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Saturday, November 30, 2019

Gary Player's Fitness Tips (Video)

Keeping with the South African emphasis this weekend, here are some exercise tips from Gary Player.

I won't rehash what he says because it's a short video. But I will point out a couple of things Gary focuses on.

First, although Gary does some weightlifting exercises, in this video he focuses on bodyweight exercises. You don't need weights in order to do them, so you can do them anywhere. Note that the video includes some tips on how many to do when starting out... and those recommendations are nowhere near what Gary is doing. Take those recommendations seriously!

And second, Gary's emphasis is on core exercises. Without a strong core, other strength exercises won't be nearly as effective. And strong core work not only helps your golf, it helps prevent general back and hip problems.

With the holidays right on top of us with all their demands, Gary's workout tips may help you maintain -- and even improve -- your fitness level at a time of the year when most folks get even more out of shape.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Ernie Els on Solid Ball Striking (Video)

With the Alfred Dunhill Championship being played in South Africa this week, I thought a tip from Ernie Els would be appropriate.

Ernie sums up his approach as 'finishing his backswing', a term I'm sure you've all heard. Not all players define it the same way though, so let's see how Ernie describes it. Since he's talking about a mid-iron here, we'll consider this an accurate description of how he plays mid- and short irons.

First, Ernie says he has a tendency to move the ball too far forward in his stance with these clubs, so he moves it back more toward the center of his stance. He doesn't really say but I guess that when he gets the ball too far forward he either hits the ground first or hits the ball thin.

Second, he makes sure he completes his backswing. He defines this as getting his lead shoulder behind the ball when he's at the top of his backswing. This ensures that he gets a full shoulder coil of 90° or so.

It's important to note that he doesn't sway away from the target when he does this. For those of you who aren't as flexible as Ernie, avoiding a sway may mean you don't get your lead shoulder turned as much as he does. If you can just get your lead shoulder over the ball, you will still have gotten a really good shoulder coil.

Finally, notice that Ernie describes his downward move as simply 'dropping into the slot'. He doesn't lunge at the ball from the top. Rather, he just lets his body fall back into his address position -- it's almost as if he had jumped up in the air and fell back to the ground, landing with his weight pretty evenly on both feet. This will cause him to both start unwinding his shoulders and transfer his weight slightly onto his lead foot without really thinking about it. Anytime you can get your body to do the correct things automatically will improve your consistency!

This sounds very simple but it has made Ernie one of the best ball strikers in the game for decades. It's a move you can learn a lot from.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

No post today because it's Thanksgiving here in the US and I'm spending time with close friends. Hope everybody has a great day and finds many things for which to be thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The LET and LPGA Make a Deal

It probably comes as no surprise that the LET players approved the LPGA's offer to team up and pool their resources to get the LET back on its feet.

LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan

I'm going to give you links to three of the articles that appeared Tuesday after the LET player meeting. Each article has some slightly different details to add and none of them is terribly long, so you might want to take a look at all three.
We'll be learning more in the coming weeks as more plans become public, but I wanted to bring some quotes from the various articles to your attention.

I'll start with Randall Mell's.

The first quote comes from LET Board Chair Marta Figueras-Dotti:
“At its foundation, this joint venture is about creating opportunities for our members to pursue their passion, and their careers as professional athletes. In just the 60 days since we began working on this joint venture, we have already seen a dramatic impact on our LET Tour schedule – an impact that will be a positive result for virtually all of our LET Members.”
Another comes from Mike Whan, and I suspect it's the one that may mean the most to LET fans:
Though it’s a “50-50 joint venture,” Whan said before leaving for Spain that the LPGA’s stake in the business would have limits.

“All proceeds stay in Europe, can't take any dollars out,” Whan said. “We can put money into the LET, but we can't take money back out, which I asked my board to support. I want to make sure the European Tour players know that this is not some American growth strategy.”
The USA Today article also adds this quote from Whan:
“As I said to our board, I don’t see a boundary or a fence around that statement,” Whan said. “Our founders would have done it if they would have had this ability, so why shouldn’t we?”
Mell also mentions that news of the deal has already brought five new events to the LET for 2020, as well as a new sponsor for their Order of Merit. (The Figueras-Dotti quote clearly refers to this.)

And the Levins article adds this tempting tidbit:
The LET has been struggling with purse size and number of events on its schedule for several years. The partnership with the LPGA will address those issues as well as provide a straighter line of access to the LPGA Tour for high performers. That plan is not yet in place, but LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said that the plan would be for top players from the LET to get spots in Q-Series, the final stage of LPGA Q-School.
This certainly sounds like the kind of partnership the LET needs to get back on its feet. And with Whan's new long term LPGA contract already inked, the future is looking up for women's golf in Europe.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Twofer Tuesday: Alfred Dunhill Championship

There's a lull in pro golf right now so Twofer Tuesday journeys to the other side of the world -- South Africa, to be exact -- for the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Defending champion David Lipsky

This event is held at the Leopard Creek CC in Malelane, where it has been held since 2005. It appears that last year's winner, American David Lipsky, won't be defending this time around so we're looking for a new champion.

Unfortunately for me, many of the players in this event are golfers with whom I am less familiar... and many of the ones I know haven't played all that well this year. Oh well, my picks haven't been all that good when I've known them, have they? Let's give it a go!
  • My Top10er this week is Brandon Stone. Brandon's game has been a bit off this year... wait a minute, who am I kidding? He's missed way too many cuts this year. But I think I see a slight trend upward over the last couple of months -- a T21 at the KLM Masters back in September, and strong finishes in his last two events (T26 at the Amundi Open de France and T2 at the Portugal Masters). In a field with fewer big names to battle, he might see an opening to add a fourth ET win to his CV.
  • And my winner is Eddie Pepperell. While he's gotten some bad press over his DQ at his last start, the Turkish Airlines Open -- remember the wet ball fiasco? -- he had posted T15, T48 and T6 in the three previous events. That DQ was less about form and more about a mental lapse, and I suspect he feels he has something to prove. This would be a great event for him to do just that.
GC's coverage begins Thursday morning at 8am ET. I actually feel pretty good about these picks and, given the lack of big names in this event, we're almost certain to have a surprise winner.

