Posts Tagged ‘Phil Mickelson’

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

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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

Junior Golf: The 100

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at the men’s playoffs now in the 2nd elimination round at TPC Boston. The low 100 scores from last week are competing for 70 spots this week to advance to the next stage. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

Reminder that this is a Friday through Monday event so I slightly freaked out when there was nothing on our TiVo Thursday evening. Aha, it was then I remembered the next morning’s start times.

Yesterday was very interesting to watch. Part of it for me is that to my eye TPC Boston is a very mesmerizing course to look at. Man, it looks tough with winding, narrow, undulating fairways with lots of rough and bunkers and greens that have slopes and features resembling the North Atlantic during a storm. As good as these guys are, this layout really demands accuracy and punishes those who cannot put the ball where it belongs.

James Hahn hit every fairway, an amazing feat in itself and both he and Ryan Moore hit some great iron shots to take the lead at 6-under par. There are another 32 players at 3-under or better so these next 3 days should be exciting! These guys are good!

1 of the reasons Phil Mickelson is so popular is that he is so creative with his shotmaking. He pulls off shots that most other pros won’t even try. Yesterday was both ugly and amazing in this regard. I watched him take an 8 on a par 4, trying to hit a ball out of some cattails and couldn’t get the ball out, had to go back and drop, take a penalty shot, wow, really rough. Then on the 18th hole, his ball was right of the green, about pin high on a very steep slope in some fluff and there was only a small piece of green between a trap and the pin. Phil swung very hard, like out of his shoes hard, with a gap wedge, hit the ball a mile high, landed it just over the trap and almost holed out. What a highlight reel!

So get the TiVo going, enjoy your Labor Day Weekend and go hit some balls or play a round. By the way, just in case you hadn’t noticed, adding to the entertainment mix, college football starts as well, and my Longhorns host #10 Notre Dame on Sunday evening, Hook ‘Em!

See you on #1 tee ready for some excitement… Sam.

Junior Golf: Amazing Golf

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will look at yesterday’s final round in The Open Championship where 1 of the most exciting 2-man duels of all time captivated viewers and lovers of golf worldwide. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135-1

After Saturday’s 3rd round Henrik Stenson was 12-under par and Phil Mickelson was 1 shot back. Everyone else was well behind these 2 so barring a collapse by both Henrik and Phil combined with a phenomenal round by someone else, it was basically a 2-man race for The Champion Golfer Of The Year.

The weather was cold and windy to start the day but it didn’t matter to these guys in the final group. Phil birdied #1 and Henrik 3-putted so they switched scores and places on the leaderboard. Stenson righted his ship and started making birdies and Phil was making birdies and an eagle. They both finished the front 9 with 4-under par 32’s, meaning Henrik maintained the 1-stroke lead he had to start the day.

Phil caught Henrik on #11 and they stayed tied for the next 2 holes. Then Stenson continued his amazing round of golf by hitting more fabulous shots and making long putts. He birdied 3 of the last 5 holes to shoot a 63, with 2 3-putts. I believe that if you asked Phil before this final round if he, Phil, thought a 65 on the last round would win The Open Championship, he would have certainly said, “Yes, I’ll take that score in every final round!”image

Well folks, guess what? Phil shot a 6-under par final round, bogey-free 65 and took 2nd place all by himself, 11 shots ahead of 3rd place but 3 shots behind Henrik. Wow, it’s unbelievable, but true. Phil played great golf and did nothing wrong. Henrik, however, was on another planet, hitting great shot after great shot and making putts, long putts. Henrik just plain ole beat Phil. (photo pgatour.com)

Dad and Mom, this is why I encourage you to record these events! It may be 10 years before you see another amazing display of championship golf like this. I mean, this was an all-time classic!

See you on #1 tee ready to hit some amazing shots… Sam

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