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Saturday, April 30, 2022

A Lesson with Pete Cowen (Video)

Recently instructor James Robinson went for a lesson with the legendary Pete Cowen... and he recorded it. Do I really need to say more than that? Watch and learn, padawans!


Friday, April 29, 2022

Steve Stricker Returns to Action

Perhaps the biggest news at the Insperity Invitational this week is Steve Stricker's return from a mystery illness that sidelined him for half a year or so.

Defending champion Mike Weir

The Woodlands County Club at The Woodlands TX is a familiar venue for the Champions Tour. After all, it hosted a PGA Tour event from 1985 until 2002 and has hosted this event since 2008. Bernhard Langer has won the Insperity four times total... and three of those were at The Woodlands Country Club. It's safe to say that the Champions Tour players probably know this course as well as they know Augusta National.

Mike Weir is the defending champion. Two of the last four winners have been first-timers on the Champions Tour.

And perhaps this time it will be David Duval, who's making his Champions Tour debut this week.

But Stricker will probably be the headliner this week, simply because so many players and fans were worried about him. Just seeing him walk the course will be front page news at the Insperity... and good news it is..

GC's live coverage starts at noon ET today (Friday). And there are enough human interest stories this week to perhaps overshadow the event itself. But I don't think anyone will mind.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

12 More Yards with Your Irons?!? (Video)

I know you're going to watch this short video and say, "Hey, I know that already!" But this video is different -- and not just because it actually puts a number on the gains it claims you can get.

There are a number of subtle tips in this video you might miss. Things like getting the extra yards without swinging harder... like learning not just how to hit the ball lower so it goes farther, but how to hit the ball higher so it stops quicker... like how you don't need to change the ball position to pull either shot off... and a new look at an old drill. It really can help you improve this part of your game... and maybe give you some extra yards in the process.


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The LPGA Gets the First of Two New Events

This week the LPGA plays the inaugural JTBC Championship at Palos Verdes in California. (The other new event is the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G in Ohio later this year.)

Augusta National Women's Amateur winner Anna Davis

Since this is a new event, I figured I'd include a photo of perhaps the most interesting new player to get an LPGA debut this week. Of course I'm talking about 16-year-old Augusta National Women's Amateur winner Anna Davis, the youngest yet to win that event and who said she never expected to play in an LPGA event so young. But her victory brought her a sponsor's exemption -- the first of many such exemptions she has already received -- and she wasn't about to turn it down!

As for you fashion-forward enthusiasts out there, she said she WILL be wearing a new bucket hat.

Davis is one of the many players who will have some familiarity with the Palos Verdes Golf Club despite it being a new venue on Tour. The club is the site of the annual Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, which is an invitational tournament for the top NCAA Women's Golf teams that's been running for 25 years. Lorena Ochoa, Natalie Gulbis, Jennifer Rosales, Leona Maguire and Brittany Lang are just some of the champions whose names you probably recognize.

The Top6 in the Race to the CME Globe are also in the field, in addition to World Number One Jin Young Ko and 7 of the 9 event winners this season, so the Palos Verdes Championship shapes up to be pretty strong.

Because we're still in California we're looking at another week of prime time golf. GC's live coverage begins at 6:30pm ET on Thursday. I'm interested to see how Davis does in her first LPGA event and how Ko rebounds after her tough finish last week.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Twofer Tuesday: Mexico Open

Twofer Tuesday heads south of the border for Vallarta, Mexico and the Mexico Open at Vidanta.

The Norman Signature Golf Course at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta resort

This is a new event... sort of. You see, this isn't the first time that the Mexico Open has been a PGA Tour event; it just hasn't been on the PGA Tour proper. This bit from the event's Power Rankings page should make things a little clearer:

When it was announced in early November that the new PGA TOUR event planned in Mexico would be the Mexico Open at Vidanta, it brought the history of the country’s national championship full circle. The first Mexico Open was contested in 1944 at Club de Golf Chapultepec, which hosted the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship from 2017-2020. The Mexico Open would join the sanctioned ranks of the PGA TOUR as a then-Web.com Tour event from 2008-2012. It then transitioned into an annual stop on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica in 2013 and extended through 2021.