I just hope my picks decide to surprise me!

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 CME Group Tour Championship

Winner: Sei Young Kim

Around the wider world of golf: Jon Rahm won the DP WORLD TOUR Championship and the Race to Dubai on the ET; Tyler Duncan won the RSM Classic on the PGA Tour; Shugo Imahira won the Dunlop Phoenix on the Japan Golf Tour; and Pavit Tangkamolprasert won the Sabah Masters on the Asian Tour.

Sei Young Kim with CME Group trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks weren't too bad this week. I had Jin Young Ko (T11) to win and Nelly Korda (T3) to Top10. I don't know if it was the ankle injury or she just ran out of gas but, after the season she's had, I can forgive JYK for narrowly missing a Top10. And Nelly did what I expected.
  • Winners: 3 for 47
  • Place well (Top10): 20 for 47 (12 Top5s, 8 more Top10s)
  • Overall Top10s: 37 of 94 (22 Top5s, 15 more Top10s)
Sei Young Kim's performance at Greg Norman's golf course was not something I expected. Although she's played well late in the year, it's been several months since her last win. But she led the event from Day 1... although she showed signs of nerves during the last two rounds.

It was most noticeable in Sunday's round. On both days she struggled to score on the back nine, and in the final round she bogeyed the 14th to give her pursuers hope. First Brooke Henderson posted -15, two shots back.

Next Danielle Kang charged up the leaderboard and posted at -16, a single shot behind Sei Young.

Then Charley Hull birdied five of the last seven holes to join her at -17. Sei Young was unaware of that; her caddie chose not to tell her exactly where she stood as she came down the stretch, merely telling her she'd be fine if she two-putted the final hole for par. That would have given her a tie but Sei Young thought he meant she'd win since Nelly Korda was at -16.

In the end it didn't matter. Her 25-foot birdie putt, which she was just trying to cozy up for an easy par, dropped in to give her the outright win (not to mention the largest ever women's tournament payout).

Will this be the boost Sei Young needs to score her first major next season? I don't know. It certainly gave her $1.5mil, the Race to the CME Globe title, a place in history and (I imagine) a very Merry Christmas. But I'm sure all of that pales beside the knowledge that she picked up a Limerick Summary as well.
Sei Young Kim led the field from the start.
Though her chasers refused to lose heart,
Their hopes came to an end
As her last putt dropped in
For a win at the home of the Shark.
The photo came from this page at

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Rory on Missing It Left into the Wind (Video)

This Morning Drive video is a bit long, but Rory's tip starts just after the 3:30 mark.

Rory's problem, while caused by hitting into the wind, is one that a lot of golfers struggle with regardless of the weather. In case you don't understand what he's talking about, I'll try to put it in simpler terms.

Here's Rory's description of the problem:
“Sometimes when I hit a lot of shots into the wind, I get a bit too much on my left side on the way down, and my left knee starts to go forward, my arms get too deep in the downswing and then I start missing it left."
And his solution:
“On the range [Friday] night, I was really just trying to feel like my left knee gets out of the way so my arms can come down in front of me a little bit more, and I can start the ball a little bit more on line.”
What Rory means is that, during his downswing, he shifts his weight so far forward that he slides toward the target instead of turning his hips. When he slides toward the target, his lead knee moves too far toward the target and his belt buckle turns to face the target too late. Some players would refet to this as 'moving ahead of the ball'.

Or, to put it another way, his knee moves parallel to his aimline, causing his upper body to move past the ball and his hips to turn too late. As a result, his arms don't swing past his body at impact -- they don't 'come down in front of him' -- and he ends up flipping his wrists and pulling the shot.

To fix this problem, he started thinking about straightening his lead knee at impact. That caused him to stop sliding toward the target -- what some players call 'posting up' -- so he can turn his belt buckle to face the target. And when his hips turned, so did his upper body and his arms, and that let his arms 'came down in front of him'.

Rory simply stopped moving so far forward during his downswing and started pushing up as he hit the ball. That makes his upper body stay steadier over the ball so the clubface squares up more naturally.

If this is a problem you struggle with, you'll understand what he's talking about. If you don't understand, then you probably don't need to worry about it right now.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Brandel Chamblee on Danny Lee's Distance Increase (Video)

Brandel's explanation of how Danny Lee 'uses the ground' is easy to understand.

It fascinates me that Brandel uses the same term to describe this move that I have used for years in this blog -- that you want to 'fall' into your downswing so you can push up into the finish.

How do you get 'high' in your backswing? Just let your trailing knee straighten and your lead heel raise off the ground to get into position. You don't have to try to raise your lead heel. It will be pulled off the ground as your hips turn around. Your lead knee will move away from the target and behind the ball. You can see that in Brandel's demonstration.

And you don't have to squat on your downswing. If your lead knee retains its bend as you start your downswing, you just let your trailing knee bend as you turn forward to hit the ball. That will lower your body naturally.

Then, as you near impact, you straighten your lead knee. You already do this naturally, folks, but this technique involves consciously emphasizing the action. And that takes practice.

