Posts Tagged ‘Rickie Fowler’

Junior Golf: U.S. Open Takeaways

In this Monday Mulligan let’s see what we can learn from this most recent U.S. Open.

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Photocredit:jennleforge.com

Here are some takeaways:
Even a tough course can give up a lot of birdies when it is softened by rain and there is little to no wind. This was the case Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
As the course dries out and the wind picks up, everything changes. Now the course can begin to play like the designers and selection committee intended. This was the case yesterday. Erin Hills was tougher than it had been.
There will always be a winner. Sometimes there’s a playoff, but usually 1 player rises to the occasion and handles the tough conditions and serious pressure better than everyone else. Brooks Koepka did this yesterday.
Winners handle pressure better. They perform better under it. When Brooks was asked about the pressure of being in contention for a U.S. Open title, he said he couldn’t imagine being under more pressure than he was at the previous Ryder Cup. They’ll all tell you that the pressure of playing for one’s country and teammates is much greater than playing for yourself! So Brooks had already experienced, in his mind, which is what counts, more pressure than he would feel currently.
Patience on the golf course counts, particularly in tough conditions. One of the announcers mentioned that Rickie Fowler started swinging all out with his irons during yesterday’s round and this was the point where he lost his game just enough to get out of contention. Anyone remember the “swing easy when it’s breezy”?
When it’s going good, don’t change it. Brooks was in the zone, hitting fairways and greens and making putts. This is a winning combination. When all the others near the top of the leaderboard stumbled for a hole or 2, Brooks stayed confident with his game and kept on making good shots.

What does this mean for your son/daughter and their junior golf career? To begin with, the more they play tough courses in tough conditions, the more confident they will become. They will begin to understand that everybody is playing the same course in the same conditions and whoever stays calm and patient will have a chance to win.

They will realize that a winner will always be crowned, no matter the score, as long as it’s the lowest and no matter how good, bad or ugly the golf course is. Hey, a win is a win!

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Photocredit:pgatour.com

He/she will start to realize that there is always pressure. It can come from any and all directions and how your youngster handles that pressure will have a huge impact on their score. Depending on your kiddo’s personality, his/her ability to deal with pressure will manifest itself differently.

There are times that your child will play better than others. Encourage them to relax, stay confident and keep on doing what they’re doing. Enjoy it!

Hope you enjoyed watching Brooks win his 1st major. It was great viewing!

See you on #1 tee with confidence… Sam

Junior Golf: 3 Lessons From The Thrilling Final Round Of The Masters

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will take a look at 1 of the most exciting days ever in a professional golf tournament. There were so many incredible happenings that the announcers were peddling as fast as they could just to try to keep up!m

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photocredit:jennleforge.com

Here are some things Linda and I hope you will review with the junior golfer in your family:
Predictions are only worth so much. With a star-studded leaderboard, the announcers were discussing possible outcomes from Sunday’s play. While Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose, in the final group were serious contenders, most of the talk was about Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler in the next to last pairing. The analysts expected great things from these 2 young guns as each was on a roll and playing well. Sergio on the other hand, was playing in his 61st major and had never won. Justin Rose, with a seriously strong pedigree was given due respect as a possible green jacket winner as were several others in the field. Again, most of the talk was about how Jordan and Rickie were primed to make runs at the title. Perhaps you know the results. Sergio beat Justin on the 1st playoff hole. Jordan shot 75. Rickie shot 76. So much for predictions!
Sir Nick hasn’t seen everything. When Russell Henley jarred-holed out his 185-yard approach shot on #5 for an eagle it was a flag-rattling sight. The ball entered the cup on the fly, no bounces. Yes, this has been seen many times previously by all of us. The ball, however, upon entering the hole, actually damaged some turf around the edge of the hole and broke off a piece of the cup, rendering it in need of repair, and of the course, the turf needed to be fixed as well. By rule, a player cannot do these tasks. They must be done by course staff under the auspices of rules officials. So, staff were quickly brought in, the broken tin cup was removed, the turf repaired and a new cup was cut, by rule within the proper distance from the original cup and play was resumed. Sir Nick commented that in all his time around golf and golf tournaments, he had never seen this situation. Very fascinating and interesting stuff!
A very young fan can take home a once-in-a-lifetime memory from The Masters. Matt Kuchar got on a roll on the back 9. On the par 3 16th, he stepped up and hit a 7-iron. The shot looked good in the air, but Matt could only see the flag, not the cup, from the tee box. The thundering roar of the crowd told him his shot had gone in for an ace. What a thrill for all the fans and, of course, Matt. But the biggest thrill, at least for 1 little fan, was yet to come. Kuchar walked up, acknowledged the crowd, pulled his ball from the cup, wiped it off and signed it. As he exited the green he handed the ball to 1 of the youngest golf fans in sight. How old was he? Don’t know but he obviously knew something about golf because he was absolutely elated when Kuchar handed him the autographed ball. What a beautiful gesture by a true gentleman and he gave that boy a treasured memory! That’s what our sport is about! Be sure to check out the link above, it’s worth it!

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photocredit:cnn

There were so many special moments yesterday, there is no way to do them justice here, so let’s wrap up and congratulate Sergio on a great victory!

See you on #1 tee ready to make some memories… Sam

Junior Golf: Making Golf More Fun

In today’s Monday Mulligan let’s take a look at a couple of unique situations where the PGA Tour is helping/allowing golf to be more fun, certainly for many of the fans and for a lot of the players as well. (image jennleforge.com)image

1st we congratulate Hideki Matsuyama on his playoff victory over Webb Simpson in the Phoenix Open. This event at TPC Scottsdale is truly a one-of-a-kind situation. It has by far the largest attendance of any professional golf event in the world with this year’s crowd topping 655,000 with more than 200,000 on Saturday alone. Wow, learn to love those shuttle buses!

