Tuesday: The CJ Cup

Today Twofer Tuesday sprints across the pond -- WAAAAY across the pond -- to South Korea for the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges.

Defending champion Brooks Koepka

Nine Bridges is a par-72 course playing close to 7250 yards, which doesn't sound all that long but it plays tough when the winds blow. The CJ Cup sports a limited field of 78 players and is the first of three such events in Asia (South Korea, Japan and China). The field is a blend of PGA Tour, KPGA Tour and Asian Tour players.

Brooks Koepka is the defending champion and he's in the field this week, as is the 2017 champion Justin Thomas.

My Twofer Tuesday picks have been hit-and-miss so far in this wraparound season, and I'm looking to improve my luck this week. Unfortunately, the players haven't shared my enthusiasm lately, so I'm just taking my chances and hoping the guys show up.
  • My Top10er is Viktor Hovland. The rookie is still looking for his first win and, although I don't expect him to get it this week, I do expect him to continue his string of good play. He doesn't seem to care how tough the field is or that he hasn't played the courses before. I like that about Hovland and I feel good about his chances this week.
  • And my winner is Justin Thomas. As I said earlier, he has won this event before. Likewise, his recent play has been extremely strong since he came back from his injuries earlier this year. I think he may be ready to win again.
My only regret this week is that Bernd Wiesberger isn't in the field. (Apparently he's taking the week off to celebrate.) I realize that winning back-to-back is tough, but he's been playing at an extremely high level these past few months and I think a limited field might have played into his hands.

Because of the time difference between the US and South Korea, GC's live coverage begins tonight (Wednesday) at 10pm ET. So it's almost prime time golf again this week. At least I'll get to watch most of it before going to bed!

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 Houston Open

Winner: Lanto Griffin

Around the wider world of golf: Bernd Wiesberger got his third ET win in only five months at the 76° Open d'Italia; likewise, Jerry Kelly won the SAS Championship for his third win this season on the Champions Tour; Justin Shin won the Macau Championship on the PGA TOUR China; and Shugo Imahira won the Bridgestone Open Golf Tournament on the Japan Golf Tour.

Lanto Griffin with Houston Open trophy

Once again it's the status quo for my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Scottie Scheffler (T28) to win and Henrik Stenson (MC) to Top10. Granted, it might have helped if I had known about Henrik's 3-wood before I made my picks!
  • Winners: 2 for 41
  • Place well (Top10): 18 for 41 (10 Top5s, 8 more Top10s)
  • Overall Top10s: 33 of 82 (18 Top5s, 15 more Top10s)
As it turned out, it was a good week for those without any PGA Tour wins on their resumes (or CVs for you readers outside the US). It all came down to Mark Hubbard, Scott Harrington and Lanto Griffin. Griffin had the 54-hole lead, Hubbard was in second and Harrington was three shots off the lead.

They stepped onto the 16th tee all tied, with the 18th -- which was playing harder than the hardest hole on Tour last season -- still ahead. Griffin went one-under on those final three holes to win by one. He said he felt absolutely calm as he stood over the 6-foot par putt on 18 that locked up the win.

The emotions that poured out after it dropped surprised even him, I think. The realization that he had finally achieved his childhood dreams of playing in a final group, getting a win and getting the chance to play in two majors all at once was overwhelming. His phone rapidly filled with congratulation texts and he said he couldn't wait to celebrate with his friends and family.

He'll have nearly three years of Tour eligibility to do so. So I thought I'd kick it all off with a slightly different Limerick Summary than usual -- one that comes from his own words, albeit rearranged to fit the form. Enjoy the win, Lanto. You earned it!
“A dream,” Griffin said at the end.
“All I wanted since childhood, and then
I achieved it today.
It seemed so far away;
Now I can’t wait to share it with friends.”
The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Wie Update

Today I'm posting a link to Randall Mell's extensive article on Michelle Wie as she turns 30.

Michelle Wie

I'll just say that the article goes into considerable detail on where Michelle has been, where she is right now and what she has planned going forward. It's the most thorough piece I've seen on her for a long time, and all you Wie fans will want to read it.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Ian Poulter's Hybrid Basics (Video)

This is a really short video, but it may help explain some of the apparent contradictions you think you see in some players' setups.



Ian talks about placing the ball forward in his stance, just inside his lead heel, because he wants to hit the ball high and stop it quick. (He's using a 3-hybrid in this video.) He says you want to sweep the ball from the turf, not hit down on it. But if you pay attention, you'll also notice that the shaft of his hybrid is leaning BACKWARD at address.

How can this possibly work? From this position, how can you avoid hitting the ball fat?

