Posts Tagged ‘Phil Mickelson’

Junior Golf: When A Foot Reminds You of Phil’s Wedge

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at how a foot, or certain feet, may remind you of Phil Mickelson and his wedge.

In the golf world’s list of short-game masters, Phil is certainly at or near the top of the list. He loves the artistry involved in hitting those special shots that seem so easy for him.

Easy because he spends hours practicing different kinds of shots he might face on a particular golf course. The sand, the rough, the cuts around the green, the green itself, all are unique to each course. So, the shots may differ slightly from week to week.

It requires the ability to visualize the shot/shots that have the best chance for success in a specific situation. Is a putt, a chip, a pitch or a flop shot called for? An experienced golfer understands that perhaps all of these shots may be used during a round of golf. Hours of practice and hard work are the keys to being able to attempt a desirable shot.

So where does a foot/feet come in? I’m not talking distance, like feet or yards. I’m talking feet, like at the bottom of your leg, what you walk on, what you put your shoes on, a piece of your anatomy.

Yes, I’m talking soccer. What do soccer/futbol and golf have in common? Some sports fans find both difficult or boring to watch: soccer because of low scores and golf because it’s slow. Ignore that.

Let’s go to why both are exciting to watch. You and your junior golfer know about golf so I’ll offer a compelling reason to spend some time watching soccer, as in World Cup soccer.

Think of all the magical things Phil can do with his wedge, ok? Now think of the soccer teams currently playing on their biggest stage, the World Cup. Every soccer player on every team has 2 wedges, his 2 feet that can do things as magical as Phil does with his wedge.

These guys have a zillion ways to pass or shoot the ball. They use their toe, the inside of the foot, the outside of the foot, the top of the foot, the heel and the cleats. Through many hours of practice over a lot of years, these men have worked to elevate their foot skills to a world-class level. Below are 2 minutes of Brazil highlights. Neymar will blow your mind at the 1:40 mark as he passes to himself by grabbing the ball with his feet and by using more pressure with his right foot he brings the ball from behind, throwing it over his left shoulder so it lands in front of him and he can resume his attack. This is creativity and execution to the max!

All World Cup players have ridiculous abilities, but some are superstars. Messi of Argentina, Ronaldo of Portugal, Neymar of Brazil and Suarez and Cavani of Uruguay are names to pay particular attention to. If you can’t watch a whole game, skip to the goal-scoring. Some are things of beauty, some are bizarre and some are accidents. All are worth watching! The different ways these men use their feet to contact the ball are crazy and they’re doing it while running at full speed!

The point is Mom and Dad, great skills don’t come about without hours of proper effort. Phil and these World Cup players have all worked hard to get their skills to the highest level. And they keep working on improving their game!

Fox and FS1 broadcast all the World Cup games. Set the TiVo. The WC continues for a couple more weeks. Use this as an inspiration, an encouragement to practice and learn to be more creative about it!

See you on #1 tee ready to create… Sam

Junior Golf: 3 Lessons From A Tough Day

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at 3 lessons your junior golfer can learn when he/she has a tough day on the golf course.

Let’s use yesterday’s round from the men’s U.S. Open Championship as a frame of reference. The wind was howling on Long Island and the world’s best male golfers scored one of the highest average rounds in PGA Tour history. There were a few guys barely under par and the rest were over par, some way over par.

These are professionals and they, as a rule, respond to difficult situations more effectively than the rest of us. We’ll see what happens today and over the weekend, but some of our fan favorites may not make the cut.

Here are 3 takeaways:

1. Every golfer has a bad shot, a bad hole, a bad round or a bad day. It’s going to happen, it’s part of life. How your youngster responds is the key. Help him/her to let go of, release, forget about the last shot and focus on hitting a good next shot.

2. Everyone needs a way to deal with frustration and anger. Don’t you think that Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy wanted to explode, cry or something after they combined for 25 strokes over par in Thursday’s round. Each of them must go low today to have any chance of making the cut. Help your son/daughter learn how to manage tough situations at the earliest possible age. It’s never too soon to address this issue.

3. Even in the toughest weather somebody’s going to have a good score. Those four 1-under par 69’s yesterday were superhuman and awesome considering the struggles the rest of the field had. In high school, S3 played in a snowstorm and the round was called after 9 holes. He shot 39, 3-over par, pretty decent considering the conditions, but one guy shot 34, 2-under par. Yep, there’s always that player! Have the proper clothes and equipment for windy and/or wet conditions. Everybody’s playing the same course and conditions. Someone’s going to have a good score. Encourage your child to be that golfer with the good score.

See you on #1 tee ready to handle the weather… Sam

Junior Golf: A Transformational Quote From The Presidents Cup

 

In this Monday Mulligan we’ll take a look at a new attitude showing up on the PGA Tour. And we’ll refer to a revealing and transformational quote from The Presidents Cup.

