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Monday, August 31, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 BMW Championship

Winner: Jon Rahm

Around the wider world of golf: Rasmus Højgaard won the ISPS HANDA UK Championship on the ET; Austin Ernst won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on the LPGA; Fatima Fernandez Cano won the IOA Championship on the Symetra Tour; Phil Mickelson won his Champions Tour debut at the Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National; Brandon Wu won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship; Daniel van Tonder won the African Bank ST C/Ship on the Sunshine Tour; Aline Krauter won the Women's British Amateur; Yuka Saso won the Nittori Ladies on the JLPGA; and Hanbyul Kim won the Hazzys Golf KPGA Open on the KPGA. (Thanks, IC!)

Jon Rahm with BMW trophies

One of my Twofer Tuesday picks was no surprise. I had Dustin Johnson (2) and Collin Morikawa (T20). Collin must still need some time to get back in the groove but Dustin handed me an expected Top5.

  • Top10s: 18 for 44 (8 Top5, 10 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 1 for 22 events

DJ almost gave me another win, despite the vast difference in conditions from last week's event. Olympia Fields was a bone fide US Open layout this week and it took its toll on the field. (Definitely good prep for the real US Open in a few weeks, though.) That 43-footer DJ sank on the 18th hole to force a playoff with Jon Rahm was amazing, and gave us the rare chance to see World #1 and World #2 face off for a title.

And then all Jon did on the first playoff hole was sink a curling 66-footer of his own for birdie, forcing Dustin to sink another bomb if he wanted a chance for the title. He nearly made it... but 'nearly' isn't good enough these days. Rahm got his second PGA Tour win this season.

Is it any surprise that the few spectators in attendance went berserk? It was an unbelievable finish!

Interestingly enough, World #1 and World #2 go into the Tour Championship as FedExCup Points leaders #1 and #2, respectively, as well.

There's really nothing more I can say about this week. The caliber of play between Rahmbo and DJ has taken this shortened playoff series to a place I don't think the Playoffs have ever been, and words seem inadequate to describe it. I'll just give Jon his due with his second Limerick Summary of the season, and we'll see what happens next week!

It rolled sixty-six feet till it dropped
And the hearts of those there nearly stopped;
Rahm was up to the task.
He did all that was asked…
And Olympia Fields? It got rocked!

The photo came from this page at cbc.ca.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The New Women's Amateur Champ

Since we didn't get to see much on TV -- and I couldn't find any video of her win -- I thought I'd do a quick post on Aline Krauter's win at the Women's British Amateur at West Lancashire.

New champion Aline Krauter

Aline is the second German to win in three years -- Leone Harm won in 2018 -- and the second German to win a major in two weeks since Sophia Popov won the AIG Women's Open last week.

This story caught my eye because Aline (a 20-year-old Stanford student) actually has a connection to Sophia, as the two were fitted for clubs together in February before the pandemic really took hold. What a crazy coincidence!

Aline went 3down in the first four holes of the final match against Annabel Fuller, then won four of the next five holes to take a lead that she never gave up. She won the match 1up.

She's now exempt (as an amateur) into the AIG Women’s Open (where Popov will be the defending champ), US Women’s Open, Evian Championship, and Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

Not a bad story for German golf, eh?

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Tips for Hitting a Hybrid (Video)

Todd Kolb from USGolfTV did this video explaining the correct way to hit good shots with a hybrid.

Todd actually gives five useful tips for getting the most from your hybrid.

  1. Get your hybrid fit to your swing, the same way you would get your driver fit. That's the only way to get full use from it.
  2. Make sure your ball position is correct. Not where you would tee up for a driver, not all the way back in the center of your stance. You want the ball about one clubhead length back from that driver position.
  3. This is an iron replacement, not a fairway wood. Make sure you hit down on the ball slightly; it's okay to take a small divot as well.
  4. Find a go-to shot that you can hit with your hybrid. This club should be something you can turn to when you need to get the ball in play predictably.
  5. Finally, make sure you learn some of the useful things your hybrid can add to your game. I've blogged about chipping with a hybrid but they're also good to hit from fairway bunkers and play bump-and-run shots.

A hybrid isn't just another club to fill a slot in your bag. It's a specially designed piece of equipment intended to help you deal with problems in your game. Make it a useful weapon in your scoring arsenal!

Friday, August 28, 2020

A Quick LPGA Reminder

Just want to remind you that the LPGA is playing today and will be broadcast on GC, albeit tape-delayed.

Defending champion Sung Hyun Park

The pandemic is having its effect on the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, of course. While you wouldn't expect AIG Women's Open champ Sophia Popov to be in the field this week, it will also be missing defending champion Sung Hyun Park. Several of the Asian players continue to avoid travel around the world and, given that they bore the brunt of the pandemic's original hit, it's understandable.

