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Sunday, September 27, 2020

How Your Dominant Hand Squares Your Clubface (Video)

Unless you're someone like Phil Mickelson who swings with his dominant hand as his lead hand -- that is, he's a righthander who swings lefthanded -- you probably have trouble squaring the clubface because you use your trail (dominant) hand and arm incorrectly. This drill from Chris Ryan will help you fix that problem.


You may need to watch this video several times before you understand what Chris is saying. The simplest explanation is that your trail elbow needs to be bent when you hit the ball BUT what you're actually doing right now is straightening it before you ever hit the ball. Another way to describe this move is that your trail elbow leads your trail hand into the impact zone.

Yeah, it sounds weird. But that's the way you throw a ball at hip level, what we sometimes call a 'sidearm' throw. And that's the motion that Chris is trying to teach you with this drill.

For most of you, this is going to take a little work to learn how it feels when you hit the ball. Let me add a couple of thoughts.

  • This drill works very well when used with the L-to-L drill. (I know, I say that about almost every drill. But it's true because the L-to-L drill is a basic move in a powerful, accurate golf swing.) When you start hitting balls using this move, incorporate this 'leading elbow' move into the L-to-L drill. You'll be very happy with the results.
  • And while Chris wants you to throw the ball at the ground during this drill, you may find it makes more sense for you to also try throwing the ball toward a target in front of you, the same way you'd try to hit the ball toward a target with a club. This has the added advantage of teaching you how to place your trail hand on the club's grip in order to know you've squared the clubface. And once you can do that, it's a simple matter to learn how to open or close the face a bit to hit a fade or draw.

No matter what your golf swing looks like now, you can always learn how to aim the clubface with that swing. And once you can do that, your score will start to drop because the ball will end up where you wanted to play from -- which, if you want it in the fairway, will be a lot better place to play from than the rough!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Mike Sullivan on Playing from Bermuda Rough (Video)

Mike Sullivan runs a golf school in Raleigh NC, a couple of hours from where I live. Here are his tips on how to play from Bermuda rough, both near the green and beside the fairway.


Beside the green probably didn't throw you at all. If the ball's on top of the grass, great -- you can just chip it. But when the ball has sunk down into the heavy stuff, it's all about the bunker shot -- hit behind the ball and let the grass lift the ball out.

But out in the rough beside the fairway is a bit trickier. Mike says if the ball is less than halfway down in the rough, you're likely to get a flier. But if it's deeper, you're likely to lose distance so you should take a longer club and make more of a controlled swing in order to make better contact.

The coolest tip from this is his warning that, when you try to swing hard out of deep rough -- which is when you really need to hit close to the ball in order to make decent contact -- you're more likely to hit the ball fat and flub the shot. This is a mistake you often see, even from the pros. Don't make the same mistake!

In my opinion, the tips for around the green are pretty much no-brainers. But when you're out there in the rough after a poor drive, I think these tips might not be the whole story -- the condition of the rough has to be considered as well, since thin dry rough behaves a bit differently from thick juicy rough. Keep that in mind.

Still, these tips are a really good place to start when you're standing over an almost invisible lie in Bermuda rough and trying to choose a club.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Cindy Miller on Stopping Your Slice (Video)

Some of you may have heard of this drill, but it's something you can use on the course as well. In this video LPGA pro Cindy Miller shows you how to fight off a slice.


Slices are caused by leaving the clubface open at impact. You all know that, I'm not telling you anything new.

As you can see, in this drill basically all you're doing is closing your stance. But this is an extremely closed position because you're trying to give your hands more time to square the clubface.

The trick to this drill is WHY you're leaving the clubface open, which means this may actually be overkill for some of you and will cause you to hit a draw or even a big hook. If that's the case, you can adjust how closed your stance is.

Many of you are moving forward too much during your downswing. I know, you've been told you need to do it but you're doing it WAY too much. This super-closed setup is going to tone down that move without you really having to think about it.

Note also that Cindy hasn't changed her ball position at all. It's still just inside her lead heel. However, she has closed her stance so much that the toes on her lead foot actually point a little bit behind the ball. That forces your body to slow down its turn just enough for your hands to catch up and square the clubface.

This is going to feel weird, I know. But that's because you aren't used to using your hands properly during your downswing. That's really what this drill teaches you, much like the L-to-L drill I write about so often. (That's the link to the most recent post I did about it.) But Cindy's drill goes straight to the full swing while the L-to-L drill starts with your short game.

Once you get the hang of squaring the clubface you won't need this drill anymore. But it's a nice thing to have in your arsenal. After all, sometimes you just HAVE to draw the ball...

