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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Twofer Tuesday: The American Express

Twofer Tuesday leaves sunny Hawaii for the West Coast and the American Express.

Defending champion Si Woo Kim

The American Express is one of those multicourse events, using a grand total of three (the yardages come from pgatour.com and are, as they say, "subject to change"):

  • PGA West (Stadium Course): 7113 yards, par 72
  • La Quinta Country Club: 7060 yards, par 72
  • PGA West (Nicklaus Tournament Course): 7159 yards, par 72

The cut, of course, takes place on Saturday evening after everybody's had a chance to play all three, which does make for an interesting dynamic at this event. The defending champion is Si Woo Kim (who won last year when they only used two of the courses) but I suspect most eyes will be on Jon Rahm, who won this event in 2018, and on Phil Mickelson, who is... well, Phil.

While I usually give reasons for who I pick, they don't seem to be making much of a difference in the performance of my picks lately. As a result, I'll make it short and sweet this week -- I'm simply taking some different picks from normal.

  • I'm picking Corey Conners, who has been scoring pretty well in his last events although he hasn't won lately.
  • And I'm picking Patrick Cantlay, who has only played one event since the Ryder Cup but scored pretty well in that event.

We're still getting primetime golf this week, with GC's coverage beginning at 3pm ET Thursday. However, if you have PGA TOUR LIVE you can see all kinds of coverage -- so many times and groups that I'll just link you to the page with the info. Check the rather large grid at the bottom of the page for the details.

Monday, January 17, 2022

The Limerick Summary: 2022 Sony Open

Winner: Hideki Matsuyama

Around the wider world of golf: The Royal Queensland course in Australia hosted simultaneous men's and women's events this week: Su Oh won the inaugural Karrie Webb Cup at the Fortinet Australian WPGA Championship and, in only his fourth professional start, Jediah Morgan won the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship by a record ELEVEN shots; and Joohyung Kim won the Singapore International on the Asian Tour.

Hideki Matsuyama with Sony Open trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks are back in 2021 form, it seems. This week's picks were Marc Leishman (T36) and Matt Jones (MC). After grabbing a Top5 last week I have once again picked players with good records at an event and yet didn't even get into contention.

  • Top10s: 5 for 24 (3 Top5, 2 Top10s)
  • Winners: 0 for 12

In some ways the Sony Open was a repeat of last week, in that a couple of players distanced themselves from the field and gave us all a breathtaking Sunday afternoon. Last week it was a tale of two nines as the leader opened a gap between himself and the field during the front nine, only to be chased down in the back nine.

Déjà vu, I guess.

Hideki began his day two back of Russell Henley, only to shoot 32 on the front nine to be five back at the turn. Henley's 6-under 29 made him look unbeatable... until they reached the back nine where Russell shot 36 and Hideki shot 31, sending them to a playoff.

And then, with Russell forced to lay up on the first playoff hole, the par-5 18th, Hideki nailed his 277-yard second to within a yard of the hole. Russell's mis-hit wedge flew the green and he walked off with a bogey. Needless to say, Hideki's eagle was good enough for the win.

Hideki continues to make Japanese history. This win tied him with KJ Choi's eight wins, which is the record for PGA Tour wins by an Asian player. It also gives him the record for the most Limerick Summaries by an Asian player, as KJ won most of his tournaments before my blog existed. Congrats, Hideki, and may you add many more!

He chased Russell Henley all day.
Rewarded with more holes to play
Hideki stepped up,
Hit it close to the cup
And put yet one more title away.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Learning to Adjust for Parallax (Video)

Parallax is the problem you have lining up your shots because your eyes aren't directly over your aimline. In this short video Mike Malaska explains how your brain learns to adjust for this problem through practice. And since he shows a practice station with some aiming rods set up to show you where the ball should go, I think it's safe to say that he's recommending this setup as a drill to help you learn how to aim properly.

We're expecting a snowstorm early Sunday morning that may take out power lines. So if you don't see a post from me Monday morning, you'll know we either lost power, internet or both and I'll get Monday's post up as soon as possible. I know many of you are dealing with the same problem this time of year, but this is just a head's-up.


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Chris Ryan on Drawing Your Driver (Video)

You knew this was coming, right? In yesterday's post Chris told how to draw irons... but he also said that the driver required a different technique. So of course I had to find out how he hits draws with a driver! It's the same idea as the irons -- change your setup rather than your stance -- but he does adjust for the forward ball position you need to hit a high draw with your driver. Have fun trying it out!


Friday, January 14, 2022

A Different Approach to Drawing Your Iron Shots (Video)

This post is for those of you who struggle with sliced iron shots. You may have tried closing your stance -- a common approach to the problem -- but just ended up hitting bigger slices. Chris Ryan suggests making a setup change that lets you hit a draw from a SQUARE stance. While I don't want you to start twisting your forearms to create a draw -- that can lead to all kinds of problems -- his approach sounds like something worth trying because it eliminates the huge exaggerations that a closed stance can cause in your swing.

