Posts Tagged ‘Jason Day’

Junior Golf: What Is This?

In this Monday Mulligan please take a look at the photo below and see if you can figure out what it is. This is a beautiful visual example of a very valuable educational opportunity for your son/daughter.

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Photocredit:jennleforge.com

Perhaps you recall the great line by the Guardian of The Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, “He chose poorly.” More contemporary golf lines might be, “He went for the hero shot and didn’t make it,” or “He should have taken his bogey medicine.” Whatever line you prefer, the poor result is the same.

This is, of course, a screenshot of the path of Jason Day’s golf ball on the 18th hole during the 3rd round of the recent PGA Championship. Jason’s unfathomable choice for his 2nd shot destroyed any chance to get off the hole with a bogey, 5 and then put him in a situation where he ended up with a quadruple bogey-8, which included a crushing 3-putt.

On the 18th tee box, a par or bogey would have kept him in a decent position to make a run for the win on Sunday. Golf truths you may hear: “Sometimes you have to take your bogey medicine.” “There are times when a bogey is a good score.” “Not even the pros execute every hero shot.” Jason chose to hit right when the hole and accessible fairway were to the left. It appeared that hitting a shot back in play to the fairway on his left was not a tough shot and that choice might have given him a decent bogey chance.

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Golf is not about hitting a great shot every time. It is about believing that you can hit a great shot every time. The nitty-gritty is all about how your youngster responds to a poor shot. It’s tough. It’s frustrating. It’s maddening. It’s golf. There is always a better choice, but one must choose to take it!

See you on #1 tee ready to make good choices… 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 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: Congratulations Jimmy!

In this Monday Mulligan we will revisit the great action at the men’s PGA Championship. This tournament provided as much excitement and interest as anyone could want, filled with everything you could imagine except for lead changes, hard fairways and fast greens. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135

In the leadup to this event most pundits had Jason, Rory, DJ, Jordan, Henrik, Bubba and Ricky in their top 5 favorites to win. There were a few other names in the mix with some writers offering 10-15 of their most likely-to-win names. The thing is that Jimmy Walker’s name was not on many, probably not any, lists.

Some of you may not be familiar with Jimmy. He’s a local guy for us, playing high school golf at Canyon High School in New Braunfels on the northeast fringe of San Antonio, college golf at Baylor, just up I-35 in Waco and now lives in Boerne on the north edge of our city.

Until his win yesterday Jimmy’s most recent victory was at our own 2015 Valero Texas Open on the Oaks Course here at TPC San Antonio. And he is a strong supporter of The First Tee of Greater San Antonio, where Linda, Dr. Nick Askey and I put on regular parenting seminars. So I think it’s fair to say that San Antonio golf fans were thrilled with Jimmy’s 1st major win!

Parents, this tournament is 1 of those BIG reasons I recommend you TiVo pretty much every pro tournament. Day 1 provided plenty of surprises with Jimmy unexpectedly leading and Rory and DJ not playing well at all and a lot of other top players looking pretty good.

Friday saw Rory and DJ go home, as in not making the cut, what’s up with that? Some other big names moved up the leaderboard and couple of new guys, like Robert Streb were playing well. Jason and Henrik, among other were staying in contention and looked like they were going to fight all the way to the 72nd hole.

Saturday morning saw a few people get 18 holes in but play was stopped before the leaders teed off. So 36 holes was on tap for the leaders on Sunday, a test of endurance and patience.

Lift, clean and place was in effect Sunday as about half the tee shots plugged or got virtually no roll. So the course played longer, even though the soft greens meant the guys could shoot right at the pin. As the day went on, it seems that someone tied Jimmy for a hole or 2, but Jimmy didn’t falter, but everyone else did, except for Jason Day. The guys trying to catch up, were for the most part too far behind and Jimmy was playing very solid golf.

Henrik was in it with Jimmy and Jason until he blew a ¾ 9-iron over the green for a double-bogey on #15 and never really regained his game afterwards. So we had a 2-man race with Jason trying to catch Jimmy and Jimmy not making any mistakes. On #18 tee Jason was thinking he is 2 shots behind and needs to eagle the par 5 18th to have a chance to get in a playoff. As he walks up the fairway he sees the leaderboard showing that Jimmy had just birdied #17 and now he, Jason was 3 shots back. It had to be an eagle and Jason hit his 2nd shot to 10 feet or so and made the putt for the eagle. Now Jimmy knew he needed a par 5 to win. (photo pga.com)

PGA Championship - Final RoundGoing for the green in 2, he blew his 2nd shot over the green into some fluff. A lot of folks questioned why Jimmy chose to go for it rather than laying up, but Jimmy,and his caddy knew his stats and would hit the same shot again. So Jimmy hit a flop shot to about 30 feet and put his lag putt to about 3 feet. Folks if you want pressure, try standing over a 3-footer on the 72nd hole to win your 1st major! No problemo for Jimmy! He stroked that little putt into the center of the cup like he had been doing all day long, what performance under pressure! Congratulations Jimmy Walker!

See you on #1 tee looking like a major champion… Sam

Junior Golf: Thoughts From Sir Nick

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will enjoy some thoughts from 1 of the all time great golfers, Sir Nick Faldo, winner of 6 major championships. There are some men and women in our wonderful world of golf whose thoughts and words offer great insight and advice and Sir Nick is certainly 1 of them. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106

Now before we get too far along here, David Feherty asked Sir Nick about the formality, almost haughty use of the “Sir Nick” term, to which Faldo replied, well, “It’s actually a request of the Royalty that the term Sir be used to compliment and reinforce the title and tradition.” I mean this is a very big deal in Britain.

Ok, on to golf. Sir Nick is 1 of the rare announcers who offers really useful insights into what a player sees and feels and needs to do to compete at golf’s highest level. When Jason Day blew his drive left into the trees on #16 last Sunday, leading to a double-bogey which took him out of the lead, Faldo said, “Think how good he’ll be when he gets a fade. In order to be the absolute complete golfer, you must be able to fade and draw your driver.” Jason Day needed to hit a fade on #16, but didn’t/couldn’t and it cost him.

Dad and Mom you may be thinking that right now you will be pleased if your daughter just hits her tee shot in play. Yes, being able to draw and fade any club is an advanced technique, but put it on the list. Have big goals and big dreams!image

Another great insight from Sir Nick came during his appearance on Feherty. Sir Nick mentioned that he made a terribly costly mistake when he decided to tweak his swing. He went to legendary coach David Leadbetter for help. According to Sir Nick it took 2 years for the new swing to kick in. He was on the European Ryder Cup Team, who won, but he didn’t really contribute. He hit 5 buckets of balls a day, not the normal buckets, but the 300 ball buckets, you got it, 1500 balls a day for 2 years to get the new swing down. So when your girl hits 1 large bucket of 120 balls at the range, well, let’s put it in perspective, hit more balls! (photo sports.yahoo.com)

Faldo basically lost 2 prime years of opportunity in professional golf to make a swing change. When your girl is unhappy when, after a week, she is not perfectly executing the points from her last lesson, perhaps mention Sir Nick’s 2-year odyssey. Patience and hit more balls, my dear!

See you on #1 tee, using Sir Nick’s tips… 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: 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 jennleforge.com)img_0135

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 geoffshackelford.com)

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 offcoursegolf.com)

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 austin.com)image

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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