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Paul McGinley on Strategy (Video)

No commentary today, just a Golf Monthly video with Paul McGinley playing three holes with an 18-handicapper to teach him some basics on scoring. Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Irish Eyes Are Still Smiling...

Because the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is going to be played despite the pandemic. This is a Rolex Series event, so it's a big deal for it to be played -- even if it is four months later than usual.

Defending champion Jon Rahm

Like so many events in this odd year, the Irish Open had to change venue in order to be played this year. The new venue -- for this year only -- is Galgorm Castle Golf Club, a course regularly featured on the Challenge Tour so many of the players will likely be familiar with it.

There is one downer for the Irish fans: Defending champion Jon Rahm won't be there. (Rahm has actually won this event twice, in 2017 and 2019.) I'm guessing the one-two punch of the pandemic and Winged Foot just made the trip too demanding for him.

But that didn't stop Shane Lowry, who is making his first ET start since the restart. Lowry won this event as an amateur back in 2009 and he'll be heading up the field this year. I can't help but feel that, regardless of how tough the weather might be, this event will still be a relief after the grind of Winged Foot. I'm sure his presence will ease any disappointment the Irish fans might feel over Rahm's absence!

Also in the field -- and my favorite to win this week -- is George Coetzee, the South African player who won Sunshine Tour and ET events back-to-back earlier this month, as well as posting a T3 in Portugal last week. It's hard to bet against a run when a good player like Coetzee is having it!

GC is covering this event starting at 8am ET Thursday morning. We'll be getting a five-hour window to watch it, and what could be better than spending a few pleasant hours viewing the Northern Ireland countryside?

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship

After a stressful week trying to keep up with DeChambeau's drives, Twofer Tuesday opts for the laidback shores of the Dominican Republic and the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

Defending champion Graeme McDowell

The CPRCC has moved from the Korn Ferry Tour to an alternate field event to (this playing only) a fullblown FedExCup event offering 500 points. Defending champion Graeme McDowell would certainly love to repeat this time! And if he does so, he'll be the first player to successfully defend his title.

Unlike most of the events since the restart, the CPRCC field isn't stacked to the gills with top players. The highest-ranked player in the field is Henrik Stenson (OWGR #43), who is making his debut at this event. That means the event is more wide open for someone to break through for their first win this year or perhaps even the first of their career.

That doesn't mean this is a weak field. A quick look at the field list shows a number of solid players coming off a missed trip to East Lake as well as several players on major medical extensions. Even the sponsor exemptions strike me as reasonable bets to win.

All of which means this is going to be one of the hardest weeks to me to pick so far this season.

  • Will Zalatoris is coming off a T6 at Winged Foot, meaning he made it into this event on his own and doesn't need to use the sponsor's invite he originally had. Although he is the #4 pick on pgatour.com's Power Rankings, that's not why I picked him. I figure if you can shoot +5 at Winged Foot in those conditions, Corales Puntacana should be a breeze!
  • My other pick is Thomas Detry.The young Belgian hasn't won on the ET yet but he had a runner-up at the Celtic Classic and was only +6 for three rounds at the US Open before shooting 81 in the final round to finish T49. Still, that's a great finish in Wales and a decent showing on the toughest US Open course in the rotation. I think the Dominican Republic will be good for him.

GC's coverage starts Thursday at 3pm ET. Even with a stiff breeze, the Corales Puntacana course should be a good place for players to get their groove back... and great scenery for us fans to watch.

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 US Open

Winner: Bryson DeChambeau

Around the wider world of golf: Jim Furyk went two-for-two by winning the Pure Insurance Championship, his second start on the Champions Tour; Georgia Hall got her second LPGA win at the Cambria Portland Classic; Garrick Higgo won his first ET victory at the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos; Julia Engstrom won her second LET title of this season at the Lacoste Ladies Open De France; and Ayaka Furue won the Descente Ladies Tokai Classic on the JLPGA (thanks, IC!).

Surprise winner Bryson DeChambeau with his US Open bling

My Twofer Tuesday picks, like so many other people's picks at Winged Foot, struggled with the course. But I had Dustin Johnson (T6) and Webb Simpson (T8) and both got me Top10s, so I'm satisfied.

  • Top10s: 21 for 50 (9 Top5, 12 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 2 for 25 events
Yes, I can freely admit that Bryson DeChambeau was a surprise winner. It's not that I didn't think Bryson was good enough to win -- he's pretty accurate with the driver when he's on and he's strong enough to dig the ball out of the rough. But it was his well-publicized plan to break Winged Foot with long drives that seemed unbelievable.

