Category Archives: Op-Ed

The Ultimate Guide to Perfecting Your Golf Swing

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Dan Smith, of birdiescrazygolf.com, sent me an e-mail asking if I would be interested in posting about and linking to his “The Ultimate Guide to Perfecting Your Golf Swing”.  I figured, why not, so here is the link.

I looked around Dan’s site, and it’s pretty good. There are lots of posts about what are good golf balls, the best sets for different skill levels, and reviews of drivers, irons, wedges, putters, and accessories.

Check it out, you might find something good.

If you’re wondering what instigated Dan’s contacting me, he said he liked the “Swing The Handle, Not The Head” post.

Canadian Great George Knudson Name Checked in Farmers Insurance Open Broadcast

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I wish I could find the video of it, but during today’s broadcast of the Farmers Insurance Open, Frank Nobilo compared the look of Harry Higgs to the former Canadian great George Knudson.

Here is a picture of Knudson

And here is one of Higgs (not from today but very similar outfit)

GolferDiary.com – Golf Terms Glossary

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Every new golfer starts off struggling with the language of the game of golf.  Golf has a number of terms that are far from obvious as to their meaning.  Mark, from GolfDiary.com, sent me an e-mail suggesting that it might be useful if I had a link to an article on golf terms from his site.  It checked it out and it seemed reasonable.

The article contains 5 chapters and a summary.  The chapters are:

  1. Golf Terms You Need To Know
  2. Scoring Terms
  3. Equipment Terms
  4. Funny Golf Terms
  5. Golf Insults

I even learned a couple myself.

There is one term we used growing up in Tillsonburg that is probably only known to the locals. It’s a “Mary Overland”. Mary was an avid golfer who wrote a weekly byline in the Tillsonburg News recapping the Tillsonburg Golf and Country Club‘s Ladies’ Day events.  The title of her byline was “Bunker to Bunker”, hence when a golfer hits from one sand trap and ends up in a second sand trap it is known to a select few as a “Mary Overland”.

 

2019 President Cup Teams Comparison

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I have made my typical comparison of the President Cup teams using the site’s Power Rankings.

As can be seen in the rankings below, the U.S. team many more currently high ranked players with six players having a higher power index than the International’s second ranked player.

I would expect the U.S. Team to win handily, as they always seem to do.

Pros Wearing Shorts Just Looks Weird

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On Sunday I woke up and did what I do most Sundays, I turned on the Golf Channel and watched some golf from the European Tour.  This week was the Alfred Dunhill Championship being played at Leopard Creek CC in Malelane, South Africa. The winner was Pedro Larrazabal who won despite having severe blisters on his feet, which made him badly limp and even consider withdrawal.

But what really got my attention was a number of pros playing in shorts.

Here is Brandon Grace, who finished in 3rd place.

And here is Wil Besseling, who also tied for 3rd.

After a lifetime of watching pros play in long pants, it just was weird that some were wearing shorts.

I want it on record that the winner, Larrazabal, was wearing long pants.

Saturday at the 2019 Canadian Open

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I went to the 2019 Canadian Open for the Saturday.  It was being held about an hour from my house, at Hamilton Golf and Country Club.  No one around here actually calls it “Hamilton Golf and Country Club” though, it’s actually referred to as “Ancaster” for the town just outside of Hamilton in which it’s located.

Above is an area set up next to “The Rink”. The Rink is what they called the par-3 13th, and around the tee they set up barriers that look like hockey boards. I guess it’s supposed to be the Canadian version of the 16th at the Phoenix Open.  It was pretty rowdy, and there were lots of chants of “Let’s Go Raptors”.  In fact, Canadian golfer Mackenzie Hughes put on a Raptor jersey after he teed off on 13.

We walked most of the course.  When we arrived Bubba Watson was starting out on the first hole. The we walked the front nine in reverse, so we could see all of the holes and more golfers, so that we could be back by the first tee to watch Dustin Johnson, and then Brooks Koepka tee off.

We got back in time when DJ was just hitting a few putts before he went to the first tee. There was no sign of Wayne or Paulina Gretzky.

After DJ and Koepka teed off (they weren’t playing together, but were separated by a few groups) we went over by the range.  There we saw one of the strangest golf swings ever done by a pro, but very common among poorer players.  We saw Padraig Harrington, who had missed the cut, on the range practicing and hitting ball after ball keeping both his feet flat on the ground.

We also watched Brian Harman warm up, hitting driver after driver and his tee never moved.  He didn’t pick it up or re-set it, he just took the next ball and set it back on the tee.  And he hit probably a dozen in a row.

The tenth tee was next to the concession stand at the practice range, so after a quick break for lunch we watched a few groups tee off there. There was a lot of elevation changes on this course, with the majority of the holes with elevated tees.

