I have noticed an increase in putting from off the green on the PGA Tour. It might be something I have recently noticed, yet many professionals are using the flat stick more and more when playing from 5 to 10 yards from the green. Mostly, they putt when the pin is short sided to their location and the putter gives them that delicate touch needed to have a chance sinking their shot. This particular shot is not one I use unless my ball is on the fringe; putting from 5 or 10 yards (regardless of where the pin is located) is not something I think about. How about you?Continue reading
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.Continue reading
As I watched the final round of The Players Championship, I was reminded of an important lesson about playing competitive golf. As Lee Westwood struggled in most areas of his game, he demonstrated a moxie that should inspire most players. I watched him hit poor shots, then respond with clutch recovery shots. He hit his ball into the pond or a sand trap only to respond by working his magic to reduce the damage. Westwood showed that as a professional golfer, actually any golfer, it is important to never stop grinding during a challenging round.Continue reading
The US Open is upon us! It is going to be exciting and frustrating all at the same time. Pundits think the big hitters have the advantage; I believe that a bigger hitter is going to win, but not for the reasons you might think. I predict Dustin Johnson is going to win because he will keep his ball in play more than the rest of the field.
This post, however, is not about what I think, but what the pros think about their upcoming challenges. Continue reading
Surviving the Open at Muirfield
Lee Westwood could be the first Englishmen to win The Open since Sir Nick Faldo in 1992. Westwood has played extremely well through the first three rounds and has demonstrated that persistence and patience does pay off. Westwood’s greatest attribute to date has been his putting. His skill on the green resulted in being the only player to shoot sub-par rounds in the last two days!
As we watch 90 yard roll outs on the fairways, players hitting medium irons 270+ yards, bunkers that guard the course like soldiers on sentry, and greens that are faster than your kitchen floor, Muirfield Golf Course is a relentlenss beast that challenges the world’s best golfers!
Players said that the dry conditions and constant 15 mph wind almost makes the course unplayable. It is on the cusp of being unfair, but as the players continue to challenge the beast they are finding new and creative ways to keep their score low. Whether they are putting while standing 4 feet in a bunker or shooting eagles from the fairway, it is not difficult to understand why only so few players are breaking par each day.
The last round of the Open should prove to be as exciting as the first three. Regardless of what the odds makers have said, the winner is too difficult to call. However, watching the first three rounds, anyone at +3 or less has a chance to raise the Claret Jug!. Here is why:
Players at +3 are going out earlier than the leaders. All three days, Muirfield has player easier early in the morning than later in the day. If players like Sergio Garcia or Brandt Snedeker can post a 68 or 67 early, the leaders may have some difficulty keeping their scores low enough to win.
The wind picks up through the day. Each day the wind blew less during the morning rounds than the afternoon rounds. The few extra mph of wind, added to the dry conditions may just be enough to cause a major shift in the leaderboard.
Lastly, the famous unknown of the Open. Muirfield has demonstrated that the bounces off the uncountable knolls and bumps are unpredictable! None of the players really know how far the ball will release or how the undulating fairways will affect their ball. How many times have the pros raised their hands in a “you’ve got to be kidding me!” stance because the ball did something completely unpredictable!
The final round of the Open is going to as exciting as the first three! Given the current leaderboard, the Grateful Golfer predicts the following:
- Lee Westwood
- Ryan Moore
- Phil Mickelson
- Tiger Woods
- Hunter Mahan
Prudence would suggest not betting on my prediction. However, we can all agree that it is high time an Englishman won The Open and brought the glory home!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!