ATTENTION, READERS in the 28 EUROPEAN VAT COUNTRIES: Because of the new VAT law, you probably can't order books direct from my site now. But that's okay -- just go to my Smashwords author page.
You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Monday, February 28, 2022

The Limerick Summary: 2022 Honda Classic

Winner: Sepp Straka

Around the wider world of golf: Miguel Angel Jiménez won the Cologuard Classic on the Champions Tour; Shihchang Chan won the Royal's Cup on the Asian Tour; and JC Ritchie won the Jonsson Workwear Open on the Sunshine Tour.

Another so-so week for my Twofer Tuesday picks. This week's picks were Billy Horschel (T16) and Tommy Fleetwood (MC). Hopefully my luck will be better next week.

  • Top10s: 9 for 36 (6 Top5, 3 Top10s)
  • Winners: 0 for 18

I guess you could call it a so-so week for a lot of the players at PGA National. Some players had great starts to the week -- for example, my pick Billy Horschel posted a 68 the first round -- but then fell victim to Jack's snares. Only a few players held on to contend on Sunday.

Daniel Berger led that list, with Shane Lowry, Chris Kirk and Kurt Kitayama close behind. And oh yes, Sepp Straka was right there as well, albeit five shots off the lead. While Straka has been on leaderboards before -- if you follow the game much, his name is familiar to you -- he was still in search of his first PGA Tour victory when he entered the week. You could be forgiven for not giving him much of a chance.

Of course, a number of never-wons have already broken through this season. This week was Straka's. He never seemed flustered, never seemed to lose his focus; he just kept plugging forward. After a couple of bogeys on the front nine -- he still finished that nine under par, btw -- he played the back nine clean. He even went through the Bear Trap two-under... and that's gonna give you quite an advantage against the rest of the field.

While it's true that you need a little luck to win on Tour, perhaps his biggest break came at 18 where he managed to pipe a drive just before the rain started. Then his steadiness shone brightly as he calmly played his approach to the green through that rain and left himself a 9" tap-in for birdie to win.

The Tour's first Austrian winner did himself proud Sunday and you can truly say that this was a life-changing win for him. But let's not forget that he also got Austria its first-ever Limerick Summary, a historic event if ever there was one!

Now Austria gets in the books.
Sepp Straka got so many looks
At birdies and such
That he proved a bit much
For the other guys’ best fades and hooks.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Why Buying a New Driver Can Be Tricky (Videos)

Here are two videos Rick Shiels did testing new versions of older drivers that were great drivers from 2019. The first video compares the Cobra F9 to the new Cobra F9-S; the second compares TaylorMade's M4 to the new version. Here's the trick: In each case the new version looks almost exactly like the original... but do they perform the same? The results of his tests might surprise you... and remind you that you have to dig deeper than just a quick look in the store.



Saturday, February 26, 2022

Paige's Strategy Tips (Video)

In this video Paige plays a par-5 and demonstrates how good strategy can cut strokes from your round. Yes, many of you will see these as overly simple tips but it's the simple things that tend to trip us up! She not only talks about strategy on the course but also strategy in your practice, your warm-up and even your technique.

Don't skip this video! As Paige says, it's small little changes that make a huge impact on your game.


Friday, February 25, 2022

Lifting the Handle VS Lifting the Club (Video)

This supershort video from Mike Malaska illustrates the difference between lifting the handle and lifting the club. And if his description of "pushing down on the handle" sounds a bit weird, just realize that if you were only holding the club in your trail hand as you swung it back, this is what the action would look like. It doesn't matter which way you feel it; if you're creating this action when you swing the club back, you'll get in a good position.


Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Champions Tour Again!

That may sound like a weird title but this week the Cologuard Classic is the only other game in the US other than the Honda Classic.

Defending champion Kevin Sutherland

While the PGA Tour tees it up in Florida, the Champions Tour is at the Omni Tucson National - Catalina Course in Arizona. While the desert usually lends itself to lower scores and the average score for this three-day event is around -16 (the record is -20), bear in mind that this course is a par-73 measuring just over 7200 yards. The course is also built at an altitude of around 2300 feet.

