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Monday, May 31, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 Charles Schwab Challenge

Winner: Jason Kokrak

Around the wider world of golf: Alex Cejka made his first two Champions Tour wins both majors by winning the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship; Cameron Young won the Evans Scholars Invitational on the Korn Ferry Tour; Ally Ewing won the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play over Sophia Popov; Min Lee won the Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship on the Symetra Tour; Bernd Wiesberger defended at the Made in HimmerLand on the ET; Juvic Pagunsan won the Gate Way To The Open Mizuno Open on the Japan Golf Tour; Shingo Ito won the Taiheiyo Club Challenge Tournament on the Abema TV Tour (that's also part of the Japan Golf Tour); and Lucie Malchirand won the Ladies Italian Open on the LET. [In addition, Minami Katsu won the JLPGA's Resort Trust Ladies; Han Sol Ji won the KLPGA's E1 Charity Open; and Kyung-jun Moon won the KPGA's KB Financial Live Championship. Thanks, IC!]

Jason Kokrak hoists the CSC trophy and wears the Tartan jacket

Finally! My Twofer Tuesday picks this week were Abraham Ancer (T14) and Jordan Spieth (2). Ancer had a great weekend although he was too far back after the cut, but Jordan managed to card a Top5 despite his struggles. I'll take it!

  • Top10s: 12 for 44 (8 Top5s, 4 other Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 21 events

Jordan may have spent most of the week behind smoke and mirrors, but it was enough to beat almost everybody in the field.

Almost everybody. Jason Kokrak's confidence is riding high -- even Jordan mentioned it post-round -- and he decided that if he couldn't be the crowd favorite, he could at least steal his thunder.

On Sunday that's exactly what he did. Neither player had a great final round -- Jordan shot 73 and Jason a 70 -- but it was enough to give Jason a two-stroke win. He smiled all the way to the winner's circle, as 'underdog' winners are wont to do.

It was also enough to make him the third two-time winner this season behind Stewart Cink and Bryson DeChambeau. But best of all, it gave him his second Limerick Summary of the season. Now THAT'S heady company!

He wasn’t the favorite to win
But Jason’s on top once again!
He took Jordan down
Head-to-head that last round…
And he did it all with a big grin.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Mike Malaska on Creating Relaxed Speed (Video)

This short video includes a drill to help you create more clubhead speed by eliminating excess tension from your arms and shoulders. It's pretty self-explanatory.


One quick thing to point out here is that when you start eliminating excess tension, your tempo, rhythm and sequencing become more important. By that I mean that you have to learn to work with your body rather than trying to force it to behave a certain way, because that tension is created when you try to make your body do something it doesn't necessarily want to do!

Bear in mind that your swing may actually feel a bit slower when you begin eliminating tension -- Bobby Jones famously said he felt as if he had all the time in the world to make a swing when he was moving properly. That's because, in order to create clubhead speed, the clubhead has to catch up to and swing past your hands at impact. If it doesn't, you don't get the multiplied speed that comes from the length of the shaft. Your arms and hands should cause the clubhead to accelerate through impact but, if your hands continue to lead the clubhead past impact, you haven't created the full amount of clubhead speed you're capable of.

I know that sounds like the opposite of what most instructors say but if you watch slow-motion video of the pros hitting the ball, you'll see the clubhead catch up to their hands at impact and move past as the ball flies away. Don't let the description of how the arms and hands START the downswing become your expectation when the downswing FINISHES and the clubhead actually hits the ball.

Try Malaska's drill. That may explain it better than anything I write here will.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Rick Shiels's Five Minute Warm-Up Routine (Video)

I really like this video. Rick shows you how to warm-up when you've only got a few minutes before you tee off -- what kind of shots to hit and what to pay attention to, what you can learn that will help you strategize on the course, and what things will be counterproductive. And he does the entire routine in only five minutes on the range! A focused warm-up for those times when you're running late.


Friday, May 28, 2021

Paige Plays Three-Club Golf (Video)

Paige is playing with only a driver, a 7-iron and a putter. I've posted some videos like this before, so why another one? Because (1) she's using new clubs and doesn't know exactly how far she's going to hit them and (2) as a result, she's leaving herself some shots that she isn't comfortable playing. For these reasons, I think this might prove to be a very instructive video!


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Time for Another Champions Major

Just a quick reminder that the Senior PGA Championship kicks off today.

