Weekend Preview

TigerWoods

Tiger Woods in action for the first time in 2015

PGA TOUR
Waste Management Phoenix Open
Dates: Jan. 29-Feb. 1
Venue: TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course), Scottsdale, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 8-10 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-11:30 p.m. (Replay) / 11:30-4 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-11:30 p.m. (Replay) / 11:30-4 a.m. (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:

Woods returns to Scottsdale for the first time since 2001: Tiger Woods makes his first start of 2015 this week, returning to TPC Scottsdale for the first time in competition since 2001.

Headlining the field: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Keegan Bradley, Erik Compton and Robert Allenby.

mciloryace

Rory McIlory in action on the European Tour this week

EUROPEAN TOUR
Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Dates: Jan. 29-Feb. 1
Venue: Emirates Golf Club (Majlis Course), Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 1-4 a.m. / 5:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday 1-4 a.m. / 5:30-8:30 a.m. (Live) / 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 4-8 a.m. (Live) / 9:30 a.m.-Noon (Replay)
Sunday 4-8 a.m. (Live) / 9:30-Noon (Replay)

Headlining the field: Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Ernie Els, Victor Dubuisson, Graeme McDowell, Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen and Peter Uihlein.

lydiako

Lydia Ko in action this week

LPGA TOUR
Coates Golf Championship
Dates: Jan. 28-31
Venue: Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, Ocala, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday 2-5 p.m. (Live)
Thursday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live)
Friday 8-10 p.m. (Tape delay) / 3-5 p.m. (Live streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Saturday 3-5 p.m. (Live)

Headlining the field: Michelle Wie, Lydia Ko, Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, Lexi Thompson, Anna Nordqvist, Ai Miyazato, Azahara Munoz, So Yeon Ryu, Paula Creamer and Cheyenne Woods.

Tuesday Tip – One-Handed Putting

Frogger_PutterOne problem amateurs, and even some pros have, is breaking the wrists in their putting stroke.  Another bad putting habit many have is jerking the putter, or swinging with bad transition timing from backstroke to follow through.  This drill helps fix all of those issues, and can greatly improve the way both arms and hands work together.

One-Handed Putting

The next time you are on the practice putting green, start the practice session with one handed putts on both arms.  Pick a number of strokes, 5-10-25, and putt that many right-handed, then putt that many left-handed.

Using one hand with the putter is a great way to prevent a jerky motion and promote a smooth stroke.

Putting with one hand also makes it much more difficult to break the wrists (wrist in the case of one hand).  The dreaded “flip” stroke is almost impossible with one hand.

After getting a great feel for the stroke, the tempo, and the feeling of one-handed putting, put both hands on the grip and try to keep the same feel in both hands as they stroke together.  The hands should each have the same stroke and feel, but work together as one piece or unit.

Weekend Wrap

haasblastHumana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation
Dates: Jan. 22-25
Venue: Palmer Private Course, PGA West; Nicklaus Private Course, PGA West; La Quinta Country Club (La Quinta, Calif.)

Bill Haas returned to play for the first time this year, following recovering from a broken wrist. Obviously his time off and recovery went well, as Haas captured his first PGA Tour victory since 2013. The Humana Challenge is typically a very low scoring event, one such low score was the 59 shot by David Duval many years ago. This year was no different. Haas’s winning scores: 67-63-69-67. Ryan Palmer carded the low score of the event with a second round 61.

Haas’s final round 67 was enough to hold off contenders Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman, Brendan Steele, Steve Wheatcroft and Sung Joon Park.
Video highlights:

miguelangeljimenezCHAMPIONS TOUR
Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
Dates: Jan. 23-25
Venue: Hualalai Resort Golf Club, Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii

The Champions Tour opened its season in lovely Hualalai Resort, Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii. Tough duty without a doubt. The first winner on the 50 and over circuit is golf’s most interesting man, Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Jimenez caught fire on the back nine Sunday, with six birdies. Jimenez’s 6-under round of 66 was enough to edge Mark O’Meara by one stroke.

The victory for Jimenez marks his second on the Champions Tour in three starts.