At regular speed there's no way to see clearly how he does it, but the slower down-the-line view holds the key. If you watch that slower view, you'll clearly see how Ian's weight is moving to his lead foot as his legs move and his hips turn through impact. In other words, his body moves forward just enough that the club shaft is vertical or even leaning ever so slightly forward at impact.

That's not something he has to think about, folks. It just happens because his weight naturally shifts forward to his lead foot during his downswing. If you stand up right now and turn your upper body back and through, as if you were making a swing -- but without swinging a club, just turning 'away from the target' and then turning 'back toward the target' -- it will happen to you too. It's just plain physics.

So I include this video today just to make sure you understand that. You don't have to try to do it; it will happen naturally if you don't interfere.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Tom Stickney on Hitting Fairway Woods

Golf Tips Magazine posted an article by Tom Stickney on several shots you never practice but should, and they devoted a single page to each. Today I want to focus on his advice for hitting fairway woods, simply because Stickney's instruction is so clear and the drill so easy.

Fairway wood and ball

First, Stickney says that most players don't play fairway woods well and should consider playing nothing longer than a 5-wood. That may sound condescending but there's actually some good logic behind this. The 5-wood has more loft and a shorter shaft than a 3-wood -- two characteristics that make it much easier to hit. It's the same reason that a wedge is easier to hit than a 5-iron.

He says the most important part of hitting a fairway wood is understanding how the lie affects the shot. You need to choose the club AFTER you study the lie because the worse your lie is, the more loft you'll need. (Not to harp on it, but you'll hit a good 5- or 7-wood more often than a good 3-wood for that very reason. By eliminating the 3-wood off the fairway, you're less likely to mismatch the lie.)

Finally he stresses the need for a smooth change of direction at the top of your backswing. Too many players jerk the club from the top because they want to hit the ball hard. When you jerk the club from the top, you change your swing plane, change your swing path and just generally make it harder to return the club to squarely contact the ball.

And that's where the drill comes in. Swing your fairway wood like you swing your wedge. Practice that smooth change of direction by making full swings at half speed, then slowly speed up your downswing until you can make that change of direction smoothly while swinging fast.

Why was I so happy to see this? Because there is nothing in these instructions that an average player can't do! There's no rerouting the club or changing your motion, just paying attention to your lie and swinging within yourself.

And once you get good with your 5-wood, that 3-wood won't be so difficult after all.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Nick Clearwater on How DJ Avoids Back Problems (Video)

This GOLFTEC video has a neat drill to help minimize back strain.



If you read my blog regularly, you know I'm a big believer in hip turn during the backswing. When you try to keep your hips from turning to create more separation between hips and shoulders, you run the risk of really hurting yourself.

Clearwater's drill -- starting your backswing with your trail knee straight and hips pre-turned from the very beginning -- teaches you to move into a position that Arnold Palmer himself used. Arnie would let his trailing knee straighten and his hips turn as he started his backswing. Clearwater is just having you start in that position, to get you used to how it feels.

I don't really need to say a lot about this drill. If you try it, it may feel a bit odd at first but you'll immediately feel less stress in your back. That will tell you all you need to know.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Poulter Goes for Three

I mentioned yesterday that Ian Poulter had passed on a chance to defend his title at the Houston Open. Now we know why.

Ian Poulter in 2002

Ian Poulter won the Italian Open twice in three years, back in 2000 and 2002. The second win came at Olgiata Golf Club in Rome. This year the Italian Open returns to that site.

In addition, the Italian Open is a Rolex Series event. Poults sits at #15 in the Race to Dubai, which Rolex sponsors.

Furthermore, there are a lot of Ryder Cup points available this week. Poults is currently 92nd in the Euro points list and I couldn't find him on the World points list, which goes down to 110. Clearly getting some points at the Italian Open would move him up the chart quickest.

Are you sensing a pattern here?

Given what's up for grabs this week, I think I can understand him skipping his title defense in Houston. The ET website has even chosen Poults as one of their Fantasy Three to watch.

GC's coverage starts early Thursday at 4:30am ET and runs until 12:30pm ET. I'll be wishing Poults luck as he tries to make another Ryder Cup team. (I just won't wish him luck once he gets there!)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Twofer Tuesday: Houston Open

This week, Twofer Tuesday heads down to the Houston Open for a little Texas BBQ.

Defending champion Ian Poulter

The GC of Houston's Tournament Course has most commonly been the site for the Houston Open in March or April, so Tour players will see something a bit different this year. The rough will be a little higher and tougher this week than players are seen in the past, so getting up and down may not be as easy as they remember.

