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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Tom Lehman on Hitting Low Hybrids (Video)

This video caught my eye because most people want to hit their hybrids high. Lehman wants to hit his hybrids LOW!



While he gives the same advice you typically get on how to hit clubs low into the wind:
  • Deloft the club by moving the ball back in your stance
  • Since that will cause you to hit more of an in-to-out shot that draws and flies low, you open your stance slightly
Tom Lehman says he starts by getting hybrids that are set up to fly low from the start. It's hard to argue with his logic -- at least, if you're a pro. The pros have no problem hitting clubs high, so he gets a hybrid with a stiffer shaft and lower loft to begin with. That means you might get a hybrid with a four- or five-iron length shaft but get a three- or even two-iron loft head.

As I said, the pros usually have no problem hitting their hybrids high. For the typical weekend player who may fight a low shot to begin with, his setup advice should be ignored.

But if you tend to hit your clubs high -- and there are a number of casual players who do -- Tom's advice could help your game a lot. After all, low shots are easier to hit straight than high ones.

So if this video seems to speak to your tendencies, it might be worth another look.

Friday, February 28, 2020

A Quick Coronavirus Update

There has been a change at the Oman Open since yesterday's post, plus I wanted to clarify a rumor that is making the rounds.

First, you may have heard that Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari have been allowed back into the Oman Open since the testing for the virus came back negative on Wednesday morning. If you've kept up with the news since the outbreak began, you know that this is a change from the more common policy of maintaining the quarantine for another week after a negative test. (In fact, Gagli mentioned that quarantine in his statement to the media. It would have kept him and Molinari out of next week's Qatar Masters.)

This change from the currently popular procedure fascinates me. To my knowledge, this decision isn't one that will be followed by all the other doctors dealing with the coronavirus. I can only think of four reasons that this decision would be made.
  1. It has been determined that the results of the testing are a sufficient guarantee that the virus isn't a threat in this case.
  2. It has been determined that the extra week of observation isn't providing any extra evidence about the virus.
  3. There was a monetary reason (with potential bad future effects) that caused the one-week quarantine to be lifted.
  4. The decision was made in order to try and limit any potential panic among the public.
Don't underestimate the possibility of that last one. If you've been following the US stock market this week, you know that worries about the coronavirus have sent the markets (we have three main stock markets) plummeting. In fact, the Dow Jones -- the biggest of the three -- fell nearly 1200 points on Thursday, the biggest single-day drop in history. The belief is that fear of (or actual infection by) the virus will adversely affect the US economy (and the world's economies as well) for a prolonged period, both through fear of going out in public and actual sickness.

The longer the coronavirus is a problem, the worse that effect will be. So we can expect that anybody with the power to affect the belief that the virus is a serious threat will try to convince the public that life is proceeding as usual.

And then there's that rumor.

There is a rumor going around that, just as flu tends to be a seasonal problem -- a cold weather problem -- the coronavirus is also likely to cease being a problem once the weather heats up. But, as this article from the New Scientist site points out, at this point we have no evidence that this will happen. We simply don't know enough about the coronavirus to make predictions, and we do know that there are plenty of viruses that spread just as fast in hot weather as they do in cold. So we can't count on that at this point.

However, there is one helpful thing that we do know. It seems that the coronavirus symptoms are the same as flu symptoms. That may not sound very helpful but it does give us at least one possible way to fight the coronavirus. If you have flu symptoms, go get checked out by a doctor. That could help us slow down the spread of the coronavirus until doctors get a handle on how to fight it.

I'll get back to covering golf tomorrow but this is something we should all be concerned about... and not only because it will affect golf.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Coronovirus Tries to Go Pro

A number of tournaments on various tours have been cancelled in response to the coronovirus, and we're waiting to learn if it will affect the Olympics.

But according to Associated Press reports (this link picks up the article on golfchannel.com) it has finally affected an actual tournament in progress.

Eduardo Molinari

According to various reports, Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari have been quarantined at the Oman Open and isolated in separate rooms to see if they might be carrying the virus. Here's a brief excerpt from the article:
Gagli tells Italian newspaper La Nazione that a European Tour doctor told him at breakfast Wednesday to return to his room. Molinari, his roommate for the week in Oman, was moved to another room.

Gagli said he was given a test and told the result would be available in two days, but that he would have to remain in the room until next Wednesday, meaning he also would have to withdraw from the Qatar Masters the following week.

''It's an inexplicable decision,'' Gagli said. ''Only us two have been excluded from the tournament, but I arrived in Muscat last Sunday and over the last few days I've worked out in the gym with dozens of other players. I ate with them and traveled by bus with them.

''If there was a risk of contagion, then they would have to isolate dozens of golfers and cancel the tournament.''
And the irony here is that Gagli is more right than he realizes. If he and Molinari should test positive for the coronovirus, it's going to set off a chain reaction as health officials try to determine who might have contracted it from them.

It's not as if those making the decision have much choice. To isolate everyone who might have already caught the virus, they might have to isolate thousands of people. After all, how many people have been in contact with the golfers since they were supposedly exposed? We aren't just talking about Muscat here.

For example, would the people on the plane that brought them to Muscat have to be tested? And what about the people who came in contact with all those passengers? How many different countries would it affect? And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. After all, the most deadly epidemic in recent history, according to the CDC -- and this may surprise some of you -- wasn't one of the diseases like tuberculosis that once killed almost anyone who caught it. According to history.com:
The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet's population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans.
My maternal great-grandmother died in the pandemic, and to this day we don't know where she was buried. That's because so many people died at the time that much of the standard recordkeeping simply wasn't done, and other records were lost. And part of the reason it spread so quickly was a result of World War I -- with so many people from all over the world fighting together, the virus had easy access to virtually everyone on the planet.

With golfers and fans traveling the world... well, you see where this could end up.

This is a story we all need to be watching. Hopefully it will turn out to be nothing more than an unnecessary precaution... but even if it does, that doesn't mean we won't be dealing with an actual emergency soon enough.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Back to the Arabian Peninsula

We may not get to see the LPGA this week, but we will at least get Minjee Lee's brother at the Oman Open on the ET.

Min Woo Lee makes his ET debut as a Tour champion

Min Woo Lee makes his debut as a European Tour champion this week. He won earlier this year at the ISPS Handa Vic Open, Down Under in Australia (his and Minjee's home country).

In some ways I think this is a great place for Min Woo. The Al Mouj Golf course is in Oman, which (for those of you who don't know) is an Arab country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Greg Norman designed the linksy course, which stretches for six kilometers (almost 3.75 miles) along the coast of the Indian Ocean. Should you stray from the fairways, there will be sand to deal with -- as well as the winds off the ocean.

