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Check Your Lie First

Jan. 9, 2005     By     Comments (0)

Start every shot selection with an inspection of the lie, as it has a great impact on the type of shot you can play.

Whenever you talk to a PGA Tour player about the shots they play, undoubtedly they'll mention that they look at the lie of the ball before doing anything else in determining shot selection. Is the ball sitting up? Sitting down? Sidehill? Is there a tuft of grass beside the ball? Did I land in a divot? Is the grass thin here? Is the ball resting on some hardpan?

Amateur players rarely consider their lie until they've gotten into their pre-shot routine and addressed the ball. At that point it's far too late to make any decisions or changes. I know of some amateurs who determine their next shot before the ball even comes to rest from the previous swing!

Start every, and I do mean every analysis of the proper shot selection with an inspection of the lie. The quality of the grass, the height of the ball, the cleanliness of the ball (any mud on it?), and innumerable other factors have a great impact on the type of shot you can play.

Still Singh-ing in the Mercedes

Jan. 9, 2005     By     Comments (1)

Vijay Singh shot a "disappointing" 4-under par third round of 69 and goes into the final round with a one-stroke lead.

SinghI'll admit, the title is a means to get full use out of the lame title we chose for yesterday's coverage, but c'mon, cut us some slack! We're not professional journalists!

Vijay Singh shot a "disappointing" 4-under par third round of 69. 15 pars, an eagle, and two birdies only served to shorten his lead to one shot from his previous two-stroke lead. "It's a disappointing 4 under, but I'll take it," Singh said. "I'm still in the lead."

Jonathan Kaye played excellently, advancing into the final group with Singh by shooting 7-under 66. In three consecutive days, Jonathan Kaye will have played with Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, and Vijay Singh, the numbers 2, 3, and 1 players in the world.

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Fairways to Heaven

Jan. 8, 2005     By     Comments (0)

Here's a great game from Chi Chi Rodriguez that requires accuracy, timing, and the ability to handle pressure.

Here's a great game from Chi Chi Rodriguez's book, Chi Chi's Golf Games You Gotta Play that will help you focus on hitting the ball in the fairway. It requires accuracy and timing and features a little bit of pressure to boot. The game is called "Fairways to Heaven."

In this game, each player antes up a predetermined wager on the par 4s and 5s. Bet a quarter, a dollar, whatever's comfortable. The order of play is determined and followed for the entire round, and a different golfer is "on the spot" on each hole. If that player hits the fairway, he collects the money in the pot. If he misses, the pot carries over and new bets are added on the next hole.

If your course has 14 par 4s and 5s, then each player gets three shots to win the pot. The last two driving holes should be played as a team: players 1 and 2 on the thirteenth driving hole, players 3 and 4 on the fourteenth. Play "both must hit the fairway" or "if either hits the fairway" depending on your level of skill.

Singh-ing Again

Jan. 8, 2005     By     Comments (1)

Vijay Singh holds a two-stroke lead over lefty Canuck Mike Weir going into the third round of the Mercedes Championships.

SinghVijay Singh holds a two-stroke lead over lefty Canuck Mike Weir going into the third round of the Mercedes Championships. Weird pulled to second place with a blistering 10-under par 63 in the second round. Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, and Tiger Woods remain within five shots.

Singh opened his round by going six under through seven holes, then cruised to finish the round eight under at 65. "He shows no signs of slowing down," said Weir. "It's just a given he's going to be there."

Woods, currently at -10 and five strokes back, would be leading the tournament if he could figure out the grainy Hawaiian greens. On Friday, he missed three straight birdie chances from inside of eight feet on the front nine and three-putted for par on 18 from 35 feet. As noted here, Woods also missed eight birdie chances inside of 18 feet on Thursday.

Pos.  Player          Total     R1   R2   R3   R4  Total
1     Vijay Singh      -15      66   65    -    -   131
2     Mike Weir        -13      70   63    -    -   133
3     Ernie Els        -12      69   65    -    -   134
T4    Jonathan Kaye    -11      68   67    -    -   135
T4    Sergio Garcia    -11      68   67    -    -   135
T6    Chad Campbell    -10      69   67    -    -   136
T6    Tiger Woods      -10      68   68    -    -   136
T6    Stewart Cink     -10      68   68    -    -   136

Coverage continues on ESPN at 7pm ET both Saturday and Sunday.