And once again the Mad Scientist proved that he's not so mad after all... plus he proved that the 'Mad Scientist' moniker seriously shortchanges his depth as a player.

He was the only player to shoot under par in the final round (-3) and he was the only player to finish the tournament under par (-6). And along the way he demonstrated an amazing array of imaginative shots, feel shots, skill shots and just plain mind-blowing shots. And he did it without ever losing his focus or cursing his luck.

Along the way he showed everybody that there's more than one way to play this game -- a belief that seems to take hold of this sport (and life in general) every time somebody does something new in a dominant way.

I suspect we're going to hear a lot of debate about whether Bryson's win this past week is good or bad for the game. I'll just make a couple of observations about what may happen going forward:

  • In the "How Can We 'Bryson-proof' Our Courses?" department: Despite having learned that 'Tiger-proofing' just made courses better suited for Tiger because he, better than anyone else, adapted to the extra length, my guess is that the powers-that-be will at least consider graduated rough -- that is, the rough will get longer as it gets closer to the green. It won't work because Bryson is so strong, but I won't be surprised if it gets suggested.
  • And in the "What Will Bryson Do Next?" department: Bryson was pretty vocal about his intent to try a 48-inch driver. Brandel Chamblee suggested that Bryson might try using it to draw the ball around the doglegs at Augusta... but I think he's not thinking enough like Bryson. Given that Bryson hits the ball higher than anybody else, if he can get control of a 48-inch driver in time for the Masters, I think we'll see him (in a practice round at least) try taking the ball OVER the trees on 13 to drive the green. If he's successful, just imagine the scene if Bryson gives himself a putt for an albatross every round...!

In the meantime, I hope Bryson just takes a couple of days off to enjoy this massive victory... and maybe read his first major Limerick Summary. Well played, Dr. DeChambeau, well played!

They told him it couldn’t be done
But now that the trophy’s been won
DeChambeau is king
‘Cause this whole science thing
And its test results say he’s The One.

The photo came from the tournament page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Can a Big Bertha B21 Really Straighten Your Drives? (Video)

Callaway claims their Big Bertha B21 driver will straighten your drives without changing your swing. Will it? Rick Shiels decided to test the claim by bringing in a 21-handicapper with a big slice. Did it work? Watch and see...


I have often written that good teaching should have immediate results. Rick gave this player a 10-minute lesson -- with the lad's own driver after the B21 didn't fix his ball flight -- and gave him a swing that, with a little practice, will get the job done.

Here's how Rick defines the problem:

  • Grip is too weak, which leaves the clubface open at impact
  • Setup is aimed too far left (for a rightie), which causes a steep approach on the downswing and cuts across the ball

What did Rick change?

  • Closed his setup slightly (aimed his shoulders and hips a bit more to the right) and tilted his spine just slightly away from the ball
  • Strengthened his grip, which means he made it a bit more neutral

Note that Rick didn't make big changes, just made some small corrections to his setup. And in ten minutes, this player started hitting the ball straighter.

Here's my point. New equipment may help you a little but you can't buy a good game. Fortunately, the basics of hitting decent shots aren't all that complicated.

I'm not telling you not to buy new equipment. I just want you to have realistic expectations when you do.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Mike Malaska on Shallowing Your Downswing Plane (Video)

Let me say upfront that I have no decisive opinion about this topic. Some players use a two-plane swing and shallow their downswing plane, while others use a single-plane swing and don't shallow out at all. Whether you shallow your downswing plane or not depends on which swing you use, and I believe you should use the swing that suits you best.

Having said that, some ways of shallowing your downswing plane are easier than others. Malaska does a good job of explaining the two common ways that this move is taught and the effect each has on the consistency of your swing.


One useful thing about this video is that Malaska does point out certain things that specific players do when they swing (Sergio and DJ are two that I remember). If you are trying to pattern your swing after them, this is good information to have.

Hopefully this will help those of you struggling with this aspect of your swing.

Friday, September 18, 2020

An Arnold Palmer Golf Tip (Video)

Tom Saguto is a wild man, folks. You can see that clearly in this video. But the tip from Arnold Palmer he found in an old Golf Digest is a good tip, although I think his version is a bit... stiff. I'll suggest how to 'loosen up' after the video, but watch him spaz out first. It's entertaining as well as informative!