Sounds a bit like the conditions Min Woo won in back home!

There will of course be a number of well-known players in the field, like Nicolas Colsaerts, Andy Sullivan, Martin Kaymer, Li Haotong, Joost Luiten, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie, Thomas Pieters and Pablo Larrazábal.

An interesting side note: This will be the first ET event to provide its players with bamboo tees, which are biodegradable. It's part of an effort to make the game more environmentally friendly.

GC will be covering this event starting at 1:30am ET on Thursday morning. This is the third time the Al Mouj Golf course will play a part in the Race to Dubai, and Luiten described it as "one of the prettiest and best that we play all season long on the European Tour" so we've got something to look forward to on the ET this week.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Honda Classic

This week Twofer Tuesday, still wheezing from the heights of Mexico City, tiptoes around the jaws of the Bear Trap at the Honda Classic.

Defending champion Keith Mitchell

PGA National (Champion Course) is a Jack Nicklaus redesign, yearly rated as one of the hardest courses on Tour, and the Bear Trap -- holes 15, 16 and 17 -- is named in his honor. Last year Keith Mitchell snagged his first-ever PGA Tour win with a mere 9-under score for the week, which has been the story at the Champion Course six out of the last seven years. This is a really tough test!

While less-prominent players can win here, it's more likely that big names will take the trophy. Before Mitchell got it done last year, the previous four winners were Padraig Harrington, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas.

So who's my money on this year?
  • My first Top10er is Erik van Rooyen. After posting a T3 last week, he came oh-so-close to getting special status to play the Tour! Another good showing this week could get the job done for him and, on a course where the scoring is unlikely to be very low, I think he can get it done.
  • And my other Top10er is Rickie Fowler. It wouldn't be far wrong to say that Fowler owns the Champion Course; besides his win in 2017, he was T2 behind Mitchell last year and he's the all-time tournament earnings leader there. After a week off, he should be rested and comfortable at this event.
GC's coverage starts Thursday at 2pm ET. I've taken a chalk pick and a bit of a longshot in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle and getting my first winner of the year. In any case, the Bear Trap always provides some good theater at this event, and the 2020 edition should be no different, so get the popcorn ready and settle in for some serious competition!

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 WGC-Mexico

Winner: Patrick Reed

Around the wider world of golf: Stephanie Kyriacou won the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic Bonville on the LET; and Viktor Hovland won the Puerto Rico Open, the PGA Tour's alternate field event, becoming the first Norwegian winner on Tour.

Patrick Reed with the WGC trophy

Much like last week, Rory salvaged my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Rory McIlroy (T5) and Adam Scott (T26), and once again Rory got me a T5. Perhaps Adam was just drained from his win at Riviera; perhaps the altitude got to him this year. But he got the week off to a poor start and never recovered. Such is life...
  • Top10s: 8 for 16 (4 Top5, 4 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 0 for 8 events
Once again, Rory was in position going into the final round but couldn't get it done. Nor could 54-hole leader Justin Thomas, nor hard-charging players like Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau, nor even aspiring Tour player Erik van Rooye. Each man had his chance on Sunday and each fell away on the back nine...

Except Patrick Reed, that is. Dogged by murmuring rumors and a wayward driver, he nonetheless used his amazing short game and an incredibly hot putter -- did I hear correctly that he had 45 one-putts on the tricky greens at Club de Golf Chapultepec? --to put up a relatively hot back nine and step up to the 18th tee with a two-shot lead.

From there he promptly lost his tee shot right in the trees, was forced to chip out, and after a so-so third shot left himself an incredibly long and tricky two-putt to win the tournament. He did so with no apparent trouble at all!

It's easy to make Patrick the villain. (He seems to relish the role, after all.) I still don't believe he tried to cheat at the Hero -- whatever you think of him, Reed isn't stupid enough to cheat when he knows a camera is only a few feet behind him, catching it all. I still believe it was a brain fart and, being a bit of a control freak, he simply refuses to admit he did something he can't explain. (Personally, I think you can chalk many of his 'social blunders' up to that; he simply has to have something to blame besides himself, something that was out of his control but that he can clearly name.) He's a polarizing character, to say the least.

But like him or not, you can't deny his toughness or his skill. And now he's got a second WGC, two wins in his last ten starts, has moved to 7th in the OWGR and is on the verge of making the Olympic team! Like him or not, he's earned this Limerick Summary:
For some, adulation’s a need—
But apparently not for Pat Reed!
He’ll wear that black hat
Like a badge, say “Take THAT!”
To the field, and fight on—guaranteed!
The photo came from this page on pgatour.com.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Justin Thomas on Not Liking Your Golf Swing (Video)

This Golfing World video is less than two weeks old and I found it very interesting -- especially since JT is leading the WGC-Mexico going into the final round. Did you know that he doesn't really like the way his swing looks?



There are several things you can pick up from what Justin discusses in this video, but the fact that he doesn't like his footwork -- in fact, he says he doesn't recommend anybody copy it -- and that he has unsuccessfully tried to change it in the past were a surprise to me. He says he can't even hit the ball if he doesn't jump around when he swings! He hopes that there are things in his swing that people will try to copy, but apparently his footwork isn't one of them.

Most importantly, he says that -- even when he's hitting the ball well -- he can get so caught up in the way he thinks his 'funky' swing looks that he tries (again!) to change it.

What I want you to remember is this: JT says that, when he gets too caught up in the technical aspects of his swing, he just has to 'get over it' and accept that this is how he plays his best and leave it alone.

If even Justin struggles with this, then we mere mortals need to take his advice and -- if we're playing well -- just accept our swings as they are and focus on playing better instead of making changes.

It's all about the score, folks. Never forget that!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Pocket-to-Pocket Pitch Shots

It's no secret that I believe the L-to-L drill is one of the best ways you can improve your game. (Here's a link to the most recent post I did about that drill.)

Well, instructor Krista Dunton published a multi-page article over at golftipsmag.com that shows some ways this drill can help your short game. She uses what she calls 'pocket-to-pocket pitch shots' to play standard, high and low ptich shots. I thought you all might be interested in it.

The pitching swing at the backswing pocket

I'm not going to try and summarize the article because it's four pages long and has detailed photo sequences to illustrate it, so you really should go over and read it for yourself. But basically it takes the L-to-L swing and creates several different pitch shots with it, just by changing the ball position and the club you use.

Definitely worth a look if you'd like a simple way to expand your short game repertoire.