Defending champion Ken Tanigawa

While 2019 defending champion Ken Tanigawa (yep, the 2020 edition was another pandemic victim) probably took a lot of encouragement from Phil's win at Kiawah Island last week, he's probably just as glad that Phil went to Colonial for the Charles Schwab Championship.

In fact, I suppose most of the seniors feel that way. Phil has a bit of experience at Southern Hills, the site of this year's Senior PGA, and his record there is pretty good. (Not to mention that he usually plays pretty well the week after a win.) This way, one of the wild cards is removed from this major.

But the field is pretty stacked even without Phil's presence. Players like Stricker, Furyk, Langer, Goosen and Els also have some history at this course, and they'll have their hands full with a number of players who are playing well coming to Southern Hills -- players like Cejka, Karlsson and Daly. The 2019 Gil Hanse restoration should add a little spice to the play as well.

GC's coverage starts today at 1pm ET. While Phil's week at Colonial will draw a fair number of viewers' attention and the LPGA Match Play at Shadow Creek will also take its share, the Champions and Southern Hills should have more than enough twists to make for a pleasurable watch.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A Brand New LPGA Match Play Event

Today the LPGA gets a new match play event, the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play, which is structured just like the WGC-Dell Match Play. This short video featuring Amy Rogers gives you the basics in less than two minutes.


The Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas is probably best known to golf fans for hosting "The Match" (Tiger VS Phil) in 2018 and the 2020 CJ Cup after the pandemic forced a one-year relocation of the South Korean event. According to lpga.com the course is going to play as a par-72 just over 6800 yards.

Like the Dell Match Play, there will be 64 players in the field, divided into 16 groups of four. You can find out who's in which group at this golfchannel.com page, as well as their seeding.

As for matches to watch today, I like the Shanshan Feng VS Brittany Lincicome match (Group 14). The So Yeon Ryu VS Ryann O'Toole match (Group 11) also sounds like a fun match-up.

With the setup being the same as the Dell Match Play, that means GC's coverage begins TODAY (Wednesday) at 2pm ET. We've gone too long without a ladies' match play event. This is gonna be AWESOME!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: Charles Schwab Challenge

Twofer Tuesday leaves the monstrous footprint of Kiawah Island for the more modest track of Colonial Country Club and the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Defending champion Daniel Berger

Colonial CC may be shorter than the Ocean Course but players will still have to deal with gusty winds -- at least, they will for part of the week. Granted, that didn't deter Daniel Berger from winning last year's playing, which was rescheduled for mid-June in order to get the PGA Tour season back underway after the pandemic forced everything to close down for a few months.

Will Daniel carry that mojo into this year's event? Well, it's possible because Colonial isn't exactly kind to first-time winners. (Sergio was the last first-timer, way back in 2001.) Hogan's Alley may not be kind to first-timers but it's a good friend to skilled ballstrikers, so that's something to look for in this week's ultimate winner.

With that in mind, my picks may or may not be likely winners. But given my record over the past few weeks, what have I got to lose?

  • My first pick is Abraham Ancer, who would need to break that first-timer jinx. But Ancer is definitely a ballstriker and he's been playing extremely well this season. He's due... and if Phil Mickelson can tame mighty Kiawah, Ancer should be a natural for Hogan's Alley.
  • And my other pick is Jordan Spieth. Last week has to be an aberration, given his play over the last few months. And given his play at Colonial over the years -- a win and two T2s -- this should be a great spot for him to get back on track.

GC's coverage starts Thursday at 4pm ET. There will definitely be a buzz at this event since Phil is teeing it up again before taking a couple of weeks to prepare for the US Open at Torrey Pines. And since Phil has two wins at this event, it's not out of the question that he might add a third. But whatever happens, following close on the heels of a historic performance that continues a season of surprise winners, you have to believe that Hogan's Alley might have a surprise or two in store for us.

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 PGA Championship

Winner: Phil Mickelson

Around the wider world of golf: Wei-Ling Hsu got her first LPGA win at the Pure Silk Championship; Allison Emrey got her first Symetra Tour win at the IOA Golf Classic; and Cameron Young won the AdventHealth Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour. Also, Shaun Norris won the Golf Partner Pro-Am on the Japan Golf Tour; Mone Inami won the Chukyo TV Bridgestone Ladies Open on the JLPGA; and Min Ji Park won the Doosan Match Play Championship on the KLPGA. [Thanks, IC!]

