Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Question Always Asked: Will Tiger ever Return to his Prior State?

Back when Tiger won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, everyone was thinking: Yup, Tiger's back. I knew better. Everyone had great expectations of him coming into the Masters. He played terribly. He has either been cut or played badly in nearly every start since then. In Quail Hollow and The Players, he finished +1. Right now he is -2 in the Memorial Tournament. He played quite well except for his double bogey on 18. I highly doubt he will ever return to his dominant state. There are plenty of emerging young players, or players that have come out of the rough (pun intended) such as Fowler, Dufner, Kuchar, Bradley, McIlroy, etc. In my opinion, there is no way with all of this talent that Tiger could ever be dominant in the game of golf again. Back when he was, he really had no competition. I'm not saying that he will never play well again; he just needs to work at that. I am just saying that there are far too many great players that would give him a run for his money. Even though Woods still has a large fanbase, and is still a favorite to the media, it wouldn't be possible for him to win as often and as well as he did.

Mickelson out of Sync (WD), Stallings Comes out on Top

Throughout this whole day, Phil Mickelson was seriously struggling. It started out with his double bogey on the 2nd hole, and after that, he struggled to hit fairways and greens. Phil found himself in a lot of bunkers, and he seemed to let his emotions get the best of him. We all know the worst thing you can do when you get angry is rush...that is exactly what Mickelson did. He withdrew with +7 after the round.

A fact that they showed on the screen was that Phil had the most rounds under par this year with 34. Fowler was right behind him with 32. After this round, Rickie has 33 total rounds, one back from Mickelson. Fowler really has surprised me this year, because I thought he was all talk until recently.

For most of the round, there were nearly a dozen people tied for the lead at -3. That was until Stallings birdied the 11th hole bringing him to -4. He then gave that birdie back with a bogey on the next hole. On the 7th hole, Spencer Levin eagled bringing him to -5 where he then birdied and bogeyed leaving him at -5 for the round. Stallings birdied 3 of the last 4 holes and he finished in the lead with -6.

On the 11th hole, Rickie Fowler had a great eagle putt which brought him to -2. He finished the day with -1, with all pars and 1 bogey for the rest of the round. Fowler Eagle 11th

Dustin Johnson was also back for his first tournament since March, and he didn't seem too rusty even after his recovery. His putting did not improve one bit since he last played.

Bubba Watson played some spotty golf. He had 4 bogeys on the back 9, with his only birdie coming on the 5th hole. On the 10th, Bubba had a great imaginative bunker shot hitting it on the other side of the green and using the slope bringing the ball about 4 feet from the hole. He tried to go for the green on the 11th, but ended up bogeying with his 2nd shot in the water. On the 12th hole, a 169 yard par 3, Watson hit a WEDGE, and the ball landed on the back half of the green. He finished the round +3.

With round 1 finished at the Memorial Tournament, there is Stallings leading at -6 and 2 more at -5. There are still a handfull more at -3 under. It could be anybody's tournament. Let's see what cut day has to bring.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tip of the Week

I am starting a new segment which will be every Wednesday. Considering that I am signed up to receive the Golf Digest Tip of the Week and am always eager to learn more about how to better my game, I thought it would be a good idea to share it here. After the tip, I will give my insight. Here is the tip:


When you hit balls off artificial turf, you can't always believe everything you feel. Fat contact is often disguised, because the club rebounds off the mat and you hit a decent shot. So focus on swinging down to the ball with your weight rotating toward the target onto a firm left leg (left). It should feel as if you're "trapping" the ball. This move ensures that the club will reach the bottom of its arc at the ball, not before it.
—Rick Smith / Golf Digest Teaching Professional"

This is mainly true from my experiences. You feel that you are hitting everything perfectly at the range and then mess up on the course. Unless your range has actual grass, you won't be able to practice truly. I try to stay clear of mats as much as I can because they tend to wreck my game. After every time I use them, I often top the ball. This is because you can't get get under the ball as much or make a divot. Mats will get you into a tendency of hitting the ball skinny. I would recommend trying to stay away from mats. You won't get a true feel for your clubs on mats, or even on the range...only on the course.

Memorial Tournament May 31st-June 3rd

This tournament seemed to come up much faster than usual, but that could be due to Memorial Day weekend. The Memorial Tournament will be played at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. In my opinion, the main people to watch would be:

Steve Stricker: He is the defending champion, so I included him in the list even though he hasn't done much this year.

Justin Rose: He has won the tournament in 2010, and is currently leading the European Tour in the Race to Dubai (placed 2nd in the BMW Championship), though Rose hasn't been spectacular on the PGA Tour this year.

Bubba Watson: His first start since New Orleans. I am looking forward to seeing him play because it has been a while. Wonder how rusty he is?