Friday, February 21, 2020

How to Calculate Elevation Changes (Video)

Unlike the pros at Club de Golf Chapultepec who are dealing with altitude, today we're talking about dealing with big slopes at normal altitudes. This GolfersRX video has a couple of simple tips to help you get the ball closer to the hole.



To get your overall yardage, figure one yard less for each yard of drop. In their example they have a 150-yard hole with 10 yards of elevation, so they subtract 10 yards from 150 yards to get a 140-yard shot. It's only a rough estimate but it should get you in the ballpark.

I think it's interesting that they don't come out and say exactly how it affects you going uphill, but it appears they're using the same yardage. So do you take a longer or shorter club to compensate for the elevatio?
  • If you're hitting to a lower elevation, the ball will drop in at a steeper angle and won't roll as far. In this case, you want to take a club that will carry the ball almost pin high.
  • If you're hitting to a higher elevation, the ball will come in at a shallower angle and roll out some. In this case, you choose the club that will put the ball a bit short of pin high to allow for the rollout.
Clearly this approach takes some experience. Relate your club choice to what your normal level-ground choice would be. You'll need a longer-than-normal club when you hit to a higher elevation and a shorter-than-normal club when you hit to a lower elevation. Why?

Because you have to allow for the trajectory of the ball. When you hit the ball to the lower elevation, your normal club would fly too far because it's in the air for a longer time. And when you hit the ball to the higher elevation, it won't fly as far before it starts down.

The tricky part is hitting to the higher elevation. A longer club launches the ball on a lower trajectory. If the rise is too high, the longer club won't be able to hit the ball high enough to get all the way to the top of the rise. And if that's the case, you'll just have to accept that you'll need two shots instead of one to get all the way to the top.

If you don't have a rangefinder that calculates slope, this is probably the best way to guess what club you'll need. This is where a good short game comes in handy!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Other PGA Tour Event

Other than the WGC-Mexico, the only golf on TV this week -- at least, on GC -- is the PGA Tour's alternate event, the Puerto Rico Open.

Defending champion Martin Trainer

The Grand Reserve Country Club is the place to be if you aren't (a) playing in Mexico City or (b) taking the week off. The 120-player field boasts some pretty good names, including defending champion Martin Trainer:
  • Maverick McNealy
  • Scott Brown
  • Viktor Hovland
  • Patrick Rodgers
  • Matthew NeSmith
  • Emiliano Grillo
  • Alex Noren
  • Tom Lewis
among others.

GC's coverage begins this morning (Thursday) at 10:30am ET. The only other game in town should provide some good competition, as well as some gorgeous scenery. I don't always get a chance to remind you of these alternate events, but today is a good day to remember.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Mickey Wright 1935-2020 (Videos)

Another legend is gone. Mickey Wright, whom Ben Hogan once said had the most perfect golf swing he had ever seen, died at the age of 85. She holds a huge number of records in the game and did a tremendous amount to grow the game, which you can read about elsewhere. I thought it might be nice to remember her by remembering her as a teacher. Here are a couple of Mickey Wright's thoughts on the game.

Mickey Wright

This little video lets us hear how Mickey described her own concept of her swing:



And Luke Kerr-Dineen posted an article at the golf.com site with what in 1964 Mickey told Gene Sarazen was the best advice she could give on how to get more yardage off the tee. It's in this clip, starting right around the 3:30 mark.



As Kerr-Dineen writes:
Asked by host Gene Sarazen how to groove a more powerful golf swing, Wright shared one of her favorite drills.
It’s pretty simple: She places a tee about 12 inches behind her golf ball down the “intended line of flight,” or the target line.
Her goal is to simply make sure she knocks the tee away on her takeaway. In Mickey’s own words:
Knock the tee down; it will ensure I am keeping the clubhead long, low, and wide away from the ball. With this wide start, you’re automatically ensured you’ll make the biggest arc possible to the golf swing.
That's elegant and accessible to all, just like Mickey Wright was. We'll miss her. My prayers go out to her family and friends.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: WGC-Mexico

Twofer Tuesday wheezes its way up to Mexico City and the Club de Golf Chapultepec for the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson

At nearly 8000 feet above sea level the Club de Golf Chapultepec plays much shorter than its potential scorecard length of 7355 yards. Long hitters have no real advantage over the shorter, more accurate hitters, which can make for some interesting finishes on Sunday.

Although defending champion Dustin Johnson is in the field and he seems to be playing pretty well, I'm still a bit concerned how his knee will hold up on a hilly Mexico City course. So I'll have to consider my options carefully.
  • My first Top10er is a no-brainer: Rory McIlroy. Coming off a bad Sunday at Riviera, I still think he'll be in the right frame of mind this week, as he managed a runner-up behind DJ last year. He's got good memories in Mexico City and I think they'll come to the fore this week. Besides, as nice as a Genesis title would have been, winning a WGC with Brooks in the field to solidify his #1 World Ranking would be extra sweet for Rory.
But who else should I take -- a chalk pick or someone deep in the field? I've really fought with this one, because Club de Golf Chapultepec is a course that can make the best players look like fools if they don't take it seriously...
  • I've decided to take Adam Scott as my other Top10er. In many ways this is a counter-intuitive pick. Adam is coming off a hard-fought win at Riviera, one that could leave him with an emotional letdown after the high. But I also find myself wondering if lightning can strike three times, as Adam has won both of his last worldwide starts. Granted, they were two months apart... but I'm going with the hot hand. If he continues to drive and iron the ball as he has lately, he could easily pick up this WGC.
GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 2pm ET. Can Adam Scott make it three in a row? Can Rory get the job done this week? Will one of the new players on Tour get a breakthrough win? I don't know... but I feel something special is in the cards this week.

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Genesis Invitational

Winner: Adam Scott

Around the wider world of golf: Inbee Park got her 20th LPGA title at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open; Scott Parel won the Chubb Classic for his third Champions Tour title; Andrew Novak won the LECOM Suncoast Classic for his first Korn Ferry Tour title; LET player Lejan Lewthwaite won the R600 000 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour; and Michael Sim won the Coca-Cola QLD PGA Championship on the Australasian Tour.

Adam Scott with the Genesis trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks didn't do too bad at Riviera. I had Rory McIlroy (T5) and Tiger Woods (68), and Rory got me a T5. As for Tiger, those crazy greens did a number on him again this year. I really do think he'll eventually figure this place out but, even if he doesn't, he can at least console himself with the knowledge that Jack never won here either.
  • Top10s: 7 for 14 (3 Top5, 4 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 0 for 7 events
On the other hand, Adam Scott had won at Riviera before... although nobody gave him credit for it. His 2005 win at what used to be the Nissan Open was rain-shortened to 36 holes and thus not considered an official win. I'm sure that irritated him a bit; after all, it wasn't his fault that somebody left the water running waaaaay too long that year.

