Duck and Cover

Golf is fun, yes. But it can be dangerous. Most golf injuries are not from golf balls hitting people, they are from club impacts when someone is standing too close to a person swinging.

This week this horrifically entertaining picture of a swedish man has been flying around golf social networks, almost as much as the ALS ice bucket challenge. This poor guy’s noggin was the recipient of an impact with a Titleist ProV1.

Have a great weekend and BE CAREFUL out there!

Posted in Fun |

Mickelson’s Golf Advice to Obama Good for All Golfers

TorreyPines_12It must be nice to have Phil Mickelson giving you advice on your golf game.  Case in point was a discussion Phil had with President Obama.  Obama had been struggling with his sand play.  Mickelson gave him some tips to help him improve and apparently they worked well.

The tips?  Phil’s bunker play tip came with two focus points.

First, when in the sand keep the body weight forward.  If the body weight is level, the ball will not drive into and through the sand properly.

Second, put the ball forward in the stance.  By doing so, this allows the shot to come out high and soft.  The club hits behind the ball, taking out sand along with the ball.  If the ball is not far enough forward, bad shots like blades or simply hitting the shot way too far can happen.

Did the advice work?  Obama was thrilled to tell Phil that his advice made a big difference in his bunker play.

The big question then is, does Phil have any advice on foreign policy?

Tuesday Tip – Penny Putting

coin-puttGolfers often struggle with moving their heads or “looking up too soon” when putting.  If the head is moving there are all sorts of “bad” things which can happen to the putt.  The contact on the club face is likely to be off-center.  The swing path is likely to be outside-in (club traveling across the ball from outside the target line to inside), and distance control is likely to be compromised.

One great drill to help keep the head down and eyes on the ball through the stroke is the penny drill.  Put a penny (or other coin) on the practice green heads up and put the ball on top of it.  When putting you cannot move your head or eyes away from the ball spot until you’ve actually read the date on the penny.

Another side benefit to this drill is making sure that the penny stays in place and that the putter does not hit it.  If the penny stays that means the putter is not bottoming out on the ground, which would result in many other problems.

In the video below from the 1999 U.S. Open, watch how long Payne Stewart kept his head down on the winning putt.

Weekend Wrap

HPBNC_2011_SU_067PGA Tour
Wyndham Championship
Sedgefield Country Club
Greensboro, North Carolina

This time of year on the PGA Tour is huge for the players on the Tour’s “bubble.” The bubble meaning the breakpoint for qualification in the FedEx Cup as well as breaking into the top 125, 150, or top 200. Each level (125,150, 200) has significant meaning for the players in those areas. Top 125 means an unconditional Tour card for the next season. Top 150 means conditional status, top 200 means avoiding having to qualify for the Web.com Tour.

The pressure of this event and the numbers above was too great for many players to overcome. Players like Heath Slocum, Jason Allred, and Brad Fritsch missed the opporunity and will have to compete in the Web.com Tour finals to qualify for the big Tour. Players like Kevin Foley who finished 201 or above, have no guarantee at all and will have to head back to the Web.com Tour Q-School.

One player who shined, while pumping his amazing muscular arms, was Camilo Villegas. Villegas has been quiet since his last win in 2010 at the McGladrey Classic. Villegas started and ended the tournament with rounds of 63, while filling the space between with rounds of 69 and 68 for a one shot victory over Bill Haas.

With the wind Villegas renews many opportunities which present themselves to Tour winners, along with a big check of $954,000 to renew the bank account.

LPGA Tour
Wegmans LPGA Championship
Pittsford, New York

Inbee park came into the Wegmans as the reigning champion and will retain that status for at least another year until the event is again contested in 2015. That win came after her par putt dropped on the first playoff hole, defeating opponent Brittany Lncicome.

After 38 years in Rochester, the event will be moving to Westchester Country Club in 2015.

Champions Tour
Dick’s Sporting Goods Open
Endicott, New York

Until further notice, mark down Bernhard Langer as the winner of whatever current Champions Tour event is being contested.

Langer rallied from behind to win his fifth Champions Tour event of the year, playing the entire event without making a single bogey. Langer outpaced Mark O’Meara and Woody Austin.