As a result, given the scoring I wouldn't say this is a particularly easy course. There are 85 bunkers and also 7 water hazards which affect 8 holes, and the greens are a fairly large 5000 square feet. The scores may be a bit misleading.

Kevin Sutherland is the defending champion and he does seem to play well on the more challenging courses. He won at -15 last year.

GC's coverage begins Friday at 7pm ET, so this might be a live broadcast. At any rate this should be a fun event, and Kevin Sutherland warrants watching. He's played in all seven editions of the Cologuard and has never finished worse than 14th!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Is the Super Tour REALLY Done For?

With the issuance of so many statements by tour players distancing themselves from the proposed Saudi Super Tour and Phil's apology for his 'reckless' comments, there seems to be a general feeling that the Super Tour is now a dead issue. And I agree this has been a big win for the main tours.

But is the Super Tour threat dead? I'm afraid that might be a bit optimistic. Let me tell you why.

Phil Mickelson

I'll grant you that this certainly appears to be a setback for the proposed Super Tour. With virtually all of the top ranked players in the OWGR making it clear that they intend to support the PGA Tour -- and, by extension, the DP World Tour and all their related tours -- it appears that the pool of top players available to any competing tour has all but dried up.

And the backlash against Phil -- which, if you read the article I linked to above, indicates that he's removing himself from the public eye for a while to let this firestorm die down -- would certainly indicate that any further attempts to draw off big players to a competing tour are pretty much wasted effort. Say what you want about Phil's comments, I think they've left such a bad taste in fans' mouths that a player would commit professional suicide if he decided to join it now.

If that's how you feel, I agree with you on both counts. The original Saudi plan appears to be dead.

But the key word here is original. Everybody seems to be forgetting one important thing...

The Saudis DID get a tour. It's called the Asian Tour.

Remember that post I did a couple weeks back about LIV putting up $300mil to bail out the Asian Tour so it could stay afloat? That deal still exists, folks. Granted, the International Series they're creating on the Asian Tour is only ten events... but it's a massive start. Check out this quote from the article I linked in that post:

“It comes as a surprise to many of us in this room, but it's basically part of our strategy to make the Asian Tour more of a global tour,” [Asian Tour commissioner Cho Minn] Thant said. “We have members from all over the world, 25 different nationalities playing on the Asian Tour. It's not just for Asians. It's not just in Asia, and we will be playing in other destinations … but dates and locations to be confirmed because we are still in the midst of a COVID pandemic, where travel is difficult in Asia.”

It's easy to forget that some current PGA Tour players used the Asian Tour as a stepping stone to the PGA Tour. With their $300mil investment LIV bought into a tour with a pre-existing clientele and fans that already has events in several countries. You might say that instead of building everything from scratch, they bought a starter kit.

I think it's fair to say they're much farther along now than they were a few months ago... and they may be hoping that this move will create problems for the existing tours that can only be served by playing ball with them. Just think about it for a moment -- how will the PGA and DP World Tours deal with Asian Tour players who were already playing the Asian Tour (before this deal was struck) with the intention of coming west? That issue alone could become a real thorn in the big tours' sides.

And that's only the most obvious issue.

Look, I'm NOT saying that the PGA and DP World Tours should reach a compromise with LIV -- far from it! But the LIV/Asian Tour deal means this brewing war is far from over. LIV now has a foothold in the world of golf... and there's no telling what future challenges it may present to the existing power structure.

As I said two weeks ago, the Asian Tour deal just made things VERY interesting.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Twofer Tuesday: Honda Classic

Twofer Tuesday makes the long drive across the USA for the Florida Swing and its first event, the Honda Classic.

Defending champion Matt Jones

Welcome to the Champion Course at PGA National, a relatively short par-70 measuring 7125 yards, a tough Tom Fazio design turned devilish after Jack Nicklaus reworked it not once but twice. Even if you don't know that fact, you do know about the Bear Trap, the three-hole stretch (15-17) that is so appropriately named. So much water, so much wind, so much enjoyment for fans who like to watch the pros sweat...