Well, he doesn't have to worry about that anymore. He's got an official Genesis Invitational title and all the perks that go with it.

It's easy to say that Adam isn't the best putter on Tour and that both Matt Kuchar and Rory McIlroy -- his co-leaders entering the final round -- probably should have beaten him. But Adam's record when he has a piece of the 54-hole lead is nearly as good as Rory's, and his iron play was the best of the best this week. On Sunday he was the only one of the three to post an under-par round.

And that was enough.

It was Adam's first PGA Tour win since 2016, but he won the Australian PGA Championship just a couple of months back. Maybe he's found something he thought he had lost; maybe you just can't keep a classy player down. At any rate, Adam picks up his second Limerick Summary in as many months. Who knows what 2020 may hold for him?
The first of Scott’s Genesis crowns
Did not count; the rain had come down
So hard, play was stopped.
But not this time! He topped
The whole field with four masterful rounds.
The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Inbee Park on Putting (Video)

You've seen her putt. Even as I write this, she's putting on a clinic Down Under at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Let's see what she has to say:



For many of you, Inbee's admission that she only looks at the ball as she putts is probably a shocker. It seems logical that, if you want to make a lot of putts -- especially long ones like Inbee so often does -- you'd be really concerned about your line and your stroke.

But Inbee says that looking at the stroke interferes with her ability to judge distance... and distance control is the key to having tap-ins when you don't make the first putt. (In case you didn't know.)

Inbee is perhaps the best putter in the game right now. If she's eliminating as many thoughts from her stroke as possible -- after all, once she gets lined up she's just looking at the ball and feeling the correct distance -- then maybe you're making your putting stroke too complicated. Simplify, simplify, simplify and perhaps you'll make more putts!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Nick Faldo on Bunker Play (Video)

Nick Faldo's advice here is to copy the pros. Watch how various pros get out of the sand and then try to mimic all the methods that appeal to you. Here, take a look:



Nick specifically demonstrates methods used by Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros and Ernie Els. See how each player takes some of the same basics, like opening the clubface and thumping the sand, then adds their own twist to get the results they want? You can do the same thing, and that's exactly what Nick suggests here.

But I want to focus on a little something that Nick did to make Ernie's method work better for him. See how he lifts his trail heel so he's standing on his toes? He says he does that to get his trailing shoulder a bit higher and thus prevent hitting the ball fat. But it also helps him incorporate part of the Player method -- if he's on the toes of his trail foot, he has to put more weight on his lead foot.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but it's also one of the quickest ways to learn a new skill... you know, like getting your ball out of a bunker. Don't be afraid to experiment with different methods to find the one(s) that work best for you.

Friday, February 14, 2020

A Quick Champions Tour Reminder

Don't forget that the Chubb Classic starts today. Miguel Angel Jimenez is the defending champion.

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez

This event is played on The Classics at Lely Resort, in Naples FL. It's the fifth longest-running event on the Champions Tour (33 years) and Chubb Limited is the longest title sponsor (23 years), so this is a well-established event.

And since Jimenez is the Schwab Cup standings leader at this point in the season, this is a likely spot for him to increase his lead. But it won't be easy, as he not only has to face the usual cast of suspects but also new Tour members Tim "Lumpy" Herron, Robert Karlsson and Thongchai Jaidee. You know how new blood seems to take to the Champions Tour... just witness Brett Quigley's win in only his second start. (He's there this week as well.)

GC's TV coverage begins today at noon ET. Given the depth of the field and how well established this event is, we should get a pretty good tournament.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Keeping Your Spine Angle Consistent (Video)

This video from the SirSwingsAlot channel on YouTube offers a simple thought for maintaining your spine angle throughout your swing.



This thought of swinging your trail shoulder under your chin through impact is something that may or may not come easily to you. It requires you to be aware of how your body is moving when you swing. But it's a useful way to feel that your spine is holding its angle to the ground without becoming too hung up on swing mechanics.

But if you're having trouble finding this feeling, here's something that might help: In order to swing your trail shoulder under your chin without straightening up, your weight will need to shift slightly to your lead foot and leg. This is actually something you do naturally when you turn to the side under normal circumstances; it's only when you start thinking "oh my, I've got to swing this golf club" that you start hindering your natural movements!

So if you think of swinging your trail shoulder under your chin and ending up balanced on your lead leg, there's a good chance you'll find this move pretty easy to do... and pretty easy to do consistently as well. Try it with half-speed swings at first and, once it starts to feel comfortable, start working your way up to full speed. Staying level during your swing may be easier than you expect!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Ladies Are Still Hanging Around Down Under

Last week was just a warm-up for the LPGA and the other ladies of golf, as they leave the men behind and tee it up at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

Defending champion Nelly Korda

The Royal Adelaide Golf Club is hosting this year, and Nelly Korda -- currently #3 in the Rolex Rankings and the #1 American player -- is hoping to do as well as she did at the Grange last year. You probably remember the photos of the 'Korda Kick," showing her, sister Jessica and brother Sebastian mimicing their father Petr's celebration when he won the Australian Open tennis tournament.

Although she had won once before a mere four months earlier, it turned out to be the launching point for a great year that has caused many to dub her the best American player currently on tour. She successfully defended that first event; she'd absolutely love to do the same this week.

This is a big event for all the ladies' tours, and it could go a long way toward getting Nelly to #1 in the Rolex and other players -- like Inbee Park -- to the Olympics this summer or on their respective International Crown teams. All told, there are six previous Australian Open winners in the field this week and a lot of highly-ranked players in the field.

You all know I'm a huge fan of women's golf, so I know you're not surprised I've taken yet another post to remind you about TV coverage of the LPGA. GC's live coverage begins TONIGHT (Wednesday) at 9pm ET. That's early enough to catch some good golf before having to call it a night!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Genesis Invitational

Twofer Tuesday tiptoes down Tiger's Alley for the newly-christened Genesis Invitational. J.B. Holmes is the defending champion.

Defending champion J.B. Holmes

The venue -- the legendary Riviera Country Club -- is the same. The history is the same. But this is the first year that this event has been an invitational, which means, among other things, that this event will offer a three-year Tour exemption. The field is stacked and Tiger is hosting. How much more do you need to know?

