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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: Hero World Challenge

Twofer Tuesday swallows its pride and decides to pick winners at the Hero World Challenge after all.

Defending champion Henrik Stenson

Yes, two weeks back I said I was done with Twofer Tuesday until January. But my chance of picking at least one Top10 player -- when the field is only 20, mind you -- is at least 50%. So here I am, hoping to pad my pitiful 2020 results with one or (is it even possible?) two Top10s!

The Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas is hosting Tiger's event for the sixth time. It's a par-72 with five par-3s and five par-5s playing just over 7300 yards. And since only light winds are expected this week, the players in this field will likely tear it to shreds. The event wasn't played last year so 2019's winner Henrik Stenson is the defending champion.

In my opinion, the beauty of this event is that there truly are no bad picks this week. So I've got at least a coin flip's chance of adding to my stats.

  • Can I really pass on Collin Morikawa? The kid's coming off an amazing season and I just don't see him finishing outside the top half of this field. So let's see if he comes to play or not.
  • And with a short field like this, I feel pretty good about taking Justin Thomas. I've been leery of taking him in full field events this year because his traditional consistency just hasn't been there. But in a relaxed situation like this, I think he might regain some of his swagger.

GC's coverage starts Thursday at 1:30pm ET. Surely my chances of having a pick actually perform the week I pick them are pretty good this time around!

Monday, November 29, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 Joburg Open

Winner: Thriston Laurence

Around the wider world of golf: Carlota Ciganda won the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España on the LET; Kana Mikashima won the JLPGA Tour Championship RICOH Cup (Ayaka Furue won POY and Mone Inami topped the money list); and Mikumu Horikawa won the Casio World Open on the Japan Golf Tour. [Thanks, IC!]

Thriston Lawrence with Joberg trophy

I didn't make any Twofer Tuesday picks this week as I didn't know the field well enough. So at least my record didn't get any worse this week!

Of course, some things did get worse this week. A new COVID variant made its appearance in South Africa, causing officials to shorten the first DP World Tour event from 72 to 54 holes so players and staff who weren't from South Africa could return home before new international travel restrictions went into effect. They really had no choice, as more than a dozen European players had already WDed from the Joburg Open for that very reason.

And then bad weather arrived, forcing them to shorten the event even further -- all the way down to 36 holes. It was a nerve-wracking situation for everybody.

But Thriston Laurence made the best of it. After shooting two 65s to take the lead going into the third round, he led by four strokes as he teed off Saturday. But he played only a few holes before the horns blew and, with no option to finish on Sunday, the event was called after two rounds.

This truly is a career changer for Laurence. Not only did the win get him a European Tour card but it also got him a spot in THE OPEN next year. I think that counts as turning a bad situation into a blessing, and it grabs him his first ever Limerick Summary. Way to go, Thriston!

For Thriston, a life-changing week.
Though COVID made things pretty bleak
And storms caused delays—
He had only two days!—
From this valley he reached a new peak.

The photo came from this page at europeantour.com.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

My Step-in-Place Drill

Earlier in the week I did a couple of posts with videos from Mike Malaska and Be Better Golf that focused on weight shift and footwork, and I promised to give you a drill of my own that might help you get a better handle on your own swing issues.

I call my drill the Step-in-Place drill because it tries to create a good feel for body movement during your swing similar to what a Step-Through drill does but without the excess movement that results from such drills. I'll give it to you in three steps so you can see how it's built.

The first step is simply to swing your arms. Chances are good you've done things like this since you were small. I actually remember doing something like this in elementary school as part of the calisthenics we did during phys ed. (We used it to loosen up a little before we actually had to do jumping jacks and stuff.) The diagrams below show your upper body from behind, so your right arm is on the right and your left arm is on the left. I did left-handed and right-handed diagrams because, while the movements are the same, the labels below the pictures show that the arm motion for a rightie's backswing is the leftie's downswing, and vice versa.

Arm swings are simple enough. On the backswing your lead arm swings forward and your trailing arm swings backward, and on the downswing they reverse.