I want to make one important point here. You don't have to jump up to use the ground. Jumping will merely increase the distance you get from the effect. And if you don't consciously jump up, you'll find it easier to control the distance you get from the natural version of using the ground.

That's probably why the GC website calls this a 'distance hack'. It's taking something natural and exaggerating it. Danny picked up something like 20 yards or so by doing this. If you want to try it, that's how it's done.

Just choose where you try it so you don't lose a lot of golf balls!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Annabel Rolley on the Chip and Run (Video)

Australian pro Annabel Rolley has a very simple formula for hitting a chip and run.

And I do mean formula...

First off, note that she uses a narrow stance and plays the ball off her lead toe. You may need to adjust that, but it won't take you long to find the right ball position. That's simple enough.

She says to use a firm grip on the club. Basically she wants you to chip without using your wrists to add extra loft. That's also simple enough.

Then she says to choose a 7-, 8- or 9-iron to hit the shot... and she says that the choice is crucial. But if it's crucial, how do you choose which club to use?

That's where the formula comes in. Divide the distance between you and the hole into three equal parts. You want to chip the ball so it carries the first third and rolls the other two thirds. Practice chipping with the three clubs until you know which one gives you the correct results.

And that's simple enough as well. Just put in a little practice around the green and once you find the correct club, work with it until you can chip the ball to the carry distance you want with reasonable accuracy. Once you do, you're going to end up with a lot of short putts to get up and down.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Koepka Out, Fowler In

In case you missed it, Brooks says he won't be in shape to play the Presidents Cup so Tiger picked Rickie to replace him. That was expected, but was it smart?

Brooks and Rickie

Second-guessing Tiger's choice is going to be a source for debate from now till the Cup is played. And a number of different articles have appeared just today (links follow) voicing their own opinions:
Tiger's choice to go with Rickie was predictable if not inevitable. It's also no surprise that the US Team is 100% in favor of the choice, given Rickie's popularity in the team room.

However, given Rickie's performance this year, I do think there were better choices. Kevin Na (won three events) and Kevin Kisner (won the WGC-Match Play) both have great short games, and even Brendon Todd (with wins in the last two events of the season) seems to be in better form. And all three have displayed unquestioned mental strength this year.

But that's all water under the bridge now. While I like Rickie a lot, I just don't think he was the best choice this time around and he's going to be under tremendous pressure to perform. Maybe Tiger believes Rickie just needs a vote of confidence to shake him out of his funk, the same way Adam Scott needed one from Greg Norman a few years back.

I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Finish Line in Dubai

I would be remiss if I ignored the final event in the Race to Dubai, the DP World Tour Championship at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.

2018 Race to Dubai winner Francesco Molinari

Last year -- as is often the case -- this event gave us two winners. While Danny Willett is the defending champion at the DP World Tour Championship, Francesco Molinari is the defending Race to Dubai winner.

This year Molinari won't defend. The Top5 players in the Race to Dubai are:
  1. Bernd Wiesberger
  2. Tommy Fleetwood
  3. Jon Rahm
  4. Shane Lowry
  5. Matthew Fitzpatrick
And I have to say that my money's on Fleetwood. As well as Weisberger has played, Tommy narrowly missed out on the big prize last year. I just don't see it happening again. And let's not forget that Tommy won it in 2017.

GC's live coverage begins Thursday morning at 2am ET. Golf Central begins an hour earlier.

But the excitement has already begun, hasn't it? This may be the best Race to Dubai we've seen in years.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 Mayakoba Golf Classic

Winner: Brendon Todd

Around the wider world of golf: Tommy Fleetwood won the Nedbank Golf Challenge on the ET; Ricardo Celia won the Visa Open de Argentina on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; Takumi Kanaya won the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters on the Japan Golf Tour; and Joohyung Kim won the Panasonic Open India on the Asian Tour.

Brendon Todd with Mayakoba trophy

Another wonderful week for my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Scottie Scheffler (T18) to win and Vikto Hovland (MC) to Top10. Apparently both players began their Christmas vacations early!
  • Winners: 3 for 46
  • Place well (Top10): 19 for 46 (11 Top5s, 8 more Top10s)
  • Overall Top10s: 36 of 92 (21 Top5s, 15 more Top10s)
I console myself somewhat by admitting that Brendon Todd wouldn't have been considered for either choice. His first win in Bermuda came after four MCs and a T28... and those came after five years of struggle. But clearly Brendon has proven his toughness at this point, and he probably won't fly under the radar much longer.

If he can to play this way at the RSM this week and continue next year after the break, that is.

Brendon's mental strength is going to be legend from now on, so I want to just point out what caused this most recent win drought -- a swing change. According to's wrap-up:
Shortly after winning the 2014 AT&T Byron Nelson, Todd changed his swing in part to create a higher launch angle. To say the move backfired would be an understatement. He developed a big right miss that got in his head for the next three years, and gradually fell off the TOUR.
I know I often belabor this point, but I can't overemphasize how important it is to avoid major swing changes if you want to get better. While -- in Brendon's case -- seeking a higher launch angle sounds like a minor tweak, it completely changed the feel of his swing and led him down a dark path to swing yips. In his case, trying to launch his driver higher resulted in an inability to hit all of his longer clubs off the deck -- a loss that far outweighed any gains off the tee.

At any rate, Brendon is back and he's going to have a great Christmas after back-to-back wins... and, of course, back-to-back Limerick Summaries. Few players ever achieve either feat!
Now that Brendon has won back-to-back,
His bank account’s back in the black
And he’s had a great run…
But the year’s nearly done!
After New Year’s, can he still stay on track?
The photo came from this page at

Monday, November 18, 2019

Twofer Tuesday: CME Group Tour Championship

Since the Limerick Summary is delayed a day, Twofer Tuesday picks up the slack. But rather than go to the RSM Classic -- at this point (Sunday night) most of the event info I want isn't posted yet -- I'm headed for the final LPGA event of 2019.