Nevertheless, the field this week will still be a strong one. A number of players were already in the US when the season resumed and have been traveling 'in the bubble' since then. As a result, many of the players who spent the last couple of weeks in Scotland are back on US soil and ready to go.

So I just wanted to remind you that this event will be televised as usual, even though it's a tape-delayed broadcast because we've got both the FedExCup Playoffs and the Korn Ferry Tour Championship going on this week. GC's coverage will start at 7:30pm ET today, so don't miss it!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Michael Breed on Putting with a Hybrid

Here's a short Golf Digest lesson on putting with a hybrid from Michael Breed.

Putting from off the green with a hybrid

How simple can it be? Grip down to shorten the shaft, set your weight evenly on both feet, and rock your shoulders to hit the putt. If the shaft still feels too long, flex your wrists so you can stand the shaft up more vertically. (This is the same thing you do when you 'toe down' an iron to chip from the greenside rough.)

The main thing to take away from the article is that the ball will come off the face of a hybrid much hotter than it does off a putter. Because of that, Breed says you should play the rough as if it were just part of the green and you were making a long putt.

Of course, you know this is a common shot among the pros, especially when they're playing links golf. It's a nice little shot to have in your arsenal. You never know when you might find a use for it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The End (But Not) of the Korn Ferry Season

We should take a moment to consider the strange case of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.

Defending champion Tom Lewis

The event will be played at Victoria National GC in Newburgh, Indiana. The defending champion is Tom Lewis who, as usual, will not be defending because he's out on the PGA Tour now.

But that's where any normalcy ends. The pandemic has changed the rules at this year's event. This year, the end is NOT the end.

This Tour Championship won't end with The 25 getting their Tour cards; that will happen at the end of the 2020-2021 season. The biggest differences are best summed up by the Korn Ferry Tour's Insider:

The top-10 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List after Sunday will earn starts in 2020-21 on TOUR in alternate field events. The top-five in the three-tournament Points List (Albertstons Boise Open, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, Korn Ferry Tour Championship) will earn exemptions into the U.S. Open in September.

This week’s Korn Ferry Tour Championship will also offer a bonus carrot, points-wise: the winner will receive 750 points (versus the usual 500). That means there could be some serious shuffling amongst key positions on the various points list.

And with so much golf crammed into the next few months on all the tours, it must feel as if the Korn Ferry boys won't have any time to breathe, let alone regroup for another long haul to the actual reception of PGA Tour cards. And just think about the unexpected bonus of a possible trip to the US Open in less than a month!

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at 1pm ET. It all feels so surreal at this point!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: BMW Championship

Twofer Tuesday makes the short trip southward for the second leg of the shortened 2020 FedExCup Playoffs, the BMW Championship.

Defending champion Justin Thomas

Welcome to the North Course at Olympia Fields Country Club, in the south suburbs of Chicago. The course is around a century old and the PGA Tour last saw it in 2003, for the US Open. For this event it's listed at 7366 yards and plays to a par of 70, so it's no pushover. There is no cut and only the Top30 make it to East Lake next week.

Justin Thomas is the defending champion but he won at Medinah Country Club. No advantage for him this week.

Now that the formalities are out of the way... who should I pick this week? It's a no-brainer, really.

  • First I'm taking Dustin Johnson. I know you think it's because of his blistering performance last week but I'm not stupid -- I know he can't play that way every week. However, he has two wins and a T2 at the PGA in his last six starts, and the last time he had a stretch anywhere near this good was back in 2016 when he won the US Open, the run that ended when he got injured in Masters Week 2017. I think he's on another run, and I intend to get some Top10s, maybe even a win or two from it.
  • And for the third week in a row I'm taking Webb Simpson. In the last two weeks he's given me a T3 and a T6, and I'm looking for more of the same because he's been in a good run even longer than DJ's this season. I don't care how long the course is. When you're as good as Webb, you're a threat... and with no cut to deal with, and him sitting at #3 in the points list, I think he can outlast a lot of the field. [UPDATE: Webb withdrew to rest on Tuesday so I'm subbing Collin Morikawa as my second pick.]

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at 3pm ET. With a shortened postseason like this, I think the pressure will be unusually high and some of the regular contenders will won't be able to handle it. This should be an entertaining event!

Monday, August 24, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Northern Trust

Winner: Dustin Johnson

Around the wider world of golf: Sophia Popov went from struggling player to AIG Women's Open champion on the LET/LPGA; Fatima Fernandez Cano won the IOA Championship on the Symetra Tour; Curtis Luck won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Shane Bertsch won the Charles Schwab Series at Bass Pro Shops Big Cedar Lodge on the Champions Tour; Romain Langasque won the ISPS HANDA Wales Open on the ET; Darren Fichardt won the Betway Championship on the Sunshine Tour; and Tae Hee Lee defended his title at the KPGA's GS Caltex Maekyung Open (thanks, IC).