Not that it has been all that easy in the past. The scoring average last year was just over 70 and, while the course does play to a par-72, at nearly 7500 yards players may struggle a bit more. The course doesn't seem to favor length or age, so this is arguably a wide-open tournament.

With defending champion Ian Poulter opting out of the Houston Open to play in the Italian Open, there will definitely be a new Champion lifting the trophy this year.
  • My Top10er this week is Henrik Stenson. The Big Swede has a pretty good record in Houston; while he has never won, he has a number of Top6 finishes to his credit. And while he hasn't been playing his normal great golf over the summer, Houston could be just the place to heat up his game a bit.
  • And for my winner this week, I'm going back to the well and taking Scottie Scheffler. Scottie played pretty well earlier this year and I've picked him to win a couple of times. As it turns out, those are times when he decided not to play so well. Still, I can't help but feel he's due; after a poor showing last week, I think he's hit the bottom and an upturn in his game is in the offing. So why not this week? With all that Texas BBQ to chow down on, I'm sure he can find a rationale for winning!
GC's live coverage of the event begins Thursday at 3pm ET while PGA TOUR LIVE begins streaming at 8:15am ET. So let's saddle up and see if my picks can do as well this week as they did last week!

(And I apologize for the rough version  of this post that originally showed up on the blog. I'm breaking in some new computer equipment and accidentally posted this before it was finished.)

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 Shriners Hospitals Open

Winner: Kevin Na

Around the wider world of golf: Jon Rahm destroyed the field at the ET's Mutuactivos Open de España; Christine Wolf won the Hero Women’s Indian Open on the LET; Cheyenne Knight won the Volunteers of America Classic on the LPGA; Augusto Nunez won the Banco del Pacifico Open on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; Laura Wearn won the Symetra Tour Championship; Shaun Norris won the Top Cup Tokai Classic on the Japan Golf Tour; and Suradit Yongcharoenchai won the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on the Asian Tour.

Kevin Na with Shriners trophy

After a long dry spell, my Twofer Tuesday picks finally paid off. I had Adam Hadwin (T4) to win and Patrick Cantlay (2) to Top10. Although Adam didn't win, I'm not going to complain about two Top5 finishers!
  • Winners: 2 for40
  • Place well (Top10): 18 for 40 (10 Top5s, 8 more Top10s)
  • Overall Top10s: 33 of 80 (18 Top5s, 15 more Top10s)
That's not to say that my boys didn't make a good run at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open -- especially Cantlay. And if Kevin Na hadn't brought his magic putter, forged by angels in the same fires as the legendary Excalibur, somebody else might have won.

I said might have. The way Na played, I can't say for sure. But that putter allowed him to break all the records for most feet of putts made during a single tournament, and not even a triple-bogey on ten and a bogey in the pond at sixteen could derail his march toward the trophy.

It's a measure of how well he putted that Cantlay made a single error in the last few holes -- a bogey on 17 -- and yet, despite a barrage of birdies coming in, could only manage to force a playoff.

Which Kevin Na and his angel-touched putter won with relative ease.

I don't think I'll ever root against Kevin Na. He's fought a lot of very public battles with his game -- battles that derail many a player's career -- and has come out on top. This was his second win of 2019 and third win in two years, both of which are new territory for him. And the fact that he appreciates what is happening so much makes it easy to root for him.

Tiger likes him too, you know, and I'd be surprised if he isn't rooting for Kevin as well. You can be sure he's watching him closely, what with the Presidents Cup right around the corner.

But while Kevin waits for the Big Cat's phone call, here's another Limerick Summary (his second this year!) to keep him occupied:
On ten, Kevin carded a triple;
Soon after, his ball found a ripple.
They left eighteen tied
But Pat’s playoff hopes died
When Kev’s putter proved it wasn’t fickle.
The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

How Your Lead Shoulder Helps Control Slicing (Video)

Okay Ryan, let's see if we can't help you understand the role of your lead shoulder in your swing.

For those of you who haven't been following along, a few days back I did a post about a drill from David Ogrin, in which I tried to explain a way to use it that would help eliminate slicing. Ryan had a little trouble wrapping his mind around exactly what I was saying, so I promised to do a post this weekend that would hopefully make it clearer.

This is that post.

I've written about this topic in the past and so I'm going to refer back to some of those posts, in hopes that they may help flesh out what I'm saying a little better.

The first thing you need to understand is that your shoulder bone is shaped more like an upside-down L than an I. Most people don't really understand this and how it affects shoulder movement.

If you take a look at the picture below (which I originally used in this post), I think you'll get a better idea of what I mean.