Defending champion Lexi Thompson

As usual, the CME Group Tour Championship will be played in (hopefully) sunny Naples FL at the Tiburón Golf Club. Lexi Thompson is the defending champion and, after a less than stellar season, will be looking to duplicate last year's magic. She came into that event in a very similar situation... and crushed it.

But I digress. Let's make a couple of picks!
  • My Top10er for the event is Nelly Korda. She's already won twice this season and is coming off one of those wins, at the Swinging Skirts event in Taiwan. I see no reason that she should slack off now, what with only one event to go and that one for a monster paycheck. I won't be surprised if she pulls off a win.
  • But having said that, my winner is -- who else? -- Jin Young Ko. Three LPGA wins (two majors) plus a KLPGA win this season mark her as the one to beat. Granted, her WD from the Swinging Skirts event is a bit worrisome but she's had nearly three weeks to recover. She's been so smart about her game this year that I'm sure she stopped before the injury became too bad.
Ironically, GC is using tape delay for the first three rounds of this event, with NBC broadcasting live next Sunday. GC's tape delay begins Thursday at 4pm ET. Nevertheless, I can't wait to see how this wild LPGA season finishes up!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Thoughts on the CME Group Tour Championship

With this year's changes to the CME Group Tour Championship, there's been some debate over whether the changes are good or bad. Here are my thoughts.

Defending champion Lexi Thompson

The biggest criticism is the decision by CME Group to simply let the winner of the event win the CME Globe as well. Player #60, who barely made it in to the CME Group Tour Championship, has the same chance of winning as Player #1 who, in this case, is ridiculously far ahead in points.

Is it fair, the reasoning goes, to spend all year fighting for the top spots in the points rankings, only to have them rendered useless in the final event? In most playoff systems, the leaders get at least some advantage over the rest of the field. In the NFL, for example, the leaders in each division (AFC and NFC) get a one-week bye, which essentially is an extra week off to rest and an automatic berth in the second playoff round.

In fact, some have hesitated to say the LPGA has playoffs at all! Instead, they just have a final event. Does the LPGA's system need some more tweaking?

I think it does need a tweak... but not nearly to the extent that most of its detractors think.

The problem I see is that, for all the playoff systems we have in sports, nobody really seems to understand how they work. And once you do understand them -- I'll explain my understanding here -- you realize that the LPGA isn't far from having it right.

First, let's address the elephant in the room: Most sports simply don't have as many contestants to rank. Most team sports top out around 32 teams or so, and most individual sports have fewer than a typical field in golf. NASCAR, the most frequently compared sport, typically has 40 cars in a field and has never had more than 60. Playoffs in most sports cut to 16 or fewer competitors.

Normal professional golf fields typically have around 130-150 players. Obviously the logistics are a bit different!

Another fact rarely considered in discussions about golf playoffs is this: In most sports, the advantages gained by the top competitors are generally granted in the early stages of the playoffs, NOT in the final event itself. Looking back at the NFL, the bye weeks are granted in the first round only. The playoffs themselves are marked by cutting the field size.

The LPGA does have playoffs although they aren't currently called that. Instead, they're called the Fall Asia Swing. These events are invitationals, open only to players who qualify through the money list. None of those events has more than 62 LPGA players and the sponsor invitees into those events don't get CME Globe points.

At the end of the Fall Asia Swing, the 60 players who qualify from the CME Globe points list make it to the CME Group Tour Championship. It should be noted that the top players going into the Swing are pretty much guaranteed a spot in the final event, which is certainly an advantage for outstanding play all season.

The final point is this: In the final event of a sports season -- be it the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Stanley Cup or whatever -- whoever wins that event wins it all. I realize that in most (if not all) of those events, there are only two competitors. But that's a function of much smaller fields to begin with; the typical LPGA field is four times larger than the entire NFL!

The CME Group Tour Championship SHOULD be a winner-take-all event. If a player made it through the Fall Asia Swing -- or managed to compile enough points before the Swing to make the Top60 -- then they should win it all if they win the final event.

What tweak do I think the LPGA needs to make? Simply enough, they should shrink the CME Group Tour Championship field. I would vote for a 36-player field; that's enough to make it interesting but still elite enough make it tough to qualify. Plus 36 players allows for twosomes or threesomes, depending on how the weather plays out.

Furthermore, if they really want to ratchet up the tension, cut to 18 players after two rounds, with sudden death for ties to get exactly 18. The cut players would still get a payout based on how they finished, as a reward for making the event. But wouldn't that make for some frayed nerves?

The LPGA is really close to having their final event right -- perhaps closer than any of the other golf organizations. All they need is a smaller field for the final event.

And those are my thoughts. Make of them what you will.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

How to Lose Fewer Balls Than Eddie Pepperell

Today I've just got a link to a new article over at called Eddie Pepperell Could Use These Tips.

Eddie Pepperell

By now everybody knows about Eddie's DQ at the Turkish Airlines Open when he lost all his golf balls on the fourth hole. So why link this article?

Simply because it links to three other articles at that contain tips on how to keep your ball in play. The variety of ideas in those articles may give you some new things to practice, things that will help you hit it straighter...

And help you minimize the number of balls you need for one round of golf. With the price of golf balls these days, we can all use a little help!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Andrew Reynolds on Not Topping Your Drives (Video)

This is a dreadfully simple tip but we often forget logic when we try to kill a drive.

"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." You've heard that often enough, right?