Dustin Johnson with Northern Trust trophy

At least one of my Twofer Tuesday picks continued his good play. I had Webb Simpson (T6) and Collin Morikawa (MC). Collin must have still been celebrating his PGA win. Webb handed me a Top10 for the second week in a row.

  • Top10s: 17 for 42 (7 Top5, 10 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 1 for 21 events

You know, it's kinda funny. After Brooks Koepka threw some shade at Dustin Johnson and then Rory publicly expressed his belief that Brooks shouldn't challenge a player as good as DJ (Rory used the term "poke the bear"), what should happen but Brooks has to WD because of knee problems and "the bear" wakes up.

Boy, did the bear wake up!

While analysts were shocked that DJ didn't match Scottie Scheffler's 59 on Friday after being 11-under in 11 holes, it should be noted that the 60 was DJ's career-low round -- an achievement that shouldn't be overlooked, especially after the run of three bad rounds he had less than a month back. And then, despite the common knowledge that such a low round is hard to follow up, DJ posted 64-63 on the weekend to win the Northern Trust by 11 shots.

ELEVEN SHOTS, PEOPLE!

Memo for Brooks: Poking the bear, especially when that bear is named Dustin Johnson, is a very, very, VERY bad idea!

So DJ now has two wins plus a runner-up in a major in his last six starts. Sounds to me like he might be picking up a few new Limerick Summaries over the next few weeks...

Though Rory warned Koepka, “Beware!
You shouldn’t go poking the bear,”
That bear woke up Sunday…
And DJ was HUNGRY!
The field could but gasp in despair.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Mike Dero on the Power Fade (Video)

The reason I'm posting this video is that Dero's explanation of how to hit a power fade can also help you understand why you're struggling with a bad slice.

Pay particular attention to the last minute or so of the video where he explains how the club travels during the followthrough for both fades and draws. That knowledge alone may help you start getting the ball to go where you aim.

I realize that a lot of you may have questions about how these things can help you straighten out a slice. If you do, just drop your questions in the comments and I'll do a post to answer them.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Annabel Rolley on Extension (Video)

I know many of you have seen this drill before, but I do like the way Annabel Rolley teaches it. If you haven't seen it, pay attention.

For the rest of you, consider this a refresher.

This drill will not only help you create more speed at impact but also to maintain that speed longer into your followthrough. It should also help your accuracy. What more do you need to know?

Friday, August 21, 2020

Danielle Kang on the Mental Game (Video)

This is a Golfing World video from March 2019 when Danielle was in the midst of struggling with her game. In it she talks about fighting her own thoughts on the golf course as well as how her caddie and Butch Harmon helped her get out of her own way.

Bear in mind that this was only a year ago, and since then she's won three times -- two of those back-to-back since the restart -- and had a total of ten Top5 finishes. You might learn some valuable lessons from this video!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Stacy Lewis's Bunker Drill (Video)

Since Stacy Lewis is coming into the AIG Women's Open off a win at the Women's Scottish Open, I thought it might be interesting to see how she plays from a bunker. She'll have to deal with quite a few of them at Royal Troon.

And guess what? She wants you to dig a hole.

This is a slightly different drill from what you usually see. Drawing a circle in the sand around the ball, then removing the ball from the circle and trying to scoop all the sand out of the circle in a single stroke is a cool way to visualize how a sand shot works.

An interesting sidebar to this technique is where Stacy says the 'hinge' of the wrist cock is. It's not focused in your wrist at all, but in your right thumb -- or, if you're a leftie, in your left thumb. Use a lot of hinge for a high short shot, not so much for a lower longer shot.

This is a simple drill that helps you 'see' bunker shots in a new way and, if you're struggling to get the hang of them, it might be just different enough to help you improve your success rate from the sand.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Miss Shibuno Goes to Troon

The Smiling Cinderella is back and she leads the field as she defends her title at the AIG Women's Open at Royal Troon.

Defending champion Hinako Shibuno

Hinako Shibuno played her first links course last week at the Renaissance Club, where she had an invitation to play in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. She missed the cut with a +14, but it was her first attempt at links golf, after all.

If it turns nasty this week, as some are predicting for Friday, that could level the odds for her. If everybody struggles...

It's not like she'll be alone. Even the vets will struggle if that happens!

And if you want to keep up with history this week, you should be aware that this will be the first time three players from India tee it up in a major championship. Those three are Aditi Ashok, Diksha Dagar and Tvesa Malik.