Phil Mickelson with Wanamaker trophy

What happened to my Twofer Tuesday picks this week? I had Rory McIlroy (T49) and Jordan Spieth (T30). It would appear that recent success and improved confidence don't necessarily translate to decent scores!

  • Top10s: 11 for 42 (7 Top5s, 4 other Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 20 events

Yet Phil Mickelson, who had no form to speak of coming into the PGA but believed he was capable of what he did although he hadn't actually seen any evidence that it might happen this week, pulled off a history-making upset. Let's look at a short (but incomplete) list of his accomplishments this week:

  • Became the oldest winner of a major at 50 years, 11 months, 7 days
  • Joined the short list of players to win in four different decades
  • Became the 10th player to win majors in three decades
  • Got his 6th major, joining Nick Faldo and Lee Trevino at #12 on the total majors list
  • Became the first player in PGA Tour history to win tournaments 30 years apart (he's got 45 now)

But perhaps the most amazing thing is that Phil has managed to gain five more chances at winning a US Open to join that elite group of career Grand Slam winners... and he has given us a good reason to believe he just might do it.

In the meantime I hope he enjoys this very special Limerick Summary. After all, it's been a while since he got one.

Though Phil’s ways may leave us perplexed,
In majors it’s not that complex—
He’s the oldest to win.
Phil does it again
And taunts us… What will he do next?

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Mike Malaska's Tricky Lies Series (Video)

This is the first of a new series Mike has started about how to play extreme lies on the golf course, based on the kinds of problems players will tend to see at the PGA. As I post this, there are three videos in the series. This one is about how to play a shot when the ball is WAAAAY above your feet.

Pay close attention because the concept of aiming the trajectory of the club sounds a little crazy at first but it's how you accurately aim the club in this situation.


Saturday, May 22, 2021

Phil Did WHAT? and More PGA Surprises

If Phil's move to the top of the PGA Championship leaderboard was a surprise -- and I think it's safe to say it was -- it wasn't the only surprise we got on Friday.

Phil Mickelson

For me, my Twofer Tuesday picks were a surprise. I picked Rory McIlroy (T39) and Jordan Spieth (T50) this week, but those two are nowhere near the Top10. And they'll need to do some serious scoring this weekend to get where I expected them to be, especially with so many good players between them and the lead.

I was also surprised by Hideki Matsuyama (T4) and Brooks Koepka (3) doing so well. Don't misunderstand me -- I expected both to play well but I figured it would be Sunday before they had a chance to score this low. After all, Hideki is coming off a crazy month after his win at the Masters, and I figured the madness he's been through back home would at least slow his return a little.

And while I didn't expect the terrain at Kiawah Island to bother Brooks's knee, I did expect the wind might. It takes quite a bit of effort to hold yourself steady in strong winds, especially when you're as tall as Brooks is.

Equally surprising is how many big names missed the cut. I thought Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas would be some of the least likely players to MC... but they're gone now.

And while it shouldn't be a surprise, were you ready for three South Africans in the Top4? That's where Louis Oosthuizen (T1), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (T4) and Branden Grace (T4) are and, given how much sand there is at this PGA, shouldn't we have expected South Africans to excel there?

So all we know for sure is that we're in for one wild ride this weekend... and there are so many storylines in play that it's anybody's guess which one will win out. Grab your popcorn and hang on!

Friday, May 21, 2021

Correcting Common Short Game Problems (Video)

If you've been watching the PGA, you know how important proper form can be when making short game shots. Appropriately enough, Paige Spiranac posted a video Thursday discussing the fixes for most short game problems. I like this video because she makes it pretty clear that most short game problems are caused by the same errors, which are easy enough to fix. Watch and learn!


Thursday, May 20, 2021

But GC DOES Have LPGA Golf

Although GC won't be carrying the PGA Championship -- that task belongs to ESPN and CBS this week -- they will be carrying the Pure Silk Championship for the LPGA.

2019 defending champion Bronte Law

Since the Pure Silk was cancelled last year -- familiar story, right? -- Bronte Law will be defending her 2019 title, which was her first (and currently only) LPGA win. The event will return to the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg VA, a venue that has hosted both PGA and LPGA tournaments.

And there will be spectators at the event, albeit a reduced number from the usual crowd -- 5000 fans per day.