But when we get obsessed with 'using the ground' it's very easy to squat down too much... and when we squat too much at address, we're going to stand up at impact. (That's your equal and opposite reaction.) More times than not, that will result in a thin hit.

Teeing the ball up -- which you should do anyway -- and standing taller at address is the logical way to prevent this. When you stand tall, you'll either keep your height or perhaps move down just a little. (Again, that's your equal and opposite reaction.) With the proper address position, either of those should result in a more solid hit.

A simple tip that should be common sense, I know. But it never hurts to be reminded of simple things because those are the things we most often forget.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Are 'Hook Putts' Really Easier to Make? (Video)

This GC video from Billy Kratzert and Notah Begay III tries to explain the science behind the belief that players make more putts that curve around them than putts that curve away from them. It's roughly 5.5 minutes long. However, I'm not sure it's completely successful. Take a look:

For many of you, that circle with the percentages is confusing. Let me try to help. If you imagine a flat green with an axis that runs through the 9 and 3 o'clock positions, the 12 o'clock position is the high side and the 6 o'clock position is the low side.

Remember, they're talking about righthanders here. For a leftie on the same slope (12 o'clock high), the percentages would be flipped. In other words, for a leftie, the 1 o'clock and 11 o'clock percentages would flip, the 2 and 10 percentages, and so on. But I'll just use the circle as you see it in the video and discuss it as a rightie.

If you look at the circle, you'll see an interesting contradiction. Regardless of which way the putt curves, the putts directly on either side of the hole (between 2 and 3 o'clock and between 10 and 8 o'clock) are almost equally hard to make. Conversely, the second-easiest putt is the one from 12 o'clock, the one going straight downhill:
  1. 48.2% is at 5 o'clock
  2. 47.1% is at 12 o'clock
  3. 46.2% is at 7 o'clock
  4. 40.9% is at 4 o'clock
  5. 40.1% is at 6 o'clock
All of the putts between 4 and 7 o'clock are high-percentage shots, better than 40%. So it would appear that not all slice putts are so hard to make. Take some time to study that circle and I think you'll find that some of the slice putts are pretty high-percentage.

It seems to me that Notah has a more helpful tip in the last minute or so of the video. He says the problem seems to be more about the toe of the putter being raised too high on the slice putts. (Hey, we all know that some good players routinely putt with the toe in the air. We'll ignore that for now.) The key, based on what Notah says, is to make sure the sole of the putter rests flat against the slope of the green.

And yes, I know that Notah misses the slice putt he attempts around the 4:45 mark... but if you look closely, you'll also see that he has the toe raised. That's the very thing he says you shouldn't do!

So what do I think you should learn from this video?
  • Slice putts aren't necessarily harder to make than hook putts. Rather, the straighter the putt is -- and the more uphill it is, regardless of whether it's a slice or a hook putt -- the easier that putt will be to make. (Duh!)
  • If you want to make a higher percentage of slice putts, make sure you sole the putter on the green the same way for all putts.
Simple ideas, but putting well is usually about simple things. Remember that.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Lee Westwood on Winning at 45 (Video)

Today I've got a link for you. When Lee Westwood relives his win at last year's Nedbank Golf Challenge, he also lays out a strategy for weekend players trying to play their best golf.

Defending champion Lee Westwood

The video is called Longevity, and it's appropriately named. Last year's win was Lee's third at Sun City, and his observations on how a 45-year-old won against an elite field are useful. He talks about focusing on your strengths and recognizing how they fit the course you're playing, and about how sometimes you have to attack a course by recognizing where and when to play away from the hole. It's a great player remembering how he did what he knows how to do... and how it was good enough, even when most thought him too old to really compete.

The video is around 12 minutes long and worth listening to, just to hear Lee's version of a dominating performance that broke a three-year winning drought. I know I enjoyed it and I think you will too.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Twofer Tuesday: Mayakoba Golf Classic

While the Southeast US braces for a wintry blast, Twofer Tuesday flees to the balmy waters of Mayakoba... and the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Defending champion Matt Kuchar

The El Camaleón Golf Club at Mayakoba Resort has more in its favor than just great weather, however. Straight hitters are not penalized here. In fact, they are rewarded by the course because the less you have to scramble, the better your chances of winning.

Then again, you can make a great argument that just being in Mayakoba is a win. But I digress...

Last year was Matt Kuchar's time to shine as he broke a 4.5 year drought. That win launched him into one of the best years of his career, and it could very well happen to a similar player this year. The 7017-yard, par-71 course is exactly the kind of track you want to play as you enter the holiday season, likely with your family in tow for a nice year-end vacation.

So who might come out on top this year?
  • For my Top10er I'm taking Viktor Hovland once again. While he hasn't quite put it all together yet, he continues to play solid golf and rack up those Top25s. It's easy to forget he's only played eight PGA Tour events since turning pro... and five of those are Top25s, with two being Top10s! Mayakoba was his first pro event as an amateur and he missed the cut, but he's not the same player now. It's just a matter of time...
  • And my pick to win is Scottie Scheffler. I've taken Scottie to win several times this year and he's let me down each time -- I seem to pick him on his off weeks. But he's been playing well since getting his Tour card back this season, with a T3, T7 and T16 in five events. Maybe I'll catch him on form this time.
GC's live coverage begins Wednesday at 1pm ET. If the nasty weather that's predicted hits us this week, it'll be nice to at least see some warm weather.

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 Turkish Airlines Open

Winner: Tyrrell Hatton

Around the wider world of golf: Jeff Maggert won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on the Champions Tour, but Scott McCarron picked up the Charles Schwab Cup itself; Ai Suzuki won the TOTO Japan Classic on the LPGA; Puma Domínguez (what a cool name!) won the Neuquén Argentina Classic on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; Ho-Sung Choi won the HEIWA PGM Championship on the Japan Golf Tour; and John Catlin won the Thailand Open on the Asian Tour.