With so much talent in the 120-man field, you might as well hang up a sheet of paper with all their names on it and throw darts to pick winners. This truly is an anybody-can-win field and just about any pick is a chalk pick. So let's get to it, shall we?
  • My first pick is Rory McIlroy. With Rory resuming his spot as OWGR #1 and Brooks being in the field, I expect that 'nonexistent rivalry' between the two to ratchet up a bit. Rory didn't have to do a thing to get that spot back this week, but I think he wants to give Brooks something to think about as we move into major season... and there's no better time than the present. This would send a clear message to Brooks, and set us up for some great battles over the next few months.
  • And my other pick is Tiger Woods. I know the spiel, that Riviera has Tiger's number and that it may be the white whale he's destined to chase in vain. I know all that... and I just don't buy it. I don't know that he'll win this week, but his new strategic approach to his game should help his harpoon find the weak spot in that whale's thick hide eventually. As with Rory, there's no better time than the present to make a statement.
A few weeks back I took both Rory and Tiger at Torrey Pines and they both posted Top10s for me. I'm looking for history to repeat itself!

PGATOUR.com says GC's live coverage begins at 2pm ET Thursday, but I suspect we'll be getting some extra coverage in the hour or so before. With the caliber of players at this event, I just can't see GC wasting any opportunity to get them on air!

Monday, February 10, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Winner: Nick Taylor

Around the wider world of golf: At the ISPS Handa Vic Open dual event, Min Woo Lee won the men's (ET) trophy while Hee Young Park won the women's (LPGA) trophy; Mito Pereira won the Country Club de Bogotá Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Anton Karlsson won the RAM Cape Town Open on the Sunshine Tour; and Larry Fitzgerald teamed up with Kevin Streelman to win the team title at Pebble.

Nick Taylor with AT&T trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks were clearly overcome by the beauty of Pebble Beach. I had Brandt Snedeker (MC) and Kurt Kitayama (T18) and neither made the Top10... although I admit Kurt was a gamble (this was his first trip to Pebble) and he made an admirable showing. I don't know what happened to Sneds, given his record here.
  • Top10s: 6 for 12 (2 Top5, 4 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 0 for 6 events
As I mentioned earlier in the post, Kevin Streelman and Larry Fitzgerald teamed up to win the pro-am segment of the event. But Streelman unexpectedly found himself in contention for the main title when 40mph gusts began sweeping across Pebble Beach. His four-under 68 tied the second-best score of the day and moved him up the leaderboard into second place.

Granted, that was still four strokes behind wire-to-wire winner Nick Taylor. Beginning the day with a mere one-shot lead over Phil Mickelson, who was going for his sixth Pebble title and was clearly the fan favorite, the questions had been whether Phil would make history and if one-time winner Taylor could stand up to the pressure of being teamed with Lefty.

As it turned out, Nick didn't seem to feel any pressure at all. He told pgatour.com:
"I believed I could do it because I've done it before. But to do it in that fashion, playing with Phil, gives me a lot of confidence going forward."
And he told GC how relaxed the day had been, playing with Phil and their amateur partners. It must have been -- he had a five-shot lead by the turn and he never looked back, despite the wind. Phil ended up in solo third and Nick completed the rare wire-to-wire victory.

Unlike his first win at the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship, this win gets Nick a ticket to Augusta. It also gets him a Limerick Summary -- something else he didn't get when the Sanderson was an alternate-field event, up against the 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions. Well, let's fix that right now!
The crowd favored Lefty to win…
But 40-mile gusts did him in!
Nick had won once before
And he wanted one more
So he went wire-to-wire with a grin.
The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Where Did Phil Find THIS Round? (Videos)

In case you mised it, I'm linking you to Randall Mell's article about Phil's Saturday round at Pebble because it sums up exactly what Phil did, plus it has Phil's short interview afterward.

Phil from the bunkers at Pebble

And this video shows some of the key shots he hit. Unbelievable!



Phil is now just one off the lead, with the opportunity to pick up his sixth AT&T trophy. This would also do a lot to get him back in the US Open after he said he would earn his way in.

Yes, it looks like Phil has everybody's attention once again.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

How to Shoot Double Digit Scores on Every Hole (Video)

Are you afraid when you step up on the tee? Are you certain that you're going to shoot some ridiculously high score? Then Chip Bozman can help make your fears a reality!



I think you get the point. There is absolutely NO WAY to eliminate risk from your game without sending your score into the stratosphere. But that's a trap you can fall into without realizing it.

You see, Chip's starting point is a valid one. Sometimes you simply have to take the danger out of play -- lay up short of a bunker, make sure you miss your shot to the safe side, make sure you take enough club to get over the water because dry is always better than wet. That's just smart golf.

But playing safe has its limits. If you don't take ANY risk, you're going to leave yourself impossible follow-up shots that will destroy your score just as badly -- maybe worse -- than the danger you tried to avoid. Don't go overboard!
  • If the drive is too tight, you don't have to hit a driver or even a 3-wood... but you don't have to go to a short iron either. Learn how to sting a 3-wood because a low shot like that isn't likely to go off line.
  • If you need to lay up, then take a club short enough to be sure you're short of the danger... but you don't have to lay up 50 yards short!
  • And if you know every shot you hit today is peeling off to the right, play for it to do that again.
A lot of good strategy is simply common sense. Don't let fear make you too timid. But if you do... well, maybe Chip is looking for a few good investers to help build his little business empire.

Friday, February 7, 2020

O.B. Keeler on the Length Debate

I won't lie to you -- this is a long post. It's a reprint of an article that O.B. Keeler wrote for the 17 December 1921 issue of The American Golfer. (The article is so old that it's in the public domain, so it's safe to reprint it here in its entirety.) It was apparently part of a series he did, and this one dealt with the newly-standardized golf ball and the problem its length would cause.

The USGA and R&A say this debate about length and technology is a hundred years old. It is... and I think it's worth hearing how the argument sounded a century ago. I think it's remarkable how similar it all sounds -- for example, note that Keeler talks about 600 yards as the then-current limit for par-5s, and also about how the easier-to-play Haskell ball helped make the game more attractive to the casual player.

And if you've never read any Keeler before, enjoy this little taste of his style.
======================================================

Why These Fads and Fancies?

Number 10—Ballistics

By O. B. Keeler

The dictionary defines "ballistics" as "The science that deals with the impact, path and velocity of projectiles." That is not precisely what I thought it was, but it is such a noble, rotund word, and so scientific withal, that I am going to let it go as a title where it stands. The golf ball assuredly is a projectile, with impact, path and velocity, and so much ballistical bally stuff has been written about it that a few stickfuls more or less will cause no considerable splash.