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Photocredit:jennleforge.com

The point I’m going to here is that there’s a different mentality surfacing among this talented group of young American pros. It’s a dramatic change from the attitude of days of old and really the days of fairly recent.

An influential older generation pro and perhaps it was a golf announcer said after watching all the comraderie and genuine friendships in the mostly under-30 American group (paraphrased), “I don’t know if they’re tough enough to win majors and be dominant champions.” I feel he was uncertain or maybe uncomfortable with all the time the young guns were spending together and and felt they were not focused enough on wanting to win.

Linda’s and my attitude at S3’s tournaments was that we wanted everyone to bring his best game and let’s see what the scores are at the end of the day. If our son is going to beat you, he must play better than you no matter how good you’re playing. As relentless encouragers, we applauded every good shot in the group we were following, not just S3’s shots.

As a result of our behavior we had an amazing encounter after a round at The Tribute at The Colony, just north of Dallas, a very fun golf course, by the way. One of S3’s 3-some came up to us after the round and said, “We love being here! Everyone is so nice and the hospitality is fabulous. And I wanted to tell you how much it meant to me that you acknowledged good shots from all of us, in addition to Sam. Where I’m from, (West coast), the parents and gallery boo our (the competition’s) good shots. So this environment is new to us and we love it!”

This brings me to what I believe is the most important and insightful quote of the whole 2017 Presidents Cup. It also shows the humility and strength of Phil as he was able and comfortable to be transparent and revealing about himself. In a post-Cup interview the announcer asked him what it is that makes the chemistry of this US team so special? Phil’s words (paraphrased by me), “Everybody gets along. The team room is a blast. We’re all kidding each other and having fun. And there’s a unique dynamic with these guys, something that’s taken me decades to learn and that’s how to be really happy for someone else when they have success.”

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Photocredit:NBC

Wow, ladies and gentlemen, let that sink in. In the cutthroat world of professional sports here’s one of golf’s most successful and popular players, ever, saying that he is now at a place where he can congratulate someone on a good round or a win and be actually be excited for them.

Mom and Dad, this is transparency that transforms and it’s right out of our parenting manual. It has transformed Phil. It will transform some of his fans, including junior golfers.

Please understand that a strong desire to win doesn’t mean that your child should not be disappointed when they lose. It means that it’s ok and healthy to be glad for someone else’s success! It gives your son/daughter something to strive for!

See you on #1 tee ready for you to congratulate me, and mean it, when I beat you… Sam

Junior Golf: You Got To Believe

In this Wednesday Waggle we will look at belief and how it can be used to positively impact your youngster’s golf game.

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Photocredit:Golf Digest

One definition of belief is: a trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something. Now before we got lost in all these words, let’s look at a few golf examples of belief.

In the last round of the recent Open Championship, Jordan Spieth managed to turn his final round from horrible-for him, to absolutely fabulous. How did he do this? In his words, once he and Matt Kuchar became tied, Jordan’s nerves disappeared and he was able to focus on hitting good shots and man did he! Belief!
In last week’s Canadian Open, Jhonny Vegas said, “I’ve had a horrible summer to put it the best way,” Vegas said. “But it’s golf, and you have to keep a positive mentality and always think that you’re going to play your best.” And he did that Sunday ultimately beating Charley Hoffman in a playoff.
A few years ago in the 2010 Masters, Phil Mickelson hit an incredible shot off of some pine straw, between 2 trees, over the creek and onto the green and continued on for a 3-shot Masters win. Belief!

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Photocredit:Getty Images


Finally, Zack Johnson’s recap of a conversation with his Dad
from earlier in his career. To paraphrase, Zach said,”I want to win every tournament.” His Dad replied, “What is most important is that you believe you can win every tournament!” Believe, believe, believe.

So what does this have to do with your junior golfer? Well, depending on age and skill level your child must have a belief in something positive about his/her golf game.
I believe I can hit the ball on every shot.
I believe I can hit the ball in the air.
I believe I can play better than some of my friends.
I believe
I can make the golf team.
I believe I can earn the #1 spot on the golf team.
I believe I can make birdies.
I believe I can win a golf tournament.
And so it goes.

Have a talk with your kiddo. Be an encourager! Point out a nice shot he/she hit and complement it. Help them believe that there are many more excellent golf shots coming in the future. Your kids want to have fun and enjoy this great game. Believing that the next shot will be a good shot is very important and when your son/daughter does it, you will smile from ear to ear.

See you on #1 tee believing you can hit good shots… Sam

Junior Golf: Parents This Inexpensive Rain Gear Is Your 1st Choice

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will take the parent’s perspective on rain gear. Your son’s/daughter’s take on the most important piece of rain gear may be different from Mom and Dad’s. (image offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

Until you’ve been there, you haven’t. Yes, unless you, Dad and Mom and your junior golfer have had the very tough experience of trying to keep dry and continue to play golf in the rain but still ending up soaking wet and barely being able to play the game, you may not understand where I’m going.