Friday Fun – Skin Validation

Golf Bets“Skins” is one of the most popular side betting games in golf.  We’ve covered skins before but here’s a short description.  A skin is won by a player who scores the sole low score on a hole.  Each member of the competition agrees on a flat dollar amount to put into the “skin pot” and skins are divided up at the end of the round.  Another payout option is the per-hole way, meaning the group decides on a dollar amount per hole.  For instance a one dollar skin per hole would mean each member of the group would pay the skin winner a dollar for each hole won.

Validation

A challenging and fun variation of the skins game is to add “validation” to the mix.  To completely secure a skin, the skin winner must validate the skin on the following hole.  To validate, the player must at least tie the lowest score on the following hole.  If the player fails to validate, the previous skins are lost, or carried over if the group is playing carry-overs.

Examples

Player A has won a skin with a birdie on the first hole.  On the second hole Player A must at least tie the low score to secure the skin.  On the second hole Player A makes a bogey, while two other players make pars.  Since Player A did not at least tie the low score on the second hole, he loses the skin on the first hole.

On the third hole Player B makes an eagle and captures a skin.  On the fourth hole Player B makes a par, while one other player ties the par for the lowest score on the hole.  Since Player B tied for the lowest score on the fourth hole, he has validated the third hole skin.

Posted in Fun |

Weekend Preview

Patrick Reed in the field this week

Patrick Reed in the field this week

Professional golf is gaining momentum in 2015 with three major tours in action this week, and many of golf’s biggest stars like Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, and Sergio Garcia

PGA TOUR
Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation
Dates: Jan. 22-25
Venue: Palmer Private Course, PGA West; Nicklaus Private Course, PGA West; La Quinta Country Club (La Quinta, Calif.)

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 11 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)

Headlining the field: Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Keegan Bradley, Billy Horschel, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner and Bill Haas.

CHAMPIONS TOUR
Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
Dates: Jan. 23-25
Venue: Hualalai Resort Golf Club, Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-4:30 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Live) / 3-6 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday 7-10 p.m. (Live) / 4-6 a.m. (Monday deplay)

Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Tom Watson, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Davis Love III, Colin Montgomerie, Kenny Perry, Corey Pavin, Tom Lehman and Peter Jacobsen.

EUROPEAN TOUR
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
Dates: Jan. 21-24
Venue: Doha Golf Club, Doha, Qatar

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday 1:30-4:30 a.m., 6 -8:30 a.m. (Live)
Thursday 1:30-4:30 a.m., 6-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday 4:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday 4:30-8:30 a.m. (Live) / 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Replay)

Headlining the field: Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel, Stephen Gallacher, Matteo Manassero, Thorbjorn Olesen, Mikko Ilonen and Peter Uihlein.

Tuesday Tip – One Shot Ahead

Bandon_Preserve_TopThe great Tom Watson offers the golf tip, “think one shot ahead.”  This is such a simple tip which could save countless strokes off a golfer’s game.  Not only that, there are no swing adjustments, lessons, or new equipment to buy.  Instant stroke saver!  Let’s look at a couple of situations.

Tee

You’re on the tee of a tricky par-4 hole.  The approach to the hole is guarded by many bunkers short right of the green, and the flag is tucked behind them.  The best approach to this green would be one which takes as much of those bunkers out of play as possible.  The best angle to do that is from the left side of the fairway.  Thinking one shot ahead, knowing that the best approach is from the left side of the fairway, the proper club to hit off the tee or the proper shot to hit is one which places that ball in the position above.  Whether that’s driver, a long iron, or other club, that’s the ticket.

Trouble

A bad shot has resulted in a position behind some trees.  There’s no shot at getting to the green.  Where is the best position to hit the NEXT shot?  One must analyze the situation and make that call.  Usually the best place to hit from is one which is not IN trouble; one which provides a clear shot at the target or green.  Knowing that going toward the green may result in a next shot which is still in trouble, it may be the best shot to go backward, or sideways away from the trouble to a shot which is clear.

TNGCPutt

We have a simple 100 yard approach to a difficult green.  The green has a very severe slope from back to front and the pin is just past middle.  From 100 yards we are thinking of the best place for the NEXT shot.  There is no way we want to be long or above the hole on this tough green.  The best next shot is a putt from below the hole.  We must calculate the proper club to hit the green, but be below the hole.  With the pin just past center, there are about 10 yards between the pin and the front edge.  Therefore a 90-95 yard approach is the best for this situation, leaving the next shot 5-10 yards below the hole where the putt can be aggressive and more safe.