This time around it's the Norman Signature Golf Course at the Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta resort serving as the host venue. Interestingly enough, although we're used to seeing Mexican courses with some serious altitude, Vidanta Vallarta is right at sea level. It's a par-71 and it can play up to 7456 yards. The fairways are wide but the greens are surrounded by deep bunkers. And if that wasn't enough, there's a lot of water in play -- for example, there are five par-3s and four of them play over water.

Looks like Greg Norman will continue to give players trouble this week!

I did my research differently after last week's debacle, and only one of my picks is in the Power Rankings for the event. The stats I used this time around are Driving Accuracy, GIR, Scoring Average and -- very important this week -- Sand Save Percentage. We'll see if I have any better luck.

  • My first pick is Kevin Na
  • My other pick is Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

GC's coverage begins Thursday at 3:30pm ET. PGA TOUR LIVE's streams begin at 8:45am ET and you can get all the times for their various streams on this page. Let's see how the pros fare at a sea level Mexican course!

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Limerick Summary: 2022 Zurich Classic

Winner: Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay

Around the wider world of golf: A lot of golf this week! Nasa Hataoka ran away with the LPGA's DIO Implant LA Open; Pablo Larrazábal won the DP World Tour's ISPS Handa Championship in Spain; Scott Parel and Mardy Fish won the pro and celebrity titles at the Champions Tour's ClubCorp Classic; Dottie Ardina won the Epson Tour's Copper Rock Championship; Jaime López Rivarola won the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica's JHSF 67th Aberto do Brasil; Jay Mackenzie won the Australasian Tour's 2021 CKB WA PGA Championship; Jaco Ahlers won the Sunshine Tour's Stella Artois Players Championship; Yuto Katsuragawa won the JGTO's ISPS Handa Championship Japan; Sayaka Takahashi won the JLPGA's Fujisankei Ladies Classic; and Hae Ran Ryu won the KLPGA's Nexen Saint Nine Masters. [Thanks, IC!]

Schaffele and Cantlay with Zurick trophy and belts

This is getting old. In two of the last three weeks my Twofer Tuesday picks haven't done as well as someone I said I liked but didn't choose. First Scottie Scheffler won the Masters, then the team of Will Zalatoris and Davis Riley finished T4 this week. I had Scottie Scheffler and Ryan Palmer (T18) and Marc Leishman and Cam Smith (T21). I clearly need to change my method of picking!

  • Top10s: 14 for 54 (9 Top5, 5 Top10)
  • Winners: 1 for 26
  • Top20s: 25 for 54

And somewhere in the midst of it all Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay -- both struggling to close out tournaments lately -- ground the rest of the Zurich Classic field into a very fine powder and cast them into the swirling winds of TPC Louisiana. From their record-setting score of 59 in the best ball round Thursday they showed no mercy as the week ran on, becoming the first wire-to-wire winners of the team event as well.

I don't know if there's a record they didn't break at the Zurich. (Maybe the 36-hole scoring record. I didn't hear what that one was.) But I'm sure everyone else in the field is very clear on their stats!

This win came as no surprise of course. Patrick is the reigning FedExCup champion and Xander the reigning Olympic gold medalist, and both have been playing well despite the aforementioned problems closing tournaments. But to see them dominate the field in this way simply has to be disheartening to everybody else, as they know that these two are only going to gain confidence from this victory...

And perhaps use that confidence to go on a run of wins as the season wears on.

In many ways a single Limerick Summary seems inadequate in a team event when the result is this lopsided. But hey, sharing doesn't seem to be a problem for this team. Perhaps they'll take another trip together to relax and celebrate it as well!

From records set back in Round One
To records that got the job done,
Both Xander and Pat
Seem to think it’s old hat
To crush rivals while just having fun.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Maximizing Distance with Your Driver (Video)

Yesterday I posted Rick's advice on changing your shot shape with an adjustable driver. Today I'm posting another short video from him -- this time giving you a quick lesson in the basics of setting up with the driver to get your maximum distance off the tee. Between the two videos you should have a decent chance of getting the ball in the fairway a good distance from the tee.


Saturday, April 23, 2022

Changing Your Shot Shape with an Adjustable Driver (Video)

In this 42 second video Rick Shiels tells you how to use the settings on your adjustable driver to change your shot shape without changing your swing. Bear in mind that you need an adjustable driver to use most of these hacks.


Let me sum up what the changes do and how he recommends you use them as a 'hack' to change your shot shape.