While there will be a pretty strong field, probably the biggest attention getter will be Paula Creamer, teeing it up for the first time since October 2019. The good news here is that the Pink Panther finally seems to be healthy. She says the thumb she injured way back in 2010 and the wrist surgery she had back in 2017 finally had time to heal and she is pain-free for the first time in ten years.

At any rate, while ESPN televises the PGA, GC's coverage of the LPGA begins today at 3pm ET. Kingsmill is a beautiful resort located near historic Williamsburg (the former capital of 18th Century Virginia and a huge tourist attraction) so, if the seaside dunes of Kiawah Island aren't to your taste, you're in luck.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Today's History Lesson: Ping Eye2 Golf Balls (Video)

Did you know that Ping used to make golf balls? It's been over 20 years though, and Rick Shiels managed to track down three of them for testing... but they cost him £25 EACH! Why did they stop making them? How will they play after so long? And will he really cut one of them in half to see what's inside?


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: PGA Championship

Twofer Tuesday returns to the site of the 'War By The Shore' -- aka the 1991 Ryder Cup -- for the PGA Championship.

Defending champion Collin Morikawa

Last year's PGA at TPC Harding Park was one of the three majors that actually survived the pandemic, giving Colin Morikawa his first major. The battle down the stretch between him, Paul Casey and Dustin Johnson was crowned by Collin's drive at the reachable par-4 16th, where he took the lead down to the wire.

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is pretty much the toughest course in the world -- or at least on the PGA Tour. In addition to the Ryder Cup, it was also the site of Rory McIlroy's 2012 8-stroke PGA victory. While the weather looks to be pretty docile this week, that doesn't mean the nearly 7900-yard track will be easy.

My Twofer Tuesday picks haven't done all that well lately, so I've given up on strategy this week. Depending on your point of view, I've either gone completely chalk or completely down the rabbit hole of wishful thinking.

  • My first pick is Rory McIlroy. While his game hasn't been all that impressive this season, he did turn in an impressive win at Quail Hollow where he hit less than 20 fairways all week.
  • And my other choice is Jordan Spieth. Jordan has only recently found his game again, and it seems that his driver is also the main source of his troubles. He won recently at the Valero Texas Open and is coming off a T9 at the AT&T Byron Nelson -- his best finish ever at that event. And of course he has the career Grand Slam on the line again.

My choices aren't based on form or anything like that. Rather, both players have been vocal about how much they missed the crowds during the pandemic AND about how important the return of the fans has been in their victories. I simply believe that these two players are riding a wave of confidence that may overcome the shortcomings still dogging their games.

I'd also like to add that, if I were making a third pick, it would be Matt Kuchar... and I'd pick him for the same reason. I think Matt is regaining his confidence and will draw energy from the fans as he continues his pursuit of his first major.

Please note that the PGA is televised by ESPN and CBS this week. So ESPN's regular channel coverage begins at 1pm ET on Thursday, with ESPN+ beginning its coverage at 7am ET that morning. The second major of 2020 should give us a very different type of competition than we saw at Augusta... and probably a very different winner.

Monday, May 17, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson

Winner: K.H. Lee

Around the wider world of golf: Richard Bland made history not only by becoming the oldest ET winner at the Betfred British Masters (48 years, 101 days) but by making only 1 bogey in 72 holes at the Belfry; Casey Danielson won her first Symetra title at the Symetra Classic; Dicky Pride got his first Champions Tour win at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic; Greyson Sigg got his first Korn Ferry Tour win at the Visit Knoxville Open; Lee-Anne Pace won her fourth Investec South African Women’s Open on the LET; Ryuka Hoshino got his fifth Japan Golf Tour win at the Asia Pacific Diamond Cup; Momoko Osato got her second JLPGA win at the Hoken no Madoguchi Ladies; and Minji Park got her sixth KLPGA win at the NH Investment and Securities Ladies Championship. [Thanks again for the Asian results, IC!]

K.H. Lee with AT&T Byron Nelson trophy

I really expected my Twofer Tuesday picks to do better this week. I had Will Zalatoris (T17) and Marc Leishman (T21). But all that rain made TPC Craig Ranch far more gettable than I thought it would.

  • Top10s: 11 for 40 (7 Top5s, 4 other Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 19 events

And perhaps all that rain played into K.H. Lee's hands. While there were a number of low scores, they all came from guys who were too far back to catch Lee if he put up a decent score... which he did.

