2019 Year in Review – A Year of Growth

Happy New Year!! And Auld lang syne and all of that jazz. As we kiss good-bye to the year 2019 and welcome in 2020 I just want to wish everyone a very happy and safe 2020. I sincerely hope that 2020 is a happy and healthy year for all of you.

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Without all of you, I’ll be honest. There would be no Until The Next Tee. It’s my readers that drive me, wanting to educate golfers about golf equipment, apparel, the occasional tip, and sometimes talk about what it’s like to have toiled in golf Mini-Tours. Especially, considering it was during a time that I likely shouldn’t have been. My swing was undergoing weekly changes back then. Of course, I’m not shy about sharing my opinion on the game that I love so much. Sometimes, we have to hurt the ones that we love right?

As I look back on 2019 there are so many things that I can take away from it. Personally, golf-related, and blog-related too. Accomplishments that I wasn’t sure would be possible. So what were some of the accomplishments and highlights from 2019.

  • January saw me attending the PGA Show with my wife Crystal. It was her first time attending the show. The show was excellent and if there was one thing that I learned it was this. The parity in the industry from company to company was crazy good. For the most part, when it came to drivers/metalwoods that real determining factor separating one from the other was the shaft, The technology in this industry is at a point where I often wonder “where do they go from here?” and I guess we’ll find out in a couple of weeks at the 2020 PGA Show.

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  • March saw me back in Florida and playing golf testing the likes of Ben Hogan Equalizer wedges and playing my first real golf since my Stroke. It was a long fight back. From learning how to walk again (September to November) to walking the fairways again. Always remember to #fightandgrind.
  • The golf season here got off to a very slow start. Never in my life can I recall a spring like we had in 2019. Rains of biblical proportions kept courses underwater and for the most part, closed. Including Scenic Woods Golf Club where I worked for the second season.
  • Once the rains ceased and the course was able to have carts on it (no paths to really speak of) it was “go time”. That didn’t happen until June. I started off sort of slow and struggled at times with my golf swing. I admit that I was making compensatory moves because of the weakness on my left side from the Stroke. I was shorter and lacked power and balance. It’s amazing that as the season progressed my game really improved.
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Loving life on the golf course. Comfortable in my skin out there.

  • 2019 offered me a chance to work with companies that I never worked with prior to 2019 when it came to reviews. Golf manufacturers like SkyCaddie, Lamkin Grips, TaylorMade Golf (Canada), ZOOMTEE, Bridgestone Golf, Tour Edge Golf, and SUB 70 Golf to name a few. Thank you to all of those manufacturers for taking a chance on me.
  • When the dust settled on playing in 2019, the golf season was very kind to me. It was the lowest scoring average that I’ve ever seen since I started to play golf. Ironically, the Stroke might have helped. My left side is my dominant side and that was the side that was affected. It smoothened out my tempo. I’ve since gained strength, so we’ll see how it goes moving into 2020.
  • My First Ace. It was unwitnessed. But I swear, that it really happened.
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Approach shots like this became frequent in 2019 as the season wore on. My proximity to the pin made Birdies easy.

  • My low round was a -7 (65) 4x. My lowest total for 9 was a -6 (29).
  • I became a Member of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada and the International Network of Golfers.
  • Until The Next Tee. When I started as Alexander Toth Golf I was happy if one person read what I had to say. After gaining traction I rebranded in 2017. I thought I made a mistake. I only had 8,500 views that year. 2018 saw growth to 28,900 views. 2019 saw even more growth. Call it 70,000 views (at the time of writing 68,730 to be precise). When I say thank-you, I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Thank-you.

Well, that wraps up 2019 with a tidy little bow. If I may be so bold, I would love all of you to spread the word about Until The Next Tee. Please help me make 2020 the best year yet.

Late in 2019, I’ve been experimenting with “Live Twitter” and a little more video. Look for more of this in 2020 as I am getting used to being on camera. Look for #teeboxchatter. The coverage from the 2020 PGA Show will be aggressive.