  • Theoretically the standard setting should allow you to hit a straight shot. If it gives you a shape you like, then you don't need to change it.
  • If you're trying to create more of a draw, you can raise the loft to a higher number (add degrees to the face, such as going from 10° to 12°). This aims the face a bit more to the left (for a righthander) so the ball should curve that way.
  • If you want more of a fade, you can lower the loft to a lower number (subtract degrees from the face, such as going from 10° to 9°). This aims the face a bit more to the right (for a righthander) so the ball should curve that way.
  • In my opinion, here's the main hack. If you struggle with a slice, set the club for a more upright swing. What this does is raise the toe of the club off the ground so the face literally points to the left (for a righthander) and the ball doesn't get the fade sidespin at all.

I suppose that, if you have a real problem with a slice, you could both add loft and set the driver more upright to aim the face (for a righthander) to the left AND add draw sidespin as well.

And remember that even if you don't have an adjustable driver, you can get the effect of a more upright setting with your regular driver by just teeing up the ball a bit farther away from you. Any change that causes the toe to lift off the ground should give you the same result. Just remember that you'll have to practice with the new ball position before you take it onto the course.

Now depending on how much trouble you're having getting the ball into the fairway, it's possible that none of these settings might solve your problem. But if they don't help, your swing is probably far enough out of whack that you need a lesson to straighten things out.

Bear in mind that using these hacks might also cause you to lose a little distance. But if they allow you to get the ball in the fairway, you might drop enough strokes that you don't care! In any case, I think any hack that increases your enjoyment out on the course is a good one, so why not try one?

Friday, April 22, 2022

The Throwing the Clubhead Drill (Video)

You've probably seen this drill before but I like the way Mike Malaska explains it. This drill helps you create the most speed possible with your hands and arms, which then gets multiplied when you make your normal swing. Pay special attention to his emphasis on relaxed muscles when you do this drill. Any athlete can tell you that tight muscles restrict speed!


Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Champions Stake Out New Ground in Texas

Okay, we get a new event for the Champions Tour this week. Welcome to the inaugural ClubCorp Championship.

ClubCorp Classic logo

The first playing of this event takes place at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving TX, a par-71 measuring just over 6700 yards. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this course is that it has five par-3s and four par-4s.

And the most interesting aspect of the event itself is that it boasts a field of 78 pros who will be joined by 50 amateurs and celebrities. This sounds a lot like the LPGA's Tournament of Champions in January, although I don't know how the teams will be set up here.

If you want one player worth keeping an eye on this week, it may be Corey Pavin. Pavin is a member at the club and, while he's not a long hitter by any measure, his ability to work the ball combined with the shorter length of the course could give this 62-year-old a real chance to put on a show.

GC's live coverage begins Friday at noon ET. I think it's always compelling to see how a new event -- especially one with a different format -- will distinguish itself from the other established events the pros commonly play.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The LPGA Goes to Hollywood

Without Frankie. (Old music joke.) The DIO Implant LA Open is making its fourth appearance beneath the legendary Hollywood sign.


Wilshire Country Club was an important stop early in the PGA Tour's history, hosting the Lost Angeles Open four times before World War 2. Now it's gaining fame for the caliber of its past winners Ariya Jutanugarm, Minjee Lee and defending champion Brooke Henderson.

I suppose the biggest story coming in is Jin Young Ko making her first start since her T53 finish at the Chevron a few weeks back. After some time off and some work on her swing she's coming back to a course where she has good history, having posted three Top5s in her previous appearances.

The field is pretty strong, with 8 of the Top10 in the Race for the CME Globe scheduled to play.

GC's coverage starts Thursday at 6:30pm ET. Yes, the LPGA's in California so we get more prime time golf! What more can you ask for?

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Twofer Tuesday: Zurich Classic

Twofer Tuesday does a double take and hopes of picking a winning team at the Zurich Classic.

Defending champions Marc Leishman and Cam Smith

TPC Louisiana plays host to the PGA Tour's only team event, the Zurich Classic. The format proved to be just the thing this event needed to become a popular venue once again, and now the players look forward to this week each year.

The format is simple. Two-man teams play four rounds -- fourball (aka best ball), foursomes (aka alternate shot), fourball and foursomes. In case of a playoff, the first hole is contested as a foursome, the second as a fourball, and so on until a winner is determined.