Matt Jones is the defending champion, having made the Honda Classic his first PGA Tour win in 7 years. And someone else could do the same this year; according to pgatour.com only 12 of the Top50 in the OWGR are in the field... and none of the Top12. Louis Oosthuizen at #13 is the highest ranked golfer in the field.

My approach to picking two contenders this week is largely rolling the dice. PGA National is -- if you'll pardon the pun -- such a bear that I don't know if "being in form" really means anything. The Champion Course is so tight and has so much water that a few bad bounces can easily wreck an otherwise perfect week. You don't have to go terribly low to be there on Sunday afternoon either. So, with no logic behind these picks other than I haven't picked them yet this season, I simply offer up their names.

  • Tommy Fleetwood
  • Billy Horschel

GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 2pm ET. And if you're into streaming PGA TOUR LIVE, the times for their various streams are in a table at the bottom of this link.

I'll leave you with this thought from pgatour.com about the Bear Trap: "It played a combined 230 over par last season, and 1,604 balls have found the water in The Bear Trap since 2007." What more do you need to know?

Monday, February 21, 2022

The Limerick Summary: 2022 Genesis Invitational

Winner: Joaquin Niemann

Around the wider world of golf: Well, he did it again! Bernhard Langer went wire-to-wire to win the Chubb Classic for his 43rd win on the Champions Tour (now just two wins behind Hale Irwin); Byeong Hun An won the LECOM Suncoast Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour; JC Ritchie won the Bain's Whisky Cape Town Open on the Sunshine Tour; Hannah Green made history by winning the TPS Murray River, in honour of Jarrod Lyle (a mixed gender event) on the Australasian Tour; and Matt Ryan won the Estrella del Mar Open on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

Joaquin Niemann with Genesis trophy and host Tiger Woods

I'm convinced my Twofer Tuesday are deliberately losing on the weeks I pick them. Last week I picked Spieth and Hovland and they went T60 and MC; this week they went T26 and T4. This week's picks were Hideki Matsuyama (T39) and Dustin Johnson (MC), two players with great records at this event. Whatcha gonna do?

  • Top10s: 9 for 34 (6 Top5, 3 Top10s)
  • Winners: 0 for 17

But it's not like I was gonna pick the challengers this week. Joaquin Niemann, Cameron Young, Adam Scott, Maverick McNealy... these were not players I expected to play so well at Riviera, either because they were so young or hadn't played particularly well over their last events.

So all they did was put up great scores... and Joaquin made all kinds of history. At 23 he became the first winner here that young since Phil Rodgers in 1962 (the tournament where young Jack Nicklaus made his pro debut) and the first wire-to-wire winner since Charlie Sifford in 1969. It was simply an incredible exhibition of skill that hasn't been seen around Riviera in decades.

This was Joaquin's second PGA Tour win and, after that display this week, it has propelled him to a more prestigious position in the game. Could this be the start of his rise to stardom? I don't know... but I wouldn't bet against a guy with two Limerick Summaries!

Since Sifford’s win, Joaquin’s the first
To go wire-to-wire. And he’s burst
An age barrier too—
Since 1962
No one younger has proved so well-versed!

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

How Should Your Range Work Affect Your Normal Practice Swing? (Video)

To be honest, while I agree in principle with what Mike Malaska says in this video -- namely, that incorporating drills into your practice swing can help you carry what you're practicing on the range to the course -- I also believe you can carry it too far. For example, Mike demonstrates a practice swing that includes three drills every time you swing. That can become time-consuming and even make your swing a bit too mechanical! Still, the principle is good and he teaches three different drills that might help you. So take this tip with a grain of salt.


