Posts Tagged ‘masters’
Here is an interesting little nugget I have been noticing quite a bit lately. The above screen shot indicates a typical shot pattern for a right hander when hitting a short to mid iron. I’m sure many of you have noticed how those pulls that feel so good tend to go further. As you might imagine this is not unique to your game and the image above clearly shows how shots to the left tend to travel further than shots to the right. What can we learn from this? Right handed golfers can afford to be slightly more aggressive when pins that are located in either the front right or back left of greens and should shy away from front left and back right pins.
How about the challenge that the short 12th at Augusta (below) presents to right handed competitors? The greens is a mere 9 yards deep between the bunkers. The hard part is that due to the angle at which the green sits, a slight pull is long and a slight push is short and wet. With a 150 yard shot and the pin in the center of the green the above golfer has hit the green only twice in ten tries – two pars, four bogeys and four doubles!
This might have a little something to do with why the Masters has seen an influx of left handed champions in recent years – Weir, Mickelson and Bubba. I would also much rather fade my driver than try to hit draws on all those hook tee shots – so much easier to control…
Coming soon – the follow up article to this one explaining typical shot patterns with the driver. A hint, it’s not what you might think…
Every golfer you know has thought about the Masters and Augusta National this week – more than once! What a great week to be a golfer. The excitement and thrill of 2013′s first major is here and I cannot wait for Thursday.
Masters talk invariably circles around to who you like this week. Who is your man? If I had to pick three golfers, one a favorite, another as a contender and another as an underdog – I would go with Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and KJ Choi. I love the way Rory and KJ competed last week and I believe that with their history here this could be their week.
Here is the television guide for the week from geoffshackelford.com
Here is a list of all the Masters gear you cannot live without from Devil Ball Golf
Here is an article detailing Augusta National’s new hospitality venue Berckmans Place where apparently Condoleeza Rice, as a new member, was greeting patrons on Monday.
Here are the complete odds for every player in the field from golfodds.com. How about Rory vs. Tiger? Will Phil finish in the top 10? Will Tim Clark beat Freddie Couples?
If there was one player that I wish was competing this week it would be Seve Ballesteros. My favorite golfer growing up, I remember crying when he three putted the 10th green in a playoff with Mize and Norman and had to make the lonely haul up the hill to the clubhouse while the other two golfers continued on.
That’s really what the Masters is all about – the memories! Who can forget Bubba’s escape from the Magnolia’s, Phil’s jump on 18, Jack chasing the ball in on 17 – even the honorary starters on Thursday morning. What will remember from the 2013 edition? Whatever it is I know it’s going to be very, very good. Enjoy.
The article below is an one I wrote two years ago expressing my concerns about the golf course at TPC Sawgrass and how worthy it is of hosting a “major championship“. My sentiments have not changed….
When was the last time the top 10 players in a major were a combined 55 under par after one round? When in a major have 57 players shot under par on any day? The PGA Tour is trying to buy their way into a major championship by touting The Players as the “5th Major“.
Not many people are aware that the PGA Tour does not operate or run a single major championship. The Masters is run by Augusta National, The US Open by the USGA, the British Open by the Royal and Ancient and the PGA by the PGA of America. With the Players Championship the PGA Tour is making a vain (in my opinion of course) attempt to get into the mix. From the monstrous clubhouse, to the monstrous purse, to the monstrous public relations spin they put on the event – they are eagerly attempting to join a closed club.
My primary reason for voting out the Players is the golf course! Sure the holes we see all look frightening, with tremendous risk and reward, but what about the rest of the course. Ever notice how much the Tour focuses on the closing holes? Please don’t get me wrong – you must be a ball striker to do well here, but this is simply Harbourtown where rough has replaced trees. Distance does not make a great course , but give the best in the world ten opportunities from inside 140 yards and look out. There are 10 short, legit birdie opportunities on the course (holes 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17). Holes where every player in the field, from the longest to the shortest, should be thinking birdie or par at worst.