Diagram of left shoulder

As you can see, your shoulder bone actually bends a little at the top, like an L. And this bend means that, when you raise your arm across your chest as you do at the top of your backswing, the main part of your arm actually swings out toward the ball as well as up towards the sky.

In other words, if you imagine a straight line running from one shoulder to the other, the line gets 'kinked' or bent at your lead shoulder as you make your backswing.

Of course, the movement seems very slight if you're just looking at it. And because you make this movement all the time, it's so natural that you don't notice it anyway. But it does affect the way your hands move when you swing down to impact in your golf swing.

In the diagram below I have done two series of drawings. Both series start at the top of your backswing and follow the movement down to impact. However, the top series includes the shoulder turn, which I have shown by allowing the head to turn with the shoulders. Underneath that series I have drawn the same positions but without the rotation of the shoulders. See how the head is in the same position all the way through?

The important thing for you to note in each of these drawings is that at the top of your backswing, your shoulder has moved toward the ball and created an angle (that little 'kink' I mentioned) between your shoulder line and your lead arm. Then on the way down, your lead shoulder MUST move back into a straight line with your shoulders. (I call this movement 'opening up your lead shoulder'.) If you don't, you haven't returned to your address position and the clubface will not be aimed where was at address.

When you actually make this movement, this 'opening of your lead shoulder', your lead elbow will have to move closer to the side of your ribcage as the clubhead nears the ball.

Also, on each of these drawings I have placed a small X on the lead arm to show where the elbow is. In these drawings the elbow has not bent. In fact, if you allowed your elbow to bend in an effort to keep it pointing toward the ball or down the line at the target, your elbow would actually move farther away from your body and create a chicken wing, which almost always creates a slice.

Swing sequences

At no point in any of this motion does your lead forearm have to twist. In fact, to get your hands from your address position up to the top of your backswing, your lead forearm does not have to twist at all. All of the apparent rotation is created by the bending of your trailing forearm and the shoulder rotation that I've been writing about in this entire post.

In fact, here's a video from KJ Choi's coach Steven Bann that demonstrates how your hands and arms move during your backswing without the shoulder rotation. (It came from this post, although I think I've used it in others as well.)  I know you've probably seen instructors demonstrate this before; you simply lift your hands up to the position they would normally be at when they reach the top of your backswing, and then you make your normal shoulder turn.



Combine what Bann said in the video with what I've been writing about in this post, and you'll eventually realize that neither your hands nor your forearms rotate during your swing. Your wrists are cocked as your trailing elbow bends upward during your backswing, and your lead shoulder actually moves out toward the ball a bit as that happens (because bending your trailing elbow pulls your lead arm across your chest).

To get the clubface back to square at impact, you have to get that lead shoulder back in line with your whole shoulder girdle -- in other words, 'open your lead shoulder up' -- in the position it originally was in at address. When you do this, your lead elbow will move in close to the side of your ribcage and physically pull your hands back into their address position. (That's the move that pros are practicing when you see them tuck a glove under their lead armpit.) If you do that, your hands will square up the clubface and you won't slice the ball.

Ryan, I know I covered a lot of material in this post. I hope it makes sense to you but, if it still has you a little confused, feel free to ask me questions in the comments and I'll try to answer them the best I can. This really isn't that difficult to understand once you can visualize the motion, and I suspect that's what's been giving you the difficulties so far. Hopefully what I've written in this post will allow you to duplicate the motion and from that, understand what's really happening here.

And once you do, you'll have a good start on getting rid of that slice.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Colby Huffman on Hitting Narrow Fairways (Video)

You've probably heard GCA coach Colby Huffman's aiming advice before, but it bears repeating.



I'll be brief because I don't need to belabor the point. No less than the great Jack Nicklaus followed this approach:
  • Visualize the actual shape of the shot as it flies down the fairway.
  • Pick a spot on the ground just ahead of the ball that, if you hit the ball over that spot, it will start to create that shot you visualized.
  • Take your address position and focus on that spot.
  • Hit the ball over that spot.
Instead of being spooked by the narrow fairway and trying not to hit the ball into the trees, focus on the spot and hit the ball over it. It's a simple mental thing but don't underestimate how effective it can be.

Again, just remember that Jack Nicklaus did it all the time... and it worked for him. It can work for you as well.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Barney Puttick on Hitting Solid Hybrids (Video)

Golf Monthly's Top25 coach Barney Puttick has some tips to help you hit your hybrids better.



Note the big takeaway here: A hybrid is more like an iron than a fairway wood. That means you want to hit down on the ball, not sweep it off the ground.

First, the ball position is different. Most players put the ball near the middle of their stance for an iron and near their lead foot for a fairway wood. Go for halfway between them; that means the ball goes halfway between the center of your stance and your lead foot.