Of course, it's also a first for Royal Troon to host the AIG Women's Open. Let's not forget that!

Past champions Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, Georgia Hall and Dame Laura Davies (who'll be hitting the opening tee shot on Thursday) will join Hinako and the rest for the third spectator-free major in a row -- joining the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. But we're at Royal Troon, folks. How much better can it get?

GC's giving this major some serious coverage, beginning Thursday at 5:30am ET for three hours and rejoining the ladies at 10am ET for another three hours. It's always a blast to see the classic links courses, so this is going to be an awesome tournament!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Northern Trust

Twofer Tuesday has grown tired of the shortened season and decided to skip straight to the FedExCup Playoffs. This week we stop at the Northern Trust.

Defending champion Patrick Reed

The Northern Trust is the first Playoff event and it has moves from course to course yearly. This year it's at TPC Boston, so you can choose who you call the defending champion: Patrick Reed won this event in 2019 but Bryson DeChambeau won in 2018 when the event was last played at this course. Have fun with that argument!

All 125 players who qualified for this first Playoff event are expected to play, but you will want to know one change to this year's Playoffs: Instead of the winner getting four times the normal points, since there are only three events this year the points will be tripled. The winner gets 1500 points instead of 2000.

But since there are only three events this year, we don't have much time. Let's get to the picks!

  • My first pick is Collin Morikawa. Fresh off his first major win and a week's rest -- and his place as the 2 seed -- I don't see Collin slowing down. If he shows any form at all this week, his accuracy and putting prowess should have him solidly in the mix on Sunday.
  • And since I'm going chalk with my first pick, why change now? Webb Simpson is the 3 seed and he won at TPC Boston back in 2011. He has also been in form this season, with two wins and coming off a Top5 in Greensboro last week. (Did I mention that I made him a pick last week as well?) I see no reason to jump off a winning pick.

GC's coverage starts Thursday at 3pm ET. As solid as my choices are, there's going to be plenty of players who could easily take this thing -- everybody from Tiger Woods to Rory McIlroy to Jason Day to Justin Thomas (the 2017 champ at this course) to [fill in the blank]. This has the potential to be the best tournament of the Playoffs. I can't wait!

Monday, August 17, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Wyndham Championship

Winner: Jim Herman

Around the wider world of golf: Jerry Kelly won the Bridgestone Senior PLAYERS, the only Champions Tour major to be played this year; Stephan Jaeger won the Albertsons Boise Open on the Korn Ferry Tour; Stacy Lewis won the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open on the LPGA/LET; Sarah White won the Founders Tribute on the Symetra Tour; Sam Horsfield won the Celtic Classic on the ET; and Tyler Strafaci beat Ollie Osborne 1up to win the US Amateur.

Jim Herman with Wyndham trophy

Home turf was good for one of my Twofer Tuesday picks this week. I had Webb Simpson (T3) and Paul Casey (T31). While Paul couldn't continue his great play from last week, Webb had his usual strong NC native showing.

  • Top10s: 16 for 40 (7 Top5, 9 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 1 for 20 events

But even home field advantage wasn't enough to overcome the oncoming storm that was Jim Herman. After nearly missing the cut on Friday -- he needed three birdies on the last four holes just to make the weekend -- all he did was shoot 61-63 to chase down Billy Horschel and take the Wyndham title for his third PGA Tour win. I think he made somewhere around 440 feet of putts at Sedgefield Country Club, which is nothing short of amazing.

Oh, and he sort of made the FedExCup Playoffs as well. Seems he went all the way from 192 in points up to 54 -- which, should he merely hang on to that position, would let him play in two of the three Playoff events.

Not bad at all for a player who has struggled this season.

This is the second year in a row Herman has won on Tour, and his third since winning back in 2017. Which means, unless memory fails me, that this is his third Limerick Summary as well. Great work, Jim!

He thought he’d be gone Friday night—
But instead, he jumped into the fight!
Shooting one-twenty-four
Shot him straight through the door
To a win and the Playoffs. Alright!

The photo came from this page at orlandosentinel.com.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Kevin Kisner's "Putting Shoes" (Video)

In case you didn't get enough of seeing Kevin Kisner's putting trainers -- you know, the balance balls he stands on to practice keeping his head steady while putting -- on GC Saturday, here's another look at them. As you can tell from this Instagram post, he's been using them for quite a while.

If you really want some, you might be able to make your own using some tennis balls or some other squishy balls cut in half. Or, if you want a set like Kevin's and can find a pair, they cost around $40.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Mike Malaska on the L-to-L Drill and Trajectory Control (Video)

You guys know how much I like the L-to-L drill as an all-around swing improver. Here's a new video from Mike Malaska showing how to use the L-to-L drill to improve trajectory control with your short irons.


