Archive for the ‘2016 Olympics’ Category

Junior Golf: Rio Points To Ponder

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at some of the amazing takeaways from The Olympics, our points to ponder from Rio, things to get you thinking. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

1st what does it mean, if anything, that the 2 Golf Gold Medalists shot exactly the same score, on the same course, 16 strokes under par? Does it show that course designers Gil Hanse and Amy Alcott did a brilliant job allowing both men and women to have relatively equal opportunities on the Olympic course? Yes, I think so!

From the don’t judge a book by its cover realm, how many of you wondered as you watched the only Russian female golfer tee off Wednesday morning, “Wow, that’s a big hat and an unusual wardrobe for the golf course! Can she actually play dressed like that?” Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, Maria Verchenova finished T-16 at 280, 4-under par. Oh, did I fail to mention she shot a course record 62 on her final round! Yes, she can play. Don’t be distracted by trivial things like the clothes or the swing, look at the scorecard at the end of the round!

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades! This old saying is particularly applicable in The Olympics because only the 1st 3 places count. 4th place and beyond are all equal, equal to zero, that is! Let’s look at Gerina Pillar whose 1st 54 holes were excellent as she began her final round 2 shots off the lead and in the thick of the medal hunt. For whatever reasons she was unable to stay with the leaders and finished well off the pace. She was in tears after and stated, “I need to work harder.” Pressure, pressure, handling pressure is key to winning and Gerina’s really tough pressure came in the final round of her Olympic tournament and she did not perform good enough to place. (Kuchar photo reuters.com)

Golf - Men's Individual Stroke Play

Continuing with the Close doesn’t count theme…, let’s look at Stacy Lewis whose 76 on day 3 left her with a lot of space to make up to contend for a medal. She had a great final round of 66 and her birdie putt hung on the lip on #18, keeping her in 4th place 1 shot out of 3rd. So Stacy was as close as you could get without medalling, the dreaded 4th place…and by 1 shot. Wow!

What does this mean for your junior golfer? Yes, the ladies can play this game very well, too. Encourage your daughter and your son that everyone can play good golf. It takes commitment! Also your kiddos should work on maintaining their game focus so to not be easily distracted by unimportant things. And please emphasize that EVERY STROKE COUNTS! That 2-inch tap-in putt counts just the same as her/his longest tee shot ever. And the last stroke on the 18th hole counts just as much as the 1st shot on #1 tee.

See you on #1 tee looking focused… Sam

Junior Golf: Life Lessons From Rio

It’s always a little sad in our house when the Olympics end and we realize we have to wait 2 years for the Winter Olympics and 4 long years for the next Summer Olympics. Enjoying these amazing athletes always exposes us to major life lessons, so let’s look at what Rio 2016 offered. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

In no particular order and certainly not an all-inclusive list: 1st, virtually every athlete interviewed for more than 5 seconds mentioned that being an Olympian was a dream come true/living out their lifelong dream. As a dear friend of ours stated, “If you don’t have any dreams, why do you bother to get out of bed?” What a true statement! Please encourage your junior golfer to dream and dream big!

2nd, no athlete, well hopefully no one, was just given a spot on any country’s team. These places are earned through competition in most cases as tough as, or even tougher than the Olympic events. Competition is the fire that tempers the steel of an athlete and the tougher the competitors the better. Dad and Mom enter your young golfer in as many tournaments as budget and schedule will afford. Feel free to enter him/her up 1 level of competition. For example, enter your beginner in an intermediate level and see what happens. And put your intermediate golfer in an advanced event, perhaps not in every tournament, but once in a while to understand the higher level of competition. It’s important to get used to playing with the best! (photo Rio2016.com)image

Pressure is a fact of life. Nearly every pro golfer will tell you they sense some extra pressure on #1 tee at the start of every event and feel even more pressure at the majors. Well, by their own admission, every golfer at The Olympics felt pressure on #1 tee every round. I mean they were the 1st Olympic golfers in over 100 years and they were vying for the rarest trophy in golf! They were in the most special place they could possibly be and worst case scenario they would always be Olympians! Put together a plan to begin teaching your young one how to handle pressure. Depending on the personality, there are different approaches for each kiddo.

Parents, if your junior golfer is going to be competitive and have a passion for our wonderful game, it’s important that dreams, a serious work ethic and learning how to properly handle pressure become integral parts of daily life.

See you on #1 tee looking ahead to the next Olympics… Sam

Junior Golf: Ladies’ Exciting Finish

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will review the action from Saturday’s final round of the Rio Olympics Women’s Golf. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135-1

The day started with Inbee Park in the lead and she was joined by Lydia Ko and Gerina Pillar in the final 3-some. Stacy Lewis had a terrible round on Friday and had left herself a fairly long chance at medalling. Lexi Thompson, after a solid round on Day 1, never was able to get back into the trophy hunt.

There was considerable drama, but not really as to who would win the gold. Inbee started out making some birdies and increased her lead where only a major collapse on her part would knock her out of 1st place. While she made a couple of bogeys on the back 9, she also made more birdies and she just wasn’t letting go of that Gold Medal.