Which means this week I pick four players who count as only two (teams). That doesn't make the task any easier but what the heck?

  • My first pick is the team of Scottie Scheffler and Ryan Palmer. How can I pick against the hottest player of the moment with a consistently good (for years with various other players) partner? This is kind of a no-brainer.
  • And my other pick is the defending champions, Marc Leishman and Cam Smith. Smith has won this event twice and you know how well he's playing this season. Again, no-brainer pick.

I really like the pairing of Will Zalatoris and Davis Riley as well, but I simply can't make myself choose them over either of the two teams I'm taking.

GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 3:30pm ET and PGA TOUR LIVE starts their streams at 8am ET. (You can find the schedule for their various streams at this link.) This is such a fun event, so different from the rest of the season, that it's not something you want to miss.

Monday, April 18, 2022

The Limerick Summary: 2022 RBC Heritage

Winner: Jordan Spieth

Around the wider world of golf: Hyo Joo Kim won the LPGA's LOTTE Championship; Tyson Alexander won the Veritex Bank Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Sihwan Kim won the Asian Tour's Trust Golf Asian Mixed Stableford Challenge; Sang-Hyun Park won the KPGA's Dongbu Promy Open; Ji Young Park won the KLPGA'S MEDIHEAL Hangkook Ilbo Championship; Nozomi Uetake won the JLPGA's KKTCup Vantelin Ladies Open; and Kazuki Higa won the Kansai Open Golf Championship on the Japan Golf Tour. [Thanks, IC!]

Jordan Spieth with RBC Heritage trophy

Not a bad week for my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Webb Simpson (T59) and Matt Kuchar (T3). Webber had an off week but Kuch gave me a Top5.

  • Top10s: 14 for 52 (9 Top5, 5 Top10)
  • Winners: 1 for 25
  • Top20s: 24 for 52

When I saw (early in the day) that the final round odds on Jordan Spieth were +1800 I said to myself that, if we had PointsBet here in NC (it's not legal in our state), I might put a small bit on the Golden Boy myself. After all, with Jordan only 2 shots off the lead, +1800 seemed like really good odds.

As it turned out, I was right. And Jordan didn't even bring his putter with him this week! Despite struggling with even two-footers, Jordan managed to post the clubhouse lead at -13 and it held up until Patrick Cantlay tied him on the 18th to force a playoff.

Which didn't last very long, as it turned out. Both drove into the bunker fronting 18 -- Patrick plugged, Jordan didn't. And then Jordan hit one of those great bunker shots he's famous for winning events with, leaving himself a 7" tap-in that even he couldn't miss.

Jordan increasingly reminds me of the Energizer Bunny. It doesn't seem to matter what you throw at him; he just keeps on truckin' along, doing his thing. No putter? No problem, we'll just chip and pitch the ball in the hole this week. He keeps defying the odds.

That's why +1800 looked pretty good to me. Wish I could have put a couple of bucks on him!

In the meantime, Jordan picks up his 13th PGA Tour title... and his 13th Limerick Summary. Another great Easter for the Bunny! Wonder how he'll do at the Masters next Easter?

Two Easters now, we’ve seen him coming,
His battery endlessly humming.
Perhaps it sounds funny
But Spieth’s like that Bunny—
He gives the whole field a sound drumming.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Hyo Joo Kim Hangs On

It's so new that I can't even find a photo of her with the trophy, but Hyo Joo Kim hung on to win the LOTTE Championship by two strokes over Hinako Shibuno.

LOTTE champion Hyo Joo KIm

The winds at Hoakalei Country Club at Ewa Beach on Oahu in Hawaii, an Ernie Els creation, played havoc with the ladies all week. In the end it came down to two major champions -- Hyo Joo and Hinako Shibuno, the "Smiling Cinderella" -- fighting it out, with Hyo Joo leading by a single shot on the 18th tee.

So it was appropriate that their battle came down to a single shot -- a near-perfect long chip by Hyo Joo from a tricky lie on 18. She had scrambled better than anyone all week and she did it again, leaving a tap-in for birdie to win after Hinako failed to hole a bunker shot for eagle.

It was Hyo Joo's sixth LPGA victory and second major, adding to her 2014 Evian win. And it was well earned. Congrats, Hyo Joo!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

What Can a Pro Do With a Cheap Half Set of Clubs? (Video)

Here's Rick's challenge. He's playing his great set of clubs while pro James Robinson is using the Aldi clubs from yesterday's video.