One thing I really like about this video is that Mike demonstrates the difference between creating wrist cock and merely flipping your wrists at impact. (That starts around the 2:15 mark.) Seeing the difference can really help you get the results you're after, since flipping your wrists can not only prevent you from flighting the ball on the trajectory you wanted but also cause you to lose accuracy.

He also tells you how changing ball position can help -- or hurt -- your ability to control trajectory. That's a very useful thing to know as well!

Controlling trajectory is one of the keys to controlling the distance you hit your irons. And given how useful the L-to-L drill is for just generally improving your swing, why not learn how to get even more good from that one drill?

And if you're interested in checking out any of the other posts I've done on the L-to-L drill (and there have been plenty), just go to the search box in the lower right column of this blog page and type in L-to-L. You'll find a number of posts about all the things this single drill can teach you.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Putting in the Wind (Video)

With the US Amateur players struggling against the wind over at Bandon Dunes, I realized some help for putting in the wind might be useful. Here's Michael Breed with some tips.


I really like this video because it gives you ways to measure if your setup is correct.

  • Set up with the ball positioned one putterhead inside your lead foot.
  • Then put more weight on your lead foot until the center of your chest is directly over the ball.
  • Let your triceps (the back of your upper arms) rest lightly against your rib cage.
  • Rock your shoulders as you putt.

That's a very visual way of setting up to create a stable base in the wind. (Yeah, I know. Breed didn't follow his own instruction about ball position when he demonstrated the technique, did he? He wasn't very consistent either. Learn from that!)

Breed says that the stroke may feel a bit faster. You'll have to see if that's true for you.

One last thought: Breed is a big believer in shoulder putting, but I'm not so sure a big movement is necessary. However, even if you use your hands and wrists a bit, your shoulders will move a bit when using this setup because your arms are in contact with your chest. It may not be a lot but your shoulders will move a bit. A little practice will teach you how much.

Remember that when you're putting in the wind, staying stable is the key to making more putts. This is definitely a good technique to try if stability is a problem for you. You can use this technique even if it's a calm day!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Speaking of Majors...

The PGA Championship was last week. The AIG Women's Open is next week. Inbetween the Champions Tour is playing the Bridgestone Senior PLAYERS.

Defending champion Retief Goosen

The course is familiar. Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio hosted a WGC for many years -- and other events before that -- on the PGA Tour. It plays to a par-70 of roughly 7400 yards. This is the second year it's hosted the Senior PLAYERS and, like so many other events, it will host the event without any spectators.

And also like most of the tours during this unusual golf season, the Bridgestone will boast a loaded field of players hungry to get some competition under their belts. Defending champion Retief Goosen will headline the field but he'll have plenty of competition. In fact, pgatour.com's Power Rankings actually rank Steve Stricker ahead of Goosen.

GC's coverage should start Thursday at 11am ET. With so much golf being broadcast since the restart, it seems as if you can't turn on the TV without seeing live golf. Isn't it wonderful?

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Quick Hop Across the Pond

Finally! The LET joins in on the fun as they and the LPGA tee it up at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.

Defending champion Mi Jung Hur

The Renaissance Club in Scotland -- the same course that hosts the Men's Scottish Open -- will once again host the Ladies Scottish Open. This is the first of two events in Scotland, the second being the newly-renamed AIG Women's Open at Royal Troon.

We still aren't free of the pandemic's effects, of course. Defending champion Mi Jung Hur won't be defending this week, and you can be sure several other players won't risk catching the virus.

Nevertheless, the field should be pretty good. World #2 Danielle Kang, fresh off back-to-back wins in the first two events of the LPGA restart, will be joined by past champions Ariya Jutanugarn and Mi Hyang Lee, as well as major champs Hannah Green and Hinako Shibuno.

GC's coverage starts early on Thursday at 7am ET. It will be interesting to see how Danielle does as she has posted three wins, one second-place finish and two third-place finishes in her last seven LPGA starts.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Wyndham Championship

Twofer Tuesday heads home to North Carolina for this week's tournament, the Wyndham Championship.

Defending champion J.T. Poston

Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro is a classic Donald Ross design, the only Ross design that regularly hosts a Tour event. It's just a par-70 playing 7127 yards. And it's not unusual for first-time winners to get that first win here, as defending champion J.T. Poston did last year.

There's a lot on the line this week, as this is the final event before the FedExCup Playoffs and all the different points lists (and money prizes) will be finalized on Sunday. That means the real interest this week will be centered around the guys making the cut and hopefully the playoffs. And the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 competition will also get a few pros' attention.

But Twofer Tuesday is about the Top10 at this event, so let's get to it.