The biggest news of the week was the Friday score of Kevin Sutherland, who despite making bogey on the final hole, carded a Champions Tour record 59.

Woods and McIlory on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show Monday

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 9.37.30 AMJimmy Fallon will have two big golfing guests on the Tonight Show this Monday night, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlory.  Boy will there be a lot to talk about.

I’m sure they will not get to half of the possible subject matter regarding Woods and his performances, withdrawal from the Ryder Cup, back injuries and more.

And none of that even touches the recent hot streak and success of Rory McIlory, who won the season’s final two majors in the British Open Championship and the PGA Championship.

 

Posted in Fun |

Golf and Business Sometimes Do Not Mix

Some people manage to get some work done while on the golf course.  A certain country’s president comes to mind.  Other people skip work, sneaking out for a quick nine that “nobody will notice.”  Or will they?

There is a great story in the Daily Mail, a United Kingdom publication, which tells how one businessman was fed up with his partner for playing too much golf and not getting his work done.  While the golfing partner was on the front nine of the course, the fed up business man had a team of people load the golfer’s entire office and set it up on the 10th tee, complete with his coffee cup.  The text on the cup read “Keep Calm and Play Golf.”

Photo courtesy of Daily Mail

Photo courtesy of Daily Mail

No doubt the now discovered golfaholic was anything but calm when he saw his entire office sitting on the 10th tee as he rounded the turn.  He was probably even less calm when his partner handed him a paper requesting dissolution of the partnership.

Tuesday Tip – Core Swing Video

Kris MoeGolf swings are as unique as fingerprints.  What works for one golfer may not work for others.

There are however, crucial points during the swing which are common and should have the same basic qualities in order for the shot to succeed.  Obviously the point of impact is the most important moment in time and how the club gets there or where it goes after that moment is slightly less important.  In fact, the farther the swing is from the ball, the less important the club position becomes.  With that in mind, the most crucial zone of the swing is the immediate area just before impact and just after.  If you were to imagine the swing superimposed on a clock, that area would be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In the video below, Frogger pro Kris Moe explains this area and shows techniques and drills focusing on this key hitting zone.  Known as the “core” swing, Kris shows us a drill which focuses on that crucial area.  We can even practice hitting shots with the core swing as shown at the end of the piece.

Once the core swing is nailed down, much of the rest of the swing will fall into place much easier.  Bad things like “flipping” the club (using the wrists to manipulate the club rather than the arms and shoulders) will disappear.

Give the core swing some time the next time you are on the practice range.

PGA Championship Weekend Wrap

TPC Four Seasons 18th Green

PGA Championship
Valhalla Golf Club
Louisville, Kentucky

The golf season’s final professional major was anything but disappointing this year. The leaderboard was full of the biggest names in the business, all of whom were trading punches like heavyweight fighters. Nobody seemed to want to go down.

Rory McIlory came into the event as the newly crowned #1 golfer in the world an fress off of two consecutive victories in the Open Championship and the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. McIlroy started out where he left off at the Bridgestone, with a first round 65 and one shot off the lead. McIlory’s impressive ball striking kept him at or near the lead until the final round, where he brought in a one stroke advantage.

Most thought McIlroy would cruise to victory, but he made it interesting with some stagnant play and and two early bogeys on the 3rd and 6th holes. Soon he found himself two strokes behind the very hot playing Rickie Fowler and surging Phil Mickelson. 2103 FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson also tied for the lead late into the final round.

On the par-5 10th hole McIlory had to play a little more aggressively to make up the deficit. From 285 yards McIlory missed his shot and watched in disappointment. But the ball ran hard and right up the hill and released to a mere seven feet from the hole. He would make the putt for eagle, erasing the two early bogeys in one stroke.

Late bogeys would hurt Mickelson and Fowler’s chances, combined with two additional birdies for McIlory on holes 13 and 17. As darkness ascended due to play starting late because of early rain, McIlory brought a two shot lead into the final par-5 18th hole. Making par, even in darkness, was easy for McIlory, who drained a 14 inch par putt to capture his 2nd PGA Championship and 4th major championship at the age of 25.

Only two players have reached four major championships quicker than Rory McIlory: Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

Rare air.  Bright future.