Phil Mickelson: Mickelson is always a contender and you can never count him out (even when there seems to be no hope) due to his consistent play. He has played very well over the years at this event, but has never won.

Tiger Woods: He has won here four times in the past...but remember: that is the past. I didn't choose Tiger because I think he will do well, I chose him because he can be entertaining to watch.

Rory McIlroy: In both of his starts here, he has earned top 10 spots. Even though his play lately has been worse than average, McIlroy is due to come out of his slump.

Luke Donald: He just reclaimed the world #1 spot after winning the BMW Championship. Another consistent golfer. Donald has played well at Muirfield Village in his last few starts with top 20s.

Jim Furyk: With a handfull of top 20s and 1 win at this tournament in the early 2000s, Furyk is definitely a contender. Though he hasn't won yet this year, this could be his tournament. I would love for him to return to his 2010 season state.

The tee times for this event would be located in the link scoreboard at the top so you can find your favorite player. The Memorial Tournament tomorrow (5/31) will be televised from 3-6 PM on the Golf Channel. My favorite players in the field would be Keegan Bradley, Fred Couples (who won the tournament in the 90s), Jim Furyk, Ken Duke, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, and Jonas Blixt. I would love to see Duke win for the first time since coming off of the Nationwide Tour. He has played a lot of great golf this year and is truly a caring person, especially with his talk with people with scoliosis over the last weekend after the Crowne Plaza Invitational. Duke is one of the nicest guys on tour. For the whole story on Duke, checkout this link: Ken Duke Offers Encouragement, Support to Fellow Scoliosis Sufferers

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Evolution to Hybrids (but don't forget the shorter woods!)

The evolution to hybrids was a relatively quick one. Back in the early 2000s, virtually no one used a hybrid. Now, they are a popular alternative (to both pros and amateurs) to the longer irons. Cobra invented the hybrid with their Baffle line in the late 1970's but it didn't really catch on. Now, the golfers' answer to their long iron problems is the hybrid.

The hybrid is designed so that is has a loft and lauch angle slightly higher than its counterpart, plus it has a larger head with a lower center of gravity. All of these contribute to the golfer getting the ball up in the air much easier. Most now are designed so that less turf hits the head as well which will result in a smoother shot.

I personally can't hit hybrids. Instead of a 3 hybrid, I hit a 7 wood. It has the same loft as a 3 hybrid, but I just hit it better. My woods are Cobra Baffler Rail F, F standing for "fairway" while the Baffler Rail H was the hybrid model. They are both basically the same except that one is a wood. A lot of people knock out the 7 and 9 woods (yes...some companies still make a 9 wood) in favor of a 3 and 4 hybrid. They might not know what they are missing. Some people have problems hitting woods, and some have problems hitting hybrids. For those who struggle to hit a long iron AND a hybrid like myself, you may be able to hit woods. You may get laughed at a little, but it will be a great feeling when you smoke the ball on the green while they miss. See what works for you.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Golf Ball Review: Callaway HEX Chrome vs Bridgestone e5 vs Srixon Q-Star

I have played the Callaway HEX Chrome since the start of the season and I love them. They have good distance, and great spin. The only thing is: when I run out, I don't know if I want to pay $36 a dozen. I got a sleeve of the Bridgestone e5 and Srixon Q-Star the other day and played half my round with a ball from each sleeve. Here are my thoughts on all 3 balls.

Callaway HEX Chrome: ($36) Great overall golf ball. Has a nice soft feel to it, good distance and accuracy with great spin. It is basically the HEX Black only meant for a little bit slower swing speeds (85-105mph probably).

Bridgestone e5: ($26) This is a rare ball...the only 2 piece with a Urethane cover. I chose this over the e6 or e7 because of the Urethane which means more spin. Spin is crucial for me on the greens. I really liked the feel especially with iron shots, and the flight was higher than a HEX Chrome which I liked. the e5 had better spin the the Q-Star The ball did have some serious stopping power. The only thing (as with all Urethane balls) it will tend to scuff. If spin is important to you, then these would be a better fit for you when compared to the Q-Star.

Srixon Q-Star: ($25) You would really have to work at it to slice or hook this ball. It's not that I have that problem, but the ball flight was a bit straighter than the e5 or a HEX Chrome (3 piece). It has a little better feel with the driver and woods. I chose a sleeve of these because I heard good things about them and just wanted to explore the market a little. The spin wasn't quite as good as the e5, but it was much better than other 2 piece balls which will just roll off the green. The feel when putting might've been a little softer though when compared with the e5, but that is a personal preference type of thing. If you have trouble slicing, this would be an excellent choice if you don't want to spend big bucks.