Depending on whether you have a son or daughter playing golf, their desire for the 1st piece of rain gear may be fashion-oriented. S3, again this was before he got soaked in a tournament, would lean towards the latest really cool-looking rain jackets, understandable. Your daughter might go the same route or perhaps she would prefer a beautiful umbrella. Depends on your kiddo and their personality.

Parents, I assure you that the 1st time your child gets totally soaked, reality sets in. And that is that being wet and miserable is bad enough, but he/she can still function physically, even with the discomfort and inconvenience. So play continues and yes, your child will want to gut it up and keep playing until the round is completed or play is stopped by the officials.

Ready for reality? The 1 thing that will totally shut down your junior golfer’s game is not being able to hold on to the club. It is impossible to play golf if you can’t hold on to the golf club! Things we have personally seen is the club slipping so badly at impact that the ball goes nowhere or ends up in a totally horrific spot and then, the most dangerous and scary occurrence of all, the club flying out of the player’s hands and people ducking for cover. Even with snakes and alligators on some golf courses, the scariest thing Linda, S3 and I have even seen during a tournament is a golf club sailing uncontrollably toward some fans. When a golf club strikes a human, the golf club wins, every time!

Guess what the 1st thing was that we bought the next day? Yes, the wet weather golf gloves. Back then I think only Footjoy made them but now several brands are available including but not limited to, I think, TaylorMade and Callaway. Retail pricing is around $22.00 for a pair of gloves, so they are very inexpensive. And they work!

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Phil Mickelson doesn’t hesitate to put them on in high humidity or when it’s raining. Obviously he practices with them, so he’s comfortable wearing them and plays great with them. Our whole family has a pair in our golf bags and we practice with them on the range. It’s fun, a nice change to the regular range routine.

Dad and Mom, we can’t emphasize this enough. These gloves are an essential piece of equipment and should be in your youngster’s golf bag immediately and at all times in the future. Take your kiddo to a golf store this weekend and try on some different brands and buy a pair. You’ll both be glad you did.

See you on #1 tee ready for a good grip… Sam

Junior Golf: Take A Breath

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will slow down and take a breath. With all the overwhelming golf activities of the last 2 weeks coupled with the passing of Arnold Palmer, there has been so much emotional content we all need a moment to slow down. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

The USA win of The Ryder Cup was 3 days of the greatest golf most of us will ever see. The team events of Friday and Saturday were great with so many highlights. Sunday’s 12 singles matches started out with the score US 9.5 and Europe 6.5. 14 points were needed by Europe to keep the Cup and the US would need 14.5 to take the Cup.

Behind by 3 points EUR front-loaded their matches putting their heavyweight players out 1st. The initial pairing Sunday morning was the 2 absolute hottest players at the event, Rory McIlroy vs Patrick Reed and they performed even better than expected. Both were making almost every putt followed by enthusiastic yelling, arm-waving and fist pumping, it was great. The highlight of the match was on hole #8 where Rory made what must have been a 50-footer for a birdie. Patrick stepped right up to his 20-footer and rolled it in the middle of the cup. Rory and his caddie laughed and then he and Patrick gave each other a fist bump and walked off the green chatting. It was just the way this match would be for all 18 holes. Reed made a birdie on #18 to win 1-up.

How could anything be better than Reed/McIlroy, how about Mickelson/Garcia? Phil had 10 birdies and Garcia had 9 and they ended up halving the match, each getting ½ point for their team. Garcia evened up the match with a 2-putt birdie at 16. Then the final 2 holes were halved with, yes, birdies. Absolutely stunning golf!

There was plenty of great Sunday golf by both sides, but 1 of the amazing comebacks and feel-good moments of the whole event came with Ryan Moore. 2-down to Lee Westwood standing on #16 tee, Moore said he was able to finally relax and try to hit some great shots to help his team. Well, how about putting his 2nd shot on the par 5 16th hole to about 8 feet and making an eagle to win the hole? And a birdie on #17 to win that hole and be all square standing on the 18th tee, guaranteed ½ point? And then winning #18 with a par to give the USA the full 1 point to clinch the victory. Wow, good for Ryan Moore! (photo sbnation.com)

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Moments like these are inspirational for everyone, particularly your junior golfer as he/she can dream about playing in matches like this 1 day. Yes, The Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup for women is for only the most elite players, but your youngster will play in a number of very important team matches in high school and college. I can assure you the emotions by Moms and Dads of junior golfers are just as strong as those of Ryder Cup players. Look forward to the great experiences coming. They are very special and are to be treasured!

See you on #1 tee ready to make a bunch of birdies… 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

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