This tip -- pointing your lead shoulder at the ball when you reach the top of your swing -- makes sense to me. I think it's a very easy move to make if you straighten your back leg during your backswing as Arnie did. I've done a couple of posts about Arnie's straight leg before:

But Tom's approach seems destined to create an overly flat swing plane which will make getting the ball out of the rough overly difficult. So let me make a trio of suggestions that will give you a more relaxed swing that's a bit more like Arnie's or Jack's swings.

  • First, connecting your upper arms to the sides of your rib cage is a sound principle up to a point. But your trail elbow HAS to move away on the backswing or you're going to restrict your swing and create that overly flat plane. The pros have frequently used a drill where they hold a glove under their lead armpit to keep that arm connected through impact. That's enough connection in your swing.
  • Second, you don't need to keep your arms ramrod straight. In fact, as you may have noticed, your trail elbow HAS to bend by the time you're at waist high on your backswing. As for your lead arm, it's okay for it to flex a bit as long as it doesn't start making an angle at your lead elbow. The pros refer to this as a 'soft' arm.
  • Finally, you don't have to keep your weight on your lead leg during your entire swing ALTHOUGH keeping your trail knee straight will help keep you from swaying off the ball. The idea of keeping your weight on your lead leg during your whole swing is basic to the Stack and Tilt swing, and it's not a bad thing. It will help you to hit crisper iron shots because it's what you do in your short game. But Arnie, Jack and most of the other players who use the straight trailing knee allow their lead heel to come off the ground, and you can't do that if you're too rigid in your efforts to keep your weight on your lead leg.

What Tom says in this video is all basically sound stuff, folks, and a lot of you will find that pointing your lead shoulder at the ball while keeping your trail knee straight (but not locked ramrod straight) will indeed help to stabilize you over the ball and should help improve your impact. Just don't get too stiff about it, okay? You don't want to hurt yourself!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Just a Reminder: US Open TV Coverage

US Open coverage begins EARLY this morning and continues all day long... as long as you go to the correct channels.

Winged Foot US Open promo photo

Thursday's TV coverage is all over the place. Make sure you know where to go and when!

  • GC starts it off from 7:30am-2pm ET.
  • Then NBC picks it up from 2pm-5pm ET.
  • Finally, the Peacock app covers the last shift from 5pm-7pm ET (and presumably until finished if they're still playing at 7pm.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

This Week's LPGA Event Gets Shortened

The continuing story of 2020 troubles strikes again. The wildfires in the Pacific Northwest of the US have caused the LPGA to shorten this week's event to 54 holes.

Cambia Portland Classic photo

According to the report at lpga.com, the course at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland OR was still closed on Tuesday, the press conferences were cancelled and the Wednesday pro-am has been cancelled as well. Heather Daly-Donofrio, the LPGA’s Chief Tour Operations Officer, says their meteorologist doesn't expect air quality to improve before midday on Thursday so the Tour won't risk exposing anybody involved with the event to yet another health problem.

The current plan is for a three-round event this weekend, Friday-Sunday. GC's coverage will be tape-delayed, starting Friday night at 9pm ET.

2020 will definitely go down in history as a bummer of a year. This is just one more thing to add to the list.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: US Open

Twofer Tuesday takes compass in hand and enters the high rough at the US Open.

Defending champ Gary Woodland

The US Open site rotates from year to year, with defending champion Gary Woodland having won his at Pebble Beach in 2019.

In case you somehow missed it, the 2020 US Open returns to Winged Foot Golf Club, site of numerous "Winged Foot Massacres" over the years -- the most recent back in 2006. And the delay from summer to fall hasn't made the course any more forgiving.

This year Winged Foot will measure 7477 yards and play to a par of 70. The fairways will be obscenely narrow, the rough obscenely high (as much as five inches) and the heavily contoured greens will run at a stimp of 13.

Simply put, the A.W. Tillinghast course -- and its Gil Hanse-restored greens -- is going to be a bear once again.

While I, like many fans, would love to see Phil Mickelson finally make things right and complete his Career Slam, I haven't picked him as a Twofer Tuesday pick. Don't take that to mean I don't think he can't win; quite the contrary. Mickelson's scrambling abilities should allow him to make a serious run -- as long as he's on his game. But the same can be said of just about any player in the field, and a course this tough could give us a truly unexpected winner.

But this week I've made my choices with two different outcomes in mind...

