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Friday, February 26, 2021

Mickelson VS Langer

Sounds like one of those classic PGA Tour broadcasts, doesn't it? That's because Phil is teeing it up again on the Champions Tour this week.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer

I don't mean to belittle any of the other players in the field at the Cologuard Classic. As pgatour.com says in its Power Rankings, "The field is undoubtedly one of the best to ever tee it up in a PGA TOUR Champions event. There are ten Hall of Famers, 20 major champions and 57 players with a combined 419 PGA TOUR wins."

But Phil and Bernhard will undoubtedly draw most of the attention. Phil is trying to become the first player in Champions Tour history to win his first three events, and defending champion Bernhard is closing in on Hale Irwin's all-time wins record (45).

While the Saturday and Sunday rounds will be broadcast live, GC's first round coverage today will be tape-delayed until 8:30pm ET. Given how stacked the field is -- just take a look at the Power Rankings if you doubt me -- this should be a very competitive event.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Annika. Need I Say More?

This is just a quick reminder that the LPGA is back in action today at the Gainbridge LPGA... and Annika is teeing it up.

Annika

In case you somehow missed it, Annika is NOT rejoining the LPGA. Rather, she's getting her game in shape to play in the US Senior Women's Open, and the Gainbridge LPGA is basically being played in her backyard. She lives just off the 16th hole at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club.

GC's tape-delayed coverage starts today at 7pm ET. It will also be streaming on Peacock and the NBC Sports app starting at 2:30pm ET. It's the first full field LPGA event of 2021 and Jin Young Ko will be teeing up for the first time since she blistered the LPGA in just four events at the end of last year. But it will be fun to see Annika in action again and get some idea how her game shapes up for the summer.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Meanwhile, Down in Puerto Rico...

Although Tiger's car crash dominated the news Tuesday, tournaments continue to prepare for this week's competition. One of those is the Puerto Rico Open, the opposite field event to the WGC--Workday.

Defending champion Viktor Hovland

The Grand Reserve Country Club is, according to pgatour.com:

...located along the northern coast of the eastern edge of Puerto Rico that wasn’t spared by Hurricane Maria in 2018. Exposed to the sea, wind always is the primary challenge on the Tom Kite design. To help make it enjoyable (and playable), fairways are generous, the primary rough is trimmed to two inches and average-sized paspalum greens are receptive. They also are governed to just 11 feet on the Stimpmeter.

At 7,506 yards, length can be an advantage, but like any proper host, all skill sets have a fighting chance. Frequency of hitting greens in regulation and precision on approach will yield low numbers even in gusts up to 20 mph all week. They will be prevailing out of the east. Passing showers will be but a minor nuisance.

The defending champion is Viktor Hovland but he's in Bradenton FL instead, prepping for the WGC. That means we'll be seeing a new champion this year, and it appears the favored player -- at least in the pgatour.com Power Rankings -- is Emiliano Grillo, who finished T3 last year.

GC's live coverage runs from 10am-1pm ET on Thursday, leading into their WGC coverage. Now that Hovland has broken the legendary Puerto Rico curse, having won at Mayakoba earlier this year, I suppose players will be even more excited to get a win there. Wonder if we'll see anybody top Hovland's 20-under score from last year?

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tiger's Car Crash

I've decided not to do a big post about Tiger's accident. I'm sure you've all heard about it by now and -- in my opinion -- all we know for sure is that this isn't a life-threatening injury but it is potentially a career-ending one. At this point I feel that anything I could say is less than useless.

All I want to do is wish Tiger and his family well. We're all praying for you, Big Cat.

The crash scene

Twofer Tuesday: WGC-Workday Championship

Twofer Tuesday packs its bags for the long trip from California to Florida for the WGC-Workday Championship.