In the first diagram below you can see that we're not turning our shoulders any. That's because I just want you to get the feel of swinging your arms. Note that we aren't swinging them straight forward and back either. We're swinging them at roughly a 45° angle across our body. When you do this you should lean slightly forward, as if you're addressing a golf ball, and you want to maintain that spine angle as you swing your arms.

..

Do this for a little bit, just to get the feel of the motion. You don't need a golf club to do this. What you want to feel is the rhythm and smoothness of the swinging... and I bet you'll feel a little footwork that creates a gentle weight shift as your weight moves slightly from one foot to the other. You won't have to try and feel it. It just happens because that's how our bodies naturally move.

Got it? Good. Let's move on to the second step, which is adding our shoulder turn.

As you can see, your shoulders turn so now your lead arm mimics the backswing of your golf swing and swings almost straight to the side -- away from your target if you actually intended to hit a golf ball.. Then on the downswing you turn into your followthrough and your trail arm swings almost straight toward the target.

Don't worry if you don't get a 90° shoulder turn; that's not the point here. We're just after a smooth swinging motion. Remember to keep your spine angle fairly constant as you do this. And your footwork will become more rhythmic and pronounced naturally because... well, that's how your body naturally works.

..

That's our basic backswing and downswing. Simple, right? After you've done that for a bit and feel comfortable with it, we'll add the final piece of the drill, the 'step-in-place.'

See the diagram below? This represents your trail foot. To start your backswing without stepping away from or toward the target -- in other words, we're going to mimic the footwork during your golf swing -- I want you to lift your trail heel slightly off the ground so your weight is on the big toe side of your trail foot. That's shown in black in the diagram below. 

To get your heel off the ground without lifting your trail hip or moving the rest of your body, just bend your trail knee slightly. It doesn't matter whether you bend it in toward your lead knee or bend it straight forward, just bend it a little bit so your heel comes off the ground and you can stay in that position for a few seconds.

You haven't taken the weight off your trail foot. You've just put the pressure on the front side of your foot. That's your start position.

..

Now, when you swing your arms and turn your shoulders into your backswing, let your trailing heel go to the ground and put your weight on your heel. That will give you a steady base on which to finish your shoulder turn and let your trail hip move backward instead of creating a sway with your body. Your lead heel is probably going to come off the ground when you do this and that's to be expected. But your upper body shouldn't move away from the target.

At the top of your backswing, just swing your arms and turn your shoulders and let your weight move naturally to your lead foot. From this point you're just making your followthrough.

You can practice this all you want this winter, in front of the TV, no club, just getting that rhythm into your body. And when the weather improves and you can go outside, use this motion with the L-to-L drill that I seem to recommend for almost every problem that plagues your swing. That way you can learn to match the body motion up to your golf swing.

This is a really simple drill intended to teach you how your body moves during a golf swing when you just let it move naturally and rhythmically. I think you'll be surprised at how much it can help.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

10 Uses for Alignment Sticks (Video)

If you like using alignment sticks during practice, here are ten different ways you can use them. This video covers drives, approach shots, sand shots, chipping, putting and even shaping shots. You've probably seen a lot of these but I bet you'll find a couple of new uses as well.


Friday, November 26, 2021

...And the LET Finals

Since they didn't play last week, I almost missed the LET's final event of 2021, the Andalucia Costa Del Sol Open De Espana.

Defending champion Emily Kristine Pedersen

This year the women are playing at the Los Naranjos Golf Club in Marbella, Spain. While the course changes from year to year, Marbella has been the site of the Spanish Open for at least six years now. Emily Kristine Pedersen is the defending champion.

The Race to Costa del Sol -- Marbella is part of the Costa del Sol (which, my American friends, means 'Coast of the Sun' or simply 'Sun Coast') -- is the LET's equivalent of the LPGA's Race to the CME Globe and, to be blunt, it's not really a race this year at all. Atthaya Thitikul from Thailand (you've seen her post some great finishes this year around the world, like her 5th at the Evian) is only 18 years old but she's #22 in the Rolex Rankings and so far ahead in the Race that nobody is going to catch her.

She's T13 (par) after the first round.

GC is broadcasting the second round starting today (Friday) at 8:30sm ET. Although nobody's going to take the yearlong race from Thitikul, the leaderboard is pretty tight with a dozen players under par (the lead is -3). And let's face it -- Marbella is a beautiful place for a tournament. Why wouldn't you watch?

