Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Golf Tips 3-4



There are no get-out-of-jail-free cards in golf. When faced with a shot from trees so thick you need a flashlight or a lie in rough so deep you can't see your shoes, you need two things: an active imagination and a total absence of fear. I've always been taught that bad lies are part of the game and certainly nothing to fear if you're prepared physically and mentally to deal with them. That's the rub: You must have the strength to hit from the hay and the concentration to execute the shot under the most extreme pressure. Several years ago, I decided to bulk up and add muscle mass to handle difficult lies without injuring myself. When I dig the ball out of the deep stuff, I really fire my right side through the shot toward the target. That takes pressure off my left side through impact and allows me to get a lot of force behind the ball.

In the trees, you have to be creative, which is the fun part of practice and competition. It helps to have a mental picture of the ball flight, trajectory and how the ball will react when it lands, and the best way to achieve that is through practice. I rehearse this by practicing huge cuts, low hooks, flop shots and hitting from buried lies. Make a game of it on the range. You'll be surprised how much your confidence will grow when you're prepared for almost any situation.

But if you don't have the courage to play the shot, you'll fail every time. That's the difference between those who execute difficult shots successfully with amazing regularity and those who don't. After weighing the odds, have the guts to go for it.



Lee Westwood called it the best bunker shot he’d ever seen. All I know is I had to hole it. It was the 18th at The Belfry in the 2002 Ryder Cup, I was 1 down to Niclas Fasth, and if I lost my match, we’d lose the Ryder Cup. The ball was on a little downslope, sitting kind of heavy in the sand, and I was into the wind. My technique is to let the club release. You don’t want to guide it, which is the biggest faux pas the best players make under severe pressure. I knew if I hung on to it, the ball wouldn’t get there. I read the green like on a putt. The ball just came out great, trickled down the slope and into the hole. Even though we still lost, it was a thrilling moment.

Golf Tips 1-2



Make a fuller turn, and maintain a relaxed grip pressure throughout the swing. You must be sure to complete your backswing to maximize your coil. And the relaxed grip pressure ensures good clubhead release for increased clubhead speed.



It's harder than before to make a shot back up a ton. The old wound balata balls used to spin more. However, manufacturers have done a tremendous job with ball technology, making something that has great trajectory off the driver and spins enough to stop pretty dead with the irons.

Still, if you're determined to really spin one, use a wedge with extra loft, and hit the ball with a descending blow. When average players try this, they usually hit the ground before the ball. That makes a big divot, but doesn't make the ball spin. You've got to hit the ball first, then make the divot, so play the ball well back in your stance. You need some clubhead speed to make it spin, so swing hard while staying under control.

This Week in Golf

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - PGA TOUR - THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia - The FedEx Cup system was constructed to give each of the 144 players who qualified for the playoffs a mathematical chance of winning the top $10 million prize.

Heading into the Tour Championship this weekend -- the last of the four playoff events -- only five players remain with a shot: Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson, Rory Sabbatini and K.J. Choi.

They hold the top five spots on the playoff points list, in that order, with Stricker, Mickelson and Woods having won the first three events, also in that order.

Aaron Baddeley is sixth on the list, but even if he wins this week, he would still fall short of claiming the $10 million windfall. That is because Woods can receive no fewer than 395 points at East Lake (which he would get for last place) and Baddeley can receive no more than 10,300 (for a win).

In that scenario, Baddeley would end up 28 points shy of Woods.

Another interesting scenario would be a first-place finish by Mickelson, and a runner-up for Woods. If the weekend played out like that -- Can you hear NBC begging? -- Woods would still beat Mickelson for the $10 million.

More news

Rumford wins Euro Masters with playoff chip-in

CRANS-SUR-SIERRE, Switzerland(AP) Brett Rumford holed a 30-foot chip from the fringe on the first playoff hole Sunday to beat Phillip Archer at the European Masters.

The 30-year-old Australian, who shot a 3-under 68 in the final round for a 16-under 268 total, was surprised his final shot went in.

``It was tracking the hole all the way but I thought it was coming up short. But the breeze took it in,'' said Rumford, who last won at the 2004 Irish Open. ``My short game has pulled me through this week.''

Archer, who shot a 65, had a shorter chip in the playoff but left it wide.

``Brett played well all week and is a worthy winner,'' said Archer, who has never won on Tour. ``He has one of the best short games out there and I knew his chip would be close and it went straight in the middle.''

Archer is known for missing a 7-foot putt on the last hole of the 2006 Wales Open that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history.

Defending champion Bradley Dredge shot a 69 to finish third, one shot behind Rumford and Archer. Sion Bebb had a 68 and was fourth, another stroke back.

``It had been a pretty tough year,'' Rumford said. ``I just had to have five minutes alone and it has just hit me. I have been trying hard, grinding week in, week out for not much and it has all come together this week.''

The tournament was the first qualifying event for the 2008 European Ryder Cup team. Of the five 2006 team members playing, Lee Westwood was the highest finisher in a tie for sixth.

Robert Karlsson was 12th and Paul Casey was 37th, while Darren Clarke and David Howell missed the cut.

Woods earns his ninth trip to PGA Grand Slam of Golf

Thanks to his victory in the 89th PGA Championship at Southern Hills, Tiger Woods has nailed down the final spot in the 25th PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Woods, who won the 2006 PGA Grand Slam, is seeking his eighth PGA Grand Slam title.