Saturday, February 19, 2022

Rick Tested That Golf Ball Too (Video)

Yesterday I posted a video where Rick Shiels tested some clubs he bought at Costco. In that video he also mentioned some golf balls he bought, the Kirkland Signature V2. You might be interested in that video as well, since those golf balls surprised Rick as much as the clubs did.


Friday, February 18, 2022

Rick Shiels Tests More Costco Clubs... and He Likes Them! (VIdeo)

Rick does this kind of test from time to time. This time he found a 10-piece set of Cobra XL Speed clubs at Costco... and was surprised at what he got. If you're interested in buying an off-the-rack set, his observations about this particular set may give you some ideas about what to expect.


Thursday, February 17, 2022

The Champions Are Back

They played just one week in Hawaii before taking a couple more weeks off. But it appears the Champions Tour is ready to start playing in ernest at the Chubb Classic.

Defendinc champion Miguel Angel Jiménez

While it sounds a bit unusual it sort of makes sense. While the first event was in Hawaii, the Champions are headed crosscountry to Florida -- specifically, to the Black Course at Tiburón in Naples. If that sounds familiar but you can't quite place it, that's because the Gold Course at Tiburón hosts the QBE Shootout (aka the Shark Shootout) as well as the CME Group Tour Championship for the LPGA. It may surprise you to know the Black Course is actually around 400 yards shorter than the Gold, but the Black has a higher slope rating.

Which just goes to show that length isn't necessarily a measure of toughness.

Miguel Angel Jiménez is the defending champion but a lot of eyes will be on Brian Gay, who is making his Champions Tour debut this week.

GC's coverage begins Friday at noon ET. Looks like the weather will be in the low-mid 70s with little chance of rain, so we should get some uninterrupted TV coverage.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Simple Ways to Increase the Length of Your Swing (Video)

You don't have to be an older player to have trouble getting distance. There are many reasons that you might struggle to get a longer backswing. Peter Knight has made a very pragmatic video outlining simple things you can do to get a longer, more flowing backswing and use it to get more distance off the tee. I really like the way he's approaching this and think you may find some really useful techniques and drills by watching this brief video.


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Twofer Tuesday: Genesis Invitational

To paraphrase Randy Newman, Twofer Tuesday loves LA as it heads out west to the Genesis Invitational.


Riviera Country Club, aka "Hogan's Alley", is a legendary track that the Tour loves as well. Tiger is the host of this event and that only adds to its status. A par-71 measuring 7322 yards, the course may be most well known for the par-3 6th hole which has a bunker right in the middle of the green... or perhaps for the driveable par-4 10th, which only measures 315 yards but always seems to cause a lot more trouble for players than the numbers would lead you to expect.

Max Homa is the defending champ but I understand that all ten of the OWGR Top10 are playing this week. He'll have his hands full.

I, of course, always have my hands full (or is it empty?) when it comes to my Twofer Tuesday picks. Let's see how I do this week.

  • My first pick is Hideki Matsuyama. Hideki has a good record here and he's coming off his Sony Open victory a mere month ago. This is the kind of course he should do well on again.
  • My other pick is Dustin Johnson. I won't lie, I'm playing the odds here as DJ has 10 Top10s in 14 tries. We'll see if he can do it again.

GC's live coverage begins at 4pm ET on Thursday. (Yes, more prime time golf!) PGA TOUR LIVE's coverage begins at 9:45am ET and you can find their schedule at the bottom of the page at this link. This course always gives us a great tournament so it's going to be fun going back this week.

Monday, February 14, 2022

The Limerick Summary: 2022 WM Phoenix Open

Winner: Scottie Scheffler

Around the wider world of golf: Ryan Fox won the Ras al Khaimah Classic on the DP World Tour; Brandon Matthews won the Astara Golf Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Esther Henseleit defended her Magical Kenya Ladies Open title on the LET; Alexander Knappe won the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour; and Dimitrios Papadatos and Hannah Green won the male and female titles at the Vic Open on the Australasian Tour. And in case you missed it, the LA Rams won Super Bowl LVI.

