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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Azinger on Pitching, Take Two

I've been fascinated by the number of golf commentators who seem worried over Tiger's pitching woes this past week. You may have heard Geoff Shackelford on Monday's Morning Drive, adding his voice to those with serious concerns.

I'm reminded of the reaction Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had to the concerns that wracked Packer Nation (that's their fans, for those of you outside the US) after the team started the season with a single win and two losses. On his weekly ESPN Milwaukee radio show he said:
"Five letters here just for everybody out there in Packer-land: R-E-L-A-X. Relax. We're going to be OK."
Since then the Packers have won 9 of their last 10 games and most football analysts expect them to make the Super Bowl in a couple of months.

Trust me, folks. Tiger will be fine. R-E-L-A-X.

But some of you may be struggling the same way Tiger (and most of the field) did this past week, so I felt it might be worthwhile to cover the basics of pitching again.

One of the most "hit" posts I've done was a summary of the pitching episode Paul Azinger did for the Golf Channel Academy series. (Here's the link if you'd like to check it out again.) In that show Zinger talked about the difference between chipping and putting, and I tried to include as much of his instruction in the post as I could.

Since Tiger was using chipping technique this past week when he probably should have been pitching, it would seem to be a simple mental mistake he needs to correct. (And let me repeat, Tiger wasn't the only one making that mistake. It's just that every one of Tiger's botched chips got TV time. Such is the burden of being Tiger.)

Ironically, GC hasn't seen fit to include any clips from Zinger's pitching show in the instructional videos at their site. But I did manage to find the following video that Zinger did several years ago. It's short but it's a very clear demonstration of the basic pitching technique he talked about on GC.

There you have it. Use the bounce of the club -- which you do by hitting the ball when the shaft is perpendicular to the ground, not leaning forward -- and keep your arms "soft" while you keep your body turning.

See? It's not so difficult. Tiger will be fine... and so will you, if you just put in a little practice time.

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