Thursday, July 30, 2009

Major confusion in the golf world

If you are an avid golf fan and follow the various professional tours (for our purposes PGA, LPGA, Senior and European), then you are surely aware that July is “Major Month.” Here’s the facts so far.

U.S. Women’s Open July 9-12
Won by Eun-Hee Ji with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to avoid a playoff with Candie Kung.

British Open July 16-19
Won by Stewart Cink in a four-hole playoff over 59-year old Tom Watson after Watson had bogeyed the 72nd hole.

British Senior Open July 23-26
Won by Loren Roberts with a birdie on the third playoff hole over Fred Funk who was eliminated on the first and Mark McNulty

Women’s British Open July 30 – Aug 2
U.S. Senior Open July 30 – Aug 2

Now there are a couple of situations to be considered this weekend. First and foremost the U.S. Senior Open will be the second major championship for the seniors in as many weeks. Add to this fact that they are on separate continents. Second, there are two major championships occurring on same weekend. Do the governing bodies of these championships not talk to each other? One event will surely draw away from the other although who will do what to whom is yet to be determined.

For those of us who are avid golf fans we want to enjoy each of these majors separately. We want to view them as separate entities.

And finally here’s the television schedule for two majors this weekend so you can set your DVR’s, TIVO’s, VCR’s or whatever.

Women’s British Open
Thurs. & Fri. … 10am-12PM ET on TNT
Sat. …1:30 – 3:00 PM on ABC
Sun. … 1-3 PM on ABC

U.S. Senior Open
Thurs. & Fri. … 1-5 PM on ESPN
Sat. & Sun. … 3-6 PM on NBC

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Final Britsh Open thoughts

As you might expect we have a few final thoughts on the British Open. Read on!

Tom Watson: What a shame. Is there a golf fan alive who wasn't hoping for the miracle? We were all having flashbacks to 1980 and listening to Al Michaels in our heads. But alas, even though we believed in miracles, it was not to be. Not this time. One super hard bounce on the approach to the 72nd hole seemed to seal Watson's fate. All the talk has been about the 8-foot putt he so nervously stroked. Now, we realize it's easy to second guess these decisions and I'm sure old Tom lost a few winks of sleep Sunday night pondering whether he should have just maybe gently pitched the ball onto the edge of the green and let it trickle to the hole. But, one of the best pitchers of the ball in modern times, chose to putt up the fringe and down to the hole. At best it's 25% guess work. Even sitting on our couch nine hours and six thousand miles removed we were shouting at the ball to stop. When it failed to halt its momentum where we desired, our hearts sank. We knew the inevitable was about to happen.

Stewart Cink: Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. If you happen to be in the half of the population of the world that follows him on Twitter, then you know what we're talking about. In the end Stewart got the job done with a clutch performance.
Okay, we have had enough of expectant husbands playing in a major tournament and declaring, “I don't care where I am or what my position is in the tournament, I'm outta here the second I get the call.” It was okay for Phil the first time, but now it's becoming melodramatic especially for television announcers. Enough is enough. If you think you might have to leave in the middle of the event, why bother to play? Leave the drama for the playing of the event.

ABC: Too bad ABC doesn't get to do more events. We know there's a whole lot of corporate and political wrangling, but it's a shame. Tirico is settling without being overbearing in rhetoric and Azinger has a wonderful touch when explaining what's happening and the significance of the situation. We need more of them!

Rick Reilly: While Reilly can be a bit over the top at times, his essay at the conclusion of the tournament focusing on the gentleman qualities of Tom Watson (as compared to another TW) was a masterpiece.
What can the British Open do for a three-peat to keep the seniors interested? In 2008 it was Norman and this year it was Watson. My pick for 2010 is Mark O'Meara who, in case you didn't notice, also made the cut a finished all 72 holes.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Golf from the Ground Up a worthy read to improve your game

As a teacher of the game I read every book on instruction that comes to my desk or that magically pops off the bookshelf in a used book store. Yes, sometimes the good old stuff is the best stuff. And, if you are even the mildest aficionado of the game, you surely know that there are countless numbers of golf instruction books and articles on the market. The monthly golf tabloids bombard our minds, senses and sensibilities with changing technique and theory. As a teacher and as a player, you have to be able to dissect the good from the bad and the practical from the insane.