Scottie Scheffler with Phoenix Open trophy

Well, my Twofer Tuesday success was short-lived. This week's picks were Jordan Spieth (T60) and Viktor Hovland (MC). Oh well...

  • Top10s: 9 for 32 (6 Top5, 3 Top10s)
  • Winners: 0 for 16

Instead, the big news for most of the week was Sahith Theegala. The young pro got a sponsor's exemption and proved he was more than deserving of it. And while he finally fell back on the last few holes on Sunday -- a common problem for leaders at the WM -- he qualified for next week at the Genesis so it wasn't all bad news for him.

Scottie Scheffler, looking for his first PGA Tour win, went -4 in his final 6 holes to post -16. It was up to the other guys to catch him.

And they couldn't. Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele had up-and-down rounds on Sunday and they reached 18 needing to be perfect. A bogey on 16 had all but crushed Brooks's chances, and both men needed to hole out their second shots on 18 just to force a playoff.

They didn't.

The only man with a chance to win outright in regulation was Patrick Cantlay, but he missed a birdie putt and he joined Scottie in a playoff.

It went three holes. Scottie drained a 25-foot birdie putt. Patrick missed an 11-footer. Game over.

Perhaps Scottie Scheffler's win was overdue. He's certainly been right there a few times, including a 4th at Mayakoba and a T2 in Houston. But that's just history now, and he's got the win.

Oh, and a Limerick Summary too. As Carl Spackler might say, he's got that going for him as well.

Theegala was big news all week
But Scottie’s back nine play was peak!
Then he took Cantlay down
At the end of the round
As he showed off his crunch time technique.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Why You Need Level Shoulders When Pitching

This short video from Mike Malaska may help those of you who keep hitting your chips and pitches fat. The idea that your shoulders should be mostly level during these short game shots may seem strange but Mike demonstrates why this is true AND how the 'tilted shoulder' problem got started in the first place. If you've been fatting your short game shots, watch this carefully!


Saturday, February 12, 2022

Thoughts on Sahith Theegala's Putting Stroke

Brandel Chamblee mentioned Sahith's unusual putting technique Friday after the round and I just wanted to add my thoughts as to why he may do this. Hopefully the diagram included below will make what I'm saying clear.

Sahith Theegala putting

Apparently Sahith dealt with scoliosis when he was younger (the same back disease that Stacy Lewis had to deal with) and maybe he couldn't turn as easily as he would have liked. As a result, he started using lead hand low putting when the putts moved right to left, and using regular trail hand low putting when the putts moved from left to right.

In the diagram below I've tried to exaggerate the effect this had on the putter's path. In this diagram the ball and feet (the white circle and the black shapes) stay the same but in the top diagram the player is using lead hand low, which moves the putter's release arc more toward the lead side. Likewise, in the second diagram the player is using trail hand low, which moves the putter's release arc more toward the trail side.

In both cases the player would ideally want the putterface to contact the ball squarely. I think Sahith has built in a move that prevents him from pulling right-to-left putts or pushing left-to-right putts.

Releasing the putter

In the top diagram, since the lead hand is pulling the putter across the player's body, if Sahith doesn't hit the ball squarely he's more likely to leave the putterface open so he doesn't close the putterface and pull the putt too far to the left of the hole.

In the bottom diagram, since the trail hand is pushing the putter across the player's body, if Sahith doesn't hit the ball squarely he's more likely to close the putterface so he doesn't open the putterface and push the putt too far to the right of the hole.

Hopefully any putt he doesn't hit perfectly square will miss on the high side of the hole, thus giving it a chance to 'die' into the hole from the high side. It certainly seemed to work for him on Friday!

Would you want to try this technique if you keep missing putts on the low side? I don't know but it does seem to be a pretty ingenious way to control just how much curve he puts on his putts. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

This Slipped Past Me

I didn't realize the LET was playing its first tournament of 2022 this week.

Magical Kenya Ladies open

The Magical Kenya Ladies Open is back after a two-year absence. It actually started on Thursday and I discovered it by accident so I wanted to mention it today so you can catch some of the action. Linnea Ström leads after shooting a first round 68.