Defending champion Patrick Reed

The Florida Swing starts a bit earlier this year since the WGC had to move from Mexico City to Bradenton FL due to the pandemic. The Concession Golf Club -- so named in honor of the putt Jack Nicklaus conceded to Tony Jacklin at the 1969 Ryder Cup -- is a co-design by Nicklaus and Jacklin that concedes nothing to the field. It's a par-72 measuring 7474 yards.

I guess you could call Bryson DeChambeau the defending course champion since he won individual honors there at the 2015 NCAA Championship. Patrick Reed comes in as the defending WGC champion.

Picking my Top10ers this week is a bit trickier than normal simply because nobody has a history at this course. (Bryson's so much longer now that he might as well be seeing it for the first time.)

  • My first pick is chalk, pure and simple. Dustin Johnson has posted, like, nine Top10s in his last ten starts. He was T8 at Riviera last week and he really didn't play all that well. But DJ rarely has two 'bad' weeks in a row so I'm taking him again.
  • My other Top10 machine is Tony Finau. You know his ridiculous Top10 numbers since he last won, and his last four worldwide starts are T4-T2-T2-playoff2. I stand by what I said in Monday's Limerick Summary -- he looks like he's gonna win any day now. I see no reason it couldn't be this week.

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at 1pm ET. This week, unlike past years in Mexico City, will give players a legit four-round, no cut break-in to Florida conditions. That means prep for THE PLAYERS in two weeks, the WGC-DeMatch Play in four and the Masters in six. Somebody could be looking at a seriously strong Florida Swing if they get on a streak.

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 Genesis Invitational

Winner: Max Homa

Around the wider world of golf: Hayden Buckley won the LECOM Suncoast Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Max Homa hoists the Genesis trophy

Riviera gave my Twofer Tuesday picks all they could handle. I had Dustin Johnson (T8) and Jordan Spieth (T15). Jordan was looking good until that rough round on Saturday. And just as I predicted, DJ's accuracy was a bit off although he held on for another Top10. Every player has rough weeks, I guess. Still, I'm close to 50% on my picks so far this year.

  • Top10s: 6 for 14 (4 Top5s, 2 other Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 7 events

That rough Saturday round, where play was suspended for around four hours due to winds blowing balls off the greens, took its toll on just about everybody. But Max Homa and Tony Finau each shot 70, two of the better scores of the day, positioning them for the final round -- Max two off the lead, Tony four back.

On Sunday nobody played better. Tony posted 64, shooting the best score Sunday as well as tying the best round of the week, and Max tied three other players for the second-best score on Sunday. But Max kept making unbelievable saves and when he reached the final hole he posted a par to tie Tony in the clubhouse.

You know what happened. Max made another amazing recovery on the first playoff hole to extend the playoff, then birdied the second hole to win. Tony added another runner-up finish to his resume and goes into the Florida Swing looking like he's going to win any day now.

But Max got to celebrate his childhood dream. Like most pros, he grew up wanting to win one tournament in particular -- at Riviera. And not only did he do it, but his idol Tiger Woods presented him the trophy. Some storybook endings just seem to be destined, don't they?

Hopefully his dream scenario included a Limerick Summary... because he just got one. Congrats, Max!

Most pros stake a personal claim
On one course where a win’s more than fame.
Other weeks, they will state
“Winning anywhere’s great”—
Well, for Max this was his Homa game.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Patrick Cantlay's Swing Change (Video)

This Golfing World video is about two years old, but it shows what Cantlay changed to protect his back when he was healing from that fracture that nearly ended his career. He actually stopped driving his lower body so hard without losing his distance. For those of you struggling with back problems, perhaps this video will encourage you to stop swinging so hard.


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Paige Spiranac on Practicing in the Wind (Video)

This is a basic primer on how to practice when it's windy -- how to warm up, how to work on tempo, what kind of shots to practice, how to get the most good from that practice, and even when you should skip practicing and just go play.You might learn some things about wind play you never considered before.