Recently we have got the golf ball in our power in at least one direction—we have the wretched thing standardized. That is, it must not weigh more than a certain weight (1.62 ounce); and it must not be smaller than a certain diameter, which I think is that same amount in inches; while it can be as much lighter or as much larger as desired—which doesn't appear to be much.

It seems we were tending toward a pellet about the size of an old-fashioned quinine pill, with a soupcon of radium in it, or something to give it a range that would result in the scrapping of all our standard golf courses and making them over on the Great Plains of the Middle West or the Desert of Sahara, or somewhere where there was more room.

Reaching a Standard


The Royal and Ancients and other golf arbiters decided something ought to be done about it—steps should be taken, resolutions adopted; measures taken, or something. It turned out to be measures; weights and measures, you might say. And now we have the standardized golf ball, with no especial sacrifice of power, velocity or range, if the advertisements may be credited.

As a matter of fact, they stopped the revision of the ball downward right about where it was; I think that a few brands were a shade smaller and a shade heavier than the present standard; but I do not recall a season with more punishment administered to long-hitting records than the past one.

So the golf courses are saved, it seems; and we moderate players won't have to battle our way with a drive and five screaming brassies to get in range of the eight hundred and nine hundred and thousand-yard holes, predicted not so long ago by the more excitable pessimists as the logical outgrowth of the smaller and heavier and higher-powered projectiles turned out year by year.

Six hundred yards will, for the nonce, remain the approximate limit—that is to say, a drive and two screaming brassies for the gentler players to get in pitching distance; for it generally is agreed that a brassie shot should not be expected to scream unless it travels more than one hundred and fifty yards.

Relieved of anxiety on that account, we may turn our attention for a bit to reflection on golf projectiles as they are and a little as they used to be, with no cluttering scientific flapdoodle to cumber us.

The golf ball was not always thus, a lively and expensive globule of rubber core and rubber strands and gutta-percha shell, with a range, when properly spanked, of upwards of a quarter of a mile, and a nervousness on the greens, especially when approaching the cup, that seems symptomatic of hereditary delirium tremens.

Twenty years ago, before Mr. Haskell—a man with a vision which probably by no means was commensurate with what he actually accomplished for and to humanity—devised the rubber-cored ball, the sedate gutty had held sway for some generations; about two, anyway. And before that was the "feathery."

I suppose prior to the feathery the hardy Caledonian shepherds used round pebbles—called rocks south of the Smith & Wesson Line—and drove, approached and putted with their shepherd's crooks, which look as much like golf clubs as some of the putters now in alleged use.

Days of the "Featheries"


The encyclopedia is uncertain as to when the feathery was superseded by the gutty, but it must have been a glad day for all concerned. The feathery, which I understand used to be imported from Holland in considerable quantities, was manufactured laboriously by sewing together a leather cover, all except a small hole through which the cover was turned wrong side out. The cover then was placed in a sort of mould the size of the prospective ball—1.62 inch or larger or smaller—and incredible quantities of soft feathers were tamped in it with a tool like a blunt chisel, and a hammer.

The leather was dampened while the stuffing was in progress and when not another pin-feather could be tamped in, the orifice was sewed up. Drying, the leather cover naturally contracted and the resultant ball was a pretty solid affair, and, it is said, fairly resilient, leaving the club "quite sweetly."

The feathery, in fact, appears to have behaved pretty well in dry weather and on dry turf. But when it got wet it was readily knocked lopsided, and the vertebræ of the feathers, to say nothing of their ribs, began to stick out, so that in a few holes the thing must have looked like a popular conception of a porcupine egg.

The first use of the gutta-percha ball, so I have been told, was marked by a dismal and depressing failure. Gutta-percha was coming rapidly into use for the manufacture of all kinds of articles, mostly moulded; and some golfing genius concluded that a moulded golf ball of that substance, painted or enameled white, would be a great improvement over the feathery, unstable of shape and tending to sprout feathers that in no way aided it to fly. One consideration, too, was that the gutta-percha ball would be smooth and would offer less resistance to the air in flight.

So the first gutties were duly moulded, smooth and fair, and painted, and seasoned a bit, and then taken out for trial—and they behaved in a most perverse and provocative manner. Fairly hit, they got up with a crisp smack, flew a short distance, and then ducked scandalously—the way a well-pitched spit-ball breaks.

"Gutties" Disappoint


Sometimes they didn't duck at first, but broke to the right or left, apparently with no reference to pulling or slicing—and then ducked. They simply would not fly. And after an afternoon of swatting and profanity—if golfers of that era were of a stripe with those of our unregenerate day—the inventor and his collaborators gave it up and in place of braining a group of sniggering caddies or boiling them in oil, they wreaked what they considered a cruel and unusual vengeance on the boys by giving them the entire lot of gutta-percha golf balls.

The gallant lads attacked this trove of missiles with zest, and at first they had no better luck than their ciders. Impetuous youth, however, swung harder and harder in the effort to compel the pretty, smooth globes to sail, and, as frequently results nowadays from hard swinging, hit the balls on the roof a good deal, and nicked them.

And presently, and gradually, a remarkable change took place in the conduct of those gutties. As they were battered, they began to fly; and the more they were nicked and cut and notched, the better they flew until, to the pop-eyed wonder of the youngsters, they outranged the best of the featheries.

This circumstance coming to the notice of the perpetrator of the new idea, he had sense enough to connect the dentation of the surface with the better flight of the ball. Smooth balls would not fly; nicked balls did fly. Ergo, the ball required a grip on the air to sustain it properly.

So they started out with another lot of moulded gutties—moulded smooth, and nicked by hand, with a clumsy tool; hand-hammered markings, unsightly and irregular, that yet did the business. In a short time workmen became somewhat skilled at the business; and marked the balls in patterns. And then the obvious ensued, and the molds were made with the marking in them—the squared symbols of the famous old Silvertown ball; the diagonals of the "Woodley Flyer"; and later the bramble or Agrippa marking, used, I think, on the Vardon Flyer, and brought over into the lively ball days in the old Red Dot.

The dimple marking came a little later, and there was much discussion as to whether the air got a better grip on the pimples or in the rugations of the depressed style, which has come to be the most general in modern times.

The Haskell or lively rubber ball proved, of course, the most radical and revolutionary innovation the game has known. It is directly responsible for the prodigious spread of the game, which, with the old gutty, was restricted in interest mainly to persons who were willing to study the art and work with it until they were at least decently proficient. No one not decently proficient at golf ever got any inspiring fund of amusement out of the hard-headed gutty. It had to be hit well to perform at all.

