Archive for the ‘World Golf Championship’ Category

Junior Golf: Things Change

In this Wednesday Waggle we’ll look at how quickly things can change during a round of golf. Playing competitive sports is tough at best, and everything can change without notice.img_0102

Jason Day, the #1-Ranked men’s golfer in the world was tied for the lead in last week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational with 3 holes to go. He had lead the tournament since the 1st day. These WGC events are limited to basically the Top 50 men’s pros based on WGC rankings, a tough and elite field. (Dufner photo

So Jason, Dustin Johnson and Scott Piercy all had a solid chance to win over these final few holes and Jason was in the final group. Day had been playing OK and had a great chance to win outright or at least get into a playoff.

#16 at Firestone is a 667-yard par 5, a hole which Sir Nick Faldo said was a 2-layup hole. This meant you laid up with less than a driver off the tee to be in position to hit a 2nd layup short of the lake that was in front of the green. Then you hit onto the green with good odds of getting a par or perhaps a birdie.

Jason hit his driver and hooked it left into the trees. He punched out hoping to advance his ball on the steep downhill fairway and his shot raced through the fairway into the trees on the right side. There was a clear shot path to lay up in front of the water, then be on the green in 4 and hope to get out of this hole with a bogey at worst. Well, for whatever reason Jason tried to run his shot around the left side of the lake into a very skinny part of the fairway. Now you can guess what’s coming. His ball hit along the left bank of the pond and kicked in the water. And he went in the water in 3, out in 4, shooting to the green in 5, hoping for a double-bogey, which ended up being his score. (#16 photo

imageHis poor decisions combined with poor shots took the life right out of Jason Day. You could see it immediately when that ball went in the water. Driver on the tee, poor decision, poor execution. Punch out on 2nd shot, decent decision, poor execution. Trying to hit past a perfect layup area into a tight area on 3rd shot, poor decision and poor execution. Get my point here? He finished T3.

Help your junior golfer have a good plan/decision for each shot. Then he just needs to execute it!

See you on #1 tee with a plan… Sam

Junior Golf: Austin Nuggets

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will look at some thoughts, some takeaways, some nuggets of insight and wisdom from the WGC Dell Matchplay Championship that ended yesterday. (photo by

Matchplay is different. The players for the most part really enjoy it because it is 1-on-1 competition. Let’s begin with the Austin Country Club course. At just about 7,100 yards, it is relatively short compared to other PGA tournament courses. Pete Dye however always gives the players challenging holes. So in the words of announcers Sir Nick Faldo and Johnny Miller, both winners of multiple major golf tournaments and members of the world Golf Hall of Fame, “the course is really suited to match play.” What does this mean?

Matchplay has a different mentality than stroke play and each player is trying to win or at least tie each hole. So there is a “go for everything” mentality, sometimes called risk/reward. If you watched some of the event, you would have immediately noticed the stunning beauty of many of the holes. And much of this beauty was because of plentiful water, hazards with sheer drop-offs and unplayable lies and greens with multiple slopes. As fans we want to see great golf shots, thrilling golf shots and the inherent risk/reward of matchplay golf combined with a risk/reward golf course makes for a fun combination.

Part of the reason why Arnold Palmer and Phil Mickelson are so popular is their “go for broke” mentality. They love to play aggressive golf! When asked why he attempted so many difficult shots, Arnold replied, ”How would I know if could hit that shot if I didn’t attempt it in competition?” Frankly these 2 guys hit a lot of great shots from lies most of us would never consider attempting. Austin Country Club offers plenty of risk/reward opportunities.

