Posts Tagged ‘Dustin Johnson’

Junior Golf: Your Junior Golfer Is Not Immune

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will address the fact that your junior golfer is not immune to her environment, friends, family and life in general. There was a big shakeup at The Masters this week because no one is immune, no one is bulletproof.

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Dubai Golf

Things happen in life. They happen to all of us and your daughter is no exception. Good things, bad things, beneficial things, inconvenient things, there are a ton of things that can occur in one’s life.

Surely as Dustin Johnson was going down the wooden stairs in his stocking feet, it never crossed his mind that he might slip and fall and have to WD, withdraw, from the 1st men’s major of the year, The Masters. As you likely have heard, he did fall on his elbow and on the left side of his back. Yesterday just before his tee time, he decided he could not compete and withdrew. The physical pain is nothing compared to his mental anguish of the whole situation.

DJ, currently ranked men’s World #1, is generally regarded as being the most athletic guy on the PGA Tour and is in amazing shape, physically. So how does this happen to a DJ? Simply this walking down the stairs was such a nothing kind of everyday event that it seems DJ was on auto-pilot just going down a set of stairs. Boom, a slip and he’s out of the tournament. Wow!

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photocredit:theguardian

So what impact does this have on the field? Well, their 1st reaction was probably something like, “He’s in such great shape, how did that happen to him?” Next thought, “Now I have a better chance to win because I don’t have to beat the World#1.” And final dose of reality, “Man, I need to be careful. That can happen to anyone at any time.”

What is the lesson for your daughter and your household? Please make her aware that she is not immune to injury. Things happen around the house. She could slip on a wet sidewalk. Awareness helps. With S3 we also asked him to limit, as in not play at all, in pickup team sports games like basketball and soccer. All it takes is 1 injury to a finger, hand, wrist, knee, ankle or foot and the junior golf schedule is put on hold. Depending on the severity of the injury, your girl might never recover well enough to play competitive golf again.

True story. S3 was playing in a college golf tournament and 1 of his group members dads was at the event. As we dads visited during the round he told me how his son had won just about every event in their home state the previous year. His boy was on fire! However his son also dearly loved wakeboarding and refused to give it up. Yes, that’s right, the son had a horrific fall, injured his back and his golf game never recovered. So instead of winning golf tournaments, it was all he could do to break 80. A tough life lesson!

Your girl does need time away from golf. As much as she may love the game, both practicing and playing, she needs a break. Balance in life is important. As you are helping her just be a kid, encourage her in directions that give her an opportunity to have fun, fun with reduced risks.

See you on #1 tee injury-free… Sam

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!

BMW Championship - Final Round

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: 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 golfdigest.com)

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 thesandtrap.com)

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: Overcoming Adversity

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will take a look at several of the unexpected challenges that can appear during a golf tournament. Your daughter will undoubtedly face some of these issues during her junior golf career and the sooner you prepare her for them, the better. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102-1

Let’s use Dustin Johnson for a great example. It is generally recognized among the PGA Tour players that Dustin is 1 of the most talented athletes, if not the most gifted athletically, among them and it was only a matter of when, not if, he won his 1st major. And Dustin did just that by winning the men’s U.S. Open Championship this past week at Oakmont Country Club, regarded by some folks as the hardest golf course in the world.

His path in majors has been very rough. In 2010 he had the 3rd round lead in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and shot a final round 82. In the 2010 PGA Championship he appeared to have tied for 1st but was assessed a 2-stroke penalty after completing his round and before the playoff, for grounding his club in a bunker, and was knocked out of contention. In the 2015 U.S. Open he 3-putted the final hole to lose to Jordan Spieth by 1 stroke. Even in his round last Sunday he was penalized after the round for causing his ball to move, but he had a big enough lead over 2nd place that this penalty did not affect his position. Additionally, Dustin took some time off from the tour in 2014 for personal reasons, to get his life back on track.

Theses are tough situations, they are part of life. DJ has showed wonderful resiliency in overcoming these situations. Great stuff! (DJ photo ftw.usatoday.com)

USP PGA: THE MASTERS - PAR 3 CONTEST S GLF USA GA

Apr 6, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Dustin Johnson with Paulina Gretzky on the 4th green during the Par 3 Contest prior to the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-265174 ORIG FILE ID: 20160406_jla_mm1_216.jpg

Your daughter will have some penalty strokes, 3-putts and horrible rounds, including horrible final rounds after being in the lead. How on earth do you help prepare her for this? 1st, make sure you tell her your love for her is unconditional, it is not based on her scorecard. 2nd, help her get familiar with the rules. And encourage her to pay strict attention to the announcing of local rules/conditions at the player’s gathering before the start of a tournament. Remind her that it is, more often than not, allowable to play 2 balls when you cannot find a rules official. Tell her that there will be days when her best golf game disappears and cannot be found. It’s OK. Tell her, “I love you very much!”

Understanding how tough it is to play well all the time, avoid 3-putts and know the rules will help your girl be able to deal with the rough spots as they occur. Oh, they will still be difficult, but they are a reflection of life. And it’s her proper response that defines her, not the 3-putt. Please remember that Linda and I are not sports psychologists. We are parents passing along things we have learned from our son’s successful junior golf and college golf experiences.

See you on #1 tee looking resilient… Sam

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