Conclusion

Think about where the best position is for the NEXT shot, and hit the current shot to that position.

Weekend Wrap

Jimmy WalkerPGA TOUR
Sony Open in Hawaii
Dates: Jan. 15-18
Venue: Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii

The Sony Open is the first full field event on the PGA Tour for calendar year 2015, and a strong field this year included the likes of Jason Day, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, and Luke Donald.

One other very strong player in the field was Jimmy Walker.  Walker walked to a smooth nine stroke victory, following a stellar 7-under 63 in the final round.  The previous round was even better, an 8-under 62.  Walker was inspired to close out the tournament after watching Martin Kaymer blow a 10-shot lead in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

EUROPEAN TOUR

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship
Dates: Jan. 15-18
Venue: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

As mentioned in the PGA Tour wrap-up, U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer looked to be on his way to collecting the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship with his 10-stroke lead in the final round.  As is evidenced in the Ryder Cup, the European Tour is full of amazing players who are capable of going low at any point in time.

Combined with a poor showing by Kaymer in his final round 75, Gary Stal’s bogey-free final round 65 overtook Kaymer and beat him by two shots. The HSBC marks the first European Tour victory for the 374th ranked golfer in the world, Stal.

Shot of the Week: McIlory Ace in Abu Dhabi

mciloryaceThough the week in professional golf has barely gotten underway, we have a winner for the shot of the week. On the European Tour Rory McIlory is making his first start of 2015. In Abu Dhabi yesterday at the HSBC Golf Championship, McIlory carded his first professional hole-in-one.

Hole: Par-3 15th
Course: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, United Arab Emirates
Club: 9-iron
Yardage: 177 yards

Yes that’s a 177 yard NINE IRON.

In the previous round Miguel Angel Jimenez aced the same hole!

Weekend Preview

Hold The FInish

PGA TOUR
Sony Open in Hawaii
Dates: Jan. 15-18
Venue: Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 7-10:30 p.m. (Live) / 11 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 7-10:30 p.m. (Live) / 11 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 7-10:30 p.m. (Live) / 11 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 6-8 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes On NBC (Eastern):
Sunday 4-6 p.m. (Live)

Headlining the field: Jason Day, Jimmy Walker, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Sang-Moon Bae, Luke Donald, Russell Henley and Chris Kirk.

rorymciloryEUROPEAN TOUR
Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship
Dates: Jan. 15-18
Venue: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 12:30-3:30 a.m., 5-8 a.m. (Live) / Noon-5:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 5-8 a.m. (Live), (Beginning of second round on tape delay, 2:30-5 a.m.)
Saturday 4-8 a.m. (Live) / 1:30-3 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday 3:30-8 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m-Noon (Replay)

Headlining the field: Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Martin Kaymer, Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson, Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel and Darren Clarke.

Weekend Wrap – Tuesday Edition

patrickreedPGA Tour
Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Dates: Jan. 9-12
Kapalua Resort (Plantation Course)
Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

The first PGA Tour week of 2015 has come to a close on a rare Monday finish, and not because the tournament ended in a playoff.  The tournament simply ends on Monday, having started on the previous Friday.  Mind you, this is not the first week of the 2015 season with the advent of the wrap-around schedule.  This is officially the “2014-2015″ season.  For most though, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions marks the beginning of the PGA Tour season, as it has done for many years.

The tournament featured a solid field with notables like Masters champion Bubba Watson, Jason Day, and Zach Johnson.  Big names missing from the event, as per their usual winter breaks, include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Rory McIlory.

When the tournament came down to the wire two players finished tied at -21, Patrick Reed and Jimmy Walker.  Patrick Reed, dressed in a Tiger Woods Sunday style black pant and red shirt, eagled the 16th to give himself a shot at the win, settling for the playoff.  Reed birdied the fun 18th finishing hole the second time in 20 minutes on the first playoff hole to take home the victory.

Reed was criticized by the media and golf fans months ago for telling the world he was a top five player.  Apparently he knew something the rest of the world did not.  He’s well on his way to moving to the top five in the world rankings.

Next Week

Next week the PGA Tour stays in the paradise of Hawaii, moving to the Sony Open. The venue moves to the island of Oahu and Waialae Country Club. The field next week will be a full field, unlike the winners-only field at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.