There is actually something you can learn from this video. First, let me show you what the YouTube description says about it:

PGA GOLF PRO Rick Shiels takes on EX tour pro James Robinson in a 9 hole match WITH A TWIST!

Rick Shiels will be using
- PING G425 max driver
- Cobra F7 fairway wood
- Titleist U500 3 iron
- Titleist T100 irons
- 4 x Vokey SM8 wedges
- Evnroll ER 2 putter
- Titleist PROV1 golf balls
- Ping craz-e-lite golf bag
TOTAL: £3,300

James Robinson is using
- A 8 piece package set Bought from Aldi
- NIKE Lake balls

What can you learn? If you pay attention to how James is adjusting his game to this equipment, you might learn a lot about how to improve your own scoring.


Friday, April 15, 2022

Picking Up Some Groceries and... Golf Clubs? (Video)

Yes, Rick -- we have Aldi's here in the US as well! Rick Shiels has found a cheap set of clubs at Aldi's and decided to do one of his equipment tests with them. They may not be as good as his expensive clubs... but how would they be for a beginning golfer, whom this set is obviously aimed at? Rick runs them through their paces.

And yes, I'll post the challenge he mentions tomorrow. It sounds like fun!


Thursday, April 14, 2022

A Complete Course in Creating Backspin (Video)

I was thrilled to find this older Rick Shiels video. Everybody wants to create backspin but there are many things involved in doing so. Rick goes through all the variables of equipment, technique and course conditions, then he teaches you how to use that knowledge to create backspin and use it effectively. This is the clearest explanation of the process that I have seen so I hope you find it helpful.


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The LPGA Tees Off in Hawaii

After a week break from the Chevron Championship, the LPGA heads to Oahu for the LOTTE Championship.

Defending champion Lydia Ko

This is the tenth anniversary of the LOTTE Championship, and it starts a three-week stretch of golf that moves from Hawaii to California. The field is usually pretty good; by my count there are seven of the Top10 of the Race to the CME Globe. (Not Nelly Korda; she's still recovering from her surgery.) But defending champion Lydia Ko is playing, as is Brooke Henderson, the only two-time winner of this event.

The biggest thing I wanted to mention is a reminder: The LOTTE is played on Wednesday thru Saturday, so the first round starts TONIGHT (Wednesday) on GC at 7pm ET. Yes, we get more prime time golf! This event always crowns a great player as champion and it tends to set that player on course for a strong year, so this version shouldn't be any different.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Twofer Tuesday: RBC Heritage

Twofer Tuesday eases on down the road from Augusta to Harbour Town Golf Links and the highly relaxing RBC Heritage.

Defending champion Stewart Cink

Harbour Town is a short course for sure, a par-71 measuring 7121 yards. But the course is tight and demands accuracy more than length. That means anybody capable of hitting fairways and greens has a great chance. Defending champion Stewart Cink has done it three times, for example.

My two picks this week are the closest thing to chalk I can come up with. After all, I knew last week's most likely winner and still didn't pick him. I need to avoid that if I can!

  • First pick: Webb Simpson. He won a couple of years back and also has a playoff runner-up. In addition, he has seven Top10s in 12 appearances. Now that he's healthy again, I think this is a great place for him to get back in the winner's circle.
  • And second pick: Matt Kuchar. Kuch just keeps plugging along, posting good finishes but just not getting it done. This is a place where he too has a win and a runner-up, so it's a good place for him to add to his resume.

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at 3pm ET, plus PGA TOUR LIVE's streaming coverage starts at 7am ET. (You can see their streaming schedule at this link.) Most of the pros see this event as a time to decompress after the Masters but the field looks pretty strong this week. It could end up being a seriously competitive week!

Monday, April 11, 2022

The Limerick Summary: 2022 Masters

Winner: Scottie Scheffler

Around the wider world of golf: Ratchanon Chantananuwat won the Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup on the Asian Tour; Momoko Ueda won the Fujifilm Studio Alice Ladies Open on the JLPGA; and Su Yeon Jang won the Lotte Rent A Car Open on the KLPGA. [Thanks, IC!]

