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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Your All Day Golf Reminder

Just to make sure you don't forget. Here are today's golf times:

  • GC's ISPS HANDA World Invitational coverage runs from 9am-2pm ET.
  • GC's Olympic coverage runs from 6:30pm-3am ET.

Golf is on virtually all day. You have no excuse not to catch some of it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

For the Non-Olympic Contenders

The men and women who didn't make the Olympics aren't necessarily sitting out the week. After all, there's still the ISPS HANDA World Invitational.

2019 winners Stephanie Meadow and Jack Senior

The event now known as the ISPS HANDA World Invitational has gone by several names and formats since it was born in 2013 -- sometimes as an all-male event, sometimes with both men and women. The last time the ISPS HANDA World Invitational was actually called that and played in the format it will be in this week -- back in 2019 -- the champions were Stephanie Meadow and Jack Senior.

But things are a bit different this time. Although it's still played in Northern Ireland at the Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Club, this time it's a tri-sanctioned event between the LPGA, the LET and the ET. Here's a brief summary of the format from an article I found at let.com.

  • This event hosts 288 players, 144 men and 144 women, with the men's field coming from the ET while the women’s field is split equally between the LPGA and the LET.
  • The tournament will count towards the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and carry Team Europe Ryder Cup points, while the women’s tournament will count towards the Race to the CME Globe for women on the LPGA Tour, the Race to Costa del Sol on the Ladies European Tour (LET) and Solheim Cup points for both Team Europe and Team USA.
  • The $3 million prize purse will be split equally between the men and the women. The tournament consists of two separate 72-hole stroke play events, one each for the men and women, and they compete at the same venues at the same time.

Yes, this is very similar to the format of the ISPS Handa Vic Open in Australia and somewhat similar to the Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik & Annika in Sweden, although the latter had the men and women competing against each other.

In my opinion the coolest thing about this event is that the time zones mean this event slots in rather well between Olympic golf broadcasts. GC's coverage begins Thursday at 9am ET. So we have almost nonstop golf this week!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: Men's Olympic Golf

Twofer Tuesday settles down for a little me time with the TV and the Men's Olympic Golf.

The American Men's Olympic Golf Team

Do I really need to tell you about the Olympics? They're in Tokyo, with most of the populace there having to watch it on TV the same as the rest of us, and this is the second appearance of golf in the Olympics.

Let's make a couple of picks.

  • My American pick is Collin Morikawa. Really, is there any other reasonable choice? Maybe asking him to put on yet another iron show in Japan is pushing it, given how much he's already done this year. But with two majors and a WGC under his belt -- and especially with Jon Rahm not in the field due to the pandemic -- he seems to be the odds-on favorite.
  • And my international pick is Viktor Hovland. With three worldwide wins in the last year-and-a-half he's proven that his game travels well. And like Morikawa, he's got a great iron game. I think the first Norwegian to win on the PGA Tour may have a few surprises in store for the rest of the field.

GC's live coverage starts Wednesday at 6:30pm ET. (Remember, Tokyo is 14 hours ahead of the US East Coast.) With a limited field and so many of the top players not playing -- especially Jon Rahm -- this event could be wide open.

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 3M Open

Winner: Cameron Champ

Around the wider world of golf: Minjee Lee came from seven shots back to win her first LPGA major, the Amundi Evian Championship; Stephen Dodd won the Senior Open Championship on the Champions Tour; Dylan Wu won the Price Cutter Charity Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Patrick Newcomb won the Bupa Championship on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; Lilia Vu won the Twin Bridges Championship on the Symetra Tour; Jiyai Shin won the JLPGA's Daito Kentaku Eheyanet Ladies; and Hanbyul Kim won the KPGA's Yamaha Honors K Open. [Thanks again, IC!]

Cameron Champ with 3M trophy

Six on one hand, a half dozen on the other; that describes my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Louis Oosthuizen (T2) and Dustin Johnson (MC). I don't know what's up with DJ but King Louis continues to put himself in position. He's gonna break through soon, I think.

  • Top10s: 18 for 60 (14 Top5s, 4 other Top10)
  • Winners: 2 for 29 events

I don't know which was the bigger story -- Cameron Champ dealing with dehydration on Sunday or him taking driver off the 18th tee and almost hitting it off the course. The announcers seemed equally taken by both events.

The dehydration was certainly the bigger worry. With the heat index pushing triple digits, the last thing you want to see is a player on the verge of collapse. Fortunately he was able to get some water and a sports drink before it got too bad.

As for that drive... I know Cam said it was a safety play although it didn't look like one to me. But hey, what do I know? Cam only needed a bogey to win the 3M, and he only needed one good shot to the green to make that possible.

And he made a perfect shot, a wedge that basically left him a tap-in for par. So in the end, it really didn't matter.

For Cam this may have been a gamechanger. He's been struggling this year; his last seven events included four MCs, a WD, a T11 and now a win. He said he needed to be kinder to himself -- probably good advice for most of us, especially the overachievers among us -- and it seems to be just what he needed.

So who am I to argue? I'm going to be kind to him and give him a shiny new Limerick Summary!

On 18, when Cam pulled his drive,
They said, “There’s no way he’ll make five!”
But Cam wasn’t fazed…
So announcers were dazed
When his wedge showed them how he’d survive.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Playing Ugly Shots from Deep Rough (Video)

Paige's new video focuses purely on shots from deep nasty rough. She demonstrates the techniques for long shots, short shots and chip shots from the heavy stuff. Some of it you may already know... but I bet you'll learn at least one new thing.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Driving It Long... (Video)

Neil Tappin and PGA Pro Alex Elliott made this new video from Golf Monthly that gives you five tips -- and accompanying drills -- to help you hit longer drives. Not every tip will help every player but there is a good variety of things you might want to try.

I would like to add one thought to this post concerning the last tip. You've probably heard the "X-Factor" taught by different instructors, and I agree that it can be an effective way to create power in your golf swing.

But I always encourage caution when using this technique because I believe it puts too much stress on your lower back, even when it's done properly. I know many golf pros disagree with me... but this is my blog and I don't think this particular technique is suitable for everybody. Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that one of my key beliefs is that a good swing doesn't hurt. So take my opinion for what it's worth.

Friday, July 23, 2021

I Forgot the Senior Open Championship!

It always happens the week after THE OPEN and yet I forgot about it. The first round was played Thursday, but at least there are three rounds left.

And the leaderboard is already kinda interesting.

2019 defending chmapion Bernhard Langer

Darren Clarke is tied for the lead at -5, 2019 defending champion Bernhard Langer is tied for 3rd at -4, and Jerry Kelly and Ernie Els are in a large group in 6th place at -3. Jim Furyk, the US Senior Open champion, is in a tie for 35th at even par.

Perhaps the most interesting story at this point is James Kingston, who's tied with Clarke for the lead. The South African just recently got out of the hospital where he was recovering from COVID. He said he felt unprepared but he loves the course and thinks that may have helped him a lot.

And the course? That's Sunningdale Golf Club in Sunningdale, Berkshire, England, roughly 30 miles WSW of London. If that course sounds familiar, it's because Karen Stupples won the 2004 Women's British Open there. She started the final round with an albatross and a birdie on the first two holes of the final round on her way to a 64. So there are scores to be had at Sunningdale if you play the course properly.

Clarke alluded to this in his post-round remarks Thursday. He said:

“I played smart around here. I hit away from the flags to the middle of the greens and gave myself some chances, and kept giving myself chances there in the last few holes. Didn’t make anything at the end, but just played smart. I think the winner is going to have to play smart this week.”

GC's live coverage on Friday starts at 7:30pm ET.