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November, 2004

Play in the Now

Nov. 29, 2004     By     Comments (0)

BrainThe next ten "Tip of the Day"s are being taken from an article by Dr. Bob Rotella for Golf Digest, titled "Inside the Golfer's Mind." We're paraphrasing, changing the language a little, and condensing his typical three to four paragraphs into one or two. This is tip five of ten: play in the now.

Really, this tip is very much like some of the others available in this same series of articles. Dr. Bob needed ten tips, bydoggit, and he was gonna get 'em, even if meant repeating the same thing five or six times. What useful tidbits can we glean from this rehashing?

  1. Don't let play dictate your attitude. Go with the flow when it's going well, but control yourself when you're playing poorly.
  2. "I came to the 16th thinking 'this is a birdie hole'" is an example of getting ahead of yourself. Hit your tee shot first, then your approach, and then worry about making a putt.
  3. Hit it and find it. Repeat as necessary.
  4. Improving your mind game can instantly take 5-10 strokes off of your average score.
  5. Don't keep a running tally of your score. It makes you think of things outside of the "now," the "present," and "the next shot."

When you run out of holes, you run out of holes. Hit it and find it. When Dr. Bob runs out of ideas, well, he copies other ones, but that's ok. Tomorrow's tip is different. Kinda. Okay, barely.

Golf is Awesome

Nov. 28, 2004     By     Comments (2)

If golf did not exist, and I were to cut a 4¼" hole in the ground, give you some metal sticks and a small ball, put you 400 yards from that hole, and tell you that a decent "player" of this new sport would expect to get the ball in the hole in about four strokes, you'd surely laugh.

Sometimes, I struggle to fathom "golf." I play to less than a 9 handicap. I break 80 fairly regularly on a course sloped at 135 or so. In fact, I am disappointed if I don't break 80. 80 strokes to bash a little ball with metal sticks over four miles, holing it 18 times along the way.

A long home run might travel 450 feet. That's a 7-iron for many people, and good players expect to hit their "home run" 7-irons to within three to four bleacher seats of the hole. I stand in awe sometimes, not of my own ability, but of mankind's. Of a beginner's ability to get their first par, of Tom Kite's ability to get up and down from nearly anywhere inside of 100 yards, and from Daly's or Woods' or Kuehne's ability to blast a ball. 300+ yards. On the fly.

With a metal stick.

Five’s for Freddy

Nov. 28, 2004     By     Comments (4)

fred_couples_skins_game.jpgHow many holes do you have to win to end up as the Skins Game Champion?

For Fred Couples in this year's Skins Game, the answer was two. After watching his fellow competitors carry over seven skins from Saturday's first nine, Freddy opened Sunday's Skins match with eight skins on the 10th hole. Tiger made an attempt and briefly took the lead, winning five skins worth $310,000. Then, Tiger and Fred made it interesting by playing an additional four holes and dragging a $340,000 collection of skins along with them.

Tiger left his tee shot very, very wet on the final playoff hole, then watched as Couples put his tee shot center green. Couples had three putts for the win, but needed only two from thirty-odd feet.

Adam Scott was shut out Sunday after winning two skins and $50,000 on Saturday, while Annika Sorenstam was winless. Couples won his fifth Skins Game and with the victory, became the winningest player in the history of the event.

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The Past is the Past

Nov. 28, 2004     By     Comments (0)

BrainThe next ten "Tip of the Day"s are being taken from an article by Dr. Bob Rotella for Golf Digest, titled "Inside the Golfer's Mind." We're paraphrasing, changing the language a little, and condensing his typical three to four paragraphs into one or two. This is tip four of ten: the past is the past.

The instant your club makes contact with the ball, the shot is in the past. You can't change the physics of your ball flying through the air or your ball rolling on the green (not legally, anyway). The shot has already happened. The result you can't affect. The next shot you can. Getting angry over a missed putt, a fat 7-iron, or a sprayed drive means that you're not playing in the present and focusing on the next shot.

Remaining competitive does not mean getting angry with yourself - it means making up for mistakes with great shots. The next shots after your misses. You've probably made par from the junk before. Do it again. Worrying about the shot that put you into the junk won't help get the ball in the hole. The past is the past: worry about the next shot. It's the only one that matters.