GC is broadcasting 90 minutes of the event at 7am ET  and then coming back at 10am ET for another couple of hours. What I saw Thursday looked pretty good so I wanted to bring it to your attention.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Buying a Used Driver? (Video)

Rick Shiels did this video recommending three used driver models that he thinks are still good deals. The reason I'm posting this video isn't to recommend these drivers but because Rick talks about the technology in each one that is still being used in new drivers -- that's a big consideration in his recommendations. So you might want to take note of what tech he singles out, for reference in your own shopping.


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

8 Suggestions for Your 14th Club (Video)

Most of us either (a) carry only 13 clubs or (b) have one club that we rarely if ever use. In this video Dan Parker from Golf Monthly has 7 suggestions for that 14th club. This club will be purely a strategic choice, one intended to help with your special challenges on the course, so you won't necessarily use it a whole lot. Still, if you choose this club intelligently, you could easily shave some shots from your game.

But didn't I say this post had EIGHT suggestions? That's because I have a suggestion of my own, one you aren't likely to hear but that in my experience has proven to be useful. That choice is a 13-wood. While you won't necessarily need it all the time -- and the idea here is that your 14th club can be changed depending on the course -- I have found a 13-wood to be very useful when I'm in the rough around 150 or so yards from the green. The fairway wood head tends to slip through the grass more easily so I can get a bit more distance. On the right course it can easily cut 3 or 4 shots from your score.

Making your 14th club a strategy choice can be a revolutionary decision in your game. It's something worth considering.


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Twofer Tuesday: WM Phoenix Open

Twofer Tuesday braces for the madness of the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale on Super Bowl Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Defending champion Brooks Koepka

Yes, the madness at the stadium 16th is what we all want at the Phoenix Open, carefully timed to end so we can all watch the Super Bowl. It's the careful timing of the event that has made it one of the most popular events on Tour, and it's always a great show.

Especially with that wild finish. The stadium 16th, the driveable 17th with that ball-swallowing lake hugging the left side of the long narrow green, and the "church pews" lined up along the 18th fairway. Maybe they'll never be considered three of the greatest holes on the Tour but they certainly provide some of the greatest drama.

Last year Brooks Koepka squeaked out a single-shot win over K.H. Lee and Xander Schauffele to grab his second WMPO title. Can he do it again? For the sake of my picks I hope not!

  • I'm taking Jordan Spieth for the second week in a row. Last year he staggered down the back nine to finish T4. After this past week at Pebble I'm hoping he figured out how to avoid that problem this time around.
  • And my other pick is Viktor Hovland. Viktor doesn't have the history at TPC Scottsdale that others have, but his game seems to be in good enough shape to handle the challenge.

GC's coverage begins Thursday at 3pm ET. And as it has the last few weeks, PGA TOUR LIVE will be doing extra broadcasts on the main feed early and on featured holes late. You can find the schedule at the bottom of this page at pgatour.com. The Phoenix Open is always fun, and this week's prelude to the Super Bowl promises to be no different.

Monday, February 7, 2022

The Limerick Summary: 2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Winner: Tom Hoge

Around the wider world of golf: Leona Maguire became the first Irish woman to win an LPGA event at the LPGA Drive On Championship; Harold Varner III got his second worldwide win at the PIF Saudi International on the Asian Tour; Nicolai Højgaard won the Ras al Khaimah Championship on the DP World Tour; Carson Young won the Panama Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Todd Sinnott won the TPS Victoria on the Australasian Tour; and Byron Coetzee won the Kit Kat Group PROAM on the Sunshine Tour.

Tom Hoge with AT&T trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks had a breakthrough week! This week's picks were Jordan Spieth (2) and Patrick Cantlay (T4). While I'm a bit disappointed not to have a winner yet -- especially since both players had at least a piece of the lead at some point during the final round -- this is the first time this season that I've had two Top5s in one week. I'll take it!