  • Should Winged Foot somehow show mercy to the field and allow a winning score that's under par, I like Dustin Johnson. Ironically this isn't because DJ has been in such great form lately, although I'd be a fool not to consider that in my pick. Rather, it's because of his strength. While I expect DJ to play a fairly conservative game and just try to outlast the field, there are few players who can dig a wayward shot from the rough as well as he can. If he can scramble and putt well this week, it's hard to bet against him.
  • But should we see the expected massacre with the winner finishing over par, I think Webb Simpson is one to watch. Despite the length of the course, a high winning score negates some of the need for length. I admit that I'm a bit concerned over Webb's lackluster performance in the TOUR Championship after taking a week off, especially since he's coming off yet another one-week break. But I'm banking on him having put his game back in order; he knows this is one of the best shots at a second major he's had in years.

I realize that DJ and Webb have repeatedly been my picks (when available) over the last few weeks but with all these big events crammed so close together, I simply have to go with proven form. Otherwise I'm just shooting in the dark because, as I said, a track this tough doesn't favor any single player over the rest.

Thursday's TV coverage is all over the place. GC starts it off from 7:30am-2pm ET. Then NBC picks it up from 2pm-5pm ET. And finally (clearly anxious to get subscribers for their new app) Peacock covers the last shift from 5pm-7pm ET (and presumably until finished if they're still playing at 7pm.)

I'm very interested to see how this September US Open plays out. Less daylight and different weather, combined with the lack of fans, is going to make this US Open unlike anything we've seen before.

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Safeway Open

Winner: Stewart Cink

Around the wider world of golf: Mirim Lee put on a short game clinic to win the ANA Inspiration on the LPGA; Curtis Thompson (Lexi's brother) won the Evans Scholars Invitational on the Korn Ferry Tour; Miguel Angel Jiménez won the Sanford International on the Champions Tour; George Coetzee won the Portugal Masters on the ET; Laurent Desmarchais won the Canada Life Series Championship at TPC Toronto on the MacKenzie Tour; and Amy Boulden won the VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open on the LET.

Stewart Cink with Safeway trophy and son/caddie Reagan

So much for my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Brendan Steele (T29) and Si Woo Kim (T44), and neither played as well as I had hoped. Oh well, another week, another missed opportunity...

  • Top10s: 19 for 48 (9 Top5, 10 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 2 for 24 events
But I don't suppose I could have picked this week's winner anyway -- and even the Top10 on the leaderboard was a bit of a surprise, don't you think? But boy, did we have some good stories play out!

Stewart Cink's last win was the 2009 OPEN which, you may remember, is probably best known for the player he beat -- a guy named Tom Watson. It was Stewart who stole the 59-year-old legend's chance to rewrite the history books.

But it was also the last win Stewart had... and with good reason. The years since have seen Stewart deal with all sorts of personal troubles, like his wife's battle with cancer and medical problems of his own. Many have been quietly impressed by Stewart's ability to continue playing golf while being the primary caregiver for Lisa as she fought her way back.

This week, his son Reagan -- who I believe was only 12 when his dad last won -- was on the bag for the fourth time, and Stewart made no secret of how valuable Reagan's advice and support on the course were. Armed with new Ping equipment, his son on the bag and his wife following them on the course, Stewart snagged his first PGA Tour victory in 11 years while authoring one of the best stories of 2020 so far, as well as a great story to start the 2020-2021 'super season' of 50 events.

And yes, I'm excited to give Stewart his first ever Limerick Summary. You see, Stewart won THE OPEN in July 2009 but I didn't start this blog until August 2009... and the first Limerick Summary appeared on September 4th that year. Welcome to the club, Stew!

Though quiet since breaking Tom’s heart,
Perhaps this is Stewart’s fresh start.
The woes of the past
May be over at last
And his focus returned to his art.

The photo came from the tournament page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Ten Tantrums (Video)

Let's just have some fun today. Mike Cantalupo, host of the TPS YouTube channel (that stands for Total Pro Sports) and a golfer himself, made this video which he simply calls Ten Hilarious PGA Golfer Temper Tantrums. Some you'll remember but some may be new to you. Enjoy!


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Rick Shiels's Indispensible Short Game Shot (Video)

Rick Shiels posted this short video about a shot I have championed for years on this blog. He explains why you need it and -- best of all -- how to do it properly, all in less than three minutes.


I agree with Rick that, while you can use a 9-iron for this shot (and on occasion, a 7-iron or even a pitching wedge will do the job), the 8-iron is most often the best choice for the very reasons he gives. The "sweep stroke" gives you a tremendous amount of control while 8-iron loft is a good balance between getting the ball up in the air without putting a lot of backspin on it.

Let me add one other thing which Rick doesn't mention. If you look carefully you'll notice that the balls are sitting down very slightly in the rough. As long as the ball has settled less than a third of the way down into the grass -- which means it's mostly sitting on top of the rough -- there's a great chance this shot will give you great results. (Hey, every shot has its limitations!)