Sorenstam Saves the (Skins) Day (1)

Nov. 27, 2004     By     Comments (3)

Tiger AnnikaAnnika Sorenstam is Tiger Woods' new hero. After holing a short birdie putt on the ninth hole of the 2004 Skins game, Tiger expressed his admiration for Annika by giving her a (Golden?) bear hug.

It didn't hurt that her birdie kept $250,000 in play in this, the twenty-second playing of the Skins game.

With Scott already in the hole for a birdie, Woods' six-footer for bird lipped out, leaving the weight $250,000 squarely on sorenstam's shoulders. "I should've made things a little bit easier for Annika on the last hole, but kind of blew that one," said Woods, "but I had my chances today to get a couple skins and just couldn't do it."

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Meet Small Goals

Nov. 27, 2004     By     Comments (0)

BrainThe next ten "Tip of the Day"s are being taken from an article by Dr. Bob Rotella for Golf Digest, titled "Inside the Golfer's Mind." We're paraphrasing, changing the language a little, and condensing his typical three to four paragraphs into one or two. This is tip three of ten: meet small goals.

When I played baseball, and pitched, I would not throw to the glove. I wouldn't throw towards the plate. I'd throw towards a stitch on the glove - the smallest thing I could see. When I play golf, I don't try to "break 80" - I try to hit solid shots. I try to hit the ball in the right position. Golf is a game of small goals: hit the next shot well. Achieve the small goals often enough during a round and you're more likely to achieve an overall goal without even thinking about it.

Them’s the Breaks

Nov. 26, 2004     By     Comments (0)

BrainThe next ten "Tip of the Day"s are being taken from an article by Dr. Bob Rotella for Golf Digest, titled "Inside the Golfer's Mind." We're paraphrasing, changing the language a little, and condensing his typical three to four paragraphs into one or two. This is tip two of ten: them's the breaks.

Golf is an unpredictable and sometimes unfair game: your opponent thins his approach, bounces it off a turtle swimming merrily in the water, and ends up three feet from the pin. Your drive, 30 yards past him, sits in a divot, hits the flagstick, and careens into the bunker. Them's the breaks - learn to love 'em. After all, they're a big part of the game you chose to play. (Golf, in case you were confused.)

Nobody perfects the game of golf. Sometimes a perfectly struck drive windsd up in a divot. Sometimes it's the divot you took yesterday. And sometimes the same thing happens to your opponent. Golf is a game of breaks, and it's the game you're playing. Getting mad won't help. Getting frustrated won't help. Roll with it - there's nothing you can do. Them's the breaks.

Play to Win

Nov. 25, 2004     By     Comments (0)

BrainThe next ten "Tip of the Day"s are being taken from an article by Dr. Bob Rotella for Golf Digest, titled "Inside the Golfer's Mind." We're paraphrasing, changing the language a little, and condensing his typical three to four paragraphs into one or two. This is tip one of ten: play to win.

Playing to win doesn't mean playing recklessly - it means playing smart, controlled, and confident. As Phil Mickelson's 59 yesterday taught us, you don't need to be 300 yards down the middle of every fairway (he hit 5) to play well. You don't need to be two feet from every pin. Some of a player's best scores come when his ballstriking isn't at its peak.

Playing to win means holing putts. It means keeping yourself in the game. Playing to win doesn't mean trying to pull away from your opponent on the first six holes - it means putting yourself in a position to seal a victory with great play down the stretch.

Beer Truck Driver Earns Champions Tour Card

Nov. 25, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Beer TruckFormer California state amateur champion Mark Johnson, who drove a Budweiser truck for 18 years, fired an 8-under 64 on Monday to earn medalist honors at the Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament. He finished the six-round marathon at 25-under-par 407 and won by two over Tom McKnight at The King & The Bear Course.

McKnight is a former amateur standout and went even lower with a 9-under 63 on Monday. Former PGA Tour event winner Brad Bryant shot a 5-under 67 and took third place at 22-under-par 410.

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