Scottie Scheffler with Masters trophy and Green Jacket

A reasonably typical week for my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Dustin Johnson (T12) and Will Zalatoris (T6). DJ stumbled a bit coming down the stretch but Will had another good showing at the Masters for a Top10.

  • Top10s: 13 for 50 (8 Top5, 5 Top10)
  • Winners: 1 for 24
  • Top20s: 23 for 50

I did get one thing right in my predictions last week. In my last Twofer Tuesday post I said:

"I know I should pick Scottie Scheffler -- and I'll probably be kicking myself next week for not doing so."

And I am. But I think I can be forgiven for believing that winning four events out of six, a WGC Match Play and a Masters among them, in a mere two months when you had no wins at all before was asking a bit much. From basically nowhere to World #1 in two months is just incredible as it is... and now I expect a Masters too? It's just a crazy thought.

Yet here stands Scottie Scheffler, the World #1 with four wins in just two months, slipping into a Green Jacket.

Like Scottie, I just don't have any words to describe this. Where does he go now? Let's face it -- this could be an entire career for most players but Scottie has done it in less than eight weeks. How long can this run last? I don't know. But even I admit that a Limerick Summary doesn't seem enough for what he's accomplished. Still, it's the best I can do so here it is. Congrats, Scottie!

It’s hard to believe what he’s done,
From no wins to World Number One
In only eight weeks.
Past valleys and peaks
Merely set up his big Masters run.

The photo came from this page at cbsnews.com.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Finding the Bottom of Your Swing Arc (Video)

Phil sent me this link (thanks, Phil!) to an Alison Curdt video showing how a somewhat familiar drill can help you learn to control where the bottom of your swing is, so you can hit the ball more consistently and in the direction you want it to go. I say the drill is "somewhat familiar" because she's using it in a slightly different manner than I remember, but it's a good use for it. Give it a try.

Friday, April 8, 2022

The L-to-L Drill and Delofting the Clubface (Video)

If you've followed my blog for a while, you know I'm a huge fan of the L-to-L drill. It solves so many problems and builds so many skills in the swing at one time that I don't know why everyone doesn't use it! But Mike Malaska has been asked whether the L-to-L drill actually helps or hinders your ability to learn how to deloft the clubface -- that is, keep your hands ahead of the ball at impact. This video shows how the two work together.


Testing NINE Different Players' Distance Iron Sets (Video)

Joel Tadman tested nine different sets of compact mid-handicap irons to see how they compare. These are irons designed to give you more distance and good forgiveness while still looking "professional." While some of his impressions are subjective, he gives you a lot of technical measures to help you narrow down which sets might work best for you. There's a table of stats just after the 5:00 mark if that's your primary interest.


Thursday, April 7, 2022

Mike Malaska on the Most Popular Putting Grip (Video)

In this super-short video Mike Malaska shows you the most common grip used by players, both pros and amateurs. While this doesn't mean YOU have to hold it this way, the grip wouldn't have become as popular as it is if it didn't check a lot of boxes for a lot of players, so you should at least know and understand this grip. Mike's video gives you that information in just a couple of minutes.

And yes, of course I do things a bit differently. After the video I'll explain what I do -- just because you don't have to do things the way everybody else does.


Mike says he knows of no player using an interlocking putter grip. Hello, I do. But my interlock is a bit different from what he means by interlocking your grip.

When he talks about an interlocking grip, he's assuming that you're holding the grip in the fingers of both hands... but I don't. While my trailing hand does hold the putter in its fingers, the grip is in the palm of my lead hand the way he does it. That may sound a bit strange but it's actually very comfortable to me.

It may be that this grip works for me because I don't use a standard putter grip (now I'm talking about the rubber handle). I use the kind of round handle you use on your other clubs EXCEPT I use a jumbo size. A standard club handle tapers more than a putter-specific handle, so it makes the interlock feel very natural to me.

Again, I'm not saying you should use either grip just because Mike or me says so. But I think it's important to know (a) the most common putter grip and (b) that other ways of gripping can work just as well.

Thus ends the lesson for today. Class dismissed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Rick Shiels Tests a New Ping PLD Putter AND... (Video)

You've seen Ping's new Putting Lab Design commercials. Apparently Ping is trying a few of Scotty Cameron's tricks with these new putters. Rick puts one through its paces to see how well it compares.