[UPDATE: Apparently the live broadcast for this event is streaming at GC, not on the regular channel. A rebroadcast on GC proper is scheduled for 2:30pm ET. Sorry, folks -- my bad.]

Thursday, November 25, 2021

The Rear Wheel Drive Golf Swing (Video)

Yesterday I posted a Mike Malaska video that viewed weight shift in terms of shoulder turn. Today I'm posting a video from Be Better Golf that views the same move in terms of leg drive. The two concepts describe the same move but from different reference points. I think there's something important to be learned from this -- namely, that the same move can feel very different to different players.

Here's the video. I'll try to explain the differences in the text below the video and, after you've had a couple of days to digest it -- to be honest, I'm not sure BBG's explanation is as plain as it could be -- I'm going to try and combine the two approaches into a single drill that will help you build a smoother golf swing.


What BBG calls a "rear wheel drive" swing is basically built on a step-through drill, which you may have seen players like Gary Player use. But while the weight shift is more pronounced with a step-through move, the backswing position you achieve with either yesterday or today's approach is pretty much the same.

The real difference between the two results from how wide your stance is. BBG's move uses a wider stance while Malaska's uses a narrower one. The wider stance requires more lateral movement simply because human bodies aren't flexible enough to get a good shoulder turn from a wide stance. In the same way, using a lot of leg drive from a narrower stance results in way too much lateral motion; your body ends up moving outside the width of your stance and you get a sway.

But of course step drills have problems of their own. It can be difficult to feel the rocking motion of a step drill without actually stepping backward and forward, which works against getting consistent contact with the ball. After all, you don't really step backward or forward when you make a golf swing.

There are a lot of good things to be gained by combining some lower body motion with a good shoulder turn. I think the key to combining the two is by using some simple footwork to combine the two -- footwork that doesn't require you to take actual steps.

In a couple of days I'll show you a drill that might help you combine the two into an easy-to-feel motion that has some similarities to that old-fashioned move called a forward press. In the meantime, see if you can understand what BBG is trying to do with this "rear wheel drive" move.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Shifting Your Weight Properly (Video)

Hopefully this short video from Mike Malaska can help you understand the difference between a weight shift and a sway. Between what Mike says and my attempt to explain the move after the video, I hope you get a clear understanding of what's happening.

What we normally refer to as a weight shift is more of a momentum shift (that's a better name for the correct move). When you turn your shoulders away from the target during your backswing, the momentum toward your trail leg (which remains straight) allows you to unweight your lead leg (which bends). Then your trail leg pushes forward on your downswing; that's when you replant your lead foot and push up slightly with your lead leg as you actually hit the ball.

The turn of your shoulders away from the target during the backswing creates enough momentum to increase the pressure against your trail leg. I know, it's a subtle thing. But unlike an actual weight shift (which Mike is calling a sway in this video) which would allow you to balance over your trail foot as long as you wanted without putting weight on your lead foot, this momentum shift can't be maintained once your shoulders stop turning. Once you stop turning, you'll start 'falling toward your lead side'... and that's what creates the sensation of your weight shifting forward.

I hope this makes the proper move clearer to you. Once you know what you're looking for, it's pretty easy to tell if you're doing it or not. But if it's still not clear, just let me know in the comments and I'll see if I can come up with a better explanation.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The DP World Tour Kicks Off Its New Season

This is Thanksgiving week in the US, the holiday itself taking place on Thursday, and so there isn't much in the way of golf going on in my country. We're celebrating an older and underappreciated holiday that is nevertheless fundamental to our history and identity as a nation, and I plan to enjoy it.

But everything is new at the DP World Tour, it seems. The tour name, the tour sponsor and the season itself all point to the future. So let's take a quick look at the first event of the newly renamed tour, the Joburg Open..

Defending champion Joachim B. Hansen

Joachim B. Hansen made this his first European Tour victory last year. He'll make his defense at the Randpark Golf Club, near Johannesburg in South Africa, where he won last year. That course is a par-71 measuring roughly 7500 yards. I know that sounds long but it's built at altitude, around 5000 feet, so Randpark doesn't play quite that long.