If you don't already know and use this stroke, do yourself a favor and learn it. It's amazing how easy it is to learn and use.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Nelly Korda's Power Drive

A little over a year ago Nelly Korda did an article for Golf Digest called Nelly Korda Shares the Three Drives You Need to Know How to Hit. I know, it's a long title but it's a good read. I'm going to focus on the first one, her power drive.

Nelly Korda shows her power position

The photo above shows the basic position at the top. (She doesn't talk about the fact that her lead hand isn't on the club in this photo, so I guess she's just giving you an idea of how her shoulders have turned.) Here's how she describes her keys.

To pick up some extra yardage with your driver, you don't have to swing harder than usual. Instead, address the ball with more weight on your back foot, about 70 percent (above). It creates a more solid base, so you can maintain balance and increase the chance of hitting the ball in the sweet spot. This stance also will help you catch the ball on the upswing provided you play it far enough forward. If you hit up on the ball, you'll launch your drives higher with less backspin, and that creates more distance. I like the visual of the ball being at least somewhere near my left heel. It promotes good extension for longer drives and makes me feel like I can really smash it.

Note that Nelly isn't moving backward, away from the ball, when she starts her takeaway as some people would tell you to do. Rather, she says her address position BEGINS with about 70% of her weight on her trail leg. That positions her upper body behind the ball and allows her to make her turn without moving off the ball at all, which is why she says it helps you increase the chance of hitting the ball in the sweet spot.

This address position also puts the ball farther forward in your stance. It's not really closer to your lead foot than normal, it's just farther ahead relative to your upper body.

The result of this -- weight back plus ball position -- is that you don't have to swing harder. Instead, the address position creates the proper launch angle to create more distance with less backspin.

Again, you can read about her other two drives in that Golf Digest article. But this one seems like a simple way to get a bit more distance off the tee.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Ladies' Next Major Starts Today

The ANA Inspiration starts today despite the fires and hot weather... but without its defending champion.

Defending champion Jin Young Ko

Jin Young Ko hasn't played any LPGA events in 2020, choosing instead to play a few KLPGA events while she stays home in Korea. So this week will see a new champion.

That won't stop a lot of the top players from showing up. Sung Hyun Park is making her 2020 debut on the LPGA and, counting her, that's eight of the Rolex Top10 who will tee it up this week.

And the course they'll see is different from what they're used to. They'll play Bermuda grass instead of a rye overseed and the weather is expected to hit 108°F by Sunday, meaning this course will be hard and fast. It also means the ladies will be tested like they are rarely tested at a tournament.

GC is giving us live coverage twice today -- the first at 12-4pm ET, the second at 7-9pm ET. Should be an interesting week!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

NOT Twofer Tuesday: Safeway Open

There's no rest for Twofer Tuesday as we move right along from the TOUR Championship to the next event, the Safeway Open.

Defending champions Cameron Champ

The "Super Season" of 2020-2021, with its six majors plus THE PLAYERS, gets underway without delay at the Silverado Resort and Spa North in Napa CA. This is a place that the pros seem to enjoy, a place to relax in the Napa Valley. Granted, the pandemic has put a damper on most of the recreation in the area... but with temperatures expected to be in the low 70s all week, they'll enjoy themselves much more than the LPGA players will at Rancho Mirage and the ANA Inspiration.

Defending champion Cameron Champ will lead a reasonably strong field this week. Many of the big names -- Phil Mickelson excepted -- will be at Winged Foot prepping for the US Open. As for the rest of the field, I need to figure out who can give me some more Top10s. Dustin Johnson has spoiled me over the last few events!

  • My first pick is Brendan Steele.While he hasn't been playing his best since the restart and he didn't play so well at this event last year (although he has won this event twice before), he has shown some form at the recent events with less demanding setups. I can't help but think he could make a good show since the biggest names aren't here.
  • My other pick is Si Woo Kim. Another player who has struggled since the restart, he seemed to be finding some form before the Playoffs with a T13 at the PGA and a T3 at Wyndham. At only 7166 yards and a par of 72, this is the kind of course that could get him back on track.

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at 4pm ET. Quite a few of these players will have Winged Foot on their minds, and it will be interesting to see how they balance their anticipation with the need to play well this week.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 TOUR Championship

Winner: Dustin Johnson

Around the wider world of golf: Brett Drewitt won the Lincoln Land Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Albert Pistorius won the Canada Life Series at TPC Toronto: Heathlands Course on the MacKenzie Tour; Cooper Musselman won The Invitational at Auburn University Club on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica; John Catlin won the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters on the ET; Kim Kaufman won the Four Winds Invitational on the Symetra Tour; George Coetzee won the Titleist Championship on the Sunshine Tour; Sakura Koiwai won the Golf 5 Ladies Tournament on the JLPGA; and Rikuya Hoshina won the Fujisanki Classic on the Japan Golf Tour (thanks, IC!)