Friday, February 19, 2021

Rick Shiels Tests the New Callaway 2-Ball Ten Putters (Video)

I know you readers are always interested in putters, so I couldn't pass up this new test video from Rick Shiels. But I have to admit I had a good laugh over it. After all, he just found a putter that he thinks is almost perfect... but on the video he can't make a putt with it! It's a good reminder that you can't always buy a better game.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

The New Big Wigs in Golf

It's been a whirlwind of change over the last couple of days, hasn't it?

Rory McIlroyMike Whan

First we got the news that Rory McIlroy had been elected as the new Chairman for the PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council, now we learn that Mike Whan will be taking over as CEO of the USGA.

Talk about a changing of the guard!

Rory is the first non-American to be elected to the PAC position, and Mike is not the standard 'purist' the USGA normally likes in charge. Both leaders are outspoken and unafraid to take unpopular positions if they feel they're the correct positions to take. Both are approachable and liked by pretty much everybody they need to deal with. In fact, both men are already well-known by the folks they'll be dealing with.

And let's be blunt about it -- both men are just plain likeable.

If you want a bit more info, Rex Hoggard did an article about Rory's appointment and Jaime Diaz did one about Mike Whan's appointment. Both articles include video footage, including the interview Whan did for Golf Today on Wednesday.

The big takeaway is that we're seeing a change in the leadership of modern golf. It's happening right before our eyes... and it's not a moment too soon. I wonder what the golf landscape will look like in, oh, maybe three years?

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

This Year's "New" WGC

First we heard that the WGC-Mexico had to be relocated because of the pandemic. It finally landed at the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton FL. But it still needed a sponsor.

Now we know who that is as well. Welcome to the WGC-Workday Championship at the Concession.

Workday tee marker

While this sponsorship is only for a year -- Workday's regular gig will continue to be the Memorial Tournament -- the PGA Tour is loving the fact that Workday is a partner. First they stepped up and sponsored an extra week at Muirfield Village with the Workday Charity Open, at a time when the Tour was struggling to create events. And now, less than a year later, they pick up the slack for a WGC after pandemic concerns threatened to cancel that event for a year.

Simply put, the PGA Tour will once again have a four-event Florida swing, even if it is only for one year. But I'm sure the participating pros are going to enjoy this temporary arrangement.

They say that when times get tough, you learn who your friends are. And based on the statements issued by Workday co-founder and co-CEO Aneel Bhusri and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, both parties have made it clear that this arrangement suits them just fine. It certainly appears that this could be the start of a long, mutually beneficial friendship.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: Genesis Invitational

Twofer Tuesday drags its eyes away from the views on the Monterey Peninsula and heads to Hogan's Alley for the Genesis Invitational.

Defending champion Adam Scott

Riviera Country Club, aka 'Hogan's Alley',  is another of the historic tracks on the PGA Tour. The course opened in 1926, hosted the Summer Olympics in 1932 and will do so again in 2028. It's a course with big greens and narrow fairways; if you hit 8 fairways per round, you're beating the average. And the first hole that comes to mind is the par-3 sixth, best known for that bunker placed squarely in the middle of the green.

Adam Scott got the job done here last year, coming from eight strokes back after Round 1 to win by two. But the field is stacked and he'll need to get off to a better start this year if he hopes to repeat.

Given the stacked field, I don't feel bad about going chalk this week. It feels as if almost any pick is a chalk pick! But I'm trying to mix it up a bit.

  • Dustin Johnson is back in action this week, so I'm taking him as one of my picks... although I admit he feels a bit like a gamble at Riviera. He finished T9 and T10 the last two years, and he's been on a tear over the last few months, but he'll need his driver to be on point if he's going to nab another Top10 for me.
  • Jordan Spieth may seem a strange choice for Riviera, especially given how suspect his driving has been. But I'm taking him because of his putting. The greens at Riviera are poa annua, which Spieth has traditionally putted well on. There are a number of more accurate players, like Berger and Morikawa, who are probably better bets. But given those narrow fairways, perhaps the playing field will be a bit more level for Jordan. Plus I like the confidence he's playing with; that could be a game-changer.

