Posts Tagged ‘Rory McIlroy’

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: Special Moments At Pro Events

In this Friday Flop Shot we are going to suggest some ideas for exciting trips you can plan for your junior golfer and the rest of the family too. (image offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

What type of trip would get everybody fired up? There are 2 major categories. 1st is to attend a pro tournament. With the choices available of the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour and the Web.com Tour, there are quite a few options. The event locations kind of follow the nicer weather, so right now the tournaments are in more of the Southern or warmer states and as the temperature heats up, events will move northward.

See if you can find an event within your geography and budget and book a hotel and buy some tickets. Just do it! Don’t overthink it! Professional golf tournaments are a lot of fun. It really is different being there in person as compared to watching on the TV.

Couple of FYI’s. Depending on your scheduling flexibility you might consider attending during the pro-am days or on Thursday or Friday, when the crowds are smaller. Fewer people means easier parking, easier movement around the course, shorter lines for vendors and restrooms and you and your junior golfer can get closer to the players and actually hear them talk.

Perfect example. A few years ago Rory was playing in the Valero Texas Open, which was uncommon for hm. S3 wanted to see him so we noted Rory’s tee time, this was on a Saturday, was 11:15am. So we went and got to #1 tee on The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio and man were there a ton of people. So Rory and his group teed off and about 99% of the gallery went with them.

There were 2 more groups to tee off so S3 and I moved right up against the ropes about 10 feet from the tee markers. The next group was Billy Horschel, Charley Hoffman and Retief Goosen.

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Here’s a classic conversation: Charley and Billy showed each other the markings on their golf balls just like you are taught in day 1 of junior golf. Great to see this! Then Billy says to Charley, “Our balls are marked pretty similarly, don’t hit my ball.” And Charley replied, “If I do, I’ll hit it in the water!” They both laughed so hard and after they teed off, they were still chatting their way down #1 fairway. A classic moment and a teachable moment at a professional event. (Hoffman image GolfLink.com)

These special one-of-a-kind moments are happening at these big tournaments, but if you don’t go, you won’t experience them.

See you on #1 tee at a pro event… 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.

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 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: What’s The Difference

In today’s Wednesday Waggle will will look at what made a difference. A Tour player is back on top after being kind of in the back of the pack for most of the year. Why is he playing at a high level right now, what’s the difference? (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

It’s Rory of course. Mr. McIlroy had a great win at last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship in the 2nd round of the playoffs. He started Monday’s final round 6 shots back of 3rd-round leader Paul Casey. So what enabled Rory to get in the winner’s spot? Putting, putting, putting. How many times have you heard someone say that to win a golf tournament, you have to make putts?

McIlroy has hit a bunch of good shots this year but his putting has not been good. So he changed from a Nike to a Scotty Cameron putter and hired Henrik Stensen’s putting coach. So basically in 1 week his putting improved dramatically to 7th in the field in strokes gained putting. In other words he made a bunch of putts, enough to win! (photo golfdigest.com)image

What does this mean for your daughter? Well, how is her putting? Does she make most of her 3-footers, like 100%? Then look at 8 feet, which she can try for 2 out of 3 and then 20 feet where the goal is to NOT 3-putt.

Remember that the short game, chipping and putting is where she can lower her score the quickest. Have her fitted for a new putter. Get a putting aid, there are a ton of them at all price ranges. And practice. Watch Golf Channel Academy putting instructional videos, they’re free. There’s a lot she can do to improve her score. And yes Dad and Mom she needs your help.

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

Junior Golf: Enjoy Family And Friends

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we will be brief and encourage you to enjoy the day with family and friends. Retailers are mostly open today, but financial institutions and federal offices are closed.

There are some very good sales at some of the golf websites. If shopping is not your thing, final round coverage from TPC Boston begins at 10:30am on The Golf Channel and switches to NBC at 12:30pm, all times central. Set your TiVo or watch it live. There are 10 guys within 3 shots of the leaders, Rory McIlroy and Paul Casey. Winds are supposed to pick up later in the day so it could be a wild finish!

Take a breath, relax and enjoy the day! See you on #1 tee, looking relaxed… Sam

Junior Golf: Unexpected Results

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at unexpected results, what happens when your son’s round of golf doesn’t look anything like you thought it would or should, or what we, his team, were expecting.img_0106

A perfect example is yesterday’s 1st round results at the PGA Championship. 2 of the biggest favorites will need to have a great round today or miss the cut. Rory McIlroy had a 4-over par 74, with 35 putts. Please note that most tour pros would love to average 27-28 putts per round, or less, so 35 is horrible. Now Dustin Johnson, winner or 2 events in a row not that long ago blew up to a 77, what’s up with that? (photo offcoursegolf.com)

Along with Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Ricky Fowler, these were most of the top names being picked to win the 4th major of 2016. Let’s see, Jimmy Walker and Martin Kaymer, who are they again? Well, Martin has won 2 majors and Jimmy has won 5 times in the previous 2 years, but neither has had a lot going on this year. How is Jimmy leading and how is Martin tied for 4th with Henrik among others, after 1 round?

Jimmy said he grew up playing a Tillighast course, I think referring to our wonderful Brackenridge Park Golf Course, Old Brack, here in San Antonio. The big greens, generous fairways and bunker placements were familiar to him. Folks, the pros favor some courses over others and pleasing to the eye, familiarity, acceptability of their preferred shot shape, etc are big deals. It’s a bonus to Jimmy that a course in a major feels comfortable to him. (Jimmy Walker photo pga.com)

PGA: PGA Championship - First Round

Jul 28, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; Jimmy Walker reacts to the crowd after making a putt on 17th hole during the first round of the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC – Lower Course. Mandatory Credit: Eric Sucar-USA TODAY Sports

And Martin Kaymer, in majors he’s either really on or really off and if it’s an on week for him, look out. He can get in a serious zone. Let’s not forget Henrik Stensen, winner of The Open Championship 2 weeks ago, he’s and Martin are only 2 shots back. No disrespect to the other players in the top 10 after round 1, but you can look up the complete leaderboard online.

What does this mean to you and your junior golfer? Competitive sports is tough, it’s like life, things happen! Good things and bad things happen and many cannot be readily explained. It’s getting back up to hit another shot that counts. Believing that the next shot will be a good shot counts even more! I can assure you that there were times S3 looked like he was ready to cry, faint or throw up after hitting a bad shot or having a bad hole. Sometimes he got over it on the next tee box and sometimes it took a few holes, but he got over it during the round, usually finishing with a strong final 3 holes, at least.

Being an encourager is 1 of the most important roles for a parent. Remember that just because your son has been playing great recently does not mean he will play great in his next event. The encouragement must be that nobody plays great all the time, but he, your son, must believe he can hit a good shot after hitting a poor 1. Positive, positive, positive! If you get knocked down, you get back up. Forget the bad, focus on the good.

Let’s enjoy this great golf weekend! The Women’s Open Championship is in progress and of course we have the rest of the Men’s PGA Championship. Get the TiVo going!

See you on #1 tee expecting good shots… Sam

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