Meanwhile, the guys closest to him -- Sam Burns, Charl Schwartzel and Jordan Spieth -- were unable to keep pace with Lee's steady march to victory. There were only three scores better than his 66 on Sunday, and none of them came from these three.

Despite the horrible conditions -- and the two-hour break that left him to deal with his own thoughts and fears -- Lee seemed calm and composed, especially after he bogeyed the 16th when the break ended. He had no trouble posting birdies on both the 17th and 18th holes, widening his lead to win by three.

Lee now sets his sights on next week's PGA Championship... but hopefully he'll spare a few moments during his celebrations to enjoy his first ever Limerick Summary.

The rains didn’t dampen Lee’s drive—
He showed what it means to survive!
While others slogged on
Until all hope was gone,
Lee’s lead grew till vict’ry arrived!

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Maybe You Should Try a 10-Finger Grip (Video)

There are several different grips that golfers use. In this video Mike Malaska tells you why you might want to try the 'forgotten grip' -- a 10-finger grip.


I used a 10-finger grip for quite a while back in the early 2000s and it worked very well for me. It might for you as well.

Let me add some thoughts to the other points Mike made.

  • Interlocking grips are very popular among people with smaller hands, and are used by a number of big names -- specifically Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
  • The most popular grip, the overlap, was originally made very popular by Harry Vardon. Just as interlock grips are popular among players with small hands, Vardon once described his fingers as large sausages when asked why he used the overlap grip.
  • As for the Furyk double-overlap, I can truthfully say I tried that one as well back in the late 1990s. If you have trouble letting your wrists uncock fully at impact, you might find it helps you learn how.

Even if you don't stick with it, I think the 10-finger grip can help you if the club just doesn't feel good in your hands. After all, most of us instinctively grip things using all ten fingers. The more natural your grip feels, the more likely you are to sort out the other problems in your swing, so don't be afraid to try it.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

14 Clubs VS 4 Clubs (Video)

This is for fun... but you might learn something anyway. Rick Shiels is using 14 clubs against former Tour pro James Robinson, who is playing only a driver, a 7-iron, a 52° wedge and a putter. And the match isn't as close as you might expect.


I think there are two things you can take away from this little exhibition.

  • First, James is using much better course strategy than Rick. While Rick clearly isn't on his game, he's making some poor shot choices in his efforts to make up ground.
  • And while I can't be absolutely positive, it does appear that James is playing less break on his putts than Rick is. In fact, when Rick takes straighter lines at the hole, even his misses are much closer.

Just a couple of tips you might take away from this little challenge.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Taking Your Game from the Range to the Course (Video)

In this video Paige Spiranac teaches you how to combine drills with regular play on those days when you want to play a round but not really keep score. These drills are useful for helping you improve your game under course conditions.

And as a bonus, she spends the last few minutes teaching you how to keep your own stats when you're 'playing for real'. All-in-all, a very useful video.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

5 Short Game Tips (Video)

I know you all wonder why I post so many videos covering the same short game shots, but the reason is simple. There are as many ways to approach these shots as there are golfers, and I never know which ones might solve your particular short game problems. So here are yet more ways of playing five troublesome short game shots. Hopefully some of them will be just what you're looking for.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Let's All Go to the Belfry!

It's time again for the Belfred British Masters... and this year it's at the Belfry!

Defending champion Renato Paratore

The British Masters was off the European Tour schedule for a few years, from 2009 to 2014, but it returned in 2015 with a twist. Each year the event is hosted by a different British golfer and he gets to choose the course. And this year we get a real treat.

Danny Willett is the 2021 host and -- hooray! -- Danny chose the Belfry, which hosted the event from 2006 to 2008.

Look, the British Masters is one of those legendary events that has run for a long time -- the first playing was way back in 1946 -- but eventually the event lost its luster and no one wanted to sponsor it. The Belfry itself is a legendary course, perhaps best known to us Americans because of the four Ryder Cups that have been held there. In addition, the defending champion is Renato Paratore and the field looks to be pretty good as you would expect.

But I think the big news here is Danny's choice. Choosing the Belfry was a brilliant one and, even if this wasn't a legendary event, the venue alone should make you want to watch.

