Archive for the ‘FedEx Cup’ Category

Junior Golf: What The Tour Youth Movement Means For Your Junior Golfer

 

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Photocredit:jennleforge.com

In this Monday Mulligan we’ll look at what all the young winners on the PGA Tour mean for your youngster.

The wins yesterday by Zander and Justin put a giant exclamation point on the fact that there are a considerable number of 20-something pros who can win big events! Just look at these numbers: average age of the top 5 money winners on the PGA Tour: 2007-37.8, 2012-31.6, 2017-26.8. Numbers courtesy of Michael Rowmatowski.

How does this youth movement impact your kiddo? The impact is hugely positive, very exciting really! Today’s junior golf environment is one that offers a massive amount of tournaments, training aides, physical fitness/conditioning coaches, sports psychologists and more great golf courses than anyone could possibly ever play. Your son and daughter too, have more great tools at his/her disposal than can begin to be utilized at any age.

The high caliber of junior golf competition and the focus on proper strength, conditioning and mental training give each dedicated youngster a chance to enjoy success at very high levels. By taking advantage of these resources, your young golfer is accelerating his/her learning curve in basically all areas of the game. This means that as he/she advances to the next level of goals, there is the opportunity to be better prepared than their predecessors.

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Photocredit:The Telegraph 

In a nutshell this is what’s happening on the tour. The young players can play and they can play well enough to win The Tour Championship and The FedEx Cup. Why? They took advantage of many of the excellent resources available to them during their junior golf and college golf careers, resources which are becoming more numerous by the day. Parents, now is the time to check out which of these tools are available in your area and figure out how to work them into your golf budget.

See you on #1tee taking your game to a new level… Sam

 

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Junior Golf: Amazing Finish But I ‘m Also Sad

In this Monday Mulligan we’ll look at the amazing finish to The Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. And as great as that was I’m also sad that my #1 sports hero of all-time, Arnold Palmer, passed away. I’ll share some of our family’s personal memories with The King on Wednesday. Today let’s look at what happened in Atlanta!image

Sunday began with most of the golf pundits just about ready to concede both events to DJ, Dustin Johnson. Why not, he was playing well, had a great year and just needed a good final round and he would be very hard to beat. Well, guess what, golf happened! (photo jennleforge.com)

He played poorly, in fact, the worst round of the day for the 30-man field, a 73 and with 6 holes to play there was no way for him to win the TC. There were 3 guys who were fighting it out and it was great golf and exciting TV.

Kevin Chappell, was leading but a poor drive on #17 left him with a bogey. Being in the last pairing right behind Rory McIlroy and Ryan Moore, Kevin had some idea of what was happening ahead.

Let’s back up. Ryan was slowly catching Kevin all day long. DJ played poorly and was out of contention. Rory was a few shots back and was not a threat, yet. Well, Rory holed out for an eagle on #16 to seriously get back in it. He parred #17 and birdied #18 to finish -12. His playing partner Ryan finished 4, 3, 5 to also be -12. So Kevin went 3, 5, 5 to make it a 3-way tie at 12-under. Let the playoff begin.

Who could have won outright? The rough was notoriously tough and Chappell’s poor drive on #17 cost him a bogey. A par would have meant a win. An expensive shot. Ryan had maybe an 8-footer for a birdie on his 72nd hole that would have put him at 13-under par and an outright winner. He missed it and I think that was the only putt under 10-feet he missed all day! Wow!

Playoff holes were 18, 18, 15, 16, 17 and 18, sudden death! Rory hit a 360-yard drive on the 1st playoff hole leaving only 213 yards to the pin. He promptly hit his 2nd shot to 6 & 1/2 feet and it seemed like it was over. Kevin hit a poor approach and missed his birdie putt and he knew he was done. Ryan had almost the exact same putt he had missed just moments earlier and he stroked it right into the middle of the cup for a birdie, forcing Rory to make his eagle putt to win.

The announcers mentioned that Rory really wasn’t taking any time with the putt and he was just stepping up and hitting it. Perhaps he should have taken more time because he missed it. So he and Ryan played 18 again, then 15 and then the par 4 16th. After an awkward chip, Ryan made a 20-footer for a par. Rory had 14 & ½ feet for his birdie and he made it! Had Kevin or Ryan won the tournament, DJ would have won the FedEx Cup. Rory, by winning the last event of the year also won the FEC, congratulations, Rory! (photo pga.com)

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It was amazing to watch. I mean Kevin Chappell went 66, 68, 68, 66 and finished 3rd. That’s great golf on a tough course! Ryan Moore kept making shots and would not make a bogey. And he made a ton of putts. Fabulous grit and determination! And Rory, who at some point must have known that he would have to win it because Ryan was not going to hand the victory to him, hit 1 more great shot than Ryan to claim his win on the 4th playoff hole!

What does this mean to your junior golfer? Every shot counts. Never give up. Give your best effort on every shot every time. Take a breath. Enjoy the thrill of the moment because these moments are rare.