Tyrrell Hatton with Turkish Airlines trophy

Not a bad week for my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Bernd Wiesberger (49) to win and Kurt Kitiyama (T2) to Top10, and Kurt very nearly won the thing!
  • Winners: 3 for 45
  • Place well (Top10): 19 for 45 (11 Top5s, 8 more Top10s)
  • Overall Top10s: 36 of 90 (21 Top5s, 15 more Top10s)
Tyrrell Hatton probably wasn't high on most fans' list, especially when he began the final round three shots back. With so many low scores being shot over the weekend, the idea that Matthias Schwab wouldn't break 70 was almost inconceivable. But that's exactly what Schwab did, and Tyrrell managed a birdie on the final hole to card a 67 and gain a spot in a six-man playoff.

There have only been two other six-man playoffs in ET history, the last coming in 2003. If the Tour wanted to get the Race to Dubai Playoffs off to a scorching start, this was certainly the way to do it!

Tyrrell chipped in for birdie on the first playoff hole to keep his hopes alive and then, as darkness fell over the course and the Tour turned on the artificial lighting, he held on to win with a par on the fourth playoff hole against Schwab.

It was his first win in a couple of years, and it couldn't have come at a better time for him. It jumped him all the way to #6 in the Race to Dubai standings. With just two weeks left in the Playoffs I don't know if he's got enough time to win the thing. But I'm guessing he'll finish well enough to have a great Christmas, don't you?

And of course, he picked up a shiny new Limerick Summary. Let's not underestimate how much that means!
He started the day three behind…
But winning was on Tyrrell’s mind!
Six men made a playoff
Where Tyrrell then pulled off
An upset in dark overtime.
The photo came from this page at

Sunday, November 10, 2019

If You Don't Know Who Ai Suzuki Is...

And you didn't get to watch the live coverage of the TOTO Japan Classic Saturday night, then make sure you watch GC's re-air of the event today. Ai Suzuki of the JLPGA got her sixth win of the season at the TOTO, and there's a decent chance she'll take LPGA membership.

TOTO Japan Classic winner Ai Suzuki

You'll want to get familiar with her and her game. That last round was a pretty dominant performance.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Tom Stickney on the Y Chipping Style (Video)

This is a brand new tip just posted on Friday. Many of you have heard of 'wristless' chipping. In this video, Stickney gives you the basics.

One thing that caught my eye about this video is that Stickney gives you the range for this chipping technique -- from the edge of the green to roughly ten feet off the green. This is not a power chip, folks, so you don't want to use it when you're too far away from the putting surface!

The setup is simple. Just place the ball directly in line with the big toe of your trailing foot and lean the clubshaft forward until your hands are opposite your lead thigh.

And when you stroke, don't use your wrists. Instead, you make a putting stroke controlled by your shoulders. You want to maintain the same wrist angle throughout the stroke. This way, the distance is controlled entirely by the length of your swing.

In my opinion, the biggest advantage you gain by using this stroke is trajectory control. Inconsistency in the distance you hit chips is most often caused by hitting some shots high and others low. This technique eliminates most of that height variation.

If this stroke feels natural to you, it's a mechanically simple way to bring more consistency to your short game.

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Presidents Cup Picks Are In

So the teams are now set. Just in case you missed it:

Tiger and Ernie

For the International Team, Ernie picked:
  • Jason Day
  • Joaquin Niemann
  • Adam Hadwin
  • Sungjae Im
And for the US Team, Tiger picked:
  • Gary Woodland
  • Patrick Reed
  • Tony Finau
  • Tiger Woods
No real surprises for either team, I guess. You might argue that Joaquin Niemann was an unexpected choice, but I can understand Ernie going for the widest world representation possible. Joaquin will be the first golfer from Chile to play in the Presidents Cup. And since he's been playing well, why not?

So now we know the line-ups for each team. All we have to do is wait another month to see how they pan out.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

And the Schwab Cup Too

I would be remiss if I neglected the Charles Schwab Cup Championship and the Schwab Cup itself. The end of the season starts today!

2018 Schwab Cup winner Bernhard Langer

The 2018 Schwab Cup race winner is five-time champ Bernhard Langer, although the 2018 championship winner is Vijay Singh. After a brief test, last year the Champions Tour went back to letting the points determine the Cup winner. That means we have four possible winners in the year-long race:
  • Scott McCarron
  • Jerry Kelly
  • Bernhard Langer
  • Colin Montgomerie
Technically, Retief Goosen still has a mathematical chance at the Cup, but he must win and:
  • McCarron must finish T12 (three-way) or worse, and
  • Kelly must finish T5 (two-way) or worse
His chances of getting both seem long to me, but the possibility is there.

You can see the scenarios for each of the possible winners on this page at McCarron and Kelly are so far ahead that the odds dramatically favor them (all either must do is win and the Cup is his), and they favor McCarron much more than Kelly (because McCarron could potentially finish dead last and still win, depending on what the others do).

GC's live coverage begins today at 3pm ET, amid the coverage of all the other events going on. Bear in mind that if Langer wins, he also pulls within four Champions Tour wins of Hale Irwin, so although he is the only one of the possibles who has won the Cup before, he will be playing with more pressure than the others. Should be fun to watch!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Penultimate LPGA Event of 2019

It's the last event in the LPGA's Asian Swing as well as the last event before the CME Group Tour Championship. It's the TOTO Japan Classic.