If you try this approach, I'd be interested to know how it worked for you because it is definitely a different approach. Let me know in the comments.


Thursday, January 13, 2022

Alistair Davies's Swing Plane Drill (Video)

Everybody swings on a slightly different swing plane. Golf UK Top50 Swing Coach Alistair Davies has a simple drill to help you determine what YOUR correct swing plane is. If the whole idea of swing plane has been driving you nuts, this drill might help you get past all the mind clutter and simply find the plane that feels right to you.

And no, you don't have to try and hit balls teed up on a club shaft. That's just crazy.


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Annika's Chipping Drill (Video)

A very short post today -- it's Annika's chipping drill that's guaranteed to teach you a descending chipping stroke. And all you need is a tee, so you can do this in a small backyard. Trust me, this will take some practice if you want to do it consistently!


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Twofer Tuesday: Sony Open

Twofer Tuesday makes the short hop from Kapalua to Honolulu for the Sony Open.

Defending champion Kevin Na

As courses go, Waialae Country Club doesn't sound so tough. A par-72 measuing a mere 7044 yards, it's been the site of the Sony Open since 1965 and it's a course that any player can dominate if their game is in shape... and the wind doesn't blow. But the wind is predicted to be around 6-7mph the first two days and 13-14mph over the weekend, and the course is flat, narrow, has longer rough this year and is on the coast. That could present some problems.

But again, it's not so long. Defending champion Kevin Na is a two-time winner at Waialae, and both long and short players have won here. This is definitely an equal opportunity event.

I'm going all Aussie this week, as Aussies have traditionally played well this time of year in Hawaii... but I'm probably not picking the Aussie you expect.

  • My first pick is Matt Jones. He has yet to post a Top10 at the Sony (his personal best was a T11 last year) but he's coming off a third place finish at Kapalua last week. Bear in mind that his third was one of the scores to break Ernie Els's scoring record and he was six shots ahead of fourth place.
  • And my other pick is Marc Leishman. While Leish only finished T10 last week (an aggregate score of 269) he posted a T3 in 2019, T28 in 2020 and T4 last year. Those aggregate scores of  263, 276 and 261 were 5, 7 and 2 shots respectively behind the winners. He plays consistently well at the Sony and I see no reason he shouldn't play well this week as well.

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at 7pm ET but PGA TOUR LIVE starts at noon ET. One of the benefits of January golf is prime time coverage and we get to enjoy another week of it.

Monday, January 10, 2022

The Limerick Summary: 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions

Winner: Cameron Smith

Around the wider world of golf: Surprise! Only one of the big tours was in action this week.

Cameron Smith with the Sentry ToC trophy

My first Twofer Tuesday picks of 2022 were Justin Thomas (T5) and Patrick Reed (T15). I'm ecstatic with the results, especially since both players were tied for last after the first round!

  • Top10s: 5 for 22 (3 Top5, 2 Top10s)
  • Winners: 0 for 11

Let's face it. While a low-scoring event was expected, given the calm weather predictions, I don't think anybody expected Ernie Els's 2003 scoring record of -31 to fall. They certainly didn't expect it to fall THREE TIMES, with Matt Jones finishing at -32, then Jon Rahm at -33 and Cameron Smith capping them both at -34.

Alias Smith and Jones posterBut perhaps we should have expected it. Rahm has been on a tear as of late and, given the success of Aussies at this event, having two of them battling for the lead shouldn't have been a surprise -- especially since both Smith and Jones (wasn't that a TV show back in the early 70s?) had to win events to get to Kapalua. Another good performance was clearly in the cards.

Or perhaps I should say ON the cards. Their scorecards, that is.

Regardless, Cam Smith will see the benefits of his performance very very soon as he's expected to crack the OWGR Top10 this Monday morning.

But he gets another Limerick Summary even sooner than that. I wonder just how many he might manage to grab this year?

A twenty-year record fell hard
As red bled from everyone’s card!
Cam Smith topped the field
And all questions were stilled
In a show where most everyone starred.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Clay Ballard's Driving Basics (Video)

About a week ago Gman left a comment asking me about some of Clay Ballard's videos. Well, after two videos about new drivers, here's a Ballard video on improving your drives with your existing driver.

Let me make a couple of quick comments about things in this video that may be a bit misleading:

  • Don't get discouraged by the length of his drives. Clay is clearly a tall guy and that height gives him an advantage over most of us mere mortals.
  • And don't work too hard to create that huge lag he's talking about. The angle looks much more exaggerated because of the camera's viewpoint relative to his swing plane.

One thing I like that he's teaching you to create swing extremes during your practice. That means he wants you to swing in ways that will teach you how the extremes of your swing -- for example, you create extreme slices and then extreme hooks. The idea is that you'll learn the most dramatic things you can do, and then you use that knowledge to help you find a balance between them. If you've had trouble straightening out your swing, this technique may help you find the answer.