Dustin Johnson with the FedExCup trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks weren't bad! I had Dustin Johnson (1) and Webb Simpson (T12). Webb came back a little flat after his week off but Dustin handed me another Top5. In fact, I now have two wins in 2020... and DJ is responsible for them both.

  • Top10s: 19 for 46 (9 Top5, 10 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 2 for 23 events

There's not much I can add to what's already been said about DJ's win. In fact, he said he wanted to add the FedExCup to his resume before the end of his career but he ended up adding much more than that.

He now has six Playoff wins, more than anybody. Even more than Tiger.

The TOUR Championship is his 23rd PGA Tour win, meaning there are only 26 players in the history of the game with more wins than him. And we know he's probably not finished yet.

Granted, he only has one major -- the 2016 US Open -- but it's likely he'll get plenty of major chances going forward. He can double this number if he just holds form for another couple of weeks.

I wonder if Brooks sat at home, watching this play out and saying to himself, "Why oh why did I have to say all that stuff to the media...?"

But today my main concern is adding to his Limerick Summary count, so here goes:

His resume keeps wanting more
So DJ posts score after score,
One event at a time,
Just to add one more line—
Now a FedExCup adds to his lore.

The photo came from the tournament page at pgatour.com.

Monday, September 7, 2020

A Setup Tip from Dustin Johnson

Limerick Summary has to wait until Tuesday because the Tour Championship doesn't finish until late Monday. So today let's learn something from the leader...

On Saturday Dustin Johnson had the worst driving day of his professional career. He hit only TWO fairways. Yet on Sunday he hit ELEVEN! How did he make such a dramatic change overnight?

Dustin Johnson at address

He stood closer to the ball at address on Sunday. That's all. In his own words (quoted on pgatour.com):

"I felt like I was swinging well. The setup was just a hair off. I was just hitting the driver a little bit towards the toe, and obviously when you hit it off the toe it does not like to cut.”

I point this out because small changes in a player's address position happen all the time, to the pros as well as us weekend players. But we mere mortals don't keep check on such things because we think we need big changes to see any improvement in our scoring.

But we don't. For many of us, we are -- like DJ -- standing too far away from the ball.

Or we might be standing too close to it. Both problems show up from time to time.

So it's worthwhile to experiment a bit at the range if you're having trouble hitting the ball where you think you're aiming.

  • If you're having trouble with a slice, perhaps you're standing too close to the ball.
  • If you're having trouble with a hook, perhaps you're standing too far from the ball.

And let's add one other thing to check. Your ball position might be wrong for your swing as well. You might need to move it a bit forward toward your lead foot or just a bit back toward the center of your stance.

But first I think I'd see what kind of change you get when you stand nearer to (or farther from) the ball at address. With just a little tinkering to your setup, you might make a huge improvement to your ability to hit the fairway.

Before you start making big swing changes, I think it's worth a try. After all, it fixed DJ's problems overnight.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

4 Different Shots from the Rough (Video)

Matt Fryer just posted this video that shows how your lie in the rough affects which club you use. Take a look!


I'm just going to list the club and ball position for each lie, but Matt explains the techniques for each in more detail in the video.

  • Semi-rough, ball almost teed up: Fairway wood, ball 1.5 inches behind lead heel
  • Light rough, ball halfway down: Hybrid or rescue club, ball 1.5 inches behind lead heel
  • Medium rough, ball sitting down: 7-iron, ball in center of stance
  • Heavy rough, how did you even find the ball?: Wedge, ball in center of stance or even farther back

The big key to remember here is this: It doesn't really matter how far you are from the green. You have to choose a club that will get the ball back in play and if the correct club won't get you to the green, you have to take your medicine.

If you were watching the Tour Championship on Saturday, you saw several great players make bad shots from the rough simply because they became too fixated on the green. Matt's guidelines will help you avoid making the same mistake!

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Jon Rahm on Hitting Driver Off the Deck (Video)

How about a short lesson from Tour Championship co-leader Jon Rahm? Here's Rahmbo's keys for hitting driver off the deck, just posted a couple of days ago.