  • Webb Simpson is one of those players who got his first Tour win at this event (2011), and he already has two wins this season. Given that he's been T3 or better each of the last three years, and T11 or better eight of the last ten, you know who I'm picking. I need to get my stats up!
  • And I'm falling back on a player I've often picked to win when he's playing well, only to have him plagued by bad luck. Paul Casey is playing some of his best golf in quite a while, and an old-style course like Sedgefield suits him. Coming off his runner-up finish at Harding Park, I like his chances to put up another strong finish.

GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 2pm ET. It's always fun to watch the guys try their luck on a classic course and, with the loaded fields we've seen since the restart, combined with the last-minute pressure of the points lists, this should be a killer week to end the regular season.

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 PGA Championship

Winner: Collin Morikawa

Around the wider world of golf: Danielle Kang went back-to-back with a victory at the Marathon LPGA Classic; Andy Sullivan won the English Championship on the ET; Lee Hodges won the WinCo Foods Portland Open on the Korn Ferry Tour; the KLPGA team defended the OrangeLife Champions Trophy over the combined LPGA/JLPGA team; Sung Hyun Kim won the KPGA Championship; and Rose Zhang beat Gabriela Ruffels in 38 holes at the Women's Amateur.

New PGA champion Collin Morikawa finds the Wannamaker trophy has a mind of its own

Perhaps in the future my Twofer Tuesday picks should avoid municipal courses. I had Brooks Koepka (T29) and Justin Thomas (T37), who were clearly puzzled by the shots we weekend athletes have to contend with on a regular basis. Perhaps they were confused by the lack of spectators...?

  • Top10s: 15 for 38 (6 Top5, 9 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 1 for 19 events

Granted, Brooks did start the final round on the first page of the leaderboard. He simply didn't stay there. But there were plenty of players eager to take his spot.

Collin Morikawa appeared to be more eager than most.

In a field dominated by bombers -- and yes, Bryson DeChambeau proved his body changes would indeed improve his play in the majors by getting his first Top10 -- two of the Top3 finishers weren't bombers at all, but rather shotmakers and good putters. Paul Casey tied for second...

And Collin just went freaking crazy in the last five holes. A chip-in birdie on the 14th and an eagle on the par-4 16th put him out of the reach of the rest of the field.

With two victories in a month -- one at Muirfield Village and the other a major -- he takes over the #1 spot in my Ruthless Golf World Rankings. He's also only the fourth 23-year-old, behind Jack, Tiger and Rory, to win a PGA Championship. Think about this, folks: Collin Morikawa now has as many majors as he has missed cuts. That's unusual these days for sure!

Even the Wanamaker Trophy didn't know how to handle it, as illustrated in the photo above.

But I know how to handle it for sure. I just pump out another Limerick Summary. Collin's building a nice collection of them for someone so early in his career! [UPDATE: And please forgive me, Collin -- you aren't the only guy to bobble the prize! I accidentally put UCLA when I should have put Cal Berkeley. I hope this corrected Limerick Summary works for you!]

Just like Rory and Tiger and Jack,
For Collin there’s no looking back.
Went from Cal-Berkeley play
To his first PGA
At just age 23. He’s no hack!

The photo came from this page at golfweek.usatoday.com.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Homemade Training Aids to Improve Contact (Video)

I know some of you really like to use training aids to improve your swing, so here's GOLFTEC's Nathan Morris with some ideas on how to create your own training aids. Maybe it will give you some ideas on how to design your own custom training station.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Chipping from Thick Greenside Rough (Videos)

Since the pros at Harding Park struggled so much from the rough on Friday, I thought it might be worthwhile to look at chipping out of really thick greenside rough.

I've linked an article at pgatour.com that describes the basics of "thick rough chipping", but apparently they didn't care enough about it to keep links to the photos that are referenced in the article. Still, the description is very thorough and hopefully a couple of videos will provide the necessary visuals.

One thing you want to remember when reading this article is that they assume you're righthanded. Anywhere you see the word 'left' you should mentally substitute the word 'lead.' That way, you lefties out there can follow the instructions as well.
We'll start with a brief video from Bradley Hughes.

The other video is from Kelly King and goes into a bit more detail.

The main keys you need to remember are:

  • You want to keep your iron shaft more vertical than normal so you can use the toe of the club to hit the ball. That way you don't get caught up in the rough so badly.
  • This means you want to keep the grip more in the palm of your lead hand.
  • The net result of these two keys is that you're going to make a putting motion without a lot of wrist break. (The grip simply won't let you use a lot of wrist action.) That will make for a more consistent contact as you hit the ball.
  • At address the ball should be in the middle of your stance or just slightly back of that and the shaft should point at your belly button. Your weight should stay on your lead side all the way through the swing from start to finish.
  • And make sure you swing hard enough that the club doesn't stop in the grass. You have to swing hard enough to get the club all the way out of the grass; if you just stick the club in the grass, the ball isn't going to come out. For shorter shots use more loft; for longer shots use less loft. The loft will determine how high the ball flies coming out of the rough; learning how much to use is just a matter of practice.