Posted in: PGA Comments (1)

Bad Balance? Here’s a Quarter

Jan. 7, 2005     By     Comments (1)

Do you play golf like you've just walked out of a bar after slammin' back a twelve pack? In other words, how's your balance?

Do you play golf like you've just walked out of a bar after slammin' back a twelve pack? In other words, how's your balance? Poor balance is one of the most common problems in amateur golfers. If you can't stay balanced, you're not going to play consistent golf.

Here's a trick to teach you to stay a bit better balanced: put a quarter on the toe of your left shoe (for righties). Swing while keeping the coin there. After your swing, have a look at the coin. Still there? Good. Fell of? No good.

If the coin falls to the inside of your foot, you've probably rolled your front foot on your backswing. You're shifting too much weight, making it difficult to move forward through the swing. If the coin's fallen outside of your feet, you've rolled too far to the outside or towards your heel on your downswing and finish.

And that's the best advice you can get for a quarter.

Ty Votaw to Step Down After 2005

Jan. 7, 2005     By     Comments (0)

After seven years, Ty Votaw, president of the LPGA has decided to retire after the 2005 season.

Ty VotawThe commissioner of the LPGA tour, Ty Votaw has announced today that he will resign after the 2005 season. Votaw has been the commissioner of the LPGA tour for the past seven years. During his tenure, the tour has seen unprecedented growth. Before Votaw, the average purse of an LPGA tour event was $840,000 and only 12 tournaments had total purses of over $1 million. Now, the LPGA has 30 tournaments with total purses over $1 million and the average tournament purse has risen to $1.4 million. Votaw's decision came as a surprise to many, considering the popularity of the LPGA with superstars like Annika Sorenstam and no shortage of talent from youngsters like Paula Creamer. Still, Votaw has decided to leave on top, "I feel very much at peace with this decision. I feel very good about having given the LPGA everything I've got, and I feel good about the results."

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Vijay Still Hot at Mercedes

Jan. 7, 2005     By     Comments (2)

Vijay Singh leads by one after the first round of the Mercedes Championships.

Some things never change. Or at least it doesn't look like things are changing yet. After Vijay Singh's record setting year in 2004, he continues his hot play by firing a bogey-free 7-under 66 in the first round at the season-opening Mercedes Championships. After birdies at holes 3 and 5, Vijay shot up the leaderboard thanks to short birdie putts on 10, 11 and 12, then added two more at 15 and 16 to take a one-shot lead over Craig Parry.

Just behind those two standouts lurks groups of people at -5 (Stewart Cink, Tiger Woods, Jonathan Kaye) and an even larger group at -4 (Bart Bryant, Vaughn Taylor, Woody Austin, Steve Flesch, Chad Campbell, Adam Scott, Health Slocum and Ernie Els).

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What Will Phil Do Next? Write a Book!

Jan. 6, 2005     By     Comments (1)

Phil Mickelson has authored a book called One Magical Sunday: But Winning Isn't Everything which will be released April, 2005.

Phil MickelsonDetails are still pretty sketchy right now, but a quick search on Amazon.com for Phil Mickelson turns up a book titled One Magical Sunday: But Winning Isn't Everything. Golf fans shouldn't have to scratch their heads for too long before realizing that the book has something to do with Mickelson's dramatic win at Augusta National. Phil fans will have to wait a few months though, the book is slated to be released on April 4, 2005. The authors are listed as Phil Mickelson and Donald T. Phillips who is famous for his On Leadership series of books which discuss prominent historical figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln. Phil already has so many titles under his belt: golfer, Ford pitch-man, wanna-be pitcher. Will he be able to add legitimate author to his resume? We shall see.

Posted in: Tap-Ins Comments (1)

Shape your Swing with your Head

Jan. 6, 2005     By     Comments (0)

Can your shot shape be determined by the eye with which you watch the ball? You bet!

We've all seen Jack Nicklaus tilt his head just before starting his backswing. He'd cock it to the side a little, looking at the ball out of his left eye a little more so than out of his right.

It's a relatively simple trick that can have a massive impact on your game. Looking at the ball out of your left eye (for right-handed golfers) forces the shoulders closed a little. Looking at the ball out of your right eye forces the shoulders open a little. Thus: look out of your left eye for a more inside-to-outside swing (draw or hook) and out of your right eye for an outside-to-in swing path (fade or slice).

I've personally used this drill to affect the shapes of my shots. The changes it makes to your swing are natural and need not be thought about while "the machine is in motion," yielding consistent results. Give it a try and see if it works for you.

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