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Friday, April 23, 2021

Mike Malaska on Proper Forearm Action (Video)

Mike Malaska recently posted some short videos where he is working with pro baseball players who struggle with their golf games. There's a lot of good stuff in them and I'm sorting through them for the blog, but I decided to post this one because it's so amazing. Listen to what Mike tells Jordan Luplow of the Cleveland Indians, and look at how quickly it changes his ball flight.


You'll need to watch this simple video several times to digest just how much it explains. But let me call out one thing Mike says. It starts just after the 2:00 mark. He says -- and I'm pulling just enough from the statement to get the point across, you'll want to listen to his full explanation -- "You guys play a sport where there's no twist in your arms... your wrists don't roll over like this... most of that comes because of where your grip was."

This is an important concept, folks. Watch this short video until you understand it. It really could revolutionize your ballstriking.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Rick Shiels Plays with One Club (Video)

Many legendary players learned to play with a single club -- Seve with a 3-iron, for instance, or Chi Chi Rodriguez with a 4-iron. In this video Rick plays three holes (par-4, par-3 and par-5) with a single club chosen at random by viewers on Instagram to see how well he can do.


The reason he's doing this is because playing with a single club forces you to think your way around the hole -- figure out an appropriate strategy -- and play the shots you need by feel since you have to create shots with a club you normally wouldn't play.

Listen to how he attacks each hole; perhaps it will give you some useful ideas of your own.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

More Prime Time LPGA Golf

This week the LPGA heads out to Los Angeles for the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open.

Defending champion Minjee Lee

Like so many other events last year, the HUGEL-JTBE fell victim to the pandemic. But this year the event returns to the Wilshire Country Club where Minjee Lee picked up her fifth LPGA title way back in 2019 -- making her the defending champion, of course.

Would a win from Minjee rank beside Lydia Ko's win last week? Not really. Besides her 2019 win in LA being more recent than Lydia's had been, Minjee has posted several Top10s since the LPGA resumed their schedule last July. But since her T5 at the KIA, Minjee's T25 at the ANA and MC last week at the LOTTE aren't what we've come to expect from her... and certainly less than she expects from herself.

LA is a good place for her to get some winning vibes going again, even though the field looks to be pretty strong -- the HSBC Women's World Championship in Singapore is next week so, despite the impending travel, players are looking to tune up their games this week.

But I suspect Lydia's win last week provided some motivation for Minjee. Their rivalry goes back quite a ways.

GC's coverage begins TONIGHT (Wednesday night -- I'm not making that mistake again) at 6pm ET. Let's see if Minjee can rediscover that edge she had before the pandemic trashed everybody's 2020.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: Zurich Classic

Twofer Tuesday sails away from the laidback atmosphere of the RBC Heritage to the rowdy team competition of the Zurich Classic.

Defending champions Ryan Palmer and Jon Rahm

The Zurich is one of those evolving events which has changed considerably over the years. After a few years of declining popularity, the event was resurrected as the Tour's only team event... and found immediate acceptance (and excitement) among the PGA Tour players. Now it's one of the most anticipated events by the players, as well as a fitting event for the spirit of New Orleans.

Just as I made a change to my picks for the WGC-Dell Match Play, this event forces a different approach. Instead of picking two players, I pick two teams. Although that's four players, since the winner is a team I will only count each team as a single player. That's the most obvious approach but I want to spell it out beforehand so there is no confusion.

Picking this event is tricky simply because I see so many teams I like, made up of players I probably wouldn't pick individually because team play eliminates the penalty for quite a few poor shots.

  • My first pick is an easy one for me: Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele. While both players may seem like no-brainers, Xander has struggled to get over the finish line in the last few months while Patrick has been a bit erratic. But this is a case where I think the team format may be just what they need to get over the hump, perhaps gaining some momentum as they move into the heart of major season.
  • Now I'm going a bit outside the box: Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose. Both men have strong records in team play -- can you say 'Ryder Cup'? -- but the results just haven't been there as of late. Still, I don't think they've forgotten how to win, and I think the Ryder Cup coming later this year may inspire their play. This team could be a sleeping giant.

GC's coverage starts Thursday afternoon at 3:30pm ET. Thus far 2021 has proven to be as unpredictable as 2020 was, except in a good way. I believe players have had enough time after the Masters to rest up a bit and the novelty of the Zurich Classic is just the thing some of them need to get their juices flowing. It should be a fun week!

