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Hook to Cure a Slice

Dec. 8, 2004     By     Comments (3)

A straight shot is halfway between a hook and a slice. Learn to hit one to cure the other.

HookToday's tip is really, really simple: if you're suffering from a slice, cure it by learning to hit a hook.

If you walk up and down the driving range, watching people hit slice after slice, my hunch is that most of them couldn't hit a decent hook if you offered them five bucks and five tries.

A straight shot is halfway between a hook and a slice. If you're at the extreme right edge, try to the extreme left edge. It will give you a better sensation for the middle.

There’s No Crying in Golf!

Dec. 8, 2004     By     Comments (2)

Bart Lower is defeated by Kip Henley III, and Don "Ninja Turtle" Donatello cries like a little girl.

Don DonatelloThe Golf Channel's hit series (they have only one, after all, so it wins by default), "The Big Break II" continued into episode nine last week after yet another boring "compilation" show. With the number of contestants down to three, this penultimate show offered the most tension thus far. Viewers of this episode were cleanly split into two camps: those that completely despise Kip (aka Bleach Boy) and those that haven't yet seen an episode.

The skills challenge, which would guarantee the winner a spot in the final match, included long-drive and putting segments. Points would be awarded based on distance, but the shot had to be in the fairway. "Imagine being as nervous as you can possibly be and trying to thread a needle. That's what we're trying to do out here," said fan favorite Bart Lower "And if you don't thread it, you lose."

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Faldo, Sunesson Split

Dec. 8, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Nick Faldo and Fanny Sunesson call it quits… again.

Faldo SunessonNick Faldo, winless since 1997, will enter the 2005 without a Swedish fanny. Longtime Faldo caddie Fanny Sunesson, who has worked with Faldo for most of the last 14 years, is giving up caddying to pursue other interests. "It will be exciting, I'm looking forward to it" said Sunesson.

Sunesson may caddy occasionally for Faldo, and has previously caddied for Sergio Garcia during a short split from Faldo in late 1999.

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Proper Swingweight

Dec. 7, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Match your swingweight to your swing and you'll be walking on air (and playing better, too).

Each of your clubs is different: your 3I is longer than your wedge, and your driver has an entirely different shape than your 7I. Some may have graphite shafts, some may have different grips, and some may be made by different manufacturers.

One way to improve your play is to match the swingweights of your clubs to your swing and to each other. Clubs with different swing weights have a different "feel" to them. Swing weight is a measurement of how the weight is distributed in a club. The shaft, the weight of the head, and even the size of the grip can affect the swingweight of a club. The lighter your swingweight, the lighter the head of the club will feel. answers the question "what is swingweight?" but an important distinction is this: swing weight and overall static weight are not the same.

Player Hater (and Runner-Over)

Dec. 7, 2004     By     Comments (0)

A woman runs over two teenagers in her SUV after a bounced golf ball struck the car but did no damage.

Kathy Feaganes Allen of St. Augustine, FL is a player hater. Specifically, she hated two boys, aged 14 and 16, enough to hit them with her SUV after they accidentally hit the car with a golf ball. The ball did not damage the SUV.

The boys, who were bouncing the ball in a parking lot when it struck the car, apologized and began to walk away. Allen started to drive away, but then made a U-turn, ran over a median, and struck the boys before knocking over a light pole. "I tried to run. I blacked out. I woke up bleeding," said one of the teens.

Allen then went after another brother but missed him, finally parking the SUV and getting out to smoke a cigarette while the boys lay on the ground in pain. The 14-year-old is in critical condition.

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Qualifying School Joy and Agony

Dec. 7, 2004     By     Comments (0)

The Men's Qualifying School is over, and 35 players move on with their PGA Tour cards, 51 get exemptions on the Nationwide Tour, and the rest… they just go home.

oneal_qschool.jpgIt happens every year - over 150 golfers get together for six rounds of golf, fighting for a chance. A chance to become a PGA rookie, a chance to rekindle your career, or a chance to join your Dad on the Tour.

For 35 players this year, their dreams were answered when they earned their Tour Cards at the PGA's Qualifying School at PGA West. Leading the pack of players was Ben Davis, the Brit who won with a six-round 415 and ending one shot better than fellow Tour player Rob Rashell.

Bill Haas, son of Jay Haas, was looking to join his dad on the Tour and looking to convert more than one of the eight birdie opportunities he had on the back nine at the Stadium course. He did neither with a final-round 71, missing his card by two strokes.

Joy, agony and Tim O'Neal.

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Against the Collar

Dec. 6, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Your 3W, your putter, and your wedge can all be used to play a shot from against the collar.

You've made a great approach, but your ball rolled just off the fringe and finds itself against hte collar. It's tough to judge these shots because your ball is effectively "sitting down" as far in as it can get, making contact iffy at best. There are several different ways to play this shot.

  • A lofted wood (3, 5, 7, 9) or a utility club will glide through the grass easily, contacting the ball cleanly. Play club more upright, on its toe, a little more than normal and grip down. Use your putting grip and a narrow stance. Expect the ball to hop and pop and then roll to the hole.
  • You can use the toe of a putter. Grip firmly to resist twisting and use a firm stroke to guarantee getting through the grass. Fred Couples likes to employ this stroke, but it's difficult and only works through thinner collars.
  • My favorite shot is to use a sand wedge and intentionally blade the ball. The bounce and weight of the sand wedge help it to glide through the grass, and the blade provides topspin, guaranteeing the ball will get going. Make a putting stroke with a putting grip, and hit the ball's equator with the leading edge of your wedge.

Your 3W, your putter, and your wedge can all be used to play this shot. Choose whatever shot is most comfortable for you, and execute it with confidence.

Creamer Medalist at LPGA Q-School

Dec. 6, 2004     By     Comments (3)

Just six months from high school graduation, Paula Creamer earned her 2005 LPGA card.

Paula CreamerClosing with a 2-under 70, Paula Creamer cruises to a five-shot victory in the LPGA qualifying tournament. Six months from high school graduation, Creamer has secured a spot on the 2005 LPGA Tour.

Creamer entered Q-School as an amateur and waited until she'd secured her card. The decision was easy Sunday evening at LPGA International. Creamer hung near the lead all week, but pulled away on the weekend. "This hasn't sunk in yet," Creamer said. "I'm really thrilled and I'm really anxious to get started."

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Nelsons Win Father/Son

Dec. 6, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Larry and Drew Nelson shoot 13-under 59 to finish the two-day scramble at 25-under-par.

Larry NelsonLarry and Drew Nelson shot 25-under in the two-round tournament to win the Office Depot Father/Son Challenge, earning a one-shot victory over Bob and David Charles. "We wanted to win to make sure we'd be back next year," said Larry Nelson, who pocketed $200,000 for the victory. "It's nice to win this first one. We played well together. It was a great week."

25-under par tied a tournament record set by Raymond and Ray Floyd, Jr. in 1995, the Charles team in 1998, Jack and Gary Nicklaus and Raymond and Robert Floyd in 1999.

"For a retired golfer, this was a pretty good week for me," said Drew Nelson. "There wasn't desperation, but the way the Charles' made eight or nine birdies in a row, it got our attention. Drew had played some mini-tour events in North Carolina this year.

Defending champs Hale and Steve Irwin carded a 65 on Sunday to tie for 12th to tie with the only two non father/son teams: Arnold Palmer and his grandson Sam Saunders and Lee Janzen and Payne Stewart's son Aaron.

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