Old Alec Herd was the first notable player to use the new ball in a big championship, and with it he won the British Open of 1902 and established himself among the immortals.

An Orgy of Experiments


The fascination of the new ballistics was by no means restricted to players of golf. The manufacturers, after catching their breath, started out on an orgy of experimental production. They put nearly everything inside the rubber strands to serve as a core—everything from soft-soap and plain cooking water to some kind of acid that ruined the eyes of inquisitive children who cut into the missiles or bit them open. They made the balls smaller and wound the strands tighter, and Ted Ray and Abe Mitchell and others hit them farther and farther, until finally the legislative powers took hold of the situation to save the golf courses from further stretching, and for other purposes, as the conventional legislative bills recite.

And here is a matter in which even this modest deponent feels qualified to offer a bit of advice to that vast segment of the golfing proletariat known as duffers—and to the average golfer, as well; the golfer who plays around the hundred mark, and occasionally gets below it.

One of the first things the golf beginner does after outfitting himself with a lot of clubs and starting in to harrow a golf course, is to find out what kind of ball So-and-So uses—the long-hitter, the scratch man of his club. And the neophyte then decides that is the ball for him, and forthwith ties to it.

In approximately ten instances out of ten, that is not the ball for him. The small, high-powered, heavy ball used by the hard-hitting expert is a distinct handicap to the average duffer, who needs no additional handicaps. Because a certain ball yields enormous distance to George Duncan, Abe Mitchell, Jess Guilford or Bob Jones, or to some other expert, does not mean that the cramped, or flabby, or mis-timed swing of Messrs. Tom, Dick and Harry will get a maximum of flight out of it.

To extract the long flight tightly wound up in a high-powered golf ball, it must be hit firmly and truly and with a distinct and decisive kick; in a word, correctly and hard.

A ball of lower power, a less tightly wound ball, responds much better to a moderate blow and yields far better results, in distance and direction, to a partly missed shot, which is the kind of shot the duffer almost invariably uses. The larger and lighter balls are the ones for the duffer, or for almost any golfer not shooting regularly around 90 or better. They sit up better through the fairway, without the diabolical tendency of the smaller and heavier ball to nestle into every depression. They are easier to hit, which is no small part of the duffer's problem. And they get away with more life and verve from a light or uncertain stroke. Many experienced golfers contend that the lighter ball putts better; and all agree that it is easier to control in pitching to the green.

Yet the most usual combination seen in the ranks of dufferdom is the uncertain, erratic, choppy swing of the inexpert golfer and the type of ball used by his own professional and by the low handicap men of his club.

It is only ten years ago that Chick Evans, then playing a very pretty game, was using the largest-sized ball on the market; full weight, it is true; not a floater, but a ball as large as he could get. And he did well with it, and the same ball is still on the market—and it is one of the least expensive, too.

The late George Adair, of Atlanta, one of the most studious and thoughtful and intelligent of golfers, once told the writer that the floater was the best type of ball for all-around use, until a man had got to where he could shoot 90 with fair regularity. But there are comparatively few brands of floaters now on the market, and they are regarded with scorn, as suitable for women and children, by the average duffer, who hits grass-cutters around the course, viciously nicking the soft cover of the high-powered ball until he gets to a water hazard, when he puts the wretched pellet out of its misery by drowning it.

A few more yards on the drive, maybe even fifteen or twenty, is what the expert gets out of the heavy, high-powered ball now known as the standard. The duffer and I believe the average player get little except aggravation of the spirit and an occasional long wallop, when he happens accidentally to catch it just right.

It may be out of the province of ballistics to say so, but I believe that a vast majority of golfers would play better golf with a larger, lighter, and more durable ball than the new standard.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Nick Clearwater on Hitting from the Rough (Video)

Clearwater's Morning Drive tip on getting your ball out of the rough is simple, and it can help you get better results from your other shots as well.



Basically all he's talking about is spine angle. Excessive lean with your upper body, regardless of whether you lean away from the target or toward it, will affect your shots in a bad way.

However, that's especially true when you try to hit from the rough and you lean too far forward. When you do that, you take loft off the club and the ball comes out lower than normal... and in the rough, that means the ball won't get high enough to get out of the rough. You'll end up with a low tumbling shot that doesn't go very far.

Clearwater talks about getting your hips closer to the target than your head, but you can overdo that as well. If you simply maintain your posture during your swing, you'll turn through the shot and finish with youir belt buckle pointed toward the target and your weight will be on your lead foot. Here's the simple truth: If you finish with your weight balanced on your lead foot, you'll create the position he demonstrates in the video.

And if you do that, you'll hit the ball higher and it'll be more likely to get out of the rough.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Men and Women Tee It Up Together... Sort Of

The ISPS Handa Vic Open is (in my opinion) one of the cooler ideas in golf -- as the marketing says, “Men and women. On the same course. At the same time. For equal prize money.”

Defending champs Celine Boutier and David Law

The men and women aren't playing each other. True, they're on the same course at the same time... but the groupings are all male or all female, they alternate tee times and the courses are different lengths for each. Still, there are an even number of men and women in the event, and the available prize money at the event is split equally between them.

Yes, I think that's pretty cool. It makes for interesting TV and it allows the men and women to at least mingle at the event and learn from each other. That's something that I think can only help the game.

In case you're unfamiliar with the format, here's the European Tour's summary of how things work:
This week, both men and women are competing for their respective ISPS Handa Vic Open titles. Both events are being contested at 13th Beach Golf Links on the Bellarine Peninsula with men and women alternating tee times on the Beach and Creek Courses.
A 36-hole cut will reduce both tournaments to the top 60 players and ties, with the final two rounds to be played solely on the Beach Course. A 54-hole cut will then reduce the field to the top 35 and ties for the final round, again on the Beach Course.
And to call this a co-sanctioned event seems to be almost an understatement. There are four tours working together here -- the European Tour, the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australia, the LPGA and the ALPG Tour.

Celine Boutier and David Law are the defending champs, and both fields boast some star power. Best of all, GC's live coverage of the event starts tonight (Wednesday) at 11pm ET. I like being able to watch men's golf and women's golf at the same time!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: AT&T Pebble Beach

This week Twofer Tuesday trades the weirdness of Phoenix for the placid calm of Pebble Beach and the hijinx of the AT&T Pro-Am.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson had a long ride back from the Saudi International, so that's just one more thing he'll have to deal with as he seeks to defend his title. The pro-am format lends itself to longer than usual rounds, played over three courses, and Phil will have to deal with jet lag as well.

At least he'll have the crowds behind him and beautiful scenery around him.

