Posts Tagged ‘Billy Horschel’

Junior Golf: Special Moments At Pro Events

In this Friday Flop Shot we are going to suggest some ideas for exciting trips you can plan for your junior golfer and the rest of the family too. (image offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

What type of trip would get everybody fired up? There are 2 major categories. 1st is to attend a pro tournament. With the choices available of the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour and the Web.com Tour, there are quite a few options. The event locations kind of follow the nicer weather, so right now the tournaments are in more of the Southern or warmer states and as the temperature heats up, events will move northward.

See if you can find an event within your geography and budget and book a hotel and buy some tickets. Just do it! Don’t overthink it! Professional golf tournaments are a lot of fun. It really is different being there in person as compared to watching on the TV.

Couple of FYI’s. Depending on your scheduling flexibility you might consider attending during the pro-am days or on Thursday or Friday, when the crowds are smaller. Fewer people means easier parking, easier movement around the course, shorter lines for vendors and restrooms and you and your junior golfer can get closer to the players and actually hear them talk.

Perfect example. A few years ago Rory was playing in the Valero Texas Open, which was uncommon for hm. S3 wanted to see him so we noted Rory’s tee time, this was on a Saturday, was 11:15am. So we went and got to #1 tee on The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio and man were there a ton of people. So Rory and his group teed off and about 99% of the gallery went with them.

There were 2 more groups to tee off so S3 and I moved right up against the ropes about 10 feet from the tee markers. The next group was Billy Horschel, Charley Hoffman and Retief Goosen.

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Here’s a classic conversation: Charley and Billy showed each other the markings on their golf balls just like you are taught in day 1 of junior golf. Great to see this! Then Billy says to Charley, “Our balls are marked pretty similarly, don’t hit my ball.” And Charley replied, “If I do, I’ll hit it in the water!” They both laughed so hard and after they teed off, they were still chatting their way down #1 fairway. A classic moment and a teachable moment at a professional event. (Hoffman image GolfLink.com)

These special one-of-a-kind moments are happening at these big tournaments, but if you don’t go, you won’t experience them.

See you on #1 tee at a pro event… 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: Winning Is Hard

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at winning golf tournaments and it’s hard to win golf tournaments whether it is a modified 6-hole little bitties event or a 72-hole PGA venue. (photo offcoursegolf.com)image

There are ebbs and flows of momentum in every competitive event and golf is no exception. If your son plays really poorly early in the tournament, he can take himself out of contention. If he plays good enough to stay within a few shots of the leaders he can have a legitimate chance to win or at least be top 10 or better. The goal is to be close enough during the final round or even last 9 holes to make some good scores and catch the leader.

Last Sunday the final round of the Valero Texas Open had a perfect setup. At 1 point early in the day I think around a dozen players were within a couple of shots of the Round 3 leader. Folks, this makes for fun golf to watch and this is a main reason I encourage you to record these professional golf broadcasts.

3rd round leader Ricky Barnes was in the last group and struggled all day and could not maintain his lead.Former World #1 Luke Donald started the final round as many people’s pick to win. Well, he shot 2-over on Sunday to finish way back in the pack. The next-to-last group is where a bunch of the action took place with Charley Hoffman, Patrick Reed and Billy Hoerschel playing together.

You know, there are different tournament goals for different golfers and for different levels of golf. There are times that a top-5, top-10 or even top-20 is desirable and a win would be really cool! Yes, the pros can get FedEx points, certain exemptions and a ton of money without winning a Tour event, but as Bubba Watson so beautifully put it, “Nobody out here is playing for 2nd place.” Winning brings so much more!

As the leaders faltered, Charley started moving up as did Patrick. Billy was always close but wasn’t really looking like he might make a playoff or such. Much of the TV focus was on this group. Charley was now leading and the decent birdie holes of 16, 17 and 18 were next after Patrick pulled within 1 stroke of Charley with a birdie on 15.

