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One-Handed Chipping

Jan. 18, 2005     By     Comments (4)

Amateur players tend to flub chips a lot, but it's impossible to scoop reliably with only one hand.

Amateur players tend to flub chips a lot. When they should be getting up and down, instead they're taking three or even more shots to get down from just off the green. Many amateurs flub their chips because they break down their wrists and attempt to scoop the ball.

Hinging your wrist going back is fine, but through the ball you want firm, solid wrists that don't have a lot of break in them. To ingrain the feeling, practice hitting your chips with only your left hand on the club. Just stick your right hand in your pocket.

This drill is tough at first, but as you go on you'll be forced to develop a solid wrist at impact or you'll see all manner of bad shots. It's impossible to scoop reliably with only one hand: only a firm wrist through impact will lead to good shots.

“You Have a Decision to Make”

Jan. 17, 2005     By     Comments (6)

On the second take, they told Tiger to hit the camera…

Nike AdNike filmed a few new commercials recently, and Tiger Woods is the star of one we've titled "You Have a Decision to Make." This is no ordinary commercial, though: Tiger pulls off something a little special in the final seconds.

Click here to play the commercial (18 MB, QuickTime MPEG-4 video).

Rumor has it that on the first take, they told Tiger to hit the ball a foot or so over the camera. He hit it about four inches above. From sixty yards away. That shot wasn't quite good enough, so on the second take, they told Tiger to hit the camera.

So he did.

Posted in: TV/Media Comments (6)

World #1 Wins #1 at the Sony Open

Jan. 17, 2005     By     Comments (2)

The world number one has one his first in '05. How many more to come?

Vijay SinghErnie Els came from way back and tied the course record with a 62, but it was not enough to hold off the world's highest ranked player. Of course, it didn't hurt that Singh himself fired a 65.

Following a tournament in which Singh had the lead after three days of play and didn't win, Vijay wins the 2005 Sony Open never having held the lead until the final thirty minutes. He finished at -11 while second- and third-round leader Shigeki Maruyama fell backwards, finishing at -9.

Els charged hard, finishing birdie-birdie-eagle to get to -10, tying the course record 62 in a round that included two bogeys. Els, winner of the last two Sony Opens, said of his round that he "always felt like it was going to be just a little shy. He [Singh] did what he had to do."

Posted in: PGA Comments (2)

Managing Mental Pressure – 3 Keys

Jan. 17, 2005     By     Comments (0)

These are three keys to managing mental pressure. Why three? Because any more than that and you'd get bored reading. So, three it is!

You start strong on the first two holes. You par the first, birdie the second and feel like it's going to be a great outing. After a bogey on three you mutter under your breath at the twosome that is crowding you from behind. And then the jerks behind you start consuming your thoughts. If only those freaks would back off because you're getting tense. Tense is not why we play golf. We play for fun, for competition, for reasons other than tense.

All of us have experienced something like this on the golf course and under normal circumstances you start to melt under the pressure of having someone climb up your backside on the course. What do you do? How are you going handle it? There's some things you can do to manage pressure that goes beyond just letting the twosome play through.

80% Swing Speed

Jan. 16, 2005     By     Comments (1)

In Tiger Woods' DVDs, he mentions that his normal 8I travels 158 yards. The key? Tiger's normal swing is at 80%.

In Tiger Woods' DVDs, he mentions that his normal 8I travels 158 yards. That may surprise some people who have seen Tiger hit 203-yard 8Is from the rough to 15 feet. The key? Tiger's normal swing is at 80%.

Many amateurs falsely believe that trying to swing faster results in higher swing speed. This tends not to be true: timing, rhythm, and balance are all thrown off when you crank up the speed. Your wrists unhinge at the wrong time, your hips slide. Havoc ensues.

Play an entire round of golf at 80% effort. Make comfortable, easy passes at the ball. Don't try to kill it. My guess? You won't lose any yardage (you may even gain a few yards) and your balls will find their targets a helluva lot more frequently.

Black Balls Follow-Up

Jan. 16, 2005     By     Comments (0)

Nike wanted players to use all-black golf balls at the Sony Open. How'd it turn out?

nike_one_blakLast month we mentioned that Nike would be asking its staff players to use an all-black golf ball at the Sony Open to promote the Nike ONE Black.

Turns out the whole thing was a miserable failure.

John Cook played an all-black golf ball. He used it on one hole: the par-3 17th. "We weren't quite sure how it would look in the rough," Cook said. "It looked like a bird going up in the air."

The ball was approved by the USGA prior to tournament and no other Nike staff players report having needed the money as badly as Cook. Errr, ummm, we mean no other Nike staff players report having used a black ball during the tournament.

Posted in: Balls Comments (0)

Hole in One Keeps Maruyama in Front

Jan. 16, 2005     By     Comments (0)

Maruyama double bogeys the first but aces the par-3 fourth. He holds the lead going into the final round of the 2005 Sony Open.

Ball In HoleShigeki Maruyama, the second-round leader, started Saturday's round with a double bogey. He got it all back three holes later with a hole-in-one. Maruyama shot a 68 to retain his one-stroke lead going into the final round of the 2005 Sony Open.

In hot pursuit, one stroke back, is Brett Quigley, nephew of Champions Tour player Dana Quigley. Brett remains winless in 220 starts on the PGA Tour, but has fired three consecutive sub-par rounds of 66, 67, 68. Will a 69 on Sunday be good enough to win if the trend continues? My numerology advisor says no. (No, I don't have a numerology advisor!)

Posted in: PGA Comments (0)

Sony Open: Day 2

Jan. 15, 2005     By     Comments (3)

Michelle Wie is not the only story in Hawaii this week. Shigeki Maruyama fired a 5-under 65 to take the lead.

Shigeki MaruyamaWe'll get it quickly out of the way: Michelle Wie missed the cut by seven, six shots worse than last year, finishing at +9. She played well in spots but couldn't make a putt. She beat 16 men, though, and out of respect for those men's dwindling self-respect, we won't be publishing their names. Just kidding - losing to Michelle Wie is not something about which to be ashamed. Shooting +10 or worse? Well, maybe…

Posted in: PGA Comments (3)

The Next Tiger Woods: Michelle Wie?!?!

Jan. 15, 2005     By     Comments (0)

Wie may have missed the cut at the Sony Open, but in terms of marketability, she's a cut above the rest.

WieMichelle Wie has missed the cut. She finished at +9 - seven strokes back - six worse than her effort last year relative to the cut. Yet many believe she's going to be the next Tiger Woods. Not necessarily in the game of golf, but in the business of marketing.

This PGA.com article hints at it, with quotes like this: "Michelle's creating excitement because she's breaking down barriers," said Greg Nichols, general manager at Ko Olina Golf Club and a junior golf coach. "She has created a huge wave for golf."

Greg Nared, a business affairs manager for Nike, has been scouting Wie for several years. He noted that "she's good for the game because she could attract younger people and females." He was also quick to point out that Wie's South Korean heritage could broaden appeal in the Asian market.

What mega-deal awaits her when she graduates to the ranks of "professional golfer"? "Wie" can only wait and see.

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