Sir Nick on match play mentality, “you’re trying to win every hole, hit every shot exactly where you want it and make all your putts. But you cannot give any holes to your opponent. Make him earn the holes he wins.” This refers to unforced errors. At least twice in this tournament I saw the 1st hitter put his ball into the water. Now many of us, if we were the 2nd hitter might think that all we needed to do was keep our ball away from the water at all costs and advance the ball to a safe zone that left us in a good position for our next shot. Well folks, twice I saw the 2nd hitter also put his ball into the water. How can this be? Oh, these guys are human! In effect, the 2nd player just surrendered his tactical advantage and both players now, once again have a chance to win the hole. You just don’t expect to see this from the pros, but, wow!

imagePGA Professional, World Golf Hall of Fame member and Austin Country Club member Tom Kite was interviewed by Nick Faldo during the Finals Match yesterday and Tom offered, “these greens are tough. Pete Dye gives you lots of undulations and a player might have a putt that goes left, then comes back right and ends up going left at the hole. These are tough greens, but the guys will be more familiar with them next year.” When asked about the length of the course, Tom referred to a drivable par 4 on the back nine and said, “this little hole is giving these guys fits. You can’t keep your drive on the green and the chips you end up with are tough and the green has a lot of slopes.” So this little par 4 had the guys scrambling to make a par. (photo

I hope you watched some of the tournament. There were a bunch of great golf shots and some not so great. Jason Day defeated Louis Oosthuisen in the finals and guess what? At the end of all the risk/reward shots, the great shots and poor shots, the guy that won, Jason Day, just flat putted better than everyone he played. If you’re going to win, you have to make putts! And yes, he also hit some excellent shots.

See you on #1 tee ready for match play… Sam

Junior Golf: Match Play

In today’s Friday Flop Shop we will introduce your son to match play. There are basically 2 formats for competition in a golf tournament, medal or stroke play and match play. Stroke or medal play means that whoever has the fewest strokes at the end of the tournament is the winner. In match play your son is playing a “match” against another player.image

As the Dell World Golf Championship Match Play continues this weekend at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas, here are some points to keep in mind as you watch. In match play, competitors are playing 1 on 1, man-to-man or mano-a-mano as we say down here. The goal is to win or draw/tie each hole. A hole is won by the player having the lower score on an individual hole. If both player’s scores are the same, the hole is a draw, tie or halved. The match is won when a player has won more holes than there are holes left to play. In other words in an 18-hole match, the fastest your son could win would be 10 and 8. This means he won every hole and once he got to a total of 10 holes won, he would be the victor. (photo

It is also possible to win by a score of “x”-up. For example let’s say your son is 1-up after 17 holes and he wins #18, then victory is described as 2-up. You will also hear the term “door-me”. A player is door-me when he is behind by the same number of holes that are left to play, say 3-down with 3 holes left to play. The best a door-me player can hope for is to salvage a tie by winning every remaining hole, a tough feat in any tournament.

Sir Nick Faldo has given great insights into the proper player mentality for match play. Sir Nick,
“In match play you go for everything. It is the most in-the-moment type of golf as you are not thinking about the double-bogey you made 2 holes ago or what you’re going to hit on #17, you just want to win this shot. And then you want to win the next shot.” In match play you want to win right now, win this hole. Then you can attack the next hole. Remember, in match play your son can make up for 1 poor hole by winning the next hole. It is quick recovery and he’s right back in the game. The total number of strokes in match play doesn’t matter. All that does matter is that on each hole, your son has fewer strokes than his opponent. So really your son could shoot a relatively high score and still win his match. (photo

So get ready because TV coverage the Dell WGC Match play starts at 9:00am central time and and then switches over to NBC at 1:00pm central. These times are pretty much the same tomorrow, so get the TiVo going and be sure to record for 2 hours past the scheduled end of coverage on NBC to include any playoffs. This is the 1st time in a number of years that the Top 3 in World Golf rankings have advanced to the Final 16, yes that means Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy are still competing.

1 of the things about match play is that the more you win, the more you walk. So a player winning in the Round of 16 this morning, will get a brief break and tee off in the ¼-Finals this afternoon, walking 36 holes today. The winner will tee off in the Semi-Finals tomorrow morning and the 2 Semi-Final winners will tee off in the Finals after lunch Sunday. The 2 Finalists will have walked 126 holes of golf in 5 days and obviously had the mental and physical strength and endurance to play great golf the whole time. Love it!

Seriously record this tournament. Your son will play in these match play events and he will enjoy it. The insights into how to properly perform in match play from all the commentators and announcers is most interesting and invaluable. This is input you can’t get anywhere else!

See you on #1 tee, looking to win the 1st hole… Sam

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