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind

2020 Major Predictions – PGA TOUR

As the calendar winds down on the calendar for the year 2019 there are many things to look at and think about. Tigers Woods wins at The Masters and in doing do he collectively “flipped off” all of the naysayers who said that he was done. How does crow taste by the way?

At Bethpage, the polarizing Brooks Koepka claimed the Wanamaker Trophy in winning the PGA Championship. He may not win regular events, but he’s a threat every time he tees it up in a Major. The very likable Gary Woodland won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. His first Major championship. You had a feeling that it was going to come eventually. But if there was a newly minted Major champion that you have to like and feel good about. Shane Lowry would be that guy. It was fun watching him win the Open Championship. He really ended up running away with the Claret Jug besting runner-up Tommy Fleetwood by 6 strokes.

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Lowry signing autographs at the 2017 RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey.

As we fast-forward to 2020 I thought that it might be fun to make bold predictions regarding the 2020 Major tournaments. Oh, and before anyone suggests it, no I will not talk about The Players Championship. My opinion is to just leave it as it is. A stand-alone tournament for… The Players. So without further delay. Here we go!

(Injuries and unforeseen circumstances can really put a damper on these things)

 

The Masters – Is it just me or can you practically smell the azaleas, dogwood, and pine straw already. Honestly, I don’t know what it smells like there but I have an image, or smell, conjured in my imagination. It’d be easy to pick Tiger to win The Masters and repeat. Seeing that, as it stands now he is the favorite to win again according to oddsmakers. So with that said. Here’s my pick. This guy made putts on the fast and firm greens of Royal Melbourne during the Presidents Cup. He’s long and has the control. My pick. Justin Thomas.

PGA Championship – TPC Harding Park will be the venue for the 2020 PGA Championship. The “San Francisco Treat” was named after avid golfer and former President, Warren G. Harding and opened in 1925. Tight tree-lined fairways and small undulating greens were the norms of courses designed in this time frame. A premium will be placed on accuracy and iron play. Will length be a determining factor in this one? Maybe not. Then again, is length really a factor for many of these guys?

My pick had a sneaky journeyman-like 2019 campaign. A pretty good striker of the golf ball his iron play is solid, putting is good and has adequate length for a 7,200-yard golf course. Currently ranked #8 in the world. My pick is Justin Rose to heave the Wanamaker Trophy over his head. Sorry about the jinx Rosey!

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Photo Credit: PGA.com

The U.S. Open – A Father’s Day tradition. Sticking with the theme of golf courses designed in the 1920’s Winged Foot Golf Club is another golf course that features tight fairways and distinct green complexes. The A.W. Tillinghast-designed gem has hosted a cacophony of major events including some prior U.S. Open’s. What separates this course from TPC Harding Park? The USGA. I hope the USGA does what it does best. Set the course up in such a way that it makes professional golfers irate.

If this thing ends up a “Battle of Attrition” you have to like Brooks Koepka‘s chances. It might be an unpopular choice because he’s as polarizing a player as there is in professional golf. He may not win a ton of PGA TOUR events but he really shows up for the Major’s and he loves the U.S. Open. We don’t know how bad his injury truly is that kept him out of the Presidents Cup.  His health could be a factor.

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The Open Championship – The 149th Open Championship will take place at Royal St. George’s. The venue last hosted the Open Championship in 2011 which was won by Darren Clarke (his first and last). While I can see the likes of Rose and Tommy Fleetwood contending here I think both come up just short. Weather is always a factor during the Open Championship perhaps a little less so in England than in Scotland or Ireland for that matter. So if it’s cold and crappy out that could hurt an “old guy” riddled with past injuries (Tiger Woods).

With all things being equal and taking the lousiest weather conditions into consideration I like Rory McIlroy to win the Open Championship. He had a solid 2019, really solid in fact and I just think he’ll continue to roll in 2020.