But that's where the familiarity of the event ends.

Last year the Joburg utilized two courses and boasted a 200-man field. Not this year. We'll see a more standard field playing Randpark only (I've heard both 144-man and 156-man fields, so I'm not sure which is correct). I don't know how that will affect the players, although obviously they'll need less time to get used to the course -- only one this time, after all -- and I imagine some of the later tee times might have an issue with darkness.

Given my poor showing picking Top10 players thus far this season, I've decided to skip Twofer Tuesday until the PGA Tour starts back up in January. I have enough trouble picking from players whose games I'm more familiar with. I don't even want to think about how badly I'd do since I don't know this field nearly as well. While I recognize many of the players, I don't see them nearly enough to judge their chances, especially since I see no Top50 players in the field.

It looks as if GC's coverage will begin early Thursday morning at 5am ET. I like the idea of starting off my Thanksgiving holiday with some DP World Tour golf. The Joburg is always fun to watch, as most of the African events are. After all, you never know what kind of animal will wander onto the course and crash the party!

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 RSM Classic

Winner: Talor Gooch

Around the wider world of golf: Collin Morikawa won both the Race to Dubai title and the DP World Tour Championship on the ET (this is the last week I can call it that); Jin Young Ko won the Race to the CME Globe title, the LPGA POY and the CME Group Tour Championship on the LPGA for the second year in a row; Erika Hara won the Daio Paper Elleair Ladies Open on the JLPGA; and Chan Kim won the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament on the Japan Golf Tour. [Thanks, IC!]

Talor Gooch with RSM trophy

Well, at least I have something to show for my efforts this week. My Twofer Tuesday picks were Webb Simpson (T8) and Kevin Kisner (MC). They were the Top2 scorers coming into this event; at least Webb gave me a little ray of hope.

  • Top10s: 2 for 18 (2 Top1)
  • Winners: 0 for 9

But one thing is very clear now: Talor Gooch officially hates me. He had posted two Top10s in three starts early this season--and both were good scores, not flukes--so I picked him for two weeks running and got only a T11 and a 60th. So I didn't pick him this week and what does he do?

He goes out and wins the tournament, that's all. He just basically walked away with the title, winning by three.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm very happy that Talor finally broke through for his first PGA Tour win. He's been due for some time now. But why couldn't he do it on a week when I picked him?

I won't belabor the point. I will gladly give Talor his first ever Limerick Summary and wish him well in his efforts to win many more. But damn it, Talor, could you see your way clear to do it on the occasional week when I've picked you? I mean really, is it all that difficult to show me a little love...?

Talor struggled to get the job done
But he’s finally reached Number One.
While I’m glad he’s on top
And his waiting has stopped,
Why’d he have to make me look so dumb?

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

How to Play Speed Golf (Video)

If you've ever wondered how you play speed golf, Rick Shiels chased Luke Willett around 18 holes in less than 45 minutes to see how it's done. As far as I can tell, it's really just the putting that's affected because you don't have time to do much greensreading. Even at that, Willett posted an 88 for this round. It's pretty cool!

Saturday, November 20, 2021

It Snuck Up on Me!

I've been so busy this week that the DP World Tour Championship slipped completely under my radar until I happened to catch part of it Friday morning. It looks to be a seriously good competition.

2020 tournament winner Matt Fitzpatrick and Race to Dubai winner Lee Westwood

Last year's tournament winner Matt Fitzpatrick is in the Top13 (5 strokes back) at the halfway point, with McIlroy just one stroke off the lead. And while last year's Race to Dubai winner Lee Westwood is unlikely to repeat, this year's leader Collin Morikawa is just two strokes back.

I'm having to try and keep up with the scores through recaps, which is very frustrating for me -- especially when the action looks so good. And with this being the last event before the European Tour becomes the DP World Tour, it feels like the end of an era. But at least it looks as if the old tour will get an excellent sendoff, which is well-deserved after so many years of great events.