Picking my two Top10ers presents yet another new challenge this week, as many of the top players are taking the week off and the relaxed nature of the event tends to bring out the best in some of the lesser-known names. I'm mixing it up this week, as my past attempts at strategy have been less successful than I would have liked.
  • My first pick is Brandt Snedeker. Sneds is a two-time winner of this event and has been playing well this season -- at least, he had been until missing the cut in Phoenix. Still, a little extra time to regroup and prepare for the long rounds at an event he loves should give him a leg up on the field.
  • And my second pick is a flier -- Kurt Kitayama. Kitayama is playing on a sponsors exemption this week, and the two-time ET winner got both of those wins in 2019. (He's one of my favorites on that tour.) Many of you may not realize that he's an American player with ties to California. I suppose he'll have his hands full getting a read on all three of the courses in this event, but I think this little homecoming may set well with him. He'll certainly be aware that he could get a Tour card with a win.
GC's live coverage begins Thursday afternoon at 3pm ET. It's always a pleasure to watch golf at Pebble, so this should be a great week no matter how things play out.

Monday, February 3, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 WM Phoenix Open

Winner: Webb Simpson

Around the wider world of golf: Graeme McDowell reentered the OWGR Top50 with his win at the Saudi Invitational; Brett Quigley won the Morocco Champions in only his second Champions Tour start; Davis Riley won his first Korn Ferry Tour title at the Panamá Championship; and the Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years!

Webb Simpson with Phoenix Open trophy

So often I think that players discover they are my Twofer Tuesday picks and are overcome by the magnitude of what is expected from them. I had Matt Kuchar (T16) and Jon Rahm (T9), two runaway favorites at this event... and both struggled to perform.
  • Top10s: 6 for 10 (2 Top5, 4 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 0 for 5 events
Watching the WM this weekend reminded me of an old story I heard about Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the US. (Stick with me; this'll make sense in a moment.) I made a quick search and found the story recounted on this page at archive.org:
In Curtis's "Life of Lincoln," he tells the story of Lincoln's answer to the question: "How long should a man's legs be in proportion to his body?" He omits the names of other prominent men connected with the story. It was when Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas, and Owen Lovejoy were traveling in a stage coach on their way to attend Court at Bloomington, Illinois. Douglas had a very long body and very short legs, being only five feet high; Lovejoy had a short body, and long legs proportionately, and all know Lincoln's build. Douglas "chaffed" Lovejoy about his long legs and ''pot belly" and Lovejoy retorted as to his very short legs, etc. One of them asked Lincoln: "How long should a man's legs be in proportion to his body?" and Lincoln replied: "I have not given the matter much consideration, but on first blush I should judge they ought to be long enough to reach from his body to the ground."
I thought about this because I kept hearing the announcers talk about how short Webb Simpson is off the tee and how hard it must be for him to compete, despite leading almost every statistical category except Driving Distance. And all I could think was "Apparently he's long enough to play these courses anyway." (See what I was doing there?)

This couldn't have been made clearer than in the battle between Webb and crusher Tony Finau, a player who I happen to like a great deal and who I hope starts posting more wins soon. Nobody seemed able to hang with Tony except Webb and, when they came to the 17th hole, all Webb did was go birdie-birdie to force a playoff and then birdie the first playoff hole for the win.

And after that, it seemed that all the analysts could talk about was Webb's mental toughness under the gun when it counts.

While it's true that Webb is a truly tough competitor -- just being one of the few to successfully learn a new putting stroke after the anchoring ban proved that -- the simple fact is that golf is not about just one aspect of the game, no matter how long you are. Webb already qualifies for the World Golf Hall of Fame -- you need only 15 wins on the official tours OR two majors (which includes THE PLAYERS), and while Webb has only six wins after Sunday, he does have a US Open and a PLAYERS.

More importantly, he got both of those wins playing against long hitters like Dustin Johnson. People seem to forget that!

So while I look for Tony to start picking up more wins soon, I'm extremely happy to see Webb pick up this one mono a mono against a bomber. I'm also extremely happy to present him with a freshly-prepared Limerick Summary, which is -- appropriately enough for a limerick -- never all that long anyway.
Yeah, they say Webb is short off the tee…
But his iron game’s like sweet potpourri!
And his touch on the green
Was the difference between
Runner-up and the winner’s marquee.
The photo came from this page at wmphoenixopen.com.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Tiger on the Stinger (Video)

I've posted various videos on how to hit the shot Tiger made famous, but I think this is the first time I've seen Tiger explain it himself. Take a look:



There are two main things that stand out to me about Tiger's approach to the stinger.

The first is ball position. He says he just moves the ball back "one ball" from its normal position for whatever shot he's hittting. That is simple enough.

But what really struck me is how important hand action is to his approach. Instead of changing his body motion -- he says he just tries to soften his arms and speed up his hips -- he focuses on stopping his hands quickly after impact. If he's trying to keep the ball really low, he tries to stop his hands right after impact; but if he just wants to hit the ball a bit lower and still hit it a long way, he tries to stop his hands around shoulder height.

So if you want to hit the ball really low, try to stop your hands right after impact. If you just want to keep it lower than normal, think about hitting a knockdown shot.

Ironically, Tiger also says the full stinger is a bit iffy, even for him. That makes sense, given how important he says the "braking" aspect of the swing is. It's difficult to create a lot of hand speed but stop it just after impact.

Still, even if Tiger's fullblown stinger seems a bit tricky to you, that "partial" stinger that's more like a knockdown shot should be something almost anybody can add to their arsenal.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Annabel Rolley on the One-Piece Takeaway (Video)

If you've read my blog for a while, you know I'm a big believer in the one-piece takeaway. In fact, I wrote a very popular post with a drill on how to make a one-piece takeaway. But my drill doesn't use a ball and Annabel's does, so here you go:



The key thing for you to note about Annabel's drill is that she wants you to smack that second golf ball back around 20 feet away! Why so far? Because she wants you to get some good extension when you reach around waist high and, if you can hit the ball that far, there's a good chance you won't tighten up and pull your hands in too close to your body.

By far the biggest mistake players make when learning the one-piece takeaway is they tighten up too much. They lock their elbows straight out and tense up so much that they can't cock their wrists properly or swing with any rhythm. Stiff arms make for a jerky swing, and that causes poor impact as well.

Between my drill (which you can do inside, without a ball) and Annabel's drill (using a ball) you should be able to learn a proper one-piece takeaway. And if you combine Annabel's drill with the L-to-L drill I recommend so often (most recently in this post from late December) you should be able to blend a good one-piece takeaway into your swing quite easily.