Chances are good that, by the time most of you read this post, the TV coverage will have already begun. GC's live coverage starts Wednesday morning at 8:30am ET. But GC is giving us FIVE HOURS of coverage so you should be able to catch at least some of it.

And why wouldn't you want to watch? They're playing at the Belfry, for heaven's sake!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: AT&T Byron Nelson

Twofer Tuesday leaves its home state of North Carolina and joins jetsetter Bryson DeChambeau down in Texas for the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Defending 2019 champion Sung Kang

Another event that was cancelled last year, the Nelson moves to a new venue this year -- TPC Craig Ranch, one that will likely be unfamiliar to most of the players. Whether this will help or hurt defending champion Sung Kang is something I wouldn't dare to guess... but at least he'll have the same chance as everybody else.

After my poor showing last week, I'm starting to get a little gun shy about my picks. Neither logic nor form has really helped me lately! But there are a number of players I feel good about this week so I'm charging forward into the dark, in hopes of getting lucky.

  • I'm taking Will Zalatoris again, despite his missed cut at Quail Hollow. The fact remains that he has played well almost every time he tees it up -- he's got six Top10s this season -- and I understand that he lives relatively close to this course, so he'll be sleeping in his own bed every night. Let's give him another chance!
  • And my other pick is Marc Leishman. He routinely plays well in Texas, presumably because Aussies are used to playing in the wind. And he's posted Top5s in his last two tournaments so he should be in good form.

GC's coverage starts Thursday at 3:30pm ET. Advance weather forecasts predict highs close to 80°F and 10-15mph winds for the week, with a 10% chance of rain the first three days of the event and a 50/50 chance on Sunday. Add that to a new course and we could see some unexpected results!

Monday, May 10, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 Wells Fargo Championship

Winner: Rory McIlroy

Around the wider world of golf: This was another week for breaking droughts, many on different tours than the previous win. Alex Čejka got his first win since early 2015 at the Regions Tradition on the Champions Tour; Ariya Jutanugarn got her first win since mid-2018 at the Honda LPGA Thailand; Austin Smotherman got his first win since early 2018 at the Simmons Bank Open on the Korn Ferry Tour; and Garrick Higgo got his first win in two weeks at the ET's Canary Islands Championship. (Yeah, Higgo's won twice in the last three weeks but I had a theme going here. Just roll with it.) In other events, Liz Young got her first professional win in the Series at Woburn, part of the Rose Ladies Series; Bo Mi Kwak got her first KLPGA win at the Kyochon Honey Ladies Open; Yuna Nishimura got her first win since last year at the JLPGA's World Ladies Championship Salonpas Cup; In-hoe Heo won the KPGA's GS Caltex Maekyung Open after six years on the tour; and Naoyuki Kataoka got his first Japan Golf Tour win at the Japan Players Championship (thanks to IC for those last four Asian updates). And the US team won the Walker Cup 14-12.

Rory, his wife and his daughter with the Wells Fargo trophy

Quail Hollow beat up on my Twofer Tuesday picks this week. I had Will Zalatoris (MC) and Joaquin Niemann (T18). But given that only one player made it to double digits, I guess that's to be expected.

  • Top10s: 11 for 38 (7 Top5s, 4 other Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 18 events

It was somewhat ironic that the one player to reach -10 at Quail Hollow was Rory, given how much he's been struggling for the last year-and-a-half. Critics have suggested that maybe he's past his prime. They claimed he had lost his killer instinct, his ability to close tournaments, even his interest in the game. They blamed it on getting married and having a child, they blamed it on his caddie, they blamed it on swing changes and coaching changes, they blamed it on his somewhat philosophical approach to life, they even blamed it on age.

Yeah, poor old 32-year-old Rory, already thinking about his rocking chair at the old folks home.

Perhaps we should have put more stock in his observation that he was missing the fans more than he first realized. Perhaps all he needed was to come to a place where he's won twice -- one of which was his first win on the PGA Tour -- on Mother's Day with his wife and baby there to watch.

And oh yes, with a small but very vocal group of several hundred fans shouting encouragement for him.

In retrospect, yeah. Maybe we should have taken that observation a bit more seriously.

This post will make no attempts to sum up his performance when there are so many things that could be said. I will simply point out that in a couple of weeks the PGA Championship plans to host 10,000 fans each day at Kiawah Island... and remind you that Rory won one of his PGAs there.