The great battle was for the other 2 spots, silver and bronze. Remember in The Olympics there are only 3 spots that matter. 4th through 60 all are the same and are meaningless other than having the excellent distinction of being able to call oneself, an Olympian.

Lexi Thompson had her best 18 holes at Rio with a 66. It was however, a case of too little, too late. Her total of 281 left her T-19, 13 shots out of the lead. Good for her shooting a low final round!

Gerina Pillar was paired with 2 # 1’s and got outplayed. Birdies were required on these last 18 holes and Gerina just couldn’t get the birdie train rolling. She had a 74, her worst Olympic round by 5 shots, while watching Indee and Lydia make birdies. This was an opportunity to really learn some things about pressure-packed final rounds! She finished T-11, 278, 10 shots out of 1st and 4 shots from 3rd.

Stacy Lewis and about 7 other players were where the action was! She started making some birdies and climbed into contention at 1 point for a possible silver or bronze. Knocking heads with Stacy were Lydia Ko, ShanShan Feng, Haru Nomura, Amy Yang, Brooke Henderson, Minjee Lee and Charley Hull.

After a disastrous 76 on Friday, Stacy shot a final round 66 putting her in the bubble spot of maybe 3rd, probably 4th. Her birdie putt on 18 literally hung on the lip, just 1/16th of a roll and it would have gone in and likely put her in a bronze medal playoff. So close! (photo bbc.com)image

Stacy Lewis finished T-4, 275, 1shot from bronze and 2 shots from silver. She was joined by Haru Nomura and Amy Yang. Brooke Henderson, Minjee Lee and Charley Hull all were T-7, 276.

This was a very exciting final round because we actually had 10 ladies with a legitimate chance to medal, and the final 2 places weren’t decided until the end of play. And they were all fighting hard because again, only 3 places count! These are the rarest trophies in golf and must be fought for with every ounce of energy and skill! Thanks ladies for some great entertainment!

See you on #1 tee looking entertaining… Sam

Junior Golf: USA! USA!

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at the ladies golf standings at the Rio Olympics. It looks like the women may give us a great finish just as the men did last week.img_0106-1

Things are heating up in Rio as Stacy Lewis fired an 8-under par, 63 in a round that had 11 birdies, a double-bogey and 1 bogey to put her 1 shot out of the lead after the 1st 2 rounds. Gerina Pillar shot 67 putting her 4 shots back and Lexi Thompson had an even par round to end up 6 strokes out of 1st place. All our ladies are still in a position to medal, partially because of the unique format for this event. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

On the list of things I think are great for golf, in this instance, women’s golf, here are a couple: 1st, the ladies are playing the same course the men played, they are playing it at 6,245 yards, about 900 yards shorter than the men. But it’s cool to see how their games compare to the men. Remember, 16-under was the gold medal score for Justin Rose. And it’s a 72-hole tournament, common for the women, but there is more mental and physical effort required to medal here in Rio. It’s good for them to be out of their comfort zone, I mean it’s The Olympics! (photo sbnation.com)image

Today will be interesting because players will be trying to get in a position to be in the top 3 at the end of the day tomorrow. Another way Olympic golf is different from Tour golf is that on tour, players are rewarded in some fashion for a Top 10 or maybe Top 25 fashion. Perhaps it’s ranking points or money. Here in Rio it’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd and then NOTHING! So the mentality is play to win!

1more time, please record, record, record! Set that TiVo! Let’s watch some golf. Go USA!

See you on #1 tee, ready to win… Sam

Junior Golf: Thrilling Olympic Battle

In today’s Monday Mulligan we look at the thrilling final 18 holes of the 2016 Rio Olympics Men’s Golf Competition. It was a classic battle which had a ton a drama and surprises! (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135

Yesterday started off with Justin Rose 1 shot ahead of Henrik Stensen and everybody else was basically fighting for 3rd in theory, at least, because these 2 guys were in good form. Rose appeared unflappable as he had been playing well for the 1st 3 rounds and Stensen had been playing good for weeks and recently won The Open Championship. Probably neither 1 was going to collapse during the final round. Bubba Watson was T4, 6 shots back and Matt Kuchar was T7, 7 shots behind Rose and Rickie Fowler was 9 behind and Patrick Reed was 13 shots down in the pack. Medal hopes for the Americans were not looking good.

With Rose and Stensen trading birdies nobody gave much thought to 3rd place until someone saw that Matt Kuchar, playing a couple of groups ahead of the leaders, had gone 6-under par on holes 5 through 10 and was blasting past people on his way up the leaderboard. Getting a bronze was looking good but a silver or gold was needing 3-under at least on the 3 easier finishing holes. After driving the par 4 16th, Kooch 3-putted for a par. Stuck his tee shot on the par 3 17th to less than 3 feet and made a birdie and just did not hit his 3rd shot close enough on the par 5 18th and made par, so he finished 13-under and locked up the bronze medal.

Meanwhile back in the last group, Stensen pulled even to Rose with a birdie on #17. Now they’re tied going into the par 5 72nd hole. Lead NBC announcer legendary US golfer Johnny Miller said,
“I think whoever birdies this hole wins! I don’t expect both guys will make birdies, the nerves are just too great!” All of the announcers made reference as to how everybody on the course, not just the players was feeling the intense pressure of being the 1st Olympic Golf Gold Medalist in 112 years!

So Henrik was 1st to hit to the 18th green leaving his approach almost 30 feet short of the hole. Then Justin stuck his 3rd shot to maybe 2 feet, pressure, what pressure? Henrik missed his birdie putt so that meant a 2-footer was all that Justin needed to win the gold medal and yes, he made it. Coming down to the final shots on the last hole, what a finish for golf!image

Gold Medal-Justin Rose, Silver Medal-Henrik Stensen, Bronze Medal-Matt Kuchar. Great job guys!

Let me close with some quotes from Matt Kuchar and his USA teammate Bubba Watson. “I can assure you I’ve never been so excited to finish in the top three in my life,” Kuchar told Golf Channel’s Steve Sands. “I can’t explain to you the pride I feel just burning out of my chest. It’s something I haven’t felt before.” Watson, who was in contention for a medal at the start of Sunday’s round, was excited for Kuchar. “I was grinning from ear to ear every time I looked at the leaderboard and saw he was making pars and making birdies, he was going to get a medal. As long as he signed the scorecard the right way, he was going to get a medal.” Can you say team sport?

See you on #1 tee looking to be a part of something bigger than yourself… Sam

Junior Golf: Olympic Golf Dreams

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will hear the words of some of the golfers competing in the Rio Olympics. So many of the golfers have a lot in common with the other athletes even though they play different sports. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106

Ricky Fowler in an interview earlier this week said, “Growing up I’d always watch The Olympics and think about how cool it would be to play in them. But then I knew I might not ever get to do it, because my sport, golf, was not an Olympic sport. But things have changed and now I’m here!” Announcer, “What is it like being here?” Paraphrasing Ricky, “It’s absolutely unbelievable, walking into the stadium and representing the USA and being around all these great athletes! My Olympic Dream is coming true.”

Bubba Watson in his post-round interview after shooting a 73 on Thursday, was asked about being part of The Olympics, he replied, “It’s been absolutely amazing. The sad thing is, I shouldn’t say this, but golf gets in the way. I want to go to every event. What a thrill of a lifetime. What a dream come true. I get to be an athlete, but I also get to be a spectator. This is the greatest sporting event around the world. We have every different sport here and now golf is in it. So it is an absolutely amazing, amazing time and I wouldn’t change it for the world. And like I said before, golf gets in the way. I am giving golf my best effort. I had 1 bad swing today and 2 3-putts, but now I get to be a fan and support the USA.” (photo cliffhawkins/gettyimages)

So Mom and Dad what does this mean for your son and daughter? Now they can add the dream of being an Olympic golfer to their dream list! It has been over 100 years since golf was last played in The Olympics and now it’s back! Your junior golfer has a brand new dream! Some of the greatest golfers of all-time NEVER had a chance to play Olympic golf, but now your junior golfer does.

Encourage your kids to dream and dream big!

See you on #1 tee dreaming of Olympic gold… Sam

JuniorGolf: The Olympics

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at an amazing 17-day stretch where you and your son can watch the world’s greatest athletes compete on the biggest stage of all! (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

Yes, it’s Olympics time. The opening ceremony is tonight and knowing Brazil’s flair for extravagant celebrations, I think we should expect a very colorful and entertaining evening. Some of the events have already started due to necessary timing between contests. Women’s soccer started Wednesday and the well-deserved #1 seed US Women’s Soccer Team took care of New Zealand 2-0 and have their next game against France at 3:00pm, central time, tomorrow, on DirecTv, channel 220. The men’s soccer started yesterday however the lackluster US Men’s Soccer Team didn’t even qualify for the top 16 teams to make the Olympic competition.

There are so many reasons for you and your son and your whole family to watch this competition that I can’t begin to list them in today’s post. For now let me try to get you revved up a bit. (photo krcrtv.com)image

You absolutely must watch Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete of ALL-TIME! This is his 4th Olympics and even though is is like 1,000 years-old in swimmer’s years, he will certainly be the man to beat in every race he is in. I’m encouraging you that this man has one of the fiercest wills to win of anyone you will ever see. This is a must watch, yes, even more so than golf. These are Michael Phelps’ last competitive races ever against the best swimmers in the world and so expect an amazing result!

In a different vein, women’s gymnastics is regarded as the most highly-rated, in TV viewership, of all the sports and the US brings a strong contingent. This is always beautiful and amazing to watch. Here’s a 5-minute video of 1 of the great Olympic moments of all-time. If you don’t know who Kerri Strug is, you will after watching this. Get fired up!

Olympic golf starts with the men on August 11, followed by the women on August 17th, all on The Golf Channel. More on that as we get closer. In the meantime, get that TiVo going. NBC has coverage on NBC, The Golf Channel, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, NBCSN, USA Network and specialty channels for basketball and soccer and is streaming EVERY event live on the web on NBCOlympics.com and on the NBC Sports app. NBC has exclusive rights so find out where these channels are on your provider and get prepared!

See you on #1 tee looking ready for The Olympics… Sam

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