Although Barney doesn't say it, you can see that he soles the club with the shaft vertical, not leaning forward. Your lower body action will take you a bit forward at impact, so under normal circumstances you don't want to lean the club forward. Hybrids give you their benefits because they hit the ball higher, so you want to use the full loft of the club. Let your legs create the downward strike at impact.

If you do that properly, you'll take a slight divot in front of the ball, which means you hit the ball first.

Finally, Barney says you should become familiar with how far you hit your hybrids. But really, shouldn't you learn how far you hit all of your clubs? You have to know how far you hit your clubs in order to 'gap' them properly, which just means you choose the clubs in your bag so you don't have a huge gap in distance between two adjacent clubs and then virtually no gap between the next two.

It's mostly common sense, I know. But common sense often leaves us when we're actually playing a round. Make the right choices before you go out -- by setting up your bag correctly and learning how to hit your hybrids properly -- and you'll tend to do the right thing instinctively when you actually stand over the ball out on the course.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Claude Brousseau's Anti-Slice Drill (Video)

On Sunday's post Ryan asked for a more in-depth explanation of the anti-slice move I mentioned. I plan to do a post (more than one if necessary) this weekend to help him. But in the meantime, I offer this video of GCA coach Claude Brousseau's drill to help eliminate a slice.



This isn't a new drill but it might help some of you who, like Ryan, are struggling to wrap your minds around how your lead arm and shoulder movement helps eliminate a slice.

By turning your back to the target, your lead arm and shoulder are forced to create the proper impact positions. Your upper arm is forced to stay close to your rib cage and your lead shoulder is forced to 'open up' at impact. (Don't worry if you don't understand what 'opening up your shoulder' means right now. I'll explain that in this weekend's post.)

Before you ask... NO, you don't want to use this drill anywhere but on the range. If you spend too much time with it, I think it could adversely affect your lower body action. But using it a few times can really help you learn what proper lead side action feels like at impact.

And YES, Ryan, that post is on the way. Be on the lookout for it this weekend.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The LPGA Heads to Texas

The LPGA stays in America for the Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic.

Defending champion Sung Hyun Park

The course, the Old American Golf Club, is in The Colony, a suburb of Dallas. In 2018 the event was storm-shortened to just two rounds, with Sung Hyun Park being declared the champion. This is the first year that the VOA will be held in October. You can catch Tony Jesselli's preview of this year's playing over at his site.

In some ways I think the biggest storyline this week is whether Mi Jung Hur can make it three LPGA wins this season, after her dominating performance at Indy. She has quite a few family members at this week's event, and that could help her get past the usually inevitable letdown after a win.

But Sung Hyun Park is also back and would like to defend at a four-round event. Two round events aren't official wins -- just ask Stacy Lewis -- so a win here would not only defend her title but give her a third win this season as well.

This is also the last chance for the ladies to make it into the LPGA's Asian swing. It's the last American event until the CME Group Tour Championship in November.

GC's coverage begins Thursday at 1pm ET. It should be very competitive with so much on the line.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Twofer Tuesday: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Twofer Tuesday tees it up for the kids this week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau

TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas is the site of this week's event, where Bryson DeChambeau will try to defend the title he won during his torrid run of four wins in five months. (Last year this event was held in November, a month later than this year.) Being in the desert, we can probably count on some hot sunny weather and fast course conditions.

Scoring-wise this is not the place for Rory McIlroy, given his comments about birdiefests. At 7255 yards and a par of 71, this course has seen two 60s in its history -- J.J. Henry in 2013 and Rod Pampling in 2016 --and typically the winner finishes at -20 or lower. But this course doesn't favor bombers over technicians -- both Webb Simpson and Ryan Moore share the tournament record of 260 (-24).

Which begs the question: Who can dominate this track this week? My picks are short and sweet.
  • For my Top10er I'm taking Patrick Cantlay. Cantlay lost to DeChambeau by a single stroke last year in an excellent defense of his first PGA Tour win here in 2017. It's hard to believe he won't do well again, given his past record around the place.
  • And my winner is Adam Hadwin. I'll be honest -- my pick is based purely on his finish last week. I'm just taking the hot hand.
Whenever you're faced with a low-scoring track like TPC Summerlin, it really is a crapshoot when picking a winner. One pick based on proven comfort with the track and one based on current form; I figure I've got as good a chance with these two as with anybody else in the field!

GC's coverage begins Thursday at 4pm ET, which is fairly early for a West Coast event. (At least, it's the West Coast time zone.) PGA TOUR LIVE begins streaming at 9:45am ET. Let's see who can get hot in the desert!