Reed missed birdie putts of less than 8 feet on 16 & 17 and Hoffman made pars. So we’re on 18 tee and Charley has a 1stroke lead over Patrick. This is pressure folks and a lot of golfers can’t handle it. Reed put his drive just in the left rough and hit the shot of the day to follow up, a rope hook around a tree stopping on the fringe at the right front edge of the green. Charley blew his 2nd shot on this par 5 over the back left of the green into a bunker, leaving a touchy downhill sand shot. Patrick chips to within 2 feet and Charley blasts to maybe 6-10 feet. Reed putts out for a birdie leaving the final shot to the potential winner. And Hoffman performed perfectly with the ball going right into the center of the cup for his birdie, maintaining his 1-stroke lead and winning the tournament. Congratulations!image

Ricky Barnes and Luke Donald eliminate themselves by not playing well. Patrick Reed hits a ton of great shots but misses too many short putts. And Charley Hoffman made a few birdies, kept grinding out pars kept his head in the right place and won! Winning is hard as Charley stated in his post game comments. (Patrick Reed/Charley Hoffman photo pgatour.com)

See you on #1 tee ready for a tough game… Sam

Junior Golf: Another Distraction

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at another potential distraction, 1 that exists in every group your son will ever play with. This occurrence can also be a relaxing and enjoyable thing as well.image

A couple of years ago S3 and I wanted to see Rory tee off in the Valero Texas Open. We got a spot at #1 tee on the beautiful Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio and watched Rory’s group hit. There were 3 groups left to tee off and after 95% of the gallery left to follow Rory, S3 and I moved up and were right next to the ropes, like 10 feet from the players. We heard everything they said and there was 1 hilarious exchange. Billy Horschel and Charley Hoffman were, and junior golfers you have been told at least 100 times to do these 2 things, so if the pros always do this, why can’t you? Yes, they had marked/put identifying marks on their golf balls and were showing them to each other prior to putting that ball in play. Billy said,”Wow, our balls are marked a lot alike, you better not hit my ball.” Charlie’s response was, “If I do I’ll be sure to hit it in the water!” They both laughed, hit good tee shots and chatted all the way down the fairway walking to their next shots. Great stuff! (photo offcoursegolf.com)

TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola - Final Round

The personalities and attitudes of the other juniors in your son’s group can impact his play. Your son has a mental comfort zone where he can relax and enjoy playing this sport. S3 tends to play better when he knows someone in his group or can connect with another player. Our son is the guy who likes to chat walking down the fairway and more often than not there is at least 1 guy in the group who does also.

Then there is the silent type. One of S3’s college teammates really does not like to talk or be talked to during a round of golf. His line, “Total and complete silence, just like I like it!” He’s not rude, just quiet. It is a test for a personable guy, like Sammie, when he is paired with 2 silent types. But it’s also a good thing because it is another test and competitive sports is always about unending tests. So he has to take another deep breath, try to relax and focus on hitting a great next shot.

The 3rd personality your boy will sometimes see is the kiddo with the “tude”, the attitude. He may not show much until something triggers some disappointment and then anger. Over the years we have seen putters sunk up to the hosel in a green because of a missed putt. Clubs slammed into trees. Clubs thrown. Vulgarities screamed. Parents, this is hard for us to see, imagine how tough it is on your kids! It is impossible to be immune to these outbursts, so this is where proper advice and preparation beforehand can be helpful. And remember that high school coaches, college coaches and certain tournament and rules officials have the authority to summarily DQ a player for this type of behavior. (Billy’s image cochellavalley.com)

Encourage your junior golfer to be himself on the course. If he’s the quiet type, that’s OK. If he likes to engage with the guys in his group, that’s OK too. Somebody will also want to talk with him. Let him find his interactive or not, comfort level, and let him be himself. It’s about how he handles the distractions and there will always be something trying to disrupt his game. Prepare, encourage, hit a bunch of balls and of course, chip and putt.

See you you on #1 tee, being yourself… Sam

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