Jon's primary key is to pretend your driver is a 3-wood, but it's the two observations he adds that I find very useful:

  • Since the sweet spot on a driver is higher on the face than it is on a 3-wood, the ball is going to come out lower.
  • And because the driver has less loft than a 3-wood, the ball will tend to come off the face with a bit of a fade.

These two observations should tell you that, if you plan to hit your driver off the ground without a tee, you should play for a low fade. If you try to hit a draw, you may find yourself in trouble!

Friday, September 4, 2020

Kiradech Aphibarnrat on the Power Fade

This Golf Digest article from last December shows the two keys Kiradech Aphibarnrat uses to hit a power fade. Read and learn!

Kiradech Aphibarnrat's power fade drill

While the article gives the details, Kiradech's two keys to learning a power fade -- let's just call them two drills -- are very simple.

  • Hit shots with your trail foot pulled back -- that is, use a closed stance, which may seem counter-intuitive to you but that's how the pros hit power fades. This teaches you how to use your legs better.
  • Practice hitting shots with a split grip to learn the proper hand action to keep the clubface from staying too open.

Simple to say, but it takes a little practice. Just the idea of hitting a fade from a closed stance drives some folks crazy, but you need to do that in order to get the ball up in the air without as much spin. That's how you get the ball to carry farther.

This is the simplest explanation of how to hit a power fade that I have found. Hope it helps.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Rick Shiels Tests the Vice Golf Ball (Video)

I've posted videos of Rick Shiels testing a lot of equipment, including a head-to-head test of several top brand golf balls. But a couple of days ago he posted a test of Vice golf balls and I thought you folks might be interested.


One thing worth knowing is that Vice makes a number of different balls and their website helps you decide which one is the best for your game (Rick shows it in the video). So if you decide you want to try Vice balls, make sure you use that test app before you buy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Korn Ferry Tour Keeps Right On Truckin'

Although they had the Tour Championship last week, the Korn Ferry Tour continues its 2020-wracked season with the Lincoln Land Championship.

Defending champion Xinjun Zhang

Normally this event is played in mid-July, where Xinjun Zhang won in a playoff last year. (Gosh, that seems so long ago now!) But the tournament will be contested at Panther Creek CC in Springfield IL like usual, and it will kick off the final five Korn Ferry events of calendar year 2020.

Yes, there will be some scrambling for points as players position themselves for the stretch run to the 2021 Tour Finals, where PGA Tour cards will finally be awarded.

Ironically, I can find no airtimes on GC for this event. All the excitement on their website is focused on the PGA Tour, which is understandable -- especially given the caliber of play we've seen over the last few weeks, and the first-ever time that OWGR #1,2 & 3 are also the FedExCup points list #1,2 &3.

Still, this event bears watching. It begins on Thursday and the weather looks to be good for the duration of the tournament. So here are links to the Korn Ferry Tour's leaderboard (so you can keep up with the scoring) as well as the Power Rankings for the event (in case you're unfamiliar with some of the players who are currently playing well on the Korn Ferry Tour).

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Tour Championship

It's the end of the bizarre 2020 season and Twofer Tuesday drags its weary body to the final event, the Tour Championship.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy

Yes, it's back to East Lake with the Top30 in the FedExCup points list to see who takes home the BIG prize.

You all know the routine by now. The players start with staggered scores -- DJ starts at -10 and the scores fall away as you move through the field until you reach numbers 26-30, who all start at even.

And while Rory is the defending champion, a certain young lady may cause him to miss his defense depending on when she arrives.

So who am I picking this week? At least theoretically, the odds of picking a Top10 player are pretty good since there are only 30 players in the field and we could see more than one player tie for the 10th spot. But I'm padding my chances...

  • My first pick -- no surprise -- is Dustin Johnson. With two wins and two runner-ups (one at the PGA) he's playing as well as I can remember. And having seen that little fist pump on 18 when he made the playoff on Sunday -- a reaction we rarely see from DJ -- I think he's gonna make a run at the FedExCup title this year.
  • My other pick -- again, no surprise -- is Webb Simpson. Webb would have been a pick last week had he played and, given how well he's done for me in the weeks before, I have no reservations picking him for the big game this week.

If you're interested, pgatour.com has an assessment of every player in their Power Rankings this week. My picks are ranked #4 and #3 respectively. That's no guarantee that I'll get a couple of Top10s, maybe even a win, but it sounds good to me.

The Tour Championship runs from Friday to Monday -- for those of you outside the US, Monday is a US holiday known as Labor Day -- so GC's coverage begins Friday at 1pm ET. Of course, the new 2021 season begins the very next week at the Safeway Open, but that's another post...