Friday, November 19, 2021

More Tips for Better Scores with Your Same Old Swing (Video)

Consider this a companion to yesterday's video. Nick Dougherty has five tips for improving your scores without actually changing your swing. It's all about learning to use what you already have in an intelligent way. After all, that's what the best players have always done.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Tips for Breaking 85 (Video)

I do like this kind of video because it's about thinking golf rather than just hitting the ball thoughtlessly. Rick Shiels has five tips, most of them tips that you can take out on the course right now and lower your score.  Good tips that you may have heard before... but I bet you haven't heard all of them quite the way Rick uses them.


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

At last! The CME Group Tour Championship

They're finally here. It's the final week of the LPGA season, the CME Group Tour Championship.

Defending champio Jin Young Ko

The LPGA returns to Tiburon Golf Club in Naples FL, where last year Jin Young Ko casually won the event on her way to a four tournament season-winning Race to the CME Globe title. It solidified the World #1 as a force to be reckoned with, regardless of how likely she seemed to lose.

It's no surprise to hear that the real story this week is the battle between Jin Young Ko and Nelly Korda. The two have been passing that #1 title back and forth this year, and a head-to-head contest is just what fans want. Not that they'll be the only players with a chance to win, but they're certainly the ones under the closest scrutiny.

According to the CME site, GC's live digital coverage begins Thursday at 2pm ET with their live TV coverage beginning at 3pm ET. This should be another great finale to the season. But really, has the LPGA given us any reason to expect less?

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: RSM Classic

Twofer Tuesday skips from the Gulf Coast over to the East Coast for the RSM Classic.

Defending champion Robert Streb

The boys are leaving Houston for Sea Island and the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort, a mere 7000-yard par-70.

Robert Streb is the defending champ, who picked up his second Tour victory last year at this event. In fact, BOTH of his wins have come at the RSM. I'm sure he's looking forward to teeing it up again!

Given that none of my tactics for choosing winners have actually produced one -- I guess I'll have to chalk my single Top5 pick this season to dumb luck -- I'm just guessing at this point. A shorter course gives shorter hitters a better chance to win, so let's pick two shorter hitters

  • Webb Simpson tends to score well here but he hasn't won. Well, perhaps he'll continue to post low scores and actually get a win this time. Even a Top10 will score well with me.
  • And Kevin Kisner is the all-time earnings leader at this event so why not pick him?

Yep, that's it. No complex explanations, no reason to think this week's approach is any better than any other week's has been. Let's see if either player is willing to be my hero this week!

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at noon ET. I have no expectations at this point and the pros say that's generally when they score well. Let's see if they're right. (I certainly haven't been.)

Monday, November 15, 2021

Limerick Summary: 2021 HP Enterprise Houston Open

Winner: Jason Kokrak

Around the wider world of golf: Phil Mickelson won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on the Champions Tour (and Bernhard Langer won his sixth yearlong Cup); Nelly Korda won the Pelican Women's Championship on the LPGA; Joachim Hansen won the AVIV Dubai Championship on the ET; Mone Inami won the Ito En Ladies Golf Tournament on the JLPGA; and Hae Ran Ryu won the SK Shieldus Telecom Championship on the KLPGA. Min Ji Park won their POY and Hana Jang won the scoring title. [Thanks, IC!]

Jason Kokrak with HP trophy

Another heartbreaking week! My Twofer Tuesday picks were Aaron Wise (T26) and Talor Gooch (60). I have no explanation for why their games started to slide last week when I first picked them nor why they got even worse this week. Such is life I guess.

  • Top10s: 1 for 18 (1 Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 9

But while my boys quietly faded into the pack, Jason Kokrak was pulling off some serious magic. When he had to finish his second round on Saturday morning and shot a miserable +7 in seven holes, it looked as if his hopes of winning were done for the week. But then he rallied big time, posting 66-65 over the weekend and finishing -4 in the last 6 holes. Four straight birdies gave him a three-shot lead.

He won at -10 by two shots.

This definitely puts Jason in the 'hot' player category. With two wins this season (and a third at last year's CJ Cup) he's clearly becoming someone to watch over the next year. Could a major be in his near future? Stay tuned!

In the meantime, Jason adds to his growing collection of Limerick Summaries. Way to go, big man!