If you follow these keys, the ball will "squirt" out of the rough and run across the green to the hole. That's what you want!

Even the pros struggle when faced with thick greenside rough. That doesn't mean it has to wreck your score if you just keep the basics in mind.

Friday, August 7, 2020

The Chunk and Run Shot, Part 2 (Videos)

Yesterday I posted Dave Pelz's instructions for hitting a chunk and run shot from the bunker. Today I've got four short videos from four different teachers, each demonstrating their approach to the shot.

Each of these chunk and run shots uses the basics of the Pelz shot, but each has that teacher's own twist on the technique. Between the Pelz instructions and these four demos, you should be able to find a technique that works for you.

The first video is from Sandy Jamieson.


The next video comes from Scott Mahlberg.


Here's one from Anne Cain.


And this video is from Mitchell Spearman.

Four different teachers, four slightly different approaches. Try them all and pick the one that suits you best!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Chunk and Run Shot

The chunk and run shot is simply a sand shot that's hit fat on purpose. I found this Golf Magazine article where Dave Pelz explains the basics.

Dave Pelz hitting chunk and run sand shot

Here's a summary of what Dave says in the article.
  • This is a 20- to 40-yard greenside shot for use in a shallow bunker. If the lip is too high, this is the wrong shot. And you need room between the bunker and the hole for the shot to run.
  • Don't use your sand wedge. Dave recommends a 7- to 9-iron.
  • Use your normal setup and open the clubface only a little, just enough to keep it from digging into the sand.
  • Make your backswing about half its normal length and hit four or five inches behind the ball. Remember, you want to hit it fat on purpose!
  • Dave says you're pushing the sand into the ball, not slipping the club under the ball to throw the sand upward. So don't flip your wrists.
  • For a 20-yard shot, finish with your hands around waist high. For a 40-yard chunk and run, make a full finish.
  • Let that baby RUN to the hole!
This is a shot that takes some practice but, hey, how hard can it be to hit the ball fat? Just experiment a little and find out which club works best for you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The LPGA Plays the Marathon Classic After All

We weren't sure this event would even be played as little as a month ago, and the virus has left its fingerprints all over the Marathon Classic.

Defending champion Sei Young Kim

We'll start with the obvious: There will be no spectators at this event. That nearly killed the event, as sponsors draw most of the charity dollars from the pro-ams and such that can't be played this year.

Defending champion Sei Young Kim will not defend. She's still in Korea due to travel concerns.

An interesting fact: US players have more wins at this event than any other country (13), but no American has won since 2008 (Paula Creamer). That could change this year, given that many of the international players have -- like Kim -- chosen not to risk the travel. But that doesn't mean the entire field will be US players. A quick glance at the field list shows a large number of international players will be in action.

The field will be headlined by World #2 Danielle Kang and #3 Nelly Korda. Also notable is Ana Belac, a player from Slovenia via Duke University who is making her first Tour appearance on a sponsor's invite. (Is she the first Slovenian player to play at an LPGA event? I'm guessing she is.)

Finally, this note from the LPGA website.
The Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana is the final opportunity for LPGA players to earn a full exemption into the 2020 AIG Women’s Open; after 72 holes, the top 10 LPGA Members not already exempt will earn a spot into the major championship
GC will carry three hours of live coverage starting Thursday at 1pm ET. For those of us who missed women's golf, it's nice to know the LPGA is getting some live coverage amidst all the other tours.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: PGA Championship

Twofer Tuesday is trapped in a time warp! A trip to the 2020 PGA Championship takes us to roughly the same time of year as the 2018 PGA!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka

Well, I suppose we'll survive, given that the same guy won in 2018 and 2019. This time Brooks Koepka defends at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco CA.

The difference, of course, is the pandemic. This PGA will have no fans -- or at least none but perhaps the significant others of the players involved. There is a belief among some commentators that this may open up the potential for an unexpected winner, an inexperienced player who may benefit from the lack of fans. Fewer people on site watching, less pressure on the participants -- or that's how the theory goes.

We'll see about that. Majors carry a pressure all their own, regardless of how many fans are watching.