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 RBC Heritage

Winner: Stewart Cink

Around the wider world of golf: There was A LOT of golf this week! Lydia Ko won the LOTTE Championship on the LPGA; Steve Stricker won the Chubb Classic on the Champions Tour; Peter Uihlein won the MGM Resorts Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Ruixin Liu won the Casino del Sol Golf Classic on the Symetra Tour; John Catlin won the Austrian Golf Open on the ET; Joe Highsmith won the individual title at the NCAA's Western Intercollegiate and Pepperdine won the team title; Do Yeob Moon won the DB Accident Insurance Promy on the KGPA; Takumi Kanaya won the Token Homemade Cup on the JGTO; and Miyuu Yamashita won the KKT Cup Ventelin Ladies Open on the JLPGA. [Thanks again for the Asian tour updates, IC!]

Stewart Cink with the RBC Heritage trophy

The Masters hangover definitely affected my Twofer Tuesday picks this week, but I'm not complaining. I had Webb Simpson (T9) and Will Zalatoris (T42). Will simply ran out of gas over the weekend but Webb held it together well enough to get me another Top10.

  • Top10s: 10 for 32 (6 Top5s, 4 other Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 15 events

But Stewart Cink really found something in the aftermath of Augusta. After blistering the course for two days he held his own Saturday and took a five-shot lead into the final day... and nobody else had enough gas to make a run at him on Sunday.

With his son Reagan on the bag again for another win -- joining Bryson DeChambeau as the only two-time winners on Tour this season -- and the rest of his family there to celebrate with him, Stewart set all kinds of records at Hilton Head without ever seeming to doubt the outcome. I won't list them all here, other than to mention he's won this event three times over 21 years.

You might remember that Stewart took time off from the Tour a few years back to make sure his wife Lisa had all the help she needed to beat cancer, and on Sunday she cried as she expressed her amazement at what he was doing at age 47. His other son Connor (who has won the Father-Son event with him in the past) made a special trip to make sure he was there for this win.

Harold Varner III summed it up the best: "“He's old and he's kicking everyone's ass."

The analysts are always talking about how golf is a game where age doesn't make a difference, but you can tell from their reactions to Stewart's season that they don't really believe it. But clearly Stewart does and he may yet make believers of us all.

In the meantime he can bask in the glow of his second Limerick Summary in less than a year. You go, Stew!

Not ready to step off the stage?
Apparently Stewart says, “Nay!”
Though some folks won’t hear,
Two wins make it clear:
The golf ball DOES NOT know your age.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Is Lydia Ko Back?

No doubt you'll hear the debate over the next few weeks as everybody tries to decide. But Lydia is certainly showing the signs of a Jordan Spieth-like resurgence.

And the similarity wasn't lost on Lydia in her post-win remarks at the LOTTE.

Lydia Ko holding LOTTE Championship trophy

She talked about her nerves at the Marathon last August when she finished T2. She talked about her self-doubt as she tried to put her game back together... and it took longer than she expected.

And like Jordan Spieth, much of the credit seems to come from getting away from so much technical thought and just playing golf again. (She credits Sean Foley for that.) Apparently she has realized that she gets 'confused' when she gets too technical.

Which does sound a lot like the process Jordan is going through.

But unlike Jordan, Lydia does seem to have a better swing now, highlighted by an increase in distance through the bag of 10-15 yards. The LPGA stats list her average distance off the tee this year at just under 260 yards. (BTW, that ranks her 63rd on tour. You men out there really should pay more attention to how the women play!)

The real evidence has come just since the ANA a couple of weeks back. You probably remember the -10 she shot in the final round and now, two weeks later, she posted rounds of 67-63-65-65 (-28). Bear in mind that four players -- Inbee Park, Sei Young Park, Nelly Korda and Leona Maguire -- finished at -21.

That was Lydia's score after three rounds.

So now, after posting her 16th career LPGA win, we're going to have to watch and see if Lydia continues this kind of play.

Because if she really is back, the power balance on the LPGA may have just shifted again.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

The Downs and Ups of Billy Horschel (Videos)

It's been an interesting week for Billy Horschel. Last week at the Masters he hit a ball into the creek on 13 and... let's just say he slipped up.


On the bright side, he made a great shot from the creek and walked away with par. Sunday he had a tantrum after a bad hole and it got caught on video. (I'm not including that one. Everybody's entitled to a... 'slip-up' now and then.)

But on Friday at the RBC Heritage he had a redemptive video moment. After becoming the only player in the field to hit his tee shot in the water on the par-3 17th, he hit a 77-yard shot from the drop zone and this happened:


All of which I guess goes to show how truly silly golf can be, as Billy's week ended as it began... with a slam dunk.