The weekend threw Jason a curve.
It looked as though he'd lost his nerve
But that last 36
Showed his full range of tricks
As he pulled off the win he deserved.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

A Busy Week Ahead

This is just to let you know this week's posts will be showing up at different times than usual.

As it happens, I've got a very busy week ahead and that means I've got to get up earlier than normal.

Most nights I write my blog, post it after midnight ET and then copy the link to Facebook and Twitter... but I can't do that this week. I've got to get to bed!

As a result, the post will show up just after midnight on Blogger -- because I can schedule it -- but I've got to hit the sack earlier and won't be able to post the links on Facebook or Twitter until I get up the next morning. That means they'll probably show up sometime around 7-8am ET when I get going.

So the posts will show up on time in Blogger but if you're used to catching them on Facebook or Twitter you won't get them until a bit later. But they WILL be there eventually. Things should get back to normal in a week or so.

I hate early mornings...

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Paige on Creating a PreShot Routine (Video)

In this video Paige Spiranac takes you through her full swing, chipping and putting preshot routines to teach you the sort of things you may want to include when you create your own.

Don't miss Paige's main point here: PreShot Routines have a purpose for existing. You might create one to help you deal with nerves, loosen up before a shot, be more confident about your alignment, gauge the distance you need to hit the ball, or for any number of other reasons. But your routine should help you improve in specific areas where you struggle, and you should be able to use most (if not all) of it while waiting for other players to play. Prepare with a purpose!


Friday, November 12, 2021

Rick Shiels on Buying Secondhand Golf Clubs (Video)

This post may only apply to a few of you but if you're in the market for a secondhand set of clubs, this short video from Rick Shiels will give you some idea of what to look for as well as what to avoid.


Thursday, November 11, 2021

...But It's the Final Event for the Champions Tour

Yes, even as the LPGA speeds toward their Tour Championship, the Champions Tour has already reached theirs. This week they play the Charles Schwarb Cup Championship.

Defending champion Kevin Sutherland

The Schwab Cup returns to the Phoenix Country Club, which probably explains why Phil Mickelson is teeing it up this week. He can't win the Cup although he could win the tournament. The same is true of defending champion Kevin Sutherland, who has won this event twice in the last four years.

And the storyline -- once again -- is predictable. Can Bernhard Langer win the yearlong race again? He's got five of these, although he's never won the Championship itself. But there are only three men who can beat him for an unpresidented sixth Cup -- Jim Furyk, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ernie Els -- and only Furyk can win it without help from Langer. If you're interested in the scenarios, pgatour.com has a concise breakdown of what must happen for each man to win.

In the meantime, the field is stacked and anybody can win the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Yes, even Phil.

GC's live coverage begins today (Thursday) at 4pm ET. It's going to be a pretty crowded weekend for golf, what with all the tours in action, but this should be a good show.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Just Two More to Go for the LPGA

The women are on the verge of closing out the 2021 season. This week's Pelican Women's Championship is the penultimate event.

Defending champion Sei Young Kim

This is only the second year for this event. Sei Young Kim won the inaugural playing by three shots at -14. The Pelican Golf Club in Florida is a par-70 measuring 6268 yards, which should be gettable for all the ladies this week. And with the need to make the Top60 and ties to get in the final event next week, there should be some serious jockeying for position.

I suppose the big thing this week will be the Player of the Year race. Jin Young Ko leads with 176 points while Nelly Korda (who just regained her #1 position on the Rolex Rankings) is in second place with 161 points. The victor this week gets 30 points so Nelly really needs a win if she hopes to stop the Jin Young train. If Jin Young wins, she'll lock up the POY race Sunday.

GC's three hours of live coverage begin Thursday morning at 10am ET. Expect some tough competition this week!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: HP Enterprise Houston Open

Twofer Tuesday makes the short flight from Mayakoba to Houston for the HP Enterprise Houston Open.

Defending champion Carlos Ortiz

This is a tricky event to predict, in large part because Memorial Park Golf Course in its present state -- a par-70 course measuring just over 7400 yards -- has only been used once, and that was in 2020 with no fans in attendance. The course had been used before but that had been around 60 years before 2020 and before it had been renovated by Tom Doak and advisor Brooks Koepka.