  • Top10s: 9 for 30 (6 Top5, 3 Top10s)
  • Winners: 0 for 15

Not that I would have by any stretch of the imagination picked Tom Hoge to win. It's not that I don't know him to be a good player -- he showed his ability at the Wyndham when he played with Tiger a few years back (the Wyndham is played about 40 minutes from where I live). It's just that his name didn't jump out at me when I made my picks. (His last four events leading into this one were T4-MC-2-MC. That's not an encouraging run.)

Besides, after he won Hoge said he hadn't won in so long that he forgot how to celebrate. I don't feel so bad for not considering him now!

Nevertheless, Tom put it all together this week -- again -- to put himself back in contention. But it was coming down the stretch Sunday where his toughness came to the front. Posting three birdies in the final four holes jumped him past his competition, including Spieth who went one-over in the same stretch. It wasn't heroics that won this one for Tom; it was just solid shots played when they were most needed.

At any rate, with his first PGA Tour win Tom picked up a little more than $1.5mil and all the swag that goes with a win, like his first trip to Augusta. Of course, that all pales in comparison to a Limerick Summary, but he probably forgot all about that in the excitement.

Another first timer is crowned!
Tom Hoge continued to pound
Away at Spieth’s lead…
And the headlines all read:
“Tom Hoge is now Masters bound.”

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Leona Maguire Makes History

In case you missed it -- which is understandable, since you had to have the pay version of the Peacock app to watch it happen -- Leona Maguire became the first Irish woman to win an LPGA event.

Leona Maguire with Drive On trophy

She's also the the first woman to win an LPGA Tour event in Fort Myers in 47 years. Back then, Sandra Haynie beat Pat Bradley to win the 1975 Greater Fort Myers Classic.

Things have changed a bit since then.

It's just another item to add to Leona's list of accomplishments, both as an amateur and a pro. Now, with an LPGA win under her belt, I guess we'll be watching to see if she can grab her first major.

If she does, it won't surprise anyone. Congratulations, Leona!

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Here's Where I Have a Problem with Stats (Video)

This Golf Monthly video claims that we now have stats to prove that slow play adversely affects scoring. And while I'm not questioning that slow play and poor scoring are related, I do question whether these stats have uncovered the cause. After all, who's to say that slow play isn't caused by poor scoring and not the other way around, since higher scores (caused by more penalties and more golf swings as a result) presumably take more time?

It's telling that at the 2:48 mark Neil Tappin DOES say "the data doesn't show why or where someone is playing slower..." If the data doesn't say why they play slower, I think it's a bit presumptuous to say that slow play is the cause rather than the result.

Stats can be useful if used properly, folks, but beware of putting too much faith in them. While I agree that "numbers never lie," the fact remains that numbers mean nothing until they are interpreted... and interpretations lie all the time.


Friday, February 4, 2022

A Setup Drill to Improve Your Balance and Feel When Pitching (Video)

Here's a super short video that will help you make better contact on your pitches from 100 yards and in. Mike Malaska's drill will help you eliminate excess movement and teach you the proper feel and balance when you're pitching. Remember, pitching isn't about power. It's about control and accuracy.


Thursday, February 3, 2022

If You Want to Watch the LPGA This Week...

You won't find it on GC. Instead, you've got to be a bit creative.

Defending champion Austin Ernst

The fourth staging of the LPGA Drive On Championship will be at Crown Colony (Fort Myers FL) this year and the defending champion is Austin Ernst. But don't be surprised if you see this event listed as the inaugural event. It's a fascinating story.

The Drive On events were started in 2020 as a way to give the girls some places to play when the pandemic caused so many cancelled events. However, they weren't regular events as we're used to thinking of them. There were two Drive On events in 2020 -- one at Inverness (Ohio) in July, a second at Lake Oconee (Georgia) in October. Another was held at Golden Ocala (Florida) in March 2021, the one Austin won.

And now, here we are in February for the fourth one. Technically, four separate events that all just happen to be called the LPGA Drive On Championship.