GC's official coverage starts from 2pm-6pm ET Thursday, but it appears they'll be carrying some of the PGA TOUR LIVE coverage as well. That expands their coverage from noon ET all the way to 8pm ET. Spieth may be the most interesting player to watch this week, as Riviera is going to be a real challenge to his newly-regained confidence.

Monday, February 15, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 AT&T Pebble Beach

Winner: Daniel Berger

Around the wider world of golf: Most of the tours took this week off and will return to action next week.

Daniel Burger with the AT&T trophy

After a couple of rough weeks, Pebble proved to be a balm for my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Patrick Cantlay (T3) and Paul Casey (T5). Two Top5s were just what my ailing record needed!

  • Top10s: 5 for 12 (4 Top5s, 1 other Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 6 events

It's not unusual for the mystique of Pebble Beach to take its toll on competitors, even the top players in the game. The views and the history can cause any golfer to have lapses of concentration that cost them too much -- Nate Lashley's triple on 16 was just one example of how one shot can ruin your chances on the peninsula.

By the same token, a single good swing can have just as dramatic a result, even more so because so many of the bad shots are so expensive. One well-placed shot late in the final round can give you an almost insurmountable lead. Two can crush your opponents.

But three great shots in a row...? Hand me the trophy, if you please.

Daniel Berger's tee shot at 18 split the fairway, his 250-yard 3-wood second set up a 30-foot putt and an eagle that vaulted him two shots past Maverick McNealy, his nearest competitor.

This is Berger's second win since the Tour resumed in June last year, doubling his pre-pandemic win total. Interestingly enough, the gap between his second and third wins is slightly longer than Jordan Spieth's gap since his last win... and Spieth is starting to show some promise again. If he keeps putting himself in contention, he'll probably get it figured out and return to the winner's circle as well.

But this week the glory is all Daniel Berger's, and he gets another shiny new Limerick Summary as proof. Enjoy the spoils of victory, Daniel -- you earned 'em!

The leaderboard shuffled all week
‘Til Berger imposed his technique.
That eighteenth hole eagle
Proved ever so lethal
To those dazed by Pebble’s mystique.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

After 24 Hours...

We finally got power and internet back. I'm still amazed at how much disruption a relatively small ice storm can wreak on an area. Duke Power said there were 21,359 outages just in the county where I live, and nearly three times that many in the next county over.

Things should be back to normal for tomorrow's post.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Reasons to Use a Tee in Practice (Video)

Mike Malaska gives you several reasons why your practice will improve if you use a tee for every shot you hit on the practice range. It's a simple subject but it might be an eye-opener for you. It will certainly help you get more value from your range time.

After all, it's usually the little things that give you the biggest improvements.


Friday, February 12, 2021

The Anti-Slice Drill That Sounds Wrong (Video)

You're going to watch this video and say, "WHAT? You told us NOT to rotate our forearms!"

But here's the deal. Rick Shiels isn't actually rotating his forearms -- at least not enough to make much of a difference; it just looks that way. And I'll show you what to watch for so you can see what's really happening. As long as you understand what's really happening, this can be a really good anti-slice drill.


Rick is telling you to 'shake hands' on your followthrough. Lots of instructors use this drill and they tell you to rotate your forearms to do it.

But let me tell -- no, show -- you what's actually happening.

When Rick addresses the ball, his hand and arm are in front of his chest -- that is, his shoulders are parallel to his aimline and his hand (representing the clubface) is perpendicular to that line.

When he makes his backswing, his hand is now basically parallel to his aimline. Does that mean he has rotated his forearm? NO. Why? Because now his shoulders are perpendicular to his aimline.

Do you get that? His hand and shoulders are in basically the same position as they were at address, only turned 90° away from the ball.

So what happens after he hits the ball and is in his followthrough and that 'handshaking' position? His hand is parallel to his aimline and his shoulders are perpendicular to his aimline.