Saturday, January 8, 2022

ProMedica Steps Up and Makes History

The LPGA was sad when Mike Whan decided to step down and ended up at the USGA. Now they're extremely happy with the way things turned out.

Defending US Women's Open champion Yulka Saso

In case you didn't hear, the USGA made history on Friday by announcing their first-ever presenting sponsor for an event. ProMedica, a mission-based, not-for-profit integrated health and well-being organization that serves communities in 28 states, signed a long-term agreement with the USGA to co-sponsor the US Women's Open... and the benefits are immediate.

This year's Open purse will leap from $5.5mil to $10mil, with the winner getting $1.8mil. That purse will grow to $12mil over the next five years. And the women are going to be playing some seriously historic venues that they have only dreamed of thus far -- venues like Riviera, Inverness, Interlachen and Oakland Hills.

We're talking money that is very close to what the men get. (The 2021 US Open for the men had a purse of $12.5mil.) This is going to raise the profile of women's golf in an unprecedented way.

And this isn't a one-way deal. ProMedica's Impact Fund, which is trying to make a major impact on the nation's healthcare system, will become the LPGA's official charity. They hope golf's ability to help charities will allow them to generate a billion dollars over the next eight years.

If any deal could exemplify Whan's belief that "a rising tide lifts all ships," this is certainly it.

Here are links to three articles that will give you more details on the deal:

While this deal certainly will help the LPGA across the board -- it demonstrates in a big way that the LPGA isn't the minor leagues -- I think it also represents a paradigm shift in our sport. Golf certainly has a reputation for helping charities but THIS, this dwarfs everything that our sport has tried before. I believe the PGA Tour generated a billion dollars over a seven-year period recently but, if I understand this deal correctly, this is about generating a billion OVER AND ABOVE the regular charities in order to effect changes our government has proven ineffective in making.

This will be a project worth watching. It could be a real gamechanger for sports in general.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Rick Shiels Tests the 2022 TaylorMade Stealth Drivers (Video)

Yesterday I posted Rick's test of the Callaway Rogue ST drivers; today it's the TaylorMade Stealth models. These are the designs based on the driver Tiger is currently using, with high-tech carbon fiber faces... and high-dollar price tags. Are they worth the money? Rick's tests showed some unexpected results when compared against the TaylorMade Sim2, with a carbon fiber body but a titanium face. Again, if you're looking into a new driver, Rick's conclusions may help you make an educated choice.


Thursday, January 6, 2022

Rick Shiels Tests the 2022 Callaway Rogue ST Drivers (Video)

It's the beginning of 2022 so Rick is testing new equipment again. This time it's the four new Callaway Rogue ST drivers. Is this a big change from the older models? If you're looking at one of these, which one is best for you... and which one is worst? In my opinion, that latter bit may be the most important question.

I always like Rick's reviews. Hope this helps you if you're looking for a Callaway driver.


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Peter Finch on Putting Basics (Video)

Clearly Peter Finch isn't trying to cover everything about putting in just ten minutes. But what I like about this video is his emphasis on how the choices you make -- not just your stance or how you conceive your stroke but even the style of putter, your chosen grip, how high or low you hold your hands and where your eyes are over your aimline -- how understanding the relationship between all of these things contributes to how consistently you'll swing your putter along your aimline. It's good food for thought as you start the new year.


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Twofer Tuesday: Sentry Tournament of Champions

Twofer Tuesday digs out of a surprise winter storm and speeds off to Hawaii for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Defending champions Harris English

Yes, we had heavy rains Sunday night followed by a freak snowstorm early Monday morning. While it wasn't a huge amount of snow, it still took down trees and littered the county where I live with power outages and service disruptions. And although we didn't lose power we did lose internet, TV and phone... which is why you're only just now getting a Twofer Tuesday post. Our service literally just came back on.

As a result, this will be an extremely short post. So:

The defending champion is Harris English.

My two picks for the tournament are:

  • Justin Thomas
  • Patrick Reed

And GC's primetime coverage begins Thursday at 6pm ET.

Now I'm off to take care of business as usual. Hopefully there will be no more disruptions and I can get back on schedule with tonight's post.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Jonathan Kim-Moss Explains How Lag Works (Video)

One thing I discovered some time back is that creating lag incorrectly will make you slice. In this video Jonathan Kim-Moss explains why this is and -- I particularly like this -- he shows you the incorrect action from a couple of angles so you can actually see the clubface open on the backswing and stay open through impact. Watch and learn!


Sunday, January 2, 2022

Making New Year's Golf Resolutions (Video)

When most of us make resolutions, they're about learning to do things we don't yet know how to do. But this video is about strategic resolutions -- making decisions to do things we are already capable of doing but we simply don't. They're the kind of resolutions that you can be 100% successful with if you just decide to do them. Hopefully this video will help you make some immediate improvements to your game!


Saturday, January 1, 2022

Welcome to 2022!

And I hope you have a much nicer year than 2021 was. Happy New Year!

Happy 2022!

Image ©Julia Näther of Germany. Check out her pics at 123RF.