So perhaps it's not such a big surprise that it isn't being carried on GC like a regular tournament. But that doesn't mean you can't watch it. In fact, you can watch SIX HOURS of coverage each day of the event, February 3-5... but some of it will be streaming on LPGA.com and some will be on the Peacock app.

  • LPGA.com will stream the event each day from 10am-1pm ET. This will be coverage of featured holes.
  • Peacock will broadcast from 3pm-6pm ET the first two days and 2pm-5pm ET on Saturday.
  • If you're in Canada, the afternoon coverage will be on LPGA.com.

So your coverage this morning starts on LPGA.com at 10am ET. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The Asian Tour Makes Things Interesting

Today I have a link to a GC article about... well, perhaps the biggest nightmare of the PGA and DP World tours becoming real.

Greg Norman and friends

Simply put, Greg Norman and the Saudi golf investors (aka LIV Golf Investments) who have been trying to launch their own tour now have a foothold on the Asian Tour. Tuesday at the Saudi International they announced "...the creation of the International Series, a 10-event slate that will be incorporated into the current Asian Tour schedule for the next decade with tournaments in not only eastern Asia but also the Middle East and England."

Brentley Romine's article is fairly long and gives a great overview of this complex deal, both in terms of its benefits to the Asian Tour and the potential headaches it may cause for players who wish to move between all these tours. It's definitely worth a read.

Here is what I see as the great irony of this: I don't think anybody can blame the Asian Tour for making this deal. The pandemic has created a lot of economic hardship for them and this must seem like a gift from heaven, providing some financial security -- and even a potential for unexpected growth -- in the face of uncertain times that don't look to end anytime soon.

Why don't I blame them? Because the deal is worth $300 million to the Asian Tour... and it's not like they had any offers nearly as attractive as that, if they had any other offers at all. What would you have done?

While the other tours have made deals to try and stabilize their own businesses and perhaps stave off the potential threat the Saudi group may pose, the Asian Tour has been left to fend for itself. I don't blame the other tours for that either; the game of business sometimes forces its players to make hard decisions. But for that same reason it's hard to blame the Asian Tour for making a deal that appears to offer them nothing but good things.

Time alone will tell how this all plays out in the ever-changing golf landscape. But I'd say the world of golf just got a lot interesting for everyone involved.

Again, here's the link to Brentley Romine's article. We definitely live in interesting times.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Twofer Tuesday: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Twofer Tuesday heads to the laidback land of Carmel and the Monterey Peninsula for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Defending champion Daniel Berger

Another week with multiple golf courses, three this time -- Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula Country Club. Only Spyglass is longer than 7000 yards... and that just barely. The greens are small and the fairways are tight, the winds and ocean layer (aka "fog") can play havoc with the pros' strategies, and it's unlikely anybody will complain as they bump elbows with various celebrities.

You guys know all this stuff, of course. It's the same every year with a cut after three rounds and the final round played at Pebble itself. These are the kind of courses that anybody can win on -- the defending champion is Daniel Berger, btw -- and that just might happen.

Which makes it really hard for me to make picks this week, although it's beginning to seem that every course gives me problems these days. I'd really like to take some fliers (I could see Pat Perez playing well this week as one example, and Matt Fitzpatrick really should play well here) but I need to get my percentage of Top10s up.

Not that any strategy has paid off for me this season. But here goes...

  • My first pick is Patrick Cantlay. Cantlay isn't playing bad, he just hasn't shown up when I pick him. That's got to change eventually since he's been playing so well. His short game should really help him this week.
  • And my other pick is Jordan Spieth. I haven't picked the Golden Child for a while simply because his driving seems to be hurting him more than it should. However, his short game has kept him competitive here even when he should have been out of the game. I think he could show up strongly this week.

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at 3pm ET. And for those of you with PGA TOUR LIVE, they're going to cover a lot of different featured groups and featured holes; you can see the times at this link. Otherwise, it's time to just grab a sandwich and a drink and settle back for some beautiful scenery on the California coast.