Friday Fun – The Wheel

Golf BetsGolfers who regularly play together usually have many golf betting games they play each time.  Most common are matches between individual players, skins, and two-player matches like Player-1 and Player-2 taking on Player-3 and Player-4.  In the case of the singles matches or two-player matches, a crazy but fun thing to do is the “wheel” bet.

When betting the wheel, every possible team or individual combination is matched against every other possible combination.  Let us say we are a group of eight total players.  If betting the wheel for individual matches, Player-1 would have matches against all players 2-8.  He would have seven total individual matches.

In the case of two-player teams, Players 1 and 2 would have bets against two man teams comprised of players 3 and 4, 3 and 5, 3 and 6, 3 and 7, 3 and 8, 4 and 5, 4 and 6, 4 and 7, 4 and 8, 5 and 6, 5 and 7, 5 and 8, 6 and 7, 6 and 8, 7 and 8.  In other words, every possible two-player combination.

Caveats

There are a couple of situations in this type of betting game which require caution.  If one were to have $5 nassaus in each bet ($5 for front nine, $5 for back nine, $5 for totals), one could potentially lose $15 per bet.  So in singles $15 x 7 equals a potential loss of $105.

Then again, if one were to win all the bets, $105 would be coming home to the well playing golfer’s wallet!

The other caveat is the amount of time it would take to settle all the bets.  If there were singles and teams in a group of eight players, it could take 30 minutes or more to go through all the scores/teams and settle up.

In short, budget your cash and your time accordingly!

Posted in Fun |

PGA Championship Preview

The 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla begins today.  Viewing options are posted below.  Interesting stories to follow this week include most of the big names in golf.

Tiger Woods arrived late yesterday for a nine hole practice round and is in the field, despite withdrawing from last week’s Bridgestone Invitational due to back injury.

Rory McIlory brings his new #1 ranking into the season’s last major championship, and is the hottest golfer on the planet right now.

Having moved up to a world ranking of #3 due to great play this season, many pundits are predicting that Sergio Garcia will break through and capture his first career major championship.

Dustin Johnson is out of the competition following a withdrawal from the game of golf due to “personal issues.” Most golf publications have written that this is a self imposed suspension due to testing positive for drug use.

The tournament committee has brought back the PGA Championship “long drive” competition which Jack Nicklaus won 50 years ago with a 341 yard drive.  This year’s winner was Louis Oosthuizen with a drive one yard shorter than Jack’s was 50 years ago.  Bubba Watson did not participate in the long drive competition.

2014 PGA Championship TV Schedule

Thursday, Aug 07 TNT 1:00 PM - 7:00 PM ET
Friday, Aug 08 TNT 1:00 PM - 7:00 PM ET
Saturday, Aug 09 TNT 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM ET
Saturday, Aug 09 CBS 2:00 PM - 7:00 PM ET
Sunday, Aug 10 TNT 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM ET
Sunday, Aug 10 CBS 2:00 PM - 7:00 PM ET

From DirecTV

DIRECTV’s bonus coverage of major golf events concludes this year with the PGA Championship Experience, featuring professional golf’s last major, unfolding at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. Aug. 7-10.

Teaming up with TNT and CBS, DIRECTV will offer golf action on its exclusive four-screen Mix Channel, and alongside, access to an interactive menu of apps for an instant view of player stats, bios, scorecards and tee times.

The PGA Championship Experience Mix Channel (701) includes: the main TNT/CBS broadcast (702); Featured Group One (703); Featured Group Two (704) and Featured Hole(705). Any four channels on the Mix can be tuned to full-screen. The live coverage schedule is: 1 p.m. to 7p.m. EDT Thursday and Friday on TNT; On Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT on TNT and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on CBS; and on Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT on TNT, and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. EDT on CBS.

Viewers who want more in-depth information on players and pairings can select the red button on their remote to bring up the following list of interactive features alongside the broadcast video: Player Scorecard offers key bioinfo, player headshots, scores and stats; Player Bio provides player biographies and their scorecards, and fans can add a player to their favorites list; Pairings and Tee Times displays all groups and tee times for the current round.

DIRECTV’s Mix Channel, interactive coverage includes all four of professional golf’s major tournaments along with select PGA tournaments this year. For more information visit: http://www.directv.com/sports/golf