In the meantime I have to pick two players to finish in the Top10. Forget untested theories -- I'm going chalk.
  • After a near miss last week at the WGC, it's hard not to believe Brooks Koepka will find a way to get it done yet again. The chance to win a fifth major, as well as make history with a three-peat -- that's just too much for a gamer like Brooks to pass up. The massive improvements in his game last week lacked only one thing -- a dependable fade. I bet he'll have one of those this week!
  • Let's see now, who were the last three PGA champs? Brooks won in 2019 and 2018... and Justin Thomas in 2017. The only three-time winner this season is coming off a WGC win where he beat... defending champ Brooks Koepka? Sure, he's been a bit erratic but he's got a win and a runner-up in his last three events. Sure sounds like a recipe for success to me!
ESPN and CBS split the coverage duties this week. If you've got the ESPN+ streaming service, you can watch from 10am-4pm ET on Thursday. But whether you've got that or not, ESPN will air the event from 4pm-10pm ET Thursday. Bear in mind that both will likely be live, as there's a three-hour time difference between the East and West Coasts.

I'm interested to see if the "no pressure" theory actually plays out in San Francisco... but I wouldn't bet on it. I'll be shocked if the winner doesn't come from the Top20 in the world rankings.

Monday, August 3, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 WGC-FedEx St. Jude

Winner: Justin Thomas

Around the wider world of golf: Sam Horsfield won the Hero Open on the ET; Jim Furyk won the Ally Challenge on the Champions Tour; Richy Werenski won the Barracuda Championship, the PGA Tour's alternate field event; Seth Reeves won the Pinnacle Bank Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Danielle Kang won the LPGA Drive On Championship; and Hae Ran Ryu defended her title at the Jeju Samdasoo Masters on the KLPGA.

Justin Thomas with WGC-FedEx St. Jude trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks struggled in Memphis. I had Collin Morikawa (T20) and Webb Simpson (T12). Webb almost gave me a T10 until late Sunday, when the course took its toll on almost everybody. Oh well...
  • Top10s: 15 for 36 (6 Top5, 9 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 1 for 18 events
Justin Thomas had his mind on a high finish this week. After some uneven play since the restart, he was talking about his desire to return to #1 in the world and noted he'd like to spend at least two years there by the time his career ended.

Guess who's back?

Jon Rahm's time at the top ended quickly after a T52 in Memphis but JT's return to the top of the OWGR wasn't a done deal. He started the final round in fifth place -- he'd never come from that far back -- and he was four strokes down, tying the largest deficit he'd ever overcome. And while he made up ground quickly, at one point there were eight players within a single stroke of the lead.

One of those players was Brooks Koepka, also rediscovering some form after a few weeks of struggle. It appeared for a while that he might be back on point and ready to defend his last WGC title... but then he hit the final three holes and the roller coaster took its toll:
  • JT took a two-stroke lead after making birdie on 16 while Brooks bogeyed.
  • Brooks cut the lead to one with a long birdie on 17 while JT could only par.
  • And then Brooks dumped his tee shot on 18 into the water for double-bogey and JT"s par gave him a three-shot victory.
So now Justin Thomas heads to California for the PGA Championship, the major he's won once already and at which Brooks is again the defending champion. But he'll head out well-armed with both the #1 spot in the world rankings and yet another Limerick Summary.
The first man to three wins this season
Leaves Memphis with one major reason
To play well in Cali:
For JT, it’s how he
Finds World Number One so damn pleasin’!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Jon Rahm on the Short Game (Video)

This year-old video is absolutely loaded with Jon's thoughts on the short game. There's a lot here if you take the time to listen.



I think the most useful tip he gives is his preference for shots that don't spin. Jon says that your best chance to make a short game shot -- if it's a shot that you can use, given the conditions -- is to make the shot without spin so it will hit and roll to the hole.

As I said, there's a lot of good thoughts in this video. Given that his approach took him from #8 at the time of this video to #1 now, those thoughts are definitely worth trying out.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Before You Buy Your Next Set of Clubs...

This Golf Monthly video helps you prepare for the potentially expensive procedure of getting a new set of fitted clubs. Check out the ten questions you should ask before you buy!


I have listed the ten questions below but you'll want to watch the video to understand the full importance of each one.

And yes, I know I numbered them backwards. That's just how the HTML coding for the post works!
  1. What is the weakest part of your game?
  2. Where do you play?
  3. Are you taking lessons, and is your handicap coming down?
  4. How important are the look and the feel of the golf clubs to you?
  5. Is the makeup of the set likely to change?
  6. Do you have one consistent shot shape, or do you prefer to hit lots of different types of shots?
  7. How much are you willing to spend?
  8. What would make a bigger difference to your scoring -- hitting it longer or hitting it straighter?
  9. What is your go-to shot?
  10. Where do you most commonly miss?
So if you're getting ready to buy new clubs, take the time to run through these questions. They just might make the difference between a good fit and a less-than-successful fit.