In other words, he hasn't rotated his forearms. He has rotated his shoulders.

So why do instructors always tell you to rotate your forearms? It's because the tension in your forearm muscles -- all the muscles in your arm, in fact -- changes as you turn and, because you see your palm go from facing down the line (address) to facing in front of you (backswing) to facing down the line (impact) to facing behind you (followthrough), your mind interprets that as forearm rotation.

The only way you'll actually get the forearm rotation you think you're getting is if you don't turn your shoulders during your swing. If your shoulders remain parallel to your aimline during your entire swing, the only way you can move your hand this way is if you twist your forearm.

But if you really don't turn your shoulders during your swing, the ball won't fly far enough to get in trouble. That's a fact.

So if you understand how this drill is actually done, it can really help you learn to square your hand -- and therefore the clubface -- at impact. And that will definitely help straighten out a slice.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Say Hello to the Popov Rules!

These were announced a couple of days ago but you may not be clear on just how much these rule changes will affect LPGA winners who aren't tour members.

Sophia Popov with WOmen's British Open trophy

Here's a link to Beth Ann Nichols's article for Golfweek about these rules, but I'll summarize the four changes below:

  • If a non-member wins an LPGA major, she gets a five-year exemption on the tour. (Popov got two years.)
  • The winning non-member of any event -- not just majors -- will also get full credit for the points and money that goes with the win after they accept LPGA membership. (Popov started at zero on both counts. She got no CME Race to the Globe points, which cost her an appearance in both the ANA and the Tour Championship, and her money was considered unofficial as well.)
  • The winning non-member immediately qualifies for the next week's event. (Popov didn't get that perk.)
  • And finally, there's one other change. A member playing on a sponsor exemption will now get official money and points for the win. The fact this rule existed at all seems really strange to me, but it's changed now.

In fact, doesn't it seem strange that any of these changes were needed? As Popov herself said, the new rules really just seem like common sense.

There is one irony here. Sophia Popov wasn't the only player bitten by the previous rules in 2020. US Women's Open winner A Lim Kim was also a non-member winner who had to deal with the same inequities that the LPGA finally corrected with these rule changes.

But Popov was a high-profile non-member with a particularly touching story, given her health struggles and the fact that she had been an LPGA member before and was playing the Symetra Tour to regain her card. It was her story which really put this problem in the spotlight.

So the LPGA will just have to get used to these new rules being known as "the Popov Rules." At least she'll be immortalized for good changes to the game.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Annika's Return to the LPGA (for One Event, Anyway)

In case you missed hearing, it's true: Annika is going to tee it up at a regular LPGA event in a couple of weeks, the Gainbridge LPGA Championship.

Annika at the Diamon Resorts Tournament

As lpga.com reported on Tuesday, Annika's announcement sounded like this:

“I am excited to announce that I will play in the Gainbridge LPGA in two weeks at our home course of Lake Nona Golf & C.C. It will be my first LPGA tournament since I stepped away from competition to start a family in 2008.

“A lot has changed for the better during that time, most notably the birth of our two children. Ava and Will are excited to see ‘Mama’ play. I have to admit if this tournament hadn’t moved to our home course, it never would have crossed my mind to enter. But it makes sense to do so, not just because it will be a ‘home game,’ but also because my goal, schedule permitting, is to play in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open later this summer. To work toward that goal, I have realized that I need more tournament reps to have a chance to reach my potential. I’m not expecting much, but I look forward to the challenge!”

You can read the whole story at the link I gave you above. But the important thing is that we'll have a chance to see Annika tee it up with the kids this month and we'll get a chance to see her tackle the legends at the US Senior Women's Open later this year. It's just another reason to be excited in 2021!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: AT&T Pebble Beach

Twofer Tuesday leaves a disappointing week of picks behind and hopes for better luck at this week's AT&T Pebble Beach.

Defending champion Nick Taylor

Yeah, I know it's supposed to have "Pro-Am" as part of the title but let's be real here... it's NOT a pro-am this year. And as a result, the 156 pros teeing it up will play on only two courses, Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill, and there will be a 36-hole cut.

