Nine Holes with Ian Baker-Finch

There are slumps, and then there are slumps.

ProfilesIan Baker-Finch won 16 international titles and a major. He’s just 48, but hasn’t made a PGA Tour cut since 1994. His career as a golfer bottomed out just at a time (his mid-30s) when many players come into their primes.

What happened? His could be a cautionary tale for other players.

After his win at the 1991 Open Championship, he began to be paired with more long hitters. Naturally, he started trying to add length. He made swing changes that made him wild off the tee and actually cost him distance. He fought injuries and lost his confidence.

As Baker-Finch puts it: “I couldn’t handle the pressure, and didn’t like the fact I was playing poorly. So I said, ‘Hey, why do I put myself through this? I’m going to go do something I enjoy.'”

Strange Gallery at Corning

I went to see the third round of the Corning Classic last week in New York… or some alternate universe.

Thrash TalkDisclaimer: I freely admit that I am a latecomer to the practice of attending LPGA Tour events. With this in mind, the persons and events recounted in the following may seem commonplace or (dare I say) par for the course, to some. From the minute I walked into the gates of Corning Country Club, however, I had the distinct feeling of having entered a parallel universe.

I am not entirely sure what my expectations were, really. Enjoy a day off? To be sure. See some quality golf? Somewhat. Admire certain standouts? Yes. Have a few beers? Indeed. In no way was I prepared for the all-encompassing clown fest which ensued. This isn’t to be, as is perhaps fashionable, demeaning of the LPGA Tour. I certainly don’t believe the Tour is in any way deliberately attempting to attract the most bizarre galleries possible. Neither do I feel that the gallery I encountered is in any way representative of LPGA galleries at large.

Additionally, I am aware that public events attract, and probably always will attract, interesting individuals. I’ve had a multitude of strange encounters at PGA Tour events in the past. This event, however, was silliness to the tenth power. From the moment that I was ushered into my parking spot by a moderately incoherent limping geriatric from the Kiwanis club, I knew I was in for an experience.

Golf Talk [Episode 115]

Michelle Wie is 16th on the LPGA Tour’s money list, but has yet to win. Matter of time?

Golf Talk PodcastJohn Daly, Amy and Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Rory Sabbatini, Michelle Wie, Paul Casey, MacGregor, the 2009 PGA Tour season, the Ryder Cup, and a whole lot more in this episode of Golf Talk.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for our podcasts here or download Episode 115 as an MP4 file. For those who want to subscribe to us in iTunes, click here.

For this week’s Show Notes – links to articles we discuss in the show and additional information – just read on.

Volume One Hundred Ninety One

Rory gets it done in the Big D, and the ladies say good bye to the Corning Classic

Hittin' the LinksHello and welcome to another exciting edition of Hittin’ the Links. Well the mood was somber this week after the news about Amy Mickelson broke. I think we all wish the Mickelsons all the best and will keep Amy in our thoughts.

In this edition of HTL we find out more about Amy Mickelson’s condition, and find out what the Tour wives are doing in support. Then we look forward to the U.S. Open and more specifically the yardage, see why David Toms had a bitter-sweet weekend, and then do a wrap-up of this week’s tour events from around the world. Read on!

Simon Johansson Analysis

This golfer has some ambitious goals, and I’m going to try to help him achieve them.

Swing CheckSimon Johansson has been playing off an on for 20 years and has only recently rediscovered his passion for the game. Now, he practices for close to 20 hours a week hoping that he can one day:

  1. become a scratch golfer.
  2. win at least local tournaments.
  3. turn pro.

Considering his ambitious goals I certainly have my work cut out for me.

I would describe Simon’s swing as being very deliberate. He has a nice setup and hits a lot of good positions but his swing plane definitely leaves some room for improvement.

Read on to see Simon’s swing and the fixes I’ve outlined for him.

Five Questions

Enquiring golf minds want to know.

Trap Five LogoWell, my golf game is officially a mess this week. My number one trick this spring is to only play decent golf on one nine and blow up on the other… as in 10 strokes or more over the other side. What the heck?

That is just the start of the questions I have about golf this week. Here are five questions that most people would consider more important than the state of my personal golf game.

A Presidental Address

In which our hero stands before his adoring public, platform, and priorities.

Thrash TalkIf you haven’t heard, we’re in a recession here, folks. Likewise, even the most casual devotee to any form of golf media has been bludgeoned with the news that private golf courses/ clubs have been suffering for quite some time. Now that I have established myself as the conduit of extremely obvious information, on to the business at hand.

I am, certainly, not in any position to give a “State of the Game,” or “National Golf Convention” address. Were I, however, appointed acting “President of Golf in America, Overseer of all Private and Public Golfing Establishments, Tours, Equipment Manufacturers, Governing Bodies, and the Golfing Media,” I would stand behind my podium, before my adoring public (think Kennedy in Berlin, or the Obama Inaugural Address) and deliver something resembling the following:

Scorecard Golf Statistics Software Now at 2.0

Track your statistics to get better at golf.

ScorecardThis is one of our off weeks from doing the Golf Talk podcast, so I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the recent release of some golf statistics software – Scorecard – which was just bumped to version 2.0 with some well-requested features.

In the interest of disclosure, I’m a partial owner of the software company that makes Scorecard as well as one of the developers/designers for the software. It’s not free ($29.95, or $14.95 for upgrades from 1.x), and thus, I make a bit of money from the sales of Scorecard.

As I said, Scorecard 2.0 was just released with several user-requested features, including full nine-hole support for both statistics and handicap calculation, per-hole user notes (so you can document what clubs you hit or anything else you’d like), and graphing of over 35 statistics (with markers).

FootJoy Adds ICON Shoes to Collection

FootJoy says goodbye to one era and perhaps starts another.

Bag DropThe folks at FootJoy aren’t resting on the laurels with the release of they SYNR-G shoes from just a little while ago as they’ve now added their ICON premium line to their stable of shoes.

Taking some of the best technology from their DryJoys, Reel-Fit, and SYNR-G shoes and incorporating some higher-end leather, the ICON shoes are a contemporary, updated look to your base saddle and wingtip style of golf shoes with a few other styles tossed in for kicks.

Many view the ICON line as a replacement to the Classics line of shoes, but FootJoy is quick to point out that though they may occupy a similar price range, the ICON line is really a fresh new step in the company’s history.