I have taken the rounds of two players, the longest and the shortest, namely Bubba and Fred Funk and broken them down for your perusal. Let’s start with Fred Funk who played earlier this morning. When it comes to driving distance Fred Funk is currently 62nd on the Champions Tour with an average drive of 265.9yds. That would leave him at 183 out of 185 on the PGA Tour ahead of only Faxon and Pavin. His driving distance was 260 today and he scored a +1 /73. The following numbers indicate the yardage he had into each of the 10 selected holes in regulation:(They include all four par fives and a par three)
1-156yds, 2-82yds, 4-115yds, 6-115yds, 9-87yds, 10-146yds, 11-101yds, 12-81yds, 16-4yds, 17-137yds for an average of 102.4 yards.
The shortest player in the field averaged just over 100 yds into 10 holes on a major championship course?
Now let’s check in with Bubba Watson who played nicely and shot -5 /67. He is currently the longest hitter on the PGA Tour at 313.8 yards per poke. Today he averaged 318 yards off the tee. His yardages into each of the ten selected holes were:
1-90yds, 2-53yds, 4-91 yds, 6-104 yds, 9-76 yds, 10-139 yds, 11-29 yds, 12-92 yds, 16-3 yds, 17-137 yds for an average distance in of 81.4 yards. I wonder how many drivers Bubba used on these holes?
The facts indicate that every player in the field is faced with 10 holes on a supposed “major championship” course where the longest shot they are required to hit is approximately 140 yards. And this is with a rainy night before the tournament got under way. What major course has a four hole stretch (9-12) where no approach shot of over 125 yards is required?
In 2008 the greens had just been reshaped and surfaced and as a result were rock hard. The wind blew between 15 and 25mph each day starting at 10 am. In other words conditions were as tough and challenging as they could get and yet, the playoff number was -5. Can you imagine conditions being brutal at Winged Foot or Carnoustie and -5 playing off…?
Grow all the rough you want, make the greens rock hard and roll at 13 on the stimp, but my belief is this – if they have soft conditions and windless days the winning score will be lower than -15. You heard it here first – this is no major, just an over-sized, over-hyped attempt by Tim Finchem to create a PGA Tour major. Sorry Tim, I vote NO!
That being said it should be a fun-filled event with a fantastic field – enjoy!
Eighteen of the last nineteen years the winner has come from the final group out on Sunday at the Masters; Tiger has never won a major championship when coming from behind on a Sunday; Phil has three majors while Westwood only has a handful of close calls; we should have seen it all along – this was Phil’s event to win or lose and when he grabbed the event event by the scruff of the neck on the 13th hole Sunday with an emphatic six iron from the trees, he showed he had clearly opted for a courageous and thrilling victory!
While watching the broadcast I could not help but think back to the “old” days when players had legitimate shots at making eagles and birdies on the inward nine that always made for the most exciting finish in golf. The difference this year was that players seemed to have that ability on the front nine as well. I eventually lost track of all the eagles being made in my giddy stupor over how much fun this golf tournament was to watch. From the freak pine stamen event on the second green, to Tiger’s hole out on the 7th, to the most fun sand shot I have ever seen (Westwood, also at the 7th) the front nine gets my vote as the most thrilling nine holes of any major championship in recent memory.
If only the powers that be at Augusta National could comprehend how much the golf community enjoyed seeing Couples, Watson and Langer have a chance; how much we enjoyed watching the youthful passion of Anthony Kim shoot 31 on the back to be in with a chance; and most of all some of the memorable shots that were played from the most improbable places on the golf course. This course set up, coupled with the near perfect conditions, made for a Masters of old - one where the roars replaced the groans and red replaced black on the large manually operated scoreboards. Please keep this balance between difficulty and achievability because it was so much better than what the last few years have held. Who cares what the winning score is? A week from now no one will remember. You got it right this year (with a little help from Mother Nature!).
Here are a few interesting points I noticed:
- KJ and Tiger played together all four days and matched each other on the scorecard every day. I wonder when the last time that happened was?
- The Phil Mickelson “pine stamen” incident on the 2nd green was the freakiest thing I have ever seen on a putting green – watch the footage here. Bobby Jones always spoke about destiny; what did this mean? Absolutely nothing in the end.