Maybe we'll be looking at more McIlroy Limerick Summaries than just this one!

Some critics said Rory’s high scores
Meant something inside was no more—
‘Cept Rors proved them wrong!
He’s not sung his swan song…
But his name says it all. He needs roars.

The photo came from this page at golfchannel.com.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Bryson's 8-Iron Speed Training Routine (Video)

I just discovered this video. Bryson posted it on his YouTube channel just over a week ago, showing how he uses an 8-iron in an attempt to gain 30mph in ballspeed. In the video notes he says you shouldn't try this at home.

Personally, I believe that if you are willing to even consider something like this, you need therapy! But for the curious among you, this is how he trains.


Saturday, May 8, 2021

Golf Monthly Tests the Full Swing Golf Pro Series Simulator (Video)

I'm posting this for one reason: This is the simulator that Tiger Woods uses at home... and it's freakin' amazing! Most of us will never be able to afford one, but that doesn't mean we can't lust after it. Just try not to drool while you watch...


Friday, May 7, 2021

Rick Shiels Gives a First Golf Lesson (Video)

I realize that most of you won't need this video because Rick made it for absolute beginners. But if you're having problems with your game, reviewing the basic principles on which your swing is built may help you discover some area of your game where you've just gotten sloppy and it's throwing the rest of your swing off. So watch this as a refresher if you feel the need..


Thursday, May 6, 2021

The First Champions Tour Major of 2021

Yep, it's about time the Champions got to their majors. This year the Regions Tradition is back on the schedule and the previous champ is in prime form to defend.

Defending champion Steve Stricker

Steve Stricker got his first ever major at Graystone Golf & Country Club a couple of years back, but you could be forgiven if you think he's got too much on his mind to put up a good defense this time around. After all, the US Ryder Cup captain has his hands full this year trying to sort through his six captain's picks for the best team available.

That is, you could be forgiven if he wasn't playing so darn well. He's got a 4th place at the WM Phoenix Open earlier this season on the PGA Tour, as well as a 3rd (Cologuard Classic) and a win (Chubb Classic) on the Champions Tour. This simply isn't what you expect from a Ryder Cup captain with bigger things on his mind!

Of course he'll have plenty of competition but it's hard not to wonder if he isn't the favorite coming in.

GC's coverage starts today (Thursday) at 11am ET. The first major of the season is always interesting, no matter which tour it's on, simply because there's so much anticipation from the players. We saw some great stuff at the ANA Inspiration and the Masters; I have no doubt we'll get some fireworks from the old guys this week as well.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

More Prime Time LPGA

The LPGA continues its Asian Swing this week at the Honda LPGA Thailand at its traditional venue, the Pattaya Old Course at Siam Country Club. And the player who should be the favorite probably won't get as much attention as she should.

Defending champion Amy Yang

The defending champion from 2019 is Amy Yang... and that was her third win at this event. She almost has to be the favorite this time around, no matter who the announcers choose to talk about.

And we all know who they'll be talking about, don't we?

By my count there will be ten Thais playing in this event, but the focus will be on Patty Tavatanakit. She's returning home for the first time since before the 2020 Australian Swing and she's fresh off her first major at the ANA Inspiration. The Thai contingent has come a long way in the last 10-15 years and will rightfully get a lot of attention for their success in such a short time.

But don't be fooled. Amy Yang is the most interesting player to watch in this field because no one else has so many wins here. She has won nearly 25% of the Honda LPGA Thailand that have been played thus far.

I call that domination.

And as it was last week, GC's coverage begins tonight (Wednesday) at 11pm ET. I'm looking forward to see how Amy does in pursuit of her fourth title.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: Wells Fargo

Twofer Tuesday leaves the Deep South and heads back home to North Carolina and the Wells Fargo Championship.

Defending champion Max Homa

Granted, the Wells Fargo Championship is played a bit farther south in the state than my home (Charlotte vs the Piedmont Triad area of Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem) but it's still a home game to me.

The Quail Hollow Golf Club is a long hard trek for the players brave enough to tackle it -- a par-71 measuring over 7500 yards, always ranked as one of the toughest tracks on Tour, finishing with one of the toughest three-hole stretches in the game, the notorious Green Mile.

The defending champion -- from 2019, as it is at so many events this year -- is Max Homa. It was his breakthrough win and, along with his recent win at Riviera, has given him a rep for playing well on challenging courses. He'll have his hands full trying to defend at Quail Hollow though.