In other words, pretty much a standard week on Tour.

Nick Taylor will be defending but I'm afraid he won't be making my Twofer Tuesday picks... although, given my record over the last couple of weeks, I could certainly do worse! But once again the field is loaded with big names, and I can't ignore them. My only problem is deciding which two names to take.

  • My first pick is Dustin Johnson. Granted, he'll have to deal with that big time change between Saudi Arabia and California, but I just don't think that will be a problem for him. And since he's coming off another win, why should I expect anything less than a Top10 this week?
  • Here's where it gets difficult. But I have to make a choice so I'm taking Patrick Cantlay over Paul Casey. Paul's coming off another good finish in Saudi Arabia and, while I think he can deal with the time change as well as DJ, Patrick is coming off a three-week rest and I just can't ignore that. But I think Paul will probably post a Top10 as well.

GC is giving us early live coverage starting at 3pm ET on Thursday. (That means we'll be watching the noon pairings in California.) So no live prime time golf this week... but we get Pebble Beach. I won't complain about that.

[UPDATE: With DJ's withdrawal (thanks for the tip, IC!) I can take Paul Casey after all. So now my picks are Cantlay and Casey.]

Monday, February 8, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 WM Phoenix Open

Winner: Brooks Koepka

Around the wider world of golf: Dustin Johnson got his second win in three years at the Saudi International on the ET.

Brooks Koepka with WM Phoenix Open trophy

TPC Scottsdale manhandled my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Webb Simpson (T42) and Ryan Palmer (T42). I had high hopes for both players but they just had off weeks.

  • Top10s: 3 for 10 (2 Top5s, 1 other Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 5 events

I don't feel all that bad, given how unpredictable the Phoenix Open turned out to be. Other than Xander Schauffele and Scottie Scheffler, the Top10 at the end didn't look too much like the early week predictions. Jordan Spieth came out of nowhere with the best golf we've seen from him in years, Steve Stricker took time off from watching potential Presidents Cup team members to make a run at the title, Carlos Ortiz threw himself into the fray on Sunday with a 64 and even past champion James Hahn had us on a Gangnam Style alert.

But perhaps the biggest shocker was Brooks Koepka, a previous winner at this event, coming off a long injury-induced slump and three MCs to take the title. Brooks finally admitted that he had been through some dark days when he wondered if he would ever return to form -- something that most of us had suspected, even when he denied it -- and, like Jordan, the old Brooks returned with a vengeance. He posted three birdies on 13, 14 and 15 before sending a shock wave through the field with a chip-in eagle on 17.

That single shot on the 17th, the hole that destroyed the rounds of his competitors, brought a roar from the small crowd of fans that the event felt safe allowing, and I think it's safe to say that the fans' energy had as much to do with the win as Brooks's healed body did. Most of the big names have expressed their need for fan response in order to play their best, and I think Brooks has proved the point.

Whether you agree or not, the fans clearly enjoyed the return of Brooks Koepka to the winner's circle... and hopefully Brooks will get a similar amount of joy from his eighth Limerick Summary. And he didn't need a major to get it, either!

Perhaps a return to the sands
Of Phoenix where he was the man
When he got his first win
Gave Brooks hope… but then,
Perhaps all he needed was fans.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Paige Spiranac on Finding Fairways (Video)

In this video Paige teaches not just how to hit a stinger but how to vary your setup and approach so you can play a stinger-like shot with any club and from almost any lie -- even off the ground! She also covers the strategy you need in order to use this shot effectively.

She did this video back during the PGA Championship and Draft Kings sponsored it, so there's a commercial of sorts (that is no longer valid) at the beginning. Skip to the 1:45 mark and you'll be at the start of the instruction.


As I said, Paige basically teaches you how to develop a 'fairway finder' game with a stinger-style swing that works from pretty much any lie. You'll find that what she teaches in this video teams up very well with the material from the Mike Malaska video I posted yesterday, so you might want to review that video as well.