AND -- perhaps more importantly -- Rick talks about some of the intangibles that can affect your putting effectiveness and why you should pay attention to them. That drew me to this video even more than the test.


Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Twofer Tuesday: Masters

Twofer Tuesday packs up its allergy medicine and heads down Magnolia Lane to the Masters.

Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama

Come on, do I really need to give you the regular spiel about THIS tournament? I will simply remind you that Hideki Matsuyama is the defending champion after making history last year at the Masters.

All I really need to do is give you my picks. I know I should pick Scottie Scheffler -- and I'll probably be kicking myself next week for not doing so -- but I'm going out on a limb this week.

  • My first pick is Dustin Johnson. He won the 2020 edition of the Masters -- in November but still -- and I think he's ready to win any week now. I see no reason why he shouldn't get off the schneid with a win here.
  • And my other pick is Will Zalatoris. Posted a solo second in his first appearance last year. He's a little less consistent than I'd like but all I need is for him to get hot at the Masters again. No pressure!

ESPN is our station of choice this week as their live coverage begins Thursday at 3pm ET. (They sometimes cover the par-3 tourney on Wednesday as well. And welcome back Scott Van Pelt and Andy North!) Masters.com will also do some streaming starting Thursday at 8:30am ET.

Of course, the big news this week will be whether Tiger's "game time decision" puts him on the first tee Thursday morning. I suspect he will but we'll all be watching, won't we?

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Limerick Summary: 2022 Valero Texas Open

Winner: JJ Spaun

Around the wider world of golf: Jennifer Kupcho became the final winner to leap into Poppy's Pond at the LPGA's Chevron Championship; TJ Vogel won the Club Car Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Stephen Alker won the Rapiscan Systems Classic on the Champions Tour; Andrea Lee won the Casino Del Sol Golf Classic on the Epson Tour; Alejandro Tosti won the 90 Abierto del Centro on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; Mateusz Gradecki (an amateur!) won the Limpopo Championship on the Sunshine Tour; Anna Davis won the 3rd Augusta National Women's Amateur; and Mao Saigo won the Yamaha Ladies Open Katsuragi on the JPGA. [Thanks, IC!]

JJ Spaun with the Valero trophy

Well, my Twofer Tuesday picks are back to their old tricks. I had Corey Conners (T35) and Charley Hoffman (MC). But I'm still hanging on to that win from last week. Maybe I'll have better luck at the Masters!

  • Top10s: 12 for 48 (8 Top5, 4 Top10)
  • Winners: 1 for 23
  • Top20s: 21 for 48

I'm going to make this short and sweet tonight. JJ Spaun went through a real crisis of confidence over the last couple of years after health problems made him wonder if he should even try to continue the sport.

This week he started the final round with a double-bogey and simply decided to keep doing his best and not worry about the results.

Because of this, he did something -- win after a double-bogey start -- that hasn't been done since Tiger Woods did it all the way back in 2008. That's something to be proud of, JJ!

And of course his first ever win also gets him an invite to the Masters next week. Despite the glory of receiving one's first ever Limerick Summary, I have no doubt that he will not notice this honor until sometime later this year. Given the Masters invite, I have decided to forgive him for that and give him the Limerick Summary anyway. Way to go, JJ!

When health problems filled him with doubt
And his golf game was hitting a drought,
Playing under the gun
JJ Spaun got it done.
Now the Masters is what he's about!

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

An Erratic Week Coming for Me

This is really the Sunday post although it's dated Saturday. I'm only writing it a couple of hours earlier than normal, but my schedule is going to be a bit erratic this week so some posts will look like they're a whole day earlier... even though they aren't. There's still going to be a daily post each day for the next week or so, but the dates are gonna look a bit weird. It won't last for long but it can't be helped.

Don't worry... I'll still be covering the Masters!

11 Strategic Things You Probably Forget on the Course (Video)

Yeah, most of what Dan Parker says here sounds childishly simple. Of course you know all this stuff! But let's face it -- it's the simple strategies that we all tend to forget under pressure. Consider this a short refresher course.


Friday, April 1, 2022

Another Quick Reminder

The Champions Tour is back in action with the Rapiscan System Classic after a two-year absence due to the pandemic. The defending champion is 2019 champion Kevin Sutherland. GC is doing tape-delay for this one at 10pm ET tonight (Friday). Don't forget it!

2-19 defending champion Kevin Sutherland