 

The maiden 2 Royal St Georges

It’ll be fun to watch all of the Major championships in 2020. I think the collection of courses by architects of the 1920s makes the events more intriguing. You know what else will be fun? Watching my picks “crash and burn”.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

The Presidents Cup Day 4 – Gimmes (TEAM USA Wins)

Well, a heartfelt congratulations go out to the team representing the United States for staging a comeback in the 2019 Presidents Cup. With the victory (16-14), the team led by Captain Tiger Woods retains the cup and of course, another accomplishment has now been added to Tiger’s impressive resume. Here are my final gimmes from the Presidents Cup.

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  • Well, I guess I have to come clean first. I was wrong. Dead wrong. I called for a bloodbath. Total decimation of the International Team before the event began. I was wrong. The International Team fought and ground their way into a lead. The leadership shown by Captain Ernie Els was exemplary. He had a plan and stuck with it. A man of conviction. I respect that as I am the same type of person.
  • Staying with the International Team for a second. They took the American side to the limit. With seven rookies! This bodes well for the future of not only the Presidents Cup but the International Team as well. We’ll be looking back at the 2019 Presidents Cup as a turning point of this event.
  • Was it just me or was this fun and compelling television to watch? I never get behind the Presidents Cup. I can say the word “never” again.
  • Patrick Reed. He played some dominant golf, didn’t he? He whumped C.T Pan 4&2 with coach Kevin Kirk on the bag. It’s amazing how the tone on social media towards him changed. It goes to show, everyone loves a winner.

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  • How much credit for the U.S. victory should go to the Vice-Captains. Steve Stricker, Fred Couples, and Zach Johnson. Someone had to keep the mice away while the big “Cat” was at play. Tiger assembled a great support staff including of course Couples who himself has led the U.S. to a Presidents Cup on three occasions.
  • Abraham Ancer. He wanted Tiger in November. He got him and he lost 3&2. Golf Twitter was all over him for it last night. The same people that were all over Reed until last night. Know this, Ancer will be better for it and now the golf world has taken note of the diminutive man from Mexico.
  • Tell me that this victory meant nothing to Tiger. His eyes were filled with tears when all was said and done.

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  • Whoa, Nelly. Adam Scott. Boy, did the native Aussie ever put his back against the wall in his match against Schauffele. He was 4 DN at one point.
  • Sungjae Im. How good is he?
  • I love watching the European Tour this time of the year. Because of it, I have gotten to see Cameron Smith over the last couple of years. He’ll be a Major winner. Oh, did I mention that he beat Justin Thomas?
  • Hideki Matsuyama. Well, he let that point slip away. His tied point was a loss
  • Imagine if this cup would have ended in a tie.

Well, that wraps up my coverage for the 2019 Presidents Cup. Hopefully, when the event is next held in 2021 at Quail Hollow Club (Charlotte, NC) it’s just as exciting.

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee #untilthenexttee

Day Two President’s Cup – Gimmes

As I sit down and write this the International Team leads the United Staes Team 6.5-3.5. Here are my “Gimmes” from Day Two at the Presidents Cup.

  • Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas are en fuego. They are dynamic, they are a duo thus qualifying them as a “Dynamic Duo”. That putt that JT made on 18 was clutch and who knows? That could be the turning point in the Presidents Cup. Without it, this might be over in a way that I never saw coming.
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Photo Credit: Golf Digest

  • Speaking of not seeing it coming. I expected this event to be a bloodbath as I thought that the International Team would be decimated by the favourite American side. Instead, this International has shown great chemistry and they look like a team. Whatever you’re doing Ernie, keep doing it. Much has been said of analytics. Ernie Els for Team Captain every Presidents Cup.
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Photo Credit: Golf Digest