The defending champ is Carlos Ortiz, who is coming off a runner-up finish at Mayakoba. And by default -- since this event has only been held at this revamped venue once -- he holds the scoring record at -13.

I'm going to do something I don't do very often. I'm going to take the same two picks I had last week.

  • Aaron Wise
  • Talor Gooch

While the boys let me down last week, it's worth noting that their highest scores leading into Mayakoba were -15 each... and had they posted those last week, they would have given me two Top10s. As it was, they missed by only one stroke (Gooch) and two strokes (Wise).

Both of those scores would have given me Top5s at this event last year... and Gooch would have won. I know that's no guarantee of success this year -- we've only got one event at this course to see what a likely winning score might be -- but the fact is that both players didn't score badly last week. They just stumbled down the stretch. Perhaps this week will be different.

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at 1pm ET. I'll hope for better results from my two players this week.

Monday, November 8, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 World Wide Tech Championship

Winner: Viktor Hovland

Around the wider world of golf: Thomas Pieters won the Portugal Masters on the ET; Steven Alker won the TimberTech Championship on the Champions Tour; Lydia Ko won the Aramco Saudi Ladies International on the LET; Ji Young Park won the KLPGA'S S-Oil Championship; Bio Kim won the LG Signature Players Championship on the KPGA; and Ayaka Furue won the Toto Japan Classic on the JLPGA. [Thanks, IC!]

Viktor Hovland with World Wide Tech trophy

This was a heartbreaking week! My Twofer Tuesday picks were Aaron Wise (T15) and Talor Gooch (T11). Both started the week in the Top5, and ended Sunday by just missing the Top10 -- Talor fell out on the very last hole. Ouch!

  • Top10s: 1 for 14 (1 Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 7

Viktor's parents were certainly more prophetic than me when they named their son. The first player ever to successfully defend at the World Wide Tech, he's also only the fourth European player to win three times on the PGA Tour before the age of 25. And he said he wasn't playing that well on Sunday. All he did was win by four strokes!

He may have been a bit slower hitting his stride than fellow PGA Tour members Matt Wolfe and Collin Morikawa but Viktor seems to be making up for lost time. He won over the members of the European Ryder Cup team and now he seems to be winning more often here in the US.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy but if he keeps winning at this rate, he may lose a few of his more competitive friends along the way. In the meantime, he gets another cheery Limerick Summary as he wins his way into the holiday season.

At 24 Viktor’s still young
But he knows how to get the job done.
The first to defend here,
He’s made his place quite clear—
Just say his name. He’s Number One!

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Jonathan Kim-Moss's Impact & Sequencing Drill (Video)

Longtime readers know I am a HUGE proponent of the L-to-L drill because it's so versatile. (I believe this is the most recent of many posts I've done on it.) Well, PGA of Canada instructor Jonathan Kim-Moss has given me a new version of the drill that can dramatically improve your ability to hit the ball solidly -- increasing both distance and accuracy -- as well as smooth out your swing sequencing. And all he did was shorten the followthrough! I really like this adaptation and think it's a valuable tool to add to your arsenal of drills.


Saturday, November 6, 2021

5 Strategy Tips from Billy Foster (Video)

You know Billy Foster. He was Lee Westwood's caddie for a long time and now he caddies for Matt Fitzpatrick. In this new video he gives you some help with five strategy decisions that all golfers face, as well as some guidance on how to plan your strategy for a round.


Friday, November 5, 2021

3 Easy Short Game Shots from a Tight Lie (Video)

Sometimes you miss the green and putting is not an option. In this video Paige shows you three shots -- with clubs other than a putter -- that you can use from a tight lie when the ground between you and the green just isn't suitable for putting.


Thursday, November 4, 2021

Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, Round 2

The Champions Tour continues their playoffs this week. Welcome to the TimberTech Championship, the second of three tournaments.

Defending champion Darren Clarke

The defending champion is Darren Clarke, who claimed his first Champions Tour victory at the 2020 edition. He'll defend at the same course, the Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton FL, a par-72 measuring just over 6800 yards. And combined with the fact that this is only a three-day event we can expect a real shootout.