The latest addition to my library is Golf from the Ground Up by Bob Mullen published by Burford Books. Mullen is certified as a Master Teaching Professional with the United States Golf Teachers Federation and certainly has a sound grasp of the fundamentals and the basics of the golf swing. And, since this is A New Focus on Fundamentals from a Master Teaching Pro, Mullen has structured his volume in logical and typical fashion. He begins with a discussion of the fundamentals and then progresses to the swing. At the end of the volume in his final two chapters Mullen deals with The Number One Fault in Golf, the over-the-top, loopy swinging move – and then in a chapter entitled Author's Notes Mullen lets us in on the long sought after “secret” of Ben Hogan. He takes six pages in this chapter detailing the mystery.

Mullen's term for the fundamentals, the absolute necessities of the game if you want to develop a repeatable swing, is the “platform.” And, whereas most instructors give four five as the number of fundamentals, Mullen includes a sixth, footwork. His discussion on the importance of footwork is excellent worth the purchase of the book.

Golf from the Ground Up is Mullen's version of Hogan's The Modern Fundamentals of Golf even to the point of illustrations by Tom Weyl. In fact we can detect a bit of Hogan in the title itself - Golf from the Ground Up – for it was Hogan who believed that the golfer needed to dig his game out of the dirt.
His explanation of the fundamentals is excellent and down to earth, however, at times his discussion on the swing becomes too technical and involved if the reader is not well versed in the mechanics of the golf swing. Mullen does provide a multitude of excellent drills for the teacher to implement and the student to try.

Golf from the Ground Up is definitely a worthwhile read for all golfers - highly recommended for teachers and definitely beneficial for students.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Quick picks for U.S. Women's Open

If you happen to be waking up this morning in Las Vegas or someplace where you can immediately contact a bettor, then we have a couple of suggestions for you regarding the champion of the U.S. Women's Open. Now we would not say that you should bet your very expensive country club membership, however, there is a good possibility – like the fact that Tiger might win another major – that one of these three choices might prevail.

Number one on our list is Morgan Pressel. She has a hot hand right now, a great attitude and shew damn near won the thing four years ago save a miracle on the 72nd hole. Go with Morgan first.

Our second choice is Angela Stanford. Angela has been one of the more consistent players over the past two seasons. She now what U.S. Open pressure is like having lost in a three-way playoff in 2003. Plus she is inspired by her mother who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. This is a pretty good bet.

And, finally, we would be remiss if we failed to included the Asians. If your bookie lets you, place a buck or two on the entire field of Asian ladies. They seems to have ice water in their veins and it seems you can't miss with a bet here.

Good luck and don't forget to watch!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

U.S. Women's Open fun facts

On the eve of the U.S. Women's Open here's a time line and some fun facts for your entertainment and enjoyment. There's also a couple of links to help you find more interesting info. Yes, we know and realize that Ms. Bivens and the LPGA are having a bit of a cat fight at the present, but we'll have none of that here. We just want to examine the biggest women's tournament of the year.

U.S. Women’s Open Timeline

1946 – First U.S. Women’s Open conducted by the Women’s Professional Golf Association in Spokane, WA. The tournament was held at match play and won by Patty Berg who defeated Betty Jameson in the final, 5 and 4.

1947 & 1948 – Event still conducted by the Women’s Professional Golf Association.

1949 to 1952 – Ladies Professional Golf Association assumes administration..

1950 - Babe Zaharias becomes the first multiple-time winner.

1953 – At the request of the LPGA, the USGA assumed the administration and running of the U.S. Women’s Open. Betsy Rawls won the first USGA conducted tournament.

1954 - Babe Zaharias wins the 1954 Women’s Open becomes the first three-time winner of the event and also the oldest at age 43 years and six months and remains the championship’s oldest winner to this day.

1960 – Betsy Rawls becomes the first four-time winner.

1967 – Catherine Lacoste of France wins the U.S. Women’s Open becoming the first and only amateur to win the event. Other amateurs have come close most recently Jenny Chuasiriporn in 1998 who lost a memorable 20-hole playoff to Se Ri Pak.
2008 - Inbee Park becomes the youngest winner of the U.S. Women’s Open at the age of 19 years, 11 months and 18 days. Park surpassed country woman Se Ri Pak who won in 1998 at 20 years, 9 months.