Defending champion Nasa Hataoka

The TOTO is played at the Seta Golf Club in Sjoga, Japan, it's a co-sanctioned limited-field event with the JLPGA and the defending champion is Nasa Hataoka. It's worth noting that two of the Japanese players in this week's field, Nasa and Women's British Open champion Hinako Shibuno (aka Smiling Cinderella) have also won the first three JLPGA majors of the year:
  • Hinako won the Salonpas Cup
  • Nasa won the Konica Minolta Cup and the Japan Women's Open
This season, Hinako has won a total of three events and Nasa two. I think they have to be considered favorites coming into this event.

Lexi Thompson is making her first appearance in the 2019 Asian Swing, her last event being the Indy Women in Tech Championship, where she missed her second cut in a row (and third in five events). Since she's the defending champ at the Tour Championship in two weeks, she'll be looking for some form.

Noticeably missing from the field is Jin Young Ko, with five worldwide wins this season (4 of those on the LPGA) and the Player of the Year Award already locked up. She withdrew after two rounds in Taiwan with an injury, so it will be interesting to see how she plays in Florida.

There's a lot still up for grabs this week, as this is the players' last chance to gain points in the Race to the CME Globe. GC's live coverage begins Thursday night at 10pm ET (this is only a three-round event).

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Twofer Tuesday: Turkish Airlines Open

Since the PGA Tour is taking a week off before jetting to Mayakoba, Twofer Tuesday joins the ET's Race to Dubai for the Turkish Airlines Open.

Justin Rose after 2018 defense of his Turkish Airlines title

Justin Rose will try to make history as the first three-peater in two decades at an ET event, but he'll have to do it at a different venue. The Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Antalya, Turkey -- designed by Colin Montgomerie, no less -- will host this year's limited field event for the first time since 2015 as the Race to Dubai begins its final three event run. Victor Dubuisson and Brooks Koepka probably wish they were playing this week, as Dubuisson won the event at this course twice and Koepka once.

But the big question is... who will win it this week?

I have no idea, to be honest. I don't remember much about this course from its time as 2013-2015 host, and several of the ET players who are playing well aren't in the field this week. Nevertheless, I have some thoughts...
  • My Top10er this week is Kurt Kitamura. This American has won twice on the ET this season. His most recent win was in early March, but he has been playing some decent golf of late. Although he only posted a T28 at the WGC-HSBC last week, his previous two finishes were a 3rd and a 4th. And after posting a strong 68 in his final round at the WGC, I think he could be a factor this week.
  • And my winner is Bernd Wiesberger. Another player with a so-so finish last week (T49), I can forgive him since he was coming off an Italian Open win. He also won in July and in May, so overall he's played well this year. I could see him picking up a fourth win this week.
My picks have a total of five wins this season, so they should have a decent chance to do well in Turkey.

GC's live coverage starts early Thursday at 4am ET.

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 WGC-HSBC Champions

Winner: Rory McIlroy

Around the wider world of golf: Several events besides the WGC ended in playoffs this weekend. Colin Montgomerie beat Bernhard Langer at the Champions Tour's Invesco QQQ Championship; and Nelly Korda beat Minjee Lee and Caroline Masson to defend at the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA. On the other tours, Jung-Gon Hwang won the Mynavi ABC Championship on the Japan Golf Tour; Alejandro Tosti won the inaugural Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; Brendon Todd won the Bermuda Championship, the PGA Tour's alternate field event; and Muni He went under-par every round for a wire-to-wire win at the 2019 LPGA Q-Series.

Rory McIlroy with WGC-China trophy

I'm not feeling too bad about my Twofer Tuesday picks this week. I had Xander Schauffele (2) to win and Tony Finau (T53) to Top10. I don't know what happened to Tony but Xander forced the third playoff of the week despite being sick most of the time. It's hard to be too disappointed at a performance like that.
  • Winners: 3 for 44
  • Place well (Top10): 18 for 44 (10 Top5s, 8 more Top10s)
  • Overall Top10s: 35 of 88 (20 Top5s, 15 more Top10s)
Of course, Rory got the win. It was impressive despite going to a playoff, because it enabled him to do something that only Tiger has ever done -- win the PLAYERS and a WGC in the same calendar year. For a player who has seemed to struggle with his game and his life both on and off the course over the last few years, Rory seemed very cool, calm and collected as he shot 67-67-67-68 (plus a birdie on the first playoff hole) with a less than perfect game.

It looks like Rory has found the peace he needed to compete again.

Perhaps even more impressive, he has put together a relatively quiet year that resulted in four big wins in less than eight months -- a PLAYERS, which the WGHoF gives the same weight as a major; the Canadian Open, a big tournament in its own right; the PGA TOUR Championship and the FedExCup; and now a WGC. Perhaps Brooks outplayed him in the majors, yet Brooks won only twice in the same time period, the PGA and a WGC of his own.

It will be interesting to see how Rory finishes out his run for the Race to Dubai. Can he add another win in this calendar year? I don't know, but I know he's added yet another Limerick Summary to his 2019 haul... and perhaps given another big name player something to chew on for a while.
Like Tiger, now Rory’s CV
In one calendar year.
Is the rival now here
That Brooks Koepka claimed he didn’t see?
The photo came from this page at

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Louis Oosthuizen's Swing Tempo Tip (Video)

At the time I'm writing this, Louis is co-leading the WGC-HSBC Champions so I thought this video was appropriate. Please note that while Louis mentions his favorite tempo drill, it's what he says later in the video that's really important.

You've no doubt seen his drill many times before. Simply put your feet together and hit 60- to 70-yard pitch shots. The shots are long enough to require a longish swing without you feeling the pressure to swing hard.

