The Height of Hubris

Refusing to accept a situation has the potential to be devastating. In golf, this is more real than in most sports. Refusing to “take your medicine” after a poor shot is a perfect example. Hubris negatively affects a golfer’s ability to think and remain focused on the big picture. The greatest example of this is from the movie ‘Tin Cup’, where Roy McAvoy hit 4 balls into the water just to prove he could hit the ball on the green with a three wood. In this case he went from tied for the lead to 10th place at the fictional US Open. Continue reading

Picking the Masters Champion

Mike Weir Phil Mickelson

Picking The Masters Champion!

Picking the Masters Champion is a very difficult task. The field is at the 2016 Masters is world-class and the smallest since 2002. With just 89 players, the top ranked players seem to have a lock on winning the ‘green jacket’. However, given the dramatic finish at the Shell Houston Open last week, it is very difficult to discount more than half the field!

Understanding the plethora of variables used by odds makers, it is quite difficult for many armchair golfers to really have a handle on who might play well and who won’t. However, if you want to try your hand at selecting the champion, drop me a line via this website or other social media and I will add you to our lists. Click here. Continue reading

What a Day at the BMW Championship

Congratulations to Jason Day for winning the BWM Championship! The hottest golfer on the planet has succeeded in winning another event of the FedExCup Playoffs. With 4 wins (including his first Major) in his last 6 events, Jason Day is apparently unstoppable and as a result has built an insurmountable lead heading into the Tour Championship next week.

Day’s booming drives, chip-ins, and a sizzling hot putter are just a few tricks he has up his sleeve. His calm and steady demeanour continues to wilt his opponents like a super power! Likely taking over as the world’s top ranked golfer, Jason Day is the new darling of golf! Getting lava hot at the right time, Day is on his way to a big payday in just over a week!

Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, and Henrik Stenson tried to catch Day on the third leg of the playoffs, but they could only watch with dismay as the Australian extended his lead over a world-class field. Unfortunately for Fowler, Watson, and Stenson the race for being the 2015 FedExCup Champion is over. Nobody is catching the red-hot Day!

Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth had mediocre to poor runs during the FedExCup playoffs. Regardless of the reason, they could not sustain their outstanding play from early in the year. There hot and cold nature is indicative of professional golf in 2015 and is not likely to change anytime soon! The young players in professional golf hungry, competition fierce and they all want their chance at top golfer.

We could discuss the merits of the FedExCup playoff format, but that would cheapen Jason Day’s performance of the past 6 events. Jason Day has crushed his opponents lately and it seems that he will not stop anytime soon. However, if history repeats itself, he will soon need a break because the hectic schedule and pressure of competing week in and week out does take its toll. But for now, Jason Day is on top of professional golf and all fans look forward to seeing him at the Tour Championship in East Lake GC,  Atlanta, GA next weekend.

First Round of the 2015 Golf Season Complete

My first round of golf for 2015 is in the books! Before everyone asks how the conditions are at my home course of Rondel Glen, let me stop you right there. This year my first round of golf was played at the Northwood Golf Course at Middlesex, London, UK. 

I am on vacation with my darling wife and we are visiting our awesome friends in the UK. As always, Kirk and I take the opportunity to play a few rounds when we are visiting each other and this time things are no different.

Overall, my round was very satisfying and I am very happy with the overall results. I am using borrowed clubs and shoes, but the intent of my round was more about playing golf, than actually scoring. To my surprise, I was able to do both. My score of 78 with 2 doubles and 1 birdie was pretty solid for the first time out.

Northwood was in excellent shape. The greens were freshly cut and rolled. The fairways were in good shape for this time of the year and the sand traps, many were recently reworked, were in awesome shape. I have talked about this course before and it is worth the 28 pounds it cost to play.

For the first round of the year, with no practice yet, I wanted to manage my expectations and make the round as fun as possible. The little bit of rain during the first 6 holes did not dampen our spirits. So as I approached the first tee, I had two thoughts in mind: keep your head down and widen my stance when driving the ball. As it turned out, these were perfect things to think about.

I had 9 chances for birdie. Four of those were within 10 feet. I only made one. This is not surprising because I have not putted on grass since last year. My chipping was on and off, but my driving was very good. I was able to keep it in play the entire round! 