For those of you who don't know, Phil Mickelson is skipping this week's event. My understanding is that he has until 5pm ET on Friday to decide if he'll play the final event next week. Whether he will or not is anybody's guess. He can't win the Charles Schwab Cup but he says he likes playing in Phoenix -- what a shock, huh? So I guess it's just a question of which is more important to him.

Anyway, the big news this week is Bernhard Langer who, after his history-making win in Virginia a couple of weeks back, is on track to win yet another Schwab Cup and it's going to take something special in these last two events for anybody to catch him.

GC's live coverage begins Friday at noon ET. With Langer having broken the age barrier for winners, it's not unreasonable to make him a favorite in both of these last two events. Hale Irwin's win total could be within Langer's reach after all!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Why You Need to Hit Up with a Driver (Video)

This is a graphic illustration of how much yardage you gain when you hit up on the ball properly with a driver. Chris Ryan does an awesome job of making the difference clear, as well as giving you an easy-to-use drill to get better at driving. And pay attention, folks -- he got this carry and overall distance increase despite losing some ball speed during the demonstration!


Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: World Wide Tech Championship

Twofer Tuesday flees stormy Bermuda for the warm shores of Mayakoba and the World Wide Technology Championship.

Defending champion Viktor Hovland

This week the Tour touches down at El Camaleón Golf Course, a par-71 course measuring roughly 7000 yards. This Greg Norman design puts a premium on hitting fairways and greens, and at 7k yards length just isn't as important here as it is at some courses. Shorter hitters who can maneuver their shots around the tropical layout have dominated here in the past.

Dominating isn't something my Twofer Tuesday picks have done this season. In six events I have managed to pick only one Top10 in twelve tries! This week I'm approaching my choices from a different angle in hopes of improving my odds.

That doesn't mean I'll do any better but I don't see how I can do any worse.

Weather reports project that Mayakoba will be hot and dry with winds around 10mph or less. That sounds like good scoring potential for my picks, so I'm looking for some scorers this week... and I think I may have found them.

  • My first pick is Aaron Wise. He's played three events this season and posted T26, T8 and T5. All three final scores have been between -15 and -21. If he can do that again this week, I should have a chance.
  • My other pick is Talor Gooch. He's also played three events this season, posting T4, T11 and T5. Ironically, he too has posted final scores between -15 and -21.

To be honest, the recent winning scores at this event have been lower than any of the scores these two players have posted this season. But I'm happy with Top10s and I believe these two players give me the best chance to get two of them this week.

GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 3pm ET. With the November chill settling in here in NC, I'm just excited to see some nice warm sunny weather. And if I'm lucky, maybe my picks will warm up my record as well!

Monday, November 1, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 Butterfield Bermuda Championship

Winner: Lucas Herbert

Around the wider world of golf: Bronte Law won the Dubai Moonlight Classic on the LET; and Tomoyo Ikemura won the ISPS HANDA Gatsu-n to tobase Tour tournament on the Japan Golf Tour.

Lucas Herbert with Bermuda trophy

The Caribbean weather wasn't kind to my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Matt Fitzpatrick (T30) and Garrick Higgo (T34). Garrick was in the Top10 until the bad weather got him on Sunday. C'est la vie.

  • Top10s: 1 for 12 (1 Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 6

It's the shortest golf course on the PGA Tour... and apparently the toughest one to get a tee time for. The weather kept players from even arriving in Bermuda on time. Then it kept them from getting practice rounds at the Port Royal Golf Course. Then it kept stopping and starting play.

And when it was all over, Lucas Herbert had his first-ever PGA Tour victory. All it took was a 2-under round of 69 on Sunday. Four birdies, two bogeys and a whole lot of heart. The Aussie said he actually enjoys tough weather -- something he shares with Patrick Reed who, with Danny Lee, finished a single shot back -- and no one is going to doubt his word after getting it done in the final round weather.

With his one-year Tour card now safely bumped up to a multi-year one, Lucas can start preparing his game for Augusta. (Hey, it's never too early!) And of course he gets a shiny new Limerick Summary to seal the deal!

In Bermuda, golf’s short battlezone
Posed a challenge that made the field groan.
Wind and rain ruled the day,
So to say that Luke’s play
Was amazing is not overblown.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.