  • O Canada! Yep, it’s time for me to wave my flag. Adam Hadwin is 1-1 in his matches. I enjoy watching him. His game is underrated and to be honest, it’s like watching a right-handed Mike Weir in his prime. Waggle and all.
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Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • That Louie Oosthuizen and Adam Scott pairing. Is there a prettier twosome of swings to watch than those two. Especially Louie, he’s so efficient in his move.
  • Tiger is 2-0 in his matches. Not like he had to but he’s proved to the world that he “deserved” to be a playing captain. Now it’s just a matter of how many matches he plays in. 3, 4 or could it be conceivable he plays in all 5? I’m guessing he sits out Match #3.
  • Sticking with Tiger. Is he a masochist? He might be because he’s stuck poor Webb Simpson with the “lightning rod of controversy” Patrick Reed.
  • I was going to abstain from talking about Patrick Reed… Again. I mean it’s like flogging a dead horse at this point. Nice antics there, bud. Mocking the shoveling motion after draining that putt. I’ve been objective when it comes to you, as I should be as a writer. I looked up the definition of moron and there was your picture. Hey bud, you were down and lost the match 3&2. My advice, look at the scoreboard. You never chirp or taunt when you’re down. Na or Kisner should have been there and not you. Time to take a seat.

  • The PGA TOUR. I don’t know who’s running your Twitter or social accounts. But suggesting he was having fun is a delusional statement. It was just last week in one of your events that Reed did what he did. Now you’re enabling it? Very foolhardy. Oh and one other thing. The United States is not playing the Aussies. It’s the International Team. Get your facts straight.

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee #untilthenexttee

Video Log – November 14th, 2019

Practicing at 10 at night? Sure why not? Getting in swings at the UTNT Practice Center for Deprived Golfers. Taking swings with the 699 irons from SUB 70, 1031 Forged irons from New Level Golf Equipment and wedges from Ben Hogan. Getting ready for the PGA Show with the Exhibitor List now posted (somewhat) and enjoying a 3 Speed Lager from Amsterdam Brewing. #nooffseason

 

Golf Playoffs and Golf Fitness

A rare PSA. Tomorrow is Remembrance Day (Canada Day/The United Kingdom/Commonwealth), Veteran’s Day (United States) and Armistice Day (France). Please respect those that have fought, fallen, sacrificed or continue to fight for our freedom by observing a minute of silence at 11 a.m. 

On the 11th Day, of the 11th Month, at the 11th Hour the guns fell silent to signal the end of WWI in 1918. If your country wears a poppy please wear one out of respect.

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below….”
– In Flanders Field by John McRae
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The National War Memorial. (Photo Credit: Crystal Toth)

In a show of hands. Who amongst us likes the current playoff formats for the respective professional golf tours around the world? I admit it, I can’t see the hands but speaking for myself I cannot stand them nor have I ever liked them.

It doesn’t matter which tour it is. It could be the LPGA Tour (Race to CME Globe), the Race to Dubai (European Tour), the PGA TOUR and their FedEx Cup Playoffs or the PGA TOUR Champions (Charles Schwab Cup). It’s of little consequence to me.

I don’t like them and I think it’s because it’s partially convoluted (too many moving parts) and personally speaking I think that it’s overthought. Honestly, I think they have the system sort of correct where they whittle down the field gradually. To a point wherein the case of the FedEx Cup they get the field down to 30 for the TOUR Championship at East Lake. However, after that, you need to be a mathematician and algorithm genius to figure things out. Look no further than this weekend at Charles Schwab Cup finale in Arizona on PGA TOUR Champions (can’t we just go back to Champion’s Tour?). Instead of getting a headache I’ll let esteemed writer Ron Mintz take the lead from Tweets this morning.

https://twitter.com/MintzGolf/status/1193353649369616384?s=20

Just reading it, I get overwhelmed with a headache. But yes, that’s how it cracked down if you’ve been watching this week at all. Between this (as I describe it) “tomfoolery” it seems like the system isn’t quite right. But I have a suggestion and maybe I’m oversimplifying things a tad. What about using the points system as they have in place and when it gets down to the final 30 or 40 or even 50 reset the points to zero. Introduce Match Play to the final event. Where the winner takes all? Too easy?