- Jason Dufner birdied the last three holes (16, 17 and 18) on Friday to make the cut at +3!
- When Anthony Kim gets hot lookout! I doubt if there are many players, Tiger included, who can match him shot for shot.
- Sergio Garcia scored 154 (+10) on the weekend in perfect conditions. Whaat? How can a golfer with such talent underachieve so well? It must be due to the fact he is playing against more than just the other golfers in the field each week…. Bad, bad attitude.
- It was good to see Adam Scott and Trevor Immelman hang in over the weekend and both finish in the top twenty.
- Y.E. Yang is a tough customer and never even got a glimpse or a mention – even after a solid 70 and another top ten finish in a major.
- Matteo Manassero is a name that we will be hearing for a very long time time. Not only did he post an excellent final score, but he did exceptionally well in most of the stat categories. He hit the second most fairways for the week!
- I find myself completely unable to root for Tiger Woods.
Stats for the top five finishers: (out of 49 players who made the cut)
Mickelson 2nd / Westwood 6th / Kim 38th / Choi 42nd / Woods 19th
Mickelson 5th / Westwood 1st / Kim 10th / Choi 4th / Woods 17th
Mickelson 45th / Westwood 43rd / Kim 46th / Choi 24th / Woods 38th
Mickelson 13th / Westwood 36th / Kim 6th / Choi 5th / Woods 3rd
Quote of the Day goes to Phil Mickelson when asked about the difference between a great shot and a smart shot:
A great shot is one that you pull off and a smart shot is the one you hit when you don’t have the guts try it!
Putt Like Phil by Dave Stockton Sr. (Phil’s new putting coach)
What’s in Lee Westwood’s bag
This Masters Week was Hard to Beat by John Steinbreder
Here are a few impressions from the opening round at Augusta National on Thursday:
- The day was all about Tiger and judging by the golf he played – rightly so! While he received multiple fortuitous bounces (8, 9, 10, 11) he left his fair share of 8 footers out there. On Thursday he was a modern day Seve Ballesteros playing at full steam. Good to watch for sure.
- That being said, Tiger still has a long way to go in improving his reaction to less than stellar shots. I saw and heard multiple GD’s and what looked like an f-bomb.
- Shingo – what happened to the hat?
- Charl Schwartzel is the real deal! He played a fantastic opener and I look for him to still be around come Sunday. He gets my vote as the best swing in golf at the moment.
- Aaah Freddy - that swing is perhaps even smoother and freer than it has ever looked. And I love the “golf sneakers”, with no socks none the less, to go along with no glove. He looked and swung like a friend had pulled him off the couch for a quick evening 5 holes at their local track! Did you know that Fred is -77 for 12 rounds on the Champions Tour this year….! Yesterday was the lowest round he has ever had at Augusta National.
- Each time I checked the leaderboard a different Champions Tour golfer was leading – first Langer, then Watson and finally Freddy Couples. What a great day for golf!
- I can see the emergency meeting Thursday night with the superintendent: How do we get rid of these silly pine stamens? Why is there pine pollen floating on the ponds? And why are the scores so low? I’m sure every stamen you saw yesterday is already off property, but can you picture Augusta with no pine trees next year?
- What happened to Ernie and Angel on the back nine yesterday? Els played a fine round, but spoiled it with an ugly double at the closer for 71 and Cabrera had it to -3 before dropping four shots in the final four holes for 73.
- I love what Jack and Arnie did to start the tournament. Call me sentimental, I just think it adds so much to the event and it’s tradition. Gary Player where are you?
- KJ Choi is swinging and putting beautifully and I look for him to be around on Sunday. Playing with Tiger seemed to spur him on.
- Does Matt Kuchar have the flattest back swing you have ever seen?
- If you have not used the scoreboard at Masters.com I would highly recommend it. It includes video highlights for multiple shots from each player - take a look!
- It was good to see Trevor Immelman and Adam Scott have nice openers. Two young stars who have been missing for awhile.
- In the battle of the long bombers Dustin Johnson (305.50 yds) currently holds a 1 yard advantage over playing partner Alvaro Quiros (304.50 yds)
- Lookout for Phil…..lookout!