I did have one poor hole. It was a par 5, 480 yard dog leg left, reachable par five, if you are in the fairway off the tee. As it turned out, I hit the ball into the fairway bunker on the left side. Confidently, I walked into the sand, pulled out my 5 iron and hit the front lip of the trap. Classic rookie mistake. To make things worse, the ball came to rest beside the front lip. So, grabbing my shovel…. I mean my sand wedge, I hit the ball again and to my surprise, it landed 6 feet behind me IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TRAP. I cannot remember the last time, if ever, I was still in the trap after 2 shots! Taking no chances, I hit my third shot about 25 yards up the rough.

   
Now here is a lesson for us all, on my third shot out of the trap, I lost my mental focus and did not consider my upcoming shot. I just hit the ball and did not care where it went. So now I am lying 4 behind the trees with no shot to the green. Next time (well actually I hope there is never a next time) I will remain focused and remember that course management is always in play!

So, on to my fifth shot. After three poor shots in the bunker, I executed the best shot of the round. I hit a 3 hybrid in Bubba Watson like fashion around the trees with a big hook and landed 10 feet from the green in the fairway. It was spectacular! A quick up and down, I walked off smiling with a smooth 7! 

With those exciting times over, I responded with a par on the next hole. My first round of golf was nothing but fun. I started with a bogey, ended with a birdie, and now have been bitten by the golfing bug. I finished the 2014 golf season and started the 2015 golf season in the UK with one of my best friends! How grateful am I!

I hope to play a couple more rounds while on our vacation, but in case that falls through, my 2015 golf season has started on a high note!

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

Drive Chip & Putt Championship at the Masters

The second annual Drive Chip  & Putt Championship was held on 05 April 2015. This new tradition at the Masters sees 80 young talented golfers pitting their skills against each other and Augusta National. As I watch these budding superstars perform, I was amazed at their composure, understanding of golf, and sportsmanship! For a list of all the results check out the interactive leaderboard. Well done to all the competitors!

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Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The 2015 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is open to boys and girls ages 7-15. Boys and girls will compete in separate divisions in four age categories: 7-9 years old; 10-11 years old; 12-13 years old; and 14-15 years old. There is a list of other criteria to be eligible and you can find the here. Needless to say, some of these young guns know how to play golf!

If you think that getting to this national event is easy, here is what each player has to do in 2015. Past winners are not invited back, they have to qualify each year. The 2015 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship will be conducted in four stages:

  • Local qualifying – to be conducted throughout May, June, July and August 2015 at 253 sites in 50 states.
  • Subregional qualifying – to be conducted throughout July and August, 2015 at 51 sites.
  • Regional qualifying – to be conducted throughout September, 2015 at 10 sites.
  • Championship final – to be conducted Sunday, April 3, 2016 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

As the name indicates, each player competes in each event Drive, Chip and Putt. They each have two balls for each skill and their results area accumulative to select a winner. Perfect score is 30 points over the three events. Besides having the pressure of competing against 9 other great players, the event was set at the historical Augusta National Golf Course; what a thrill!

During the Drive portion, the players had two chances to hit the ball within a grid that was 40-yard fairway width, length from 75 yards to 325 yards. The longest drive to stay within the grid was their score. I amazed to see that one of the 12-13 year old players could hit the ball 240+. The longest of the day was by a 15-year-old boy – 280+ yards!

Chipping was all about feel. Each player stood about 25 yards from the hole and chipped two balls. The winner had the lowest accumulative distances from the hole. Chipping in gave you a distance of 0. The best accumulative score for the girls was 4’1″ (chipped one in) and by a 9-year-old boy of 7’1″ (chipped one in). I enjoyed watching some of the young players adjust their something between the first and second shot.

Putting was fun to watch and the most challenging event. Each player putted one ball for two different locations. The first was a long uphill putt and the second was a much shorter downhill skater! The speed of the greens was a challenge and adjusting from an uphill to downhill putt proved to be challenging for some of the players! The best accumulative score for the girls was 6″ by a 9-year-old! The best accumulative score for the boys was 2’1″. Interestingly, quite a few of the young players putted cross-handed.

Many of the past Masters champions, like Bubba Watson and Mark O’Meara, were on hand to talk, cheer, and laugh with the young players. Having these great players on hand only added to the overall success of this national event. I enjoyed watching the future of golf. These young players demonstrated that anyone, at any age is capable of playing great golf. Congratulations to all the participants.

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