It takes a certain type of personality to really be comfortable in this environment. Listen to the words of fun-loving Rickie Fowler, “I love it. You know, it’s a lot of fun. You hear a lot of stuff throughout the course, and it’s louder throughout the rest of the course than other tournaments. Once you get to 16, it’s a completely different story.”

So it’s louder everywhere on the course than the pros are used to during tournament play. Not everyone is comfortable in this environment. And then there’s 16, as in the 16th hole, a short par 3 ranging from about 127 to 155 yards.

As 1 of the TV announcers so graphically described during the play on Saturday. From the player’s perspective: “You walk off of 15 green headed for the tunnel. As you enter it the anticipation of what’s ahead causes a louder more rapid thumping in your chest. And then you exit the tunnel and there it is. Hole #16 at TPC Scottsdale, known during the Phoenix Open as the Stadium Hole, because that’s exactly what it is.

Now your heart is jumping out of your chest, your palms are getting sweaty and the adrenaline is kicking in. Wow, time for some breathing exercises to calm down before it’s your turn to hit.” So when Rickie says 16 is a completely different story, but he loves it, imagine what the guys that don’t love it are going through. The ones that perform best at these type of events are the ones who find some way to embrace the chaos, either through their natural personality or with the help of some mental training. And if they can’t, they may not return next year.

The hole is completely surrounded by seats. More than 20,000 people fill the open seats, the reserved seats and the luxury boxes on this hole and it’s so popular the organizers basically expand the seating capacity every year. It’s an overwhelming sight from a spectators point of view so I can’t imagine what’s going through the mind of a player who needs to hit a good shot. They crowd consumes massive amounts of beverages and is on the rowdy side. They cheer good shots and boo bad ones and no player is immune.

Another unique aspect of this event is that players are allowed to toss souvenirs into the crowd on 16 and this may be on Saturday only since that is regarded as the craziest day. A number of the pros bring items to give away, notably Bubba Watson and Andrew Beef Johnson. It is great to watch!

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Thank you to the PGA Tour and the event organizers for allowing all this fun to take place. Hopefully we’ll see some more fun things show up at other events.

Parents, please remember that you junior golfer wants to enjoy his golf. Find ways to keep the fun factor high. Try doing some things differently. Play some music during practice. Make some noise, but please don’t be rude to other folks on the range. Put some surprises in the works. Tiger’s dad used to drop his golf bag flat on the ground in the middle of his backswing. Check out the look on your boy’s face the 1st time you do that! After the shock, laugh about it, joke about it, come on and inject some fun!

See you on #1 tee ready to handle some noise… 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: Thrilling Olympic Battle

In today’s Monday Mulligan we look at the thrilling final 18 holes of the 2016 Rio Olympics Men’s Golf Competition. It was a classic battle which had a ton a drama and surprises! (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135

Yesterday started off with Justin Rose 1 shot ahead of Henrik Stensen and everybody else was basically fighting for 3rd in theory, at least, because these 2 guys were in good form. Rose appeared unflappable as he had been playing well for the 1st 3 rounds and Stensen had been playing good for weeks and recently won The Open Championship. Probably neither 1 was going to collapse during the final round. Bubba Watson was T4, 6 shots back and Matt Kuchar was T7, 7 shots behind Rose and Rickie Fowler was 9 behind and Patrick Reed was 13 shots down in the pack. Medal hopes for the Americans were not looking good.

With Rose and Stensen trading birdies nobody gave much thought to 3rd place until someone saw that Matt Kuchar, playing a couple of groups ahead of the leaders, had gone 6-under par on holes 5 through 10 and was blasting past people on his way up the leaderboard. Getting a bronze was looking good but a silver or gold was needing 3-under at least on the 3 easier finishing holes. After driving the par 4 16th, Kooch 3-putted for a par. Stuck his tee shot on the par 3 17th to less than 3 feet and made a birdie and just did not hit his 3rd shot close enough on the par 5 18th and made par, so he finished 13-under and locked up the bronze medal.

Meanwhile back in the last group, Stensen pulled even to Rose with a birdie on #17. Now they’re tied going into the par 5 72nd hole. Lead NBC announcer legendary US golfer Johnny Miller said,
“I think whoever birdies this hole wins! I don’t expect both guys will make birdies, the nerves are just too great!” All of the announcers made reference as to how everybody on the course, not just the players was feeling the intense pressure of being the 1st Olympic Golf Gold Medalist in 112 years!

So Henrik was 1st to hit to the 18th green leaving his approach almost 30 feet short of the hole. Then Justin stuck his 3rd shot to maybe 2 feet, pressure, what pressure? Henrik missed his birdie putt so that meant a 2-footer was all that Justin needed to win the gold medal and yes, he made it. Coming down to the final shots on the last hole, what a finish for golf!image

Gold Medal-Justin Rose, Silver Medal-Henrik Stensen, Bronze Medal-Matt Kuchar. Great job guys!

Let me close with some quotes from Matt Kuchar and his USA teammate Bubba Watson. “I can assure you I’ve never been so excited to finish in the top three in my life,” Kuchar told Golf Channel’s Steve Sands. “I can’t explain to you the pride I feel just burning out of my chest. It’s something I haven’t felt before.” Watson, who was in contention for a medal at the start of Sunday’s round, was excited for Kuchar. “I was grinning from ear to ear every time I looked at the leaderboard and saw he was making pars and making birdies, he was going to get a medal. As long as he signed the scorecard the right way, he was going to get a medal.” Can you say team sport?

See you on #1 tee looking to be a part of something bigger than yourself… Sam

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