Golf fitness. I’ve recently posted about there being #nooffseason when it comes to golf. There’s always something that needs to be improved. Maybe you need to experiment with a grip change. When the snow flies, this is a great time to do it. Or maybe, your putting stroke needs work? By getting a Big Moss, PuttOut or BirdieBall putting matt you can work on your game if your season is hampered by the blast of “Old Man Winter’s Wind”. I will be experimenting with a few things. I’m looking for a little more distance during my golf “cease-fire” and it’s the distance that I lost after my stroke. But, I’m having a little gander and David Leadbetter’s “A Swing” because I’m thinking of making things a little more compact. But I’ve also gotten back to the gym.

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Hoping to turn my chicken legs into at least turkey legs.

I bought my gym membership a few days ago, but I was feeling really off. A combination of cardiac-type issues and depression. I managed to force myself up and out a few days ago and since I haven’t had a day where I didn’t work out. Who knows, maybe it’ll lead to a better mind and better golf. Seeing that I’m just getting back into it, I am going easy. I’m combining circuit-training and then alternating days of legs/back with arms/chest. Core days are every day. Cardio is important of course for weight maintenance (I want to lose a few pounds/gain muscle and tone). So I’ll be trying to post updates. Above is my blank canvas. Man, I got so weak. Today, I added “Battle Ropes” to my repertoire. Yep, those are going to be fun and the death of me.

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Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

The Pick’s Are In – Tiger Woods’ Picks

The night before Captain Ernie Els selected his Captain’s Picks and for the most part there weren’t any serious surprises. Although, this writer still takes Corey Conners over Joaquin Niemann every time. Especially considering, when we’re talking about a difference of one spot in the OWGR and the year that Conners had. Uh-oh… Here I go again. Stop it Alex. Oh no, now I’m talking in the third person. Hey! Speaking of which.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Last night, from the cozy confines of The Woods in Jupiter, Florida Tiger Woods took to the camera and made his Captain’s Picks for the U.S. Team at the upcoming President’s Cup set to take place at Royal Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. I actually tuned in to catch the picks being made and I prognosticated my picks just before he made them. Apparently, the stream, however, was on a bit of a tape delay. My predictions were…

To be totally honest, I don’t know what made me think Fowler (perhaps past success in team events) but I know why I selected Na. The guy (love or hate him) had a seriously good campaign in 2019. As much as I was gung-ho on Conners for the International team I was more than that about Na for the American team. As we now know, when the dust settled the picks were Tony Finau (totally off of my radar), Woodland (well-earned with a good year and a Major title), Patrick Reed who apparently mended the right fences after the Ryder Cup fiasco and Tiger Woods himself.

We all know that Patrick Reed is the guy who can get under an opponent’s skin so he has value there along with a solid resume of winning points for his team. Maybe, I was watching the wrong golf but was his 2019 that good? Of course, I understand that the OWGR isn’t based solely on the current year.

But then there’s the somewhat curious pick of Tiger picking himself and then talking about himself in the third person. Twitter was abuzz about it. Honestly, it really wasn’t that comical and actually, you get used to it after a while. I get it though. He won The Masters, just finished winning his 82nd event at the ZOZO and ultimately is ranked 7th in the OWGR. ranking alone, yes he should have been there. But then Paul McGinley had a great point.

While Na is no spring chicken at 36 years of age if you go by McGinley’s Tweet and the reason for the task force wouldn’t you get a kid like Matthew Wolff, or Collin Morikawa a shot as “Wild Card” picks? Now hear me out. The International Team has only won on one occasion with one draw for good measure. Wouldn’t this have been a good litmus test based on the reason why the task force was set up in the first place? The President’s Cup while being a competition is no contest. If It were the Ryder Cup, I actually support Tiger picking himself. But he actually let on that he would likely play in minimal matches.

Maybe just maybe Tiger picking himself was a two-fold situation. Partially driven by the PGA of America to boost ratings and maybe… Just maybe an ego thing? Another feather in the cap of “The Legend of Tiger Woods”. Let’s be honest here. Him just being there as a Captain will mean that he’ll be on camera a lot. The broadcasting agencies could introduce us to “The Captain Cam”.. Great for viewers looking to see him. But Tiger as a Playing Captain will entice viewers more. Just food for thought.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee