Posts Tagged ‘Zach Johnson’

Junior Golf: Ryder Cup Excitement Begins

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at today’s start of The 41st Ryder Cup from Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. This is a team matchplay event where 12 of the best US men’s golfers compete against the best 12 from Europe.img_0106

If you’re not already recording it, I suggest you set the TiVo right now. Coverage starts on the Golf Channel at 730am central time today and goes until 600pm. Saturday’s coverage is 800am-600pm on NBC. Sunday’s broadcast time is 1100am-500pm again on NBC. We always record an additional hour in case the event runs long. Ties count and there is not a playoff but weather delays and other unknowns might cause matches to run longer than usual. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

You will hear 3 types of matches discussed. These 1st 2 are a bit confusing. Foursomes refers to 4 players, 2 2-man teams, in each group and it is played where team members hit every other shot with 1 team member hitting 1st on odd-numbered holes and the other hitting 1st on even-numbered holes. Often both players in singles play, use very different golf balls. Different degrees of firmness/softness and high spin vs low spin means the teammates must find a compromise ball since they aren’t allowed to switch balls each shot. The pros are so finely tuned to the feel of their golf ball that switching to another ball takes a lot of practice. It is very different. Yardages, amount of draw or fade, spin rates and backspin all are impacted. There’s a ton of pressure on Foursomes since you really don’t want to hit a poor shot which leaves your partner facing a very difficult next shot. You don’t want to let your partner down. Each team’s score is recorded on every hole and low score out of the 2 team scores wins the hole.

Fourballs is also 2 2-man teams playing against each other. All 4 players play their own ball through the hole and the low score for each 2-man team is recorded. Lowest score of the 2 team scores wins the hole.

Singles are on Sunday and the 12 matches will include every player on each team, 1 US player vs 1 European player. It’s very straightforward. Low score wins the hole.

Each of the 28 total matches is worth 1 point. The winning team of each match gets 1 point, the losing team gets 0 points and if the match is tied/halved, each team gets ½ point. The 1st team to reach 14 and1/2 points wins the Ryder Cup. If the teams tie at 14-14 the previous Ryder Cup winning team retains the Cup. (image agtgolftours.com)

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The crowds are very loud for golf tournaments. There will be more European fans than you could possibly imagine and they are loud. The enthusiasm and energy of the players and fans is unique and contagious. Pretty much every player will tell you that this is the 1 event where their knees are literally shaking on #1 tee. I mean, you’re playing for your flag, your country, your national pride. It’s so different than playing for oneself. I think it was Zach Johnson that said there was tremendous pressure on every shot in a Ryder Cup because the stakes are so high and the pressure on the 1st tee was insane! It’s a lifetime achievement for these guys, certainly equal to or close to the equal of winning major championships.

Please have your junior golfer watch some of this event. It should certainly excite him and inspire him to dream more and dream bigger. The excitement is contagious!

See you on #1 tee looking proud of your country… Sam

Junior Golf: St. Andrew’s Ultimate Lesson

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at the Ultimate Lesson from St. Andrews and this year’s Open Championship and put it in a junior golf perspective. So what on earth is the Ultimate Lesson we take from last week’s major championship? (photo from offcoursegolf.com)

It is learning how to win and how to lose with grace. Often we tell our kids that although losing can be painful and very tough, it is important to be decent and polite, even though you did not take 1st place. While being a good loser is frowned upon by some and they think everyone who ends up in 2nd place or lower should be mad or disrespect the winner. We disagree.

There is losing, where your child makes unforced errors and ends up being out of the running. And there is plain old just getting beat, where someone makes better shots and has a lower score. The response although difficult should be the same. Congratulate the winner and move on. This is not the last round of golf to be played. And whether your youngster lost or got beat, depending on her age, it may be hard for her to differentiate between the two. Doesn’t really matter as a serious golfer should always be seeking to improve her game.

Zach Johnson won The Open Championship with humility and grace. He played better than everyone else. His emotional press conference was a classic in how to gracefully and respectfully respond to winning a huge event. He gave God praise and thanks for his talent, he said the win would not define him, but his family and kids would. A class act, congratulations Zach!

And Jordan Spieth, who was certainly shocked when he saw his approach shot on the last hole land near the pin and then spin back some 20 feet, off the green. His birdie putt, to make the playoff, was hole high and an inch or 2 left of the cup. A good effort, just not good enough this time. Most players, once they see they are not in the playoff, head straight for the airport and get out of Dodge. Not Jordan. He followed the guys in the playoff, stayed to congratulate Zach on his win and even drank out of the Claret Jug. Nothing but class! (photo from usatftw.files.wordpress.com)

imageS3 is 4 and 1 in playoffs and the 1 defeat is from his opponent making a birdie on the 1st playoff hole. S3 was disappointed, but played well enough to make the playoff and he just got beat, period. So he sincerely congratulated the winner, accepted the 2nd place trophy and then we went home. A decent day really.

Golf tournaments at any level are hard to win so when your junior golfer is seriously contending with a few holes left, they really want to win. Different kinds of pressure show up in these instances and can make those last few holes very challenging. And winning is more fun than losing, but she needs to respond properly in either case.

Remind her that she will have many more golf tournaments and encourage her to keep improving her skills.

See you on #1 tee…with a smile on her face… Sam

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