Lee Westwood – On Top Of the Golfing World

For anyone who follows the comings and goings of professional golf, Lee Westwood’s name pops up from time to time. Over the years, he has demonstrated his ability to play to level golf only to quietly fade into the background. With 44 world wide wins to his credit and 10 Ryder Cup appearances, Westwood is a well known name in golf circles. Yet until recently, he was in the background where he was given some token recognition with no real expectations from any of the fans. Now, he is on top of the golfing world and our expectations have risen exponentially as we wait to see what he does next.

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Put on the Clock in Golf

time-management

Slow Play in Golf, Is it a Problem?

Henrik Stenson is not happy about being “put on the clock” on the 15th hole at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last weekend. He attributes to this poor play down the stretch to the ruling that his group (the last group) was out of position. This is not a usual ruling, but it generally is not enforced on the last group with the tournament on the line.

I did not watch the tournament, but Pete at White Dragon Golf has a good wrap up on Stenson’s views worth reading. We could discuss the merits of the call, but I have always viewed a rules official as someone who levels the playing field, but should not determine the outcome of any match. I am not sure this is the case at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and will sit on the fence as to whether it was the correct call or not.

What does being put on the clock actually mean? This information below is from golf.about.com. They have covered the topic pretty well. I have only cut part of the article out, so there is more about fines if you want to read on.

PGA Tour slow play rules and penalties are based on what the tour calls “bad times.” Let’s say Group X has fallen off the pace and is out of position (meaning, too much space – usually a full hole – has opened between this group and the group ahead of it).

A rules official or Tour official will notify all players in the group that the group is being put “on the clock.” Once a group is on the clock, PGA Tour officials begin timing each player. Once that timing of a group begins, each player has 40 seconds to play each stroke, except in the following cases when he has 60 seconds:

  1. He is the first of his group to play from the teeing ground of a par-3 hole;
  2. He is the first to play a second shot on a par-4 or par-5;
  3. He is the first to play a third shot on a par-5;
  4. He is the first player to play around the putting green;
  5. He is the first to play on the putting green.

Slow play is a problem in golf! We have discussed this topic (natural flow, May I Play Through)  several times and this weekend, Rule 6-7 Undue Delay / Slow Play might have cost a professional golfer about $500,000! Yes, about a half of a million dollars! Quite a bit of cash for just a few seconds here and there.

Depending on your perspective, the ruling this weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational might seem excessive. However, from a player who has endured 6.5 hour rounds in tournaments, slow play is a problem in golf. Unfortunately for Henrik Stenson, according to his perspective (and a person’s perspective is a person’s reality) being “put on the clock” was uncalled for and eventually cost him the chance to win.

I have never been put on the clock and generally, I play pretty quick. So a couple of questions to all the readers out there: Do you think slow play is a problem in golf? Was Stenson’s slow play ruling fair? Have you ever been called for slow play? Have you ever wanted to call someone for slow play? What are you thinking?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

 

 

The New Normal in Golf

The new normal in professional golf is here. The younger players have forced their way to the top of the golfing world with no regrets. The fear of competing against players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson is long gone. The only thing left for these aging superstars is a healthy respect from for the path they blazed in helping to create the new normal.

It is all over the news that Tiger Woods is not playing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this weekend. Much to the chagrin of legend Arnold Palmer, Woods admits that his game is not ready for the PGA Tour. Only Woods knows for sure, but something tells me that he is right. Woods’ focus is on the Masters in a couple of weeks and I for one believe that is where his focus should be; I hope he is healthy and ready to compete in the first Major of 2015.

Phil Mickelson has not played well for over a year. He has sparks of greatness, but the consistency is just not there. I am a huge Mickelson fan and I am not sure if his game is in as bad a shape as Woods, but he is definitely not the Mickelson of old. I guess I cannot expect him to play like he is 25, but old thoughts die slow.

Not a year ago, I wrote that the old guard were not ready to relinquish the top spots in golf. I am here to say that times have changed; and changed quickly. The new younger players have come out from the shadows of the aging veterans quicker than expected. Each week, a new player rises to the top of the leaderboard to claim the top prize. Maybe this is what we have to look forward too; a different winner each week.

I will have to say that the last nine holes and the four hole playoff last week at the Valspar Golf Championship was extremely exciting. Just when everyone thought Spieth, Reed or O’Hair was out of contention, they made a fantastic shot to recover. It truly was exciting and hopefully we will see more finishes like that one in the future!

It seems every week, there is a new player popping up on the leaderboard. The return of Dustin Johnson is another example of a great young player standing up to be heard. His play since returning to golf has been outstanding and he is now considered a top contender at all the Majors this year. Is it possible that this trend of resurging players can continue through the entire 2015 professional golf season?

Let’s not forget about Rory McIlroy. With a slow start on the PGA Tour this year, he is too talented not be step-up and slay all comers! With only three weeks left before the Masters, the golfing world will see the real McIlroy return to form. I predict it will not happen this weekend at Bay Hill, but within the next three weeks he will start to peak at the right time for Augusta. As per my predictions at the beginning of the year, Rory McIlroy will win the 2015 Masters!

The new normal has arrived in professional golf. Although a few players will continue to win more than most, the days of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson crushing the field for years is over. We can expect to see many new winners and even greater challenges for professional golfers to stay at the top of the world rankings.

Personally, I’m excited about the recent changes in golf. Although I will always cheer for Phil Mickelson, I cannot help but embrace the new normal in professional golf!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

New World Number One!

Arnold Palmer Invitational 1Is it possible that Adam Scott will take over as world number one?  His play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational is nothing short of fantastic.  After the second round, Scott will have an 7 shot lead and if he continues to play well, he should take over as the number one golfer in the world.  But…..

ABC reports :” The complex world ranking system assigns points to an event based on the current world rankings of those playing and while official projections are not computed until all players begin the event it appears a win for Scott would still leave him fractionally short of Woods.

Had Day been able to play, a win for Scott in Woods’s absence would have most likely been enough to take the top spot.

Regardless, a win would at the very least get him close enough to pass Woods at the Masters with a higher finish than the American, even if he did not defend.”

Does this seem fair?  It is very difficult to determine how the world rankings are calculated. I have tried to follow the process, but I am always tripped up by the ‘strength of the field’ and ‘head to head’ competition.  I am sure the golfing experts use an algorithm that would stump Albert Einstein, but it seems to work for them.  Regardless, Adam Scott is playing outstanding and if he stays focused, should cruise to a win at Palmer’s tournament.

On a side note, I wanted to point out a statement by Adam Scott posted by White Dragon Golf:  ” I made a lot of putts today, and a lot of putts from considerable length. I hit a lot of nice shots, too, but it wasn’t like I was hitting it four feet. ….”  Scott’s comment reinforces the recent discussion on focused putting and breaking 100 with consistency.  An amateur’s and professional’s short game can be the difference between an average score and a great score.

As the this weekends event unfolds, Should Adam Scott be crowned world number one if the wins the Arnold Palmer invitational?

I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!