But that's really the key, according to Louis:
"You generate your power with your body from the top, obviously going down and really fast at the bottom, but it's a difficult thing to think about, that 'when I get here I'm going to accelerate.' I think it's more getting everything else in position and once you get to that downswing, everything is going to be in position that's going to happen naturally, rather than go start at the top and really swing fast and you're going to swing yourself out of position, and it doesn't matter what you do at the bottom, your timing is not going to be the same. I think it's a more natural thing that will all fall in place if you get everything in position in the right way."
Do you understand what he's saying? If you try to swing fast from the top, you'll ruin your tempo. You've got to give your swing time to get up to speed, even though that feels slower. Louis is a long hitter. He knows that feelings can fool you, and if you feel fast at the top you're probably going to be slower at the bottom because you've ruined your tempo. Instead, you create your fastest speed at the bottom when it feels slower at the top, because it gives your whole body time to properly create that speed.

Sounds weird, I know. But that's just the way swing mechanics work... and Louis is an excellent example of how effective such a swing can be.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Brian Fitzgerald's Swing Path Drill (Video)

Australian PGA pro Brian Fitzgerald's drill isn't new but he's using it a bit differently than other instructors have.

Many instructors would want you to bounce the ball straight down the line toward the target. Fitzgerald, on the other hand, wants you to bounce the ball a bit to the right of that target line. (That's the drill for righties, of course. If you're a leftie, you'd want to bounce the ball a bit to the left of your target line to get the same result.) This is to encourage a bit of an in-to-out swing path.

I hope you're noticing that Fitzgerald is also working from a slightly different philosophy than other instructors. Think about how many instructors you've seen on GC who have preferred a 'swing to the left' motion -- or at least that's what their professional students are after, because they want to create a fade. The Fitzgerald approach is going to create a bit of a draw, as long as you square the clubface at impact.

In this situation, no one is right and no one is wrong. It's just that each is working from a different swing philosophy.

This is something that you have to be aware of anytime you're watching any instructor and considering whether or not to try to incorporate some of their teachings into your game. In this case you need to ask yourself what YOU want to accomplish with your swing.
  • Do you want most of your shots to be fades or slices? Then you would want a teacher who alters this drill to create an out-to-in swing.
  • Do you want most of your shots to be draws or hooks? Then you would want a teacher (like Fitzgerald) who uses this drill to create an in-to-out swing.
  • Do you want a neutral swing plane that swings parallel to your footline because you want to create draws and fades equally but through slightly different mechanics? That's the method Nicklaus used predominantly, and you would as well if you're patterning your swing after his.
I want you be aware of these minor differences in teaching methods because if you try to combine contradictory mechanics, you're only going to become more frustrated with your game. If you want to become a better golfer, you have to learn to recognize which teachers use similar methods (you can often combine their tips) and which teachers do not (because combining those tips will likely cause even more swing problems).

You can do that, folks. Just listen closely to what each instructor says. Most contradictions are obvious if you just pay attention.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Martin Hall on Driving into a Slice Wind (Video)

This Extra Credit video from Martin has a simple way to keep control of your drive in a slice wind... but it may not be obvious to you at first.

The reason I say this might not be obvious is because I suspect many of you chronic slicers have tried something similar in an effort to straighten out your drive... and you couldn't get it to work even if there was no slice wind!

Let's see if we can't make this technique work whenever you need it.

The basics are simple enough. If you close the face of your driver a bit at address -- that's what Martin means when he says to 'toe it in' -- and you don't change anything else, the face should be a little closed when it contacts the ball, and the ball should draw. (Or, in the case of a slice wind, it might go pretty straight or even fade just a little if the wind is really strong.)

Why doesn't this work for you? Why does the ball either duck hook (that is, start with a pull and then hook even more) or just make a bigger slice?

It's because you don't make your normal swing. You do one of two things:
  • You swing more out-to-in (across the line, if you prefer the term, or pull the shot) and then the closed face makes the ball hook even more. You still end up in trouble, just on the opposite side of the fairway than normal.
  • Or you make a normal swing but open the face at impact, so the ball slices anyway. And if you have an over-the-top swing, you get a bigger than normal slice.
Let's figure out how to stop both problems.
  • In the first case, you don't trust the closed face. You try to 'help' the ball hook by pulling the club across your body. Other than learning to trust your swing -- which is the best way but may also be the hardest -- you can try closing your stance so you have to swing more from in-to-out. Even if it just makes you swing straight down the line (because you came over-the-top or pulled the shot), the hook you gain from the closed face will keep the ball from slicing.
  • And in the second case, there's a good chance you're not really closing the face of the club. Rather, you're just twisting your forearms so the face looks closed. What will actually happen is, when you make your normal swing, your forearms will twist back into their normal position and you'll open the face like normal. You have to turn the club handle in your hands so your forearms are in their normal address position even though the clubface is closed. That's just something you'll have to learn through practice -- you have to get used to seeing your arms and hands in their normal position while the clubface is closed.
Neither one of these problems is insurmountable once you understand their cause. Both problems are caused by using your arms improperly -- in the first case, by pulling them across your body instead of swinging them down the line; in the second place, by twisting them closed at address instead of just regripping the club.

Something that may help you solve the first problem is simply setting up with the ball a couple of inches farther from your body. That will force you to swing more in-to-out than usual in order to hit the ball.

For the second problem, try setting up by turning your forearms to a stronger position while keeping the clubface pointed straight down the line, then turn your forearms back to your normal address position without regripping the club. That will cause the clubface to be closed while you're in your normal address position. Then when you make your normal swing, you won't open the face at impact.

Once you get where you can address the ball with a closed clubface and then return the clubface to the ball while it's still closed, you'll be able to hit a draw anytime you want. Even if the wind isn't blowing!