This week’s PGA Tour stop was the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The hole of “The People’s Tournament” where the rowdiest, rocking, raucous fans gather around the 16th Hole. It’s a stadium atmosphere that by no accident happens to be on the same weekend as the Super Bowl. Honestly, I wish golf had more of this but this is what makes this tournament so special. It’s their baby… it’s the very entity of this event. What often is forgotten about the WM Phoenix Open is the fact that this tournament has raised $122 M USD for Arizona Charities.

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The Thunderbirds do their thing… one day I will be there too. (Photo Credit: WM Phoenix Open)

This week was different as well because we saw the PGA TOUR debut of Matthew Wolff. Wolff, is a 19 year old amateur who plays collegiate golf at Oklahoma State University (yes… the same OSU as alum Rickie Fowler). He was a First Team All-American as a freshman and won his final three events last fall. A swing that can win quite obviously… right?!

According to the “Golf Twitterverse” Wolff’s swing as unorthodox as it “seems” drew the ire of the “keyboard warriors” that are all “PGA Professionals” amongst us. Some of the comments that I read were things like

  • “I have seen better swings in my golf league”.
  • “That swing is just yuck”.
  • “That’s a gross swing FR”.

Basically, there were plenty of people insinuating that his swing was trash. A total “Dumpster Fire”. Basically, if you think that this swing is trash you must also think that Jim Furyk and Ryan Moore are also trash and have no idea of the golf swing in general.The first thing that you need to consider is this. It doesn’t matter how you get to the top… it’s how you get to the bottom. The swing is the most important in the approximately 24″ before and post impact. When I work with students I ask a couple of questions the first time that I work with someone. The first is “Do you have any health impediments?”. The second question is this.

“What do these swings have in common with each other. Annika Sorenstam, 2000 Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott and Ryan Moore have in common?”

The answer is almost always “No idea”. So I enlighten them with the easy answer. It’s where they’re at pre-impact, impact and post-impact”. There is NO ONE correct way to swing a golf club. All of those swings proves the point.

Here’s my take on his swing.

  1. His waggle is a mechanism to get things rolling. I’ve never met him but maybe there’s a hint that he has to keep moving.
  2. He takes the golf club outside a little bit like Jim Furyk or Ryan Moore. In a way that is sort of similar to elements of Leadbetter’s “A-Swing”. Note the downturn of his lead shoulder.
  3. Notice the left heel. Hi lead heel. He lifts it like so many of the greats. For that reason his swing will last through the years and will likely prevent him from major back issues.
  4. He plants the heel… stimulating the transition.
  5. As steep as it is… he flattens his plane with lag to burn. Pause at .02.
  6. Wolff extends great thru impact and down the line

Essentially, there’s a ton of good going on in his swing… and it clearly displays the power and why he’s won.

The long and short of this is to simply… “Swing your swing”. Oh… he also made the cut too!

***I will elaborate on Ho Sung Choi in the near future

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

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The time has come!! It’s time for #OurOpen.

This week marks the playing of the RBC Canadian Open which once again will be contested at the course that “Jack Built”. Glen Abbey Golf Club.The course located in Oakville, Ontario (not far from Ontario’s Capital Toronto) was the first solo design of Mr. Nicklaus. Unfortunately, the course (as historic as it is) has been mired in uncertainty.

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All too often that we see golf courses give way to housing and real estate developments. The reality is that real estate is worth way more  than a golf course is… especially when we’re talking about the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The GTA is literally enveloping the surrounding periphery of its greater metropolitan area and there is a premium on multi-million dollar condominiums. It remains to be seen if this will be the last Canadian Open held at the storied golf course but if it were to be a star-studded field will be the pre-cursor to the final curtain. Personally, I don’t think that this will be the final Open for “The Abbey”. I base that conclusion on nothing more than a hunch.

I always love to attend practice rounds when I get a chance. Personally speaking, I’d rather attend a practice round (day) then the actual events. There’s just so much to do and see. So I took advantage of Tuesday which has free admission to attend. even though I was miffed at my “Open Snub” for media credentials I was still excited to make a day of it. So I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and after walking the dog (who chased two raccoons as we walked out the door) and showering it was time to make the roughly 55 minute drive. If you’ve never attended the Canadian Open at Glen Abbey the organizers do a fantastic job at arranging shuttle buses leaving from various locations around the city.

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The air was sort of heavy with the smell of dew and freshly cut grass. Really, it was more sweet than anything. But as I walked deeper into the venue and walked through security there was a sort of buzz. I watched the first fairway as there was one lone golfer (Tyrone Van Aswegen) and his caddie walking towards the first green getting in some early work. Oh to be in that position. But, I made my way to the green complex of the Par 3 7th hole which is home to “The Rink”. Adorned with a hockey net that entices the field to take a “shot” at “our game”, boards that make it look like a hockey rink and lastly a real Zamboni it really adds a dimension that makes the event feel uniquely Canadian.

I made my way to the range where there was a bevy of activity. However, if I do have one “beef” about Glen Abbey as a host site for the RBC Canadian Open it’s that the practice grounds are not fan friendly. While there is a spot to view from overlooking the short game area what there isn’t is a good vantage point for watching the players on the range. The way that they set it up makes you feel like you’re miles away from the action. But you can see the players warm up. Sabbatini, Hahn, Schneiderjans, Jimmy Walker, Tringale, Abraham Ancer, Joaquin Niemann and Sergio to name a few. Some of the events really big names like DJ, Kooch, Bubba, Sneds were elsewhere off-site. One of these days I’ll catch Sneds and Kooch.