If you play a lot of competitive matches with friends, I think you'll find this information very useful.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Mike Malaska Explains Wrist -- and Forearm -- Action (Video)

You're gonna have to watch this video several times, I think. Mike Malaska explains how proper wrist action eliminates forearm rotation and casting, creates clubhead speed, keeps the clubhead square at impact and then he tells you how to practice it... and he does it all in less than 6.5 minutes! This is a great video that can cure a lot of swing problems all at once.


Friday, February 5, 2021

Rick Shiels Tests the Golf Ball Formerly Known as Nike (Video)

Cool title, right? And it's accurate. Rick discovered that RZN golf balls are basically the same as the old Nike version, as they're manufactured by the company that helped Nike develop them. And they cost around half as much, So he tested them to see if they're a good buy. Have a watch...


Thursday, February 4, 2021

Answering a Reader's Question About Forearm Rotation

Last weekend I got a question in the comments for an early blog post called Fanning the Club Open on the Way Back, a post all the way back in 2009. I wrote an answer that I hope helps them (they just signed in as "Unknown," which is fine) but I thought I'd try to give some more ideas that might help.


The reader's problem is that they twist their forearms when they do their forward press to start the backswing, which can cause problems squaring the clubface at impact. The post they left the question on has a drill that I used to stop the problem, and I added another suggestion in my reply. But here is another drill that might help.

I was reminded of this drill when Martin Hall did a quick promo spot Monday for the return of School of Golf. I couldn't find the clip at golfchannel.com or on their YouTube channel... although I did find a clip from two years ago where Martin says he absolutely detests this drill! (Don't give him too much grief over it. Sometimes an instructor's use of a drill depends on what it's being used for, and clearly he doesn't like it for the problem he was dealing with in that video.)

Fortunately I found Cathy Kim's demo of the drill at womensgolf.com (that's the video up above) and it includes a complete printed description of the drill, which you can read by clicking this link.

You've probably seen this drill before. You stick the butt end of a club in your belly button and then swing the club back around waist high without taking the club out of your belly button or bending your elbows. You've seen that before, right?

I am going to suggest a couple of differences to this drill that so that it allows a forward press, which Cathy's version of the drill (as well as the version Martin showed in his clip Monday) would completely eliminate.

First, we need to duplicate the forward press and learn to do it without twisting the clubface open. To do that, take your grip as Cathy demonstrates in her video but don't put the butt end of the club in your belly button. Instead, just keep it close to your belly button and, when you do your forward press, push the butt end just into the leading side (or target side, if you prefer that term) of your belly button. The idea is that you do your forward press and THEN anchor the butt end of the club.

From there you do as Cathy says -- take the club back without any further wrist or forearm action. But I would recommend is that you only swing back until your hands are just in front of your trailing pocket, which is what I told my reader in my response to his question. You don't need to overdo this drill. All you need to learn is how it feels to do a forward press and then start the club back without twisting your forearms.

This should help you learn how to hold that forward press angle just long enough into your backswing to stop the twisting. If you're having that problem, give this a try and let me know in the comments if it helps you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Just an ET Reminder

Today I just want to remind you that the European Tour is playing the Saudi International in Saudi Arabia this week. Graeme McDowell is the defending champion.

Defending champion Graeme McDowell

Why the reminder? Because the field is absolutely loaded this week. Here's a short list from golfchannel.com:

Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Tyrrell Hatton, Tony Finau, Viktor Hovland, Lee Westwood, Bernd Wiesberger, Ernie Els, Marcus Kinhult, Jason Scrivener, Ross Fisher, Oliver Fisher

That's a field worth watching!

GC's live coverage on Thursday runs from 3am-5am ET and then more from 6:30-9:30am ET. I'll be surprised if they don't replay some of the coverage later in the day as well.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: Waste Management Phoenix Open

Twofer Tuesday leaves rainy California for mostly sunny Arizona and the slimmed down Phoenix Open. As pgatour.com put it, "It’s still 'The People’s Open,' just with fewer peoples."

Defending champion Webb Simpson

TPC Scottsdale is notorious for its madhouse 16th hole, but this year it won't be nearly so raucous. The most well-attended golf tournament in the world is limiting its crowds to 5000 per day, but that's still more fans than players have seen in nearly a year! It will be interesting to see how the players react to the larger but still subdued attendance at the event.

Of course, I don't know that it will have any effect on defending champion Webb Simpson. The man really seems to come alive at this event.

In some ways I think the reduced fan count may help scoring at the Phoenix Open, if for no other reason than the noise level will be reduced as well. We'll see if that actually helps my picks.

  • My first pick is the defending champion. As noted above, Webb Simpson just seems to like this place; he has five Top10s in ten appearances, capped by that win last year where he came from ten back to take the title. He should be rested; he hasn't played since the Sony where he posted a T4.
  • And my other pick is Ryan Palmer. The old man is playing some nice golf this season, and he's coming off a T2 at the Farmers last week. Although his recent form at this event isn't so good -- he MCed last year -- I like him to put up another good score this week.

GC's live coverage starts at 3pm ET Thursday, but it looks like they'll be carrying some early coverage from PGA TOUR LIVE starting around 11am ET. (Or so pgatour.com says.) At any rate, my curiousity is roused to see how the wildest golf party on Earth goes when the party has limited attendance.

Monday, February 1, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 Farmers Insurance Open

Winner: Patrick Reed

Around the wider world of golf: Paul Casey won the Dubai Desert Classic on the ET.

Patrick Reed with Farmers trophy

Torrey Pines had its way with my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Rory McIlroy (T16) and Marc Leishman (T18). Rory picked a bad week to have driver problems but Leish just never got it going for his title defense.

  • Top10s: 3 for 8 (2 Top5s, 1 other Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 4 events

Unfortunately I can't write this Limerick Summary without focusing on the elephant in the room. Despite the Tour's declaration that Patrick handled that embedded ball problem properly on Saturday, it remained the big story even after he won by so many shots that a penalty -- had it been necessary, which it wasn't -- wouldn't have made the slightest difference to the final result. But such is life in the age of social media.

I'm not saying Patrick is anything like perfect in his handling of these things, but I do think the "guilty until proven innocent... and you CAN'T prove him innocent" mindset that surrounds him has more to do with his personality than anything else. Under the best of circumstances he seems to rub people the wrong way, and the fact that he seems to play well in spite of the displeasure of others just irritates his opponents even more. And when the USGA and the Tour say he handles things properly, even that doesn't dispel his critics' ire.

And to be honest, I find the 'optics' argument more than a little suspect. The rule-making bodies are plenty sensitive to poor optics, having created more than a few of their own (remember DJ's US Open controversy?) and yet they absolved him on this one. And the sport at large seems erratic in its own approach to 'optics', having never cared how their treatment of minorities came across while going bonkers when Tyrrell Hatton won an event wearing a hoodie because "it just didn't look right."

I won't belabor the point. I know a huge number of you won't agree with me when I say that any attempt Patrick makes to change his reputation is virtually doomed to fail simply because the sport at large doesn't want him to succeed. The mere fact that he refuses to let his critics get the better of him will never endear him to them, no matter how hard he tries... and I think that's why he doesn't seem to care.

Besides, I confess that, while I don't enjoy these controversies, there's a part of me that respects Reed the rebel for continuing to pursue his career whether his critics approve or not. So I take a somewhat perverse joy in awarding him yet another Limerick Summary. Whatever you think of him, this win wasn't given to him... he earned it.

You can love him or hate him… he grins.
You can say he should burn for his sins,
That he’s loose with the rules
And to trust him, we’re fools—
But despite how you feel, Reed still wins.

The photo cames from this page at pgatour.com.