And while you'd normally expect a long hitter to dominate here, the occasional 'normal length' hitter gets his due -- most recently, Brian Harman won back in 2017.

So who shall we pick this week? I've decided to take one favorite and one dark horse.

  • My first pick is Will Zalatoris. Let's be honest -- after all the Top10s he's had and that runner-up at Augusta, you have to consider him a favorite on a course like this. And after taking a little time off he should be fresh and ready to show the big boys that he can win here, just like Homa did in 2019. If his putter comes along for the ride, he could make it really tough for the other guys.
  • And my dark horse pick is Joaquin Niemann. He'll need to be a bit more accurate off the tee if he hopes to do well here, but he's plenty long off the tee, hits plenty of greens and he's 10th in birdie average. He may sneak up on the rest of the field.

Yeah, I picked two guys who haven't won on Tour yet. But strange things can happen at Quail Hollow... and if you know anything about the movie The Green Mile, then you know miracles sometimes happen there.

GC's coverage starts at 2pm ET Thursday. It's one of those weeks when we get to see the best in the game struggle the way we mere mortals do. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Monday, May 3, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 Valspar Championship

Winner: Sam Burns

Around the wider world of golf: Dean Burmester won the Tenerife Open on the ET; Hyo Joo Kim won the HSBC Women's World Championship on the LPGA; Lilia Vu won the Garden City Charity Classic on the Symetra Tour; Mike Weir won the Insperity Invitational on the Champions Tour; Paul Barjon won the Huntsville Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Hyun Kyung Park successfully defended at the KLPGA'S CreaS F&C 43rd KLPGA Championship; Momoko Ueda won the Panasonic Ladies Open on the JLPGA; Dong-eun Kim won the KPGA's Gunsan Open; and Hiroshi Iwata won The Crowns on the Japan Golf Tour. [Thanks for the Asian scores, IC!]

Sam Burns with the Valspar trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks did better this week. I had Charl Schwartzel (T21) and Abraham Ancer (5). Charl didn't carry his good play over from Zurich but Abraham did just what I expected from him. He's becoming a consistent player on Tour.

  • Top10s: 11 for 36 (7 Top5s, 4 other Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 17 events

Sam Burns has been so close so many times. I've made him a Twofer Tuesday pick before, only to have him stumble or have an off week. But he's one of those players you couldn't help but believe would eventually break through.

Well, this was his week. All those past opportunities that slipped through his fingers have proven to be learning experiences after all. And on Sunday we saw a much steadier, more comfortable player as he made his way through the Snake Pit in even par.

I'll grant you that Keegan Bradley gave him a little help with that double on 13, but it truly was just a little help -- you can argue that Keegan's tee shot was the only truly bad shot he hit all day and that he had been rock solid up until that point. Sam simply wasn't going away this time.

Now, instead of being one of the best players on Tour never to win, Sam has completely changed the conversation. This win will kick him up into the Top50 in the OWGR, which means he's eligible for the majors (like the upcoming PGA Championship) and WGCs. But more than that, he has finally gained the most prestigious honor that comes with a Tour win...

His very own Limerick Summary.

In tournaments past, Sam had chances
Yet somehow he only caught glances
Of what might have been.
But now, with this win,
He’s changed his career circumstances.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Mike Malaska on How Driver and Iron Swings Differ (Video)

This is an older video from Mike that explains why a driver swing is different from an iron swing... and why they shouldn't feel any different.


Note that the drill he gives for matching the driver and iron swings merely involves slowing your driver swing enough to feel the same sequencing, and then gradually speeding up your driver swing until you can keep your iron swing sequencing at driver speed.

To a large extent, this is a mental problem rather than a technique problem. You just need to learn to swing the same way regardless of whether you're swinging a driver or an iron. That means that you might be able to make this change rather quickly, depending on how easily you can change your concept of how your swing should feel.

And as a bonus, if you can begin to swing your driver with the same sequence as your irons, you should soon be able to hit your irons farther as well because you'll be able to swing your irons faster. Now that's worth some practice!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

How to Get More from Your Range Session (Video)

This is a simple video to understand. It lists 11 mistakes frequently made on the range, mistakes that keep you from seeing real improvement from your range work. You'll find at least a few tips here that will help you get better quicker.