One of the notable players who came thru was Jimmy Walker.

After walking the back nine we set up at the tee of the par-5 17th so we could watch everyone hit drivers.

Here was DJ and Furyk

And then later on was Koepka, look at the shaft bend on his downswing.

We walked the back nine backwards, and then set up at the 14th tee to wait for Rory.  You had to wait for Rory to come to you as he had the biggest crowds following him.

Rory stuck one close on the 13th and the crowd went bonkers.  He didn’t make it, but it was still pretty exciting.  Here he is on the 14th tee.

Then we made our way to the 18th tee. From there you could watch the 13th green and also the approaches and putts on the 17th. That’s also where I took the pictures of the zamboni and Mackenzie Hughes with the Raptor jersey. We waited for Rory to get through to 18 tee and then followed him up the hole on our way out. Here he is on the 18th green.

And that was it for the day.  We were there from 9am until after 5pm.  We didn’t stick around for the concert series to watch the Glorious Sons.

I’m glad I put on some sunscreen.

It’s 2019 and Golf’s New Rules Are In Effect

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2019 is finally here, and that means the new Rules of Golf are now in effect.  I don’t know about you, but I find some of them to be unnecessary and some to be kind of dumb.

If you need some help with the new rules, check out the PGA Tour’s summary of the biggest changes.

The new rules affect:

  • How to drop the ball
  • How to take relief
  • Eliminated some of the dumber penalties
  • How bunkers are treated
  • “Water Hazards” are now “Penalty Areas”
  • What’s allowed on putting greens
  • How to deal with lost of provisional balls
  • How to deal with embedded balls
  • What to do with unplayable lies
  • No more getting alignment help from a caddie or partner
  • And more…

In other words, the game is going to be slowed down because no one will be sure what to do in any situation.

 

Was the 2018 Ryder Cup Really an Upset for the Euros

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The 2018 Ryder Cup is over and it is being called a great upset. Normally I would have done a team comparison before the Ryder Cup, but I was away for work so instead I am going to do the comparison after the fact and see if the U.S. team really did underachieve. So here are the Power Rankings coming into the competition for the two teams.

The table below has all of the players on each team. Each player has their current power index number followed by their power ranking position in parentheses, as of Sept. 21.

Europe USA
Justin Rose 18.38 (1) Tony Finau 17.42 (6)
Rory McIlroy 18.00 (4) Justin Thomas 16.79 (7)
Thorbjorn Olesen 11.54 (29) Tiger Woods 16.75 (8)
Tommy Fleetwood 11.42 (31) Rickie Fowler 16.08 (10)
Francesco Molinari 9.50 (50) Webb Simpson 11.63 (11)
Jon Rahm 7.79 (65) Dustin Johnson 15.58 (12)
Tyrrell Hatton 7.42 (71) Bryson Dechambeau 12.98 (20)
Paul Casey 5.42 (121) Brooks Koepka 11.67 (28)
Sergio Garcia 4.96 (135) Jordan Spieth 6.75 (86)
Ian Poulter 1.33 (307) Bubba Watson 5.83 (111)
Henrik Stenson 0.42 (378) Phil Mickelson 4.21 (163)
Alex Noren -0.83 (674) Patrick Reed 1.29 (314)

From the first look, it appears the U.S. Team was in much better form coming into the matches.  The U.S. team had an average of 11.42 Power Index and an average ranking of 64.4, whereas the Euros had values of 7.99 and 155.5 respectively,  giving the U.S. team a 3.47 Power Index advantage in the team averages.

Now let’s look at the top-8 for each team, since only 8 players for each team play in the first 4 sets of matches (Friday and Saturday Four ball and Foursomes).  The top-8 for the U.S. team averages 11.42 Power Index and 12.75. The top-8 for the Euro team loses ground to the top-8 on the Americans with a 3.68 Power Index deficit.

If we consider just the top-4 players for each team, the Euros close the gap with an average Power Index of 16.84 and 16.25 rank to the U.S. 16.76 Power Index and 7.75 rank.  This brings the U.S. advantage to only 1.93 Power Index average which is pretty insignificant.

Looking at the numbers, the U.S. team should have won, or at least it should have been a pretty close finish.  At one point on Sunday, after Tony Finau won his match, the U.S. was still within striking distance and trailed or was tied in 5 matches. If they had somehow managed to turn things in those matches it might have been a much better result for them. But alas, we know the Euros held on in those matches and won the Cup in a blowout.

Being honest, at least 10 of the European team played well over 3 days and the Americans had maybe 4 or 5 play well (Tiger actually played pretty decently while going 0-4, and they say Patrick Reed shot 85 while paired with Tiger in the Saturday Fourball).

So yes, it was an upset, but not as big of one as some would have you believe.