U.S. Women’s Open Fun Facts

FORMAT – 72 holes at stroke play; a cut after 36 holes to the 60 lowest scorers and ties, and anyone within 10 strokes of the leader. If the championship is tied after four rounds, a three-hole playoff will take place immediately following the conclusion of the fourth round. If the playoff results in a tie, play will immediately continue hole-by-hole until a champion is determined. This revised playoff format, departing from an 18-hole playoff on the following day, began with the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open.

PLAYOFFS – Ten 18-hole playoffs have been conducted in the history of the Women's Open. The 1998 playoff was the first to go extra holes. Only one player, JoAnne Carner, has been involved in more than one playoff – she won a playoff against Sandra Palmer in 1976 and lost to Laura Davies in 1987. The new playoff format started with the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open. If the championship is tied after four rounds, a three-hole playoff will take place immediately following the conclusion of the fourth round.

Back-to-Back Winners
Mickey Wright – 1958 & 1959
Donna Caponi - 1969 & 1970
Susie Berning - 1972 & 1973
Hollis Stacy - 1977 & 1978
Betsy King - 1989 & 1990
Annika Sorenstam - 1995 & 1996
Karrie Webb - 2000 & 2001

Multiple Winners
Four-Time Champions
Mickey Wright (1958, 1959, 1961, 1964)
Betsy Rawls (1951, 1953, 1957, 1960)
Three-Time Champions
Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1948, 1950, 1954)
Susie Berning (1968, 1972, 1973)
Hollis Stacy (1977, 1978, 1984)
Two-Time Champions
Louise Suggs (1949, 1952)
Donna Caponi (1969, 1970)
JoAnne Carner (1971, 1976)
Betsy King (1989, 1990)
Patty Sheehan (1992, 1994)
Juli Inkster (1999, 2002)
Karrie Webb (2000, 2001)
Meg Mallon (1991, 2004)

Youngest to Play
Beverly Klass, 1967 - 10 years, 7 months, 21 days

Lowest Score, 18 Holes
63 - Helen Alfredsson, first round, 1994

Lowest Score, 72 Holes
272 - Annika Sorenstam (70-67-69-66), 1996
272 - Juli Inster (65-69-67-71), 1999

Best Final-Round Comeback to Win
5 strokes - Murle Lindstrom, 1962
5 strokes - Donna Caponi, 1969
5 strokes - Jane Geddes, 1986
5 strokes - Betsy King, 1990
5 strokes - Lauri Merten, 1993
5 strokes - Annika Sorenstam, 1995

Much of this Info we found at the following locations. They deserve a big shout out.;;

Monday, July 06, 2009

U.S. Women's Open this week

FYI, golf fans, there is a major championship being conducted this week. How many of you knew that?

Here's some basic facts and info. (You probably wont' get too much from your local newspaper.)

For all the really good scoop go to the USGA Women's Open website site.

WHERE: Saucon Valley Country Club, Bethlehem, PA
Yes, you have heard of it before. Of the five USGA tournaments held here the two most recent are U.S. Senior Opens in 1992 and 2000.

WHEN: Thursday, July 9 through Sunday, July 12.

FORMAT: It's 72 holes of stroke play and the winner gets a big cup and a nice check. If there's a tie, the USGA has deemed that it will be broken by a three-hole playoff. Used to be an 18-hole playoff just like the men, but the USGA changed that in the interest of expense and television. At least they didn't go to a hole-by-hole sudden death format.

TV: ESPN July 9 and 10, 2 PM – 6 PM EDT; NBC July 11 and 12, 3 PM – 6 PM EDT. ESPN2 also has a preview on July 8 from 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM. It's interesting to note that ESPN is providing more coverage for the first two rounds than NBC is for the final two rounds.

WHO: All the big names in women's golf – with the exception of Michelle Wie and Natalie Gulbis. They both failed in the qualifying rounds and the USGA can't (and won't) do anything about it. As a result two of the more recognizable names to U.S. golf fans will not be recognized.

DEFENDER: Inbee Park from Korea who became the youngest champion in the history of the event.