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While there I took the time to walk the course. Spots that I’ve never seen like “The Valley”. A section of the course that consists of holes 11 through 15. I walked halfway down it when I realized that I had to climb back up. I survived unscathed much to my delight. For a while I stuck around a group that consisted of Wesley Bryan, Domenic Bozzelli and Harold Varner III. With hopes of catching Sergio Garcia I headed back towards the practice area and holes 6 and 7. Sure enough, there was a throng of golfers and looking much like the “Pied Piper” there was Sergio Garcia and his playing partners. So I sat in one of the “Muskoka Chairs” that sat by the 6th green. Waiting patiently. his group appeared on the sixth tee. His tee shot was pulled left and came to rest nestled in the rough amongst the trees. Sergio got to his second shot and went through his pre-shot routine a thought emerged. “He’s pulling this left” I nonchalantly said to another spectator. He made his swing and then it happened. I heard a ball whizz by my head and land about 2 feet away from me. Indeed he yanked his shot left. He sort of chunked his pitch and left it a tad short. After studying the green with his caddie and group off to 7 Sergio went signing a few autographs along the way

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I planned to stay the entire day but an early wake-up, poor sleep, hot weather and hunger pains later I decided to head home. Rain threatened all day and there is  more rain on the way. The Superintendent and his crew have The Abbey looking great. The greens were receptive and will be even more so with more expected rain. I have no doubt that the players will go deep and I predict a score of -26 to win come Sunday afternoon. Nearly anybody there can shoot that type of score but I like Varner III to win this week. He’s been playing some “lights out” golf and a win seems imminent. I saw him stretching out his back on 14 and he assured me his back was fine right after the picture below was taken.

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This guy is due! He’s trending the right way.

 

 

 

With that prediction it means that a Canadian will not win our Open. So who will the Top Canadian be this week? Corey Conners!

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A bag full of Ping goodness.

Until The Next Tee!!

 

 

Alright this week on the PGA Tour was a very eventful one. There’s a few things to digest here so let’s get right to it.

Let’s start with the golf course. PGA National Resort and Spa is home to the PGA of America and features a five golf courses that include The Champion Course. The golf course designed by George and Tom Fazio later saw a redesign by Jack Nicklaus. While not overly long at 7,140 Yards (7,048 yards Actual Scorecard Yardage) while carrying a slope of 147 and a course rating of 75.2 (Actual Scorecard) it provides a challenge. The course yielded a winning score of 272 (-8) which means that it held up very well against the field. I love ‘The Bear Trap” and like the plaque says “It should be won and lost here”. Most of the holes (14 of them) played a touch over par so it goes to show that if the course is set-up (pin locations on “funny” parts of the green) you can still protect the course versus length. Of course, the winds through the first 3 days helped.

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Photo Credit; USA Today

Golf ball rollback. Well this is a conversation that isn’t going to go away any time soon. Again it became part of the week when Mr. Nicklaus said after having dinner with USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. Is it inevitable that the rollback is going to happen? Honestly, I don’t know and quite frankly at this point of my life it doesn’t impact me. But the way that the world has become I wouldn’t be surprised if it did happen. Sure ,the guys on Tour are crazy and yes Mr. Nicklaus had concerns about the golf ball dating back to 1977. I still think that if you just grow out the courses and let the course superintendents and tournament committees have a little “fun” scores will ultimately drop. The drawback however could be upset membership at host clubs. Is the issue with the golf ball the fact that it hinders pace of play (as suggested by Mr. Nicklaus)? In my opinion this might be the case for the top half percent of golfers playing the game.

Justin Thomas!! The young man has been on some sort of roll. He hasn’t seen a finish worse than a T-22 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions since at least October 15, 2017. In that stretch he has two victories and quite frankly he’s playing wonderful golf. He won this week and was cool under pressure coming into the 72nd hole when he had to hit a clutch shot and hit a tremendous wedge shot. He actually thought that he had holed-out the shot. He would end up in a playoff with Luke List and would eventually outlast List as day turned night. Thomas now owns 8 victories on the PGA Tour. But winning the tournament wasn’t the only thing that he did… Thomas also managed to get a fan ejected from the tournament when a fan cheered against wishing his ball to go into a bunker. Thomas was then picked up on a live microphone during this exchange…

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Photo Credit: thescore.com

“Who said that? Who yelled for that ball to get in the bunker? Was that you? Enjoy your day, buddy, you’re gone.”

The “offender” was of course singled out by other spectators. I think JT was ultra-sensitive here. It’s not like the fan said it during his backswing. It never factored in on his shot. If anything, this now has set a sort-of precedent. Maybe we’ve heard the last of “mashed potatoes”, “you da man” and every other stupid remark you hear when someone hits a golf ball. I’m trying to think back to when “that” became a “thing”. Oh yeah… Tiger Woods!

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Photo Credit: Golf Digest

For those that are unaware Tiger Woods played this week and the “Tiger Effect” was obvious at the Honda Classic. Those galleries! Only one person does that to a tournament. Tiger had his best showing in a tournament since… forever and even though I’m not a staunch fan of his it always sucks to see someone great be in a decline. Watching Tiger this week I observed a guy who’s feeling healthy, seems to be in a good place mentally and has a swing that’s working. He was impressive off of the tee and more importantly he led the field in proximity to the pin. I loved that he went for the flagstick on 15. He wanted to win and that’s an even more telling sign of where he is. Again though, I simply ask the golf world (fans, media etc) not to get too high or too low on him. Just let the guy play golf!

Until The Next Tee!!