See you on #1 tee ready to give your best effort on every shot… Sam

Tour Championship Begins

And they’re off! The best 30 players on the PGA Tour have day 1 of The Tour Championship under their belt. And there were some surprises. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

Hideki Matsuyama shot a 66 to tie for the lead with Kevin Chappell and pre-event favorite Dustin Johnson. The low 11 scores feature plenty of high-powered players including Jason Day 1 shot back, then Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey and Rory McIlroy 2 shots back and finally Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar 3 shots back.

Notables who were in the back of the 30-man field were Bubba Watson at 2-over par, Patrick Reed at 3-over par and Phil Mickelson and Jimmy Walker, 4-over par. There are still 54 holes of golf to play, no 36-hole cut. The time to start shooting better scores would be now.

1 of the strategic truths of golf tournaments is that you can’t win an event during the 1st round but you can lose it. This means that if you shoot a terribly high score, putting too many strokes between you and the leaders, you have given yourself a slim to no chance to catch up and possibly take the lead.

This is an interesting field. Maybe ⅓ have won Majors/been on Ryder Cup teams/have won multiple events, about ⅓ have won maybe 1 event/no Majors or Ryder Cup but have been relatively successful and perhaps ⅓ who are young and very talented trying to elevate their success and status.

While statistically almost anyone in the field could win, the history is different. Look at the previous winners. Big names! Dominant players either historically or for the year they won. Billy Horschel is perhaps the only up-and-coming player to win and he put together a smoking hot final month of play culminating with winning The Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. He just wasn’t going to be stopped!

 

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If we can skip ahead to Sunday and look at the leaderboard before the final round begins, keep in mind what the great Jack Nicklaus said about competition during final rounds of big events. To paraphrase Jack, “I’d look at the leaderboard to see who had a chance to win. The guys who had never won a Major or big event I didn’t pay much attention to them because the pressure was too great. It was the guys who had won Majors or multiple Majors that I had to keep an eye on. They’d already done it. They’d been there.” (photo bmw-golfsport.com)

Encourage your junior golfer to stay calm and keep big numbers off the scorecard during Round 1. A bogey here and there is just fine, but the doubles, triples and quads are round killers, if not even tournament killers. There’s a time for high risk shots but remember that there are only a few pros who go for everything all the time. Safe shots are a good thing!

Set the TiVo. This should be good!

See you on #1 tee looking for the safe zone… Sam

Junior Golf: Final Exam

In this Wednesday Waggle we look at the end of the semester, actually a year-long semester for The PGA Tour. The Finals are here for the FedEx Cup and play starts tomorrow. (photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

Only the top 30 players based on FedEx Cup points have qualified to play in the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. The purse is $8,500,000 with $1,530,000 and 2,000 FedEx Cup points going to the winner. It is possible to win the 4-day tournament and also end up with enough points to be FedEx Cup Champion, meaning the best player over the year-long PGA Tour schedule. That’s a paycheck of $11,530,000.

Usually, the Top 5 players, on a points basis, if 1 of them wins the 72-hole event has an excellent chance of winning both events, because of the 2,000 points earned by the Coca Cola Championship winner. It can be a bit confusing but the tv announcers will keep us endlessly up-to-date with scores and rankings so we won’t have to track it on our own.

Golf is the ultimate performance-based sport since scores are objective and the only subjective possibility might be a rule interpretation which may happen once per round, if that. So the score’s the score. You shoot low, you advance, if you shoot high, you’re out. Very simple.

These pros have had to meet specific points goals for 3 weeks in a row and make the Top 30 in order to get a week off before tomorrow’s 4-day final exam. It’s not like there’s a lack of pressure on the PGA Tour, but not all pros enjoy playing 3 weeks in a row, so this took some of them out of their comfort zone, but it was time to perform or go home.

The Top 5 are Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Jason Day and Paul Casey. And right behind them are Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. There are plenty of other big names in the Top 30 and the point is there should be some some great golf from these guys. Every now and then someone runs away with it but hopefully we’ll have some amazing golf and mesmerizing drama! There is not a cut and tv time will be fewer hours than normal because there is less than half of a regular weekend field.

To make the Playoffs a golfer must be in the Top 125 to enter The Barclay’s. The Top 100 then advance the next week to the Deutsche Bank event. And the Top 70 advance to The BMW Championship where the Top 30 are reseeded and move to the Tour Championship in Atlanta 2 weeks later, which is where we are now. (golf week.com)

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Your son has his own junior golf version of this and it’s called PBE or performance-based entry. It means that his ability to be qualified to enter certain events is based on his prior performance. Shoot low scores and he can enter, shoot high scores and he will need to be working on his game.

Much of life is performance-based. Our family is used to it and we encourage all our kids to give their best effort at everything. School, sports, music, and now since they are grown we include work, always give 110%, period. Giving one’s best effort is a very desirable trait and 1 that is certainly noticed and respected.

See you on #1 tee ready to give maximum effort… Sam

Junior Golf: BMW Unbeatable

In this Monday Mulligan we will take a look at the best performance during the next to last event in the FedEx Cup playoffs, the unbeatable play of the BMW Championship winner. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135-1

We’re talking about DJ, Dustin Johnson, of course. His 23-under par victory yesterday was an all-time record for lowest score in a playoff event. Paul Casey finished 2nd at 20-under which would usually win most tournaments on the PGA Tour.

There are times when your daughter will get beaten and there are times when she will be unbeatable. Sunday’s final round was pretty much a 2-man race as to who would win and included considerable drama about who would make the last cut of 30 to move on to the finals in 2 weeks in Atlanta.

Paul was hanging around within several shots of DJ and then he,Casey, eagled #15. Guess what, DJ put an eagle putt in on top of Paul’s putt on #15 and that meant that unless DJ had a major blowup during the last 3 holes, Casey would not be able to catch him.

Outdriving the field by 30 yards meant Dustin was hitting wedges into holes that other players would hit 7 or 8-iron into, several clubs longer. Big advantage to Johnson and big payoff for all the work he has recently put in with his wedges. He kept hitting big drives, close wedges and was #1 in putting for the event. This is called unbeatable!

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How does this help your daughter? Please help her understand that there will be times when she plays well, perhaps very well and still gets beat by someone playing at an amazing level. It happens, but she will have her days where everything goes right and she is the unbeatable player. (DJ photo golfchannel.com)

There’s a reason legendary golf instructor Harvey Penick said the 3 most important clubs are the driver, wedge and putter. Ask your girl which 1 of those she would like to work on and set up a practice routine. Find some drills at Golf Channel Academy or get her some lessons. It will pay off and it’s fun!

See you on #1 tee looking unbeatable… Sam

Junior Golf: BMW Young Guns

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will take a look at who’s winning and who continues to be in contention in this weekend’s FedEx Cup event, The BMW Championship. The young guns are heating up! (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

Roberto Castro led after round 1 with 7-under par, followed by Brian Harman at 6-under and Jason Dufner and Dustin Johnson at 5-under par. Unfinished 1st rounds were completed this morning to be followed by Round 2.

In Roberto’s post-round interview it was interesting to hear his response to the question about how he had dealt with such a lengthy rain delay. To paraphrase his words, “That’s the PGA Tour this year, we’ve had a bunch of rain. We’re used to it. I’ve been dealing with rain delays since junior golf.” What true words. With all the events these young guns on the PGA Tour have played in since and including junior golf tournaments, they have dealt with all these situations a number of times.

The key is patience, of course, and staying loose or at least making certain to get good and loose before going back out on the course and hitting your next shot.

BMW Championship - Round One

How can your son benefit from this situation? 1st, Mom and Dad, tell him that he will have this exact scenario more than once in his junior and college golf careers. Take a breath and relax and understand that everybody on the course is dealing with this exact issue. The ones that deal with it best will finish their rounds with better scores. (Roberto Castro image theindychannel.com)

Remind your son that there is likely someone in his group, usually a 3-some or 4-some, that loves to be 1st to hit off the tee. Let him, learn from his shot. Did he hit enough club or too much club? How did the wind affect the ball? Get a free education.

Pay attention to the young guns, the under-30 year olds. Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Roberto Castro, Daniel Berger and more bring an excitement to the game and more experience than you would think for someone so young. Your son can relate to them. Heck he might be 1 of them someday!

The BMW Championship is on The Golf Channel today and Golf Channel/NBC tomorrow and Sunday. Set the TiVo and enjoy!

See you on #1 tee looking patient… Sam

Junior Golf: What’s The Difference

In today’s Wednesday Waggle will will look at what made a difference. A Tour player is back on top after being kind of in the back of the pack for most of the year. Why is he playing at a high level right now, what’s the difference? (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

It’s Rory of course. Mr. McIlroy had a great win at last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship in the 2nd round of the playoffs. He started Monday’s final round 6 shots back of 3rd-round leader Paul Casey. So what enabled Rory to get in the winner’s spot? Putting, putting, putting. How many times have you heard someone say that to win a golf tournament, you have to make putts?

McIlroy has hit a bunch of good shots this year but his putting has not been good. So he changed from a Nike to a Scotty Cameron putter and hired Henrik Stensen’s putting coach. So basically in 1 week his putting improved dramatically to 7th in the field in strokes gained putting. In other words he made a bunch of putts, enough to win! (photo golfdigest.com)image

What does this mean for your daughter? Well, how is her putting? Does she make most of her 3-footers, like 100%? Then look at 8 feet, which she can try for 2 out of 3 and then 20 feet where the goal is to NOT 3-putt.

Remember that the short game, chipping and putting is where she can lower her score the quickest. Have her fitted for a new putter. Get a putting aid, there are a ton of them at all price ranges. And practice. Watch Golf Channel Academy putting instructional videos, they’re free. There’s a lot she can do to improve her score. And yes Dad and Mom she needs your help.

See you on #1 tee, ready to make some putts… Sam

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