I personally would take the e5 as my next ball because of the spin. If that isn't your top priority, then the Q-Star is an excellent choice. I still like my HEX Chrome's but the e5's are much more affordable.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dufner Gives the Tournament Away to Johnson Late in the Round

For most of round 4 of the Crowne Plaza Invitational, it seemed like match play (as the announcers put it) between Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson. The lead changed about 5 or so times; this really was a dogfight.

Early in the round, Tommy Gainey looked like he might've had a change with -9 as his peak. He then lost 2 shots on the 11th and 12th holes. Gainey ended up with a respectable 3rd place finish of -7.

On the 8th hole, Zach Johnson duffed his chip shot which resulted in a widened lead gap with Dufner leading -16 to -14. On the very next hole, Dufner gave Johnson a break when he had a wedge shot in the water. Dufner ended up swith a double bogey on that hole while Johnson par'd. They were then tied for the lead at -14.

The 11th hole was also in favor of Zach Johnson. He took advantage of the fact that Dufner ended up in the sand and shot a bogey. Johnson ended up with a birdie which widened his lead to -15 to -13.

The 12th hole brought some drama for Johnson. He had a tough fairway sand shot which hit the lip and was re-shot. Because of that extra shot, Johnson ended up with a bogey. Jason Dufner had a birdie bringing the score back to a tie at -14.

On the 14th hole, Johnson took the lead again at -15 to -14. Dufner then went on to make a mess of the 15 hole where he had his 2nd shot of the day in the water where he ended the hole with a dreaded triple bogey widening Johnson's lead to -15 to -11. Johnson then bogeyed the 16th which brought the score to -14 to -11, still in Johnson's favor.

The last hole was where the game got really interesting. Jason Dufner shot a par and so did Johnson...except he didn't. He really had a double bogey. Johnson had to move his ball marker in order for Dufner to putt. Johnson then forgot to move it back to where it was. His caddie noticed and asked him, but after he had putt. Zach Johnson should thank his caddie for bringing that to attention before he signed his scorecard or he wouldn't have won the Crowne Plaze Invitational for the 2nd time -12 to -11.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dufner and Johnson will Battle it out in Round 4

People like Tommy Gainey, Bo Van Pelt, and Tom Gillis either lost ground or stayed even while Johnson and Dufner lit it up. Aside from Gainey's shot from the cart path, he struggled to hit greens. He ended up finishing the round +3 (-4 total). Pelt ended up shooting par. Dufner has a total score or -15 and Johnson is on his tail with -14. The nearest person to Johnson is -7 which is Tom Gillis and he would need nothing short of a miracle in order to have a chance with the way the top 2 are playing.

Earlier in the round, Zach Johnson caught up to Jason Dufner quickly. As the round goes on, Dufner starts making more birdies which Johnson is narrowly saving par. On the 12th hole Johnson had a very nice clutch par, but it wasn't enough since Dufner made a birdie. Zach Johnson is in 1st place in scrambling in the tournament. The "theme" of his round (if that is what you want to call it) is: It doesn't matter how perfect you play, it matters how well you can play when you find yourself in trouble. He didn't hit many fairways, greens and he hit a lot of sand (especially on the back 9) but his high scrambling percentage really helped him in this round. He only had 1 bogey. Johnson had a beautiful shot on the water hazard line on the 15th where he saved par.

Where the tide started to turn was on the 16th hole where Johnson had a clutch birdie. Jason Dufner ended up bogeying bringing him to only a 1 shot lead. On the 17th hole, Both Dufner and Johnson had great 2nd shots...they were identical. Dufner hit his about 8 feet from the hole. Johnson then hits the same shot that spins and lands (even touches) right next to Dufner's ball. They both birdied the hole.

It seems pretty obvious that round 4 of the Crowne Plaza Invitational will be all about Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner. It would be highly unlikely that anyone else will come close to the lead considering that the next person is 7 shots off Zach Johnson. I was impressed with how well Johnson played considering his lack of greens and fairways hit which is the sign of a true player. Dufner hasn't really had a chance to show that skill, but no one knows that there is to store in round 4 of the CPI.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dufner Surges on Cut Day (Cut +3)

On day 2 of the Crowne Plaza Invitational, Jason Dufer shoots straight up on the leader board from -5 to -11 and had a hell of a game. He hit 71% of his fairways along with 83% of his greens. He had a bogey free round for a total of -6, or 64.

On the other hand, Sergio Garcia didn't have the greatest round. He started out excellent, but then on the 9th hole hit 2 balls in the water and finished the hole +4 and went from -6 to -2. Garcia finished the day with a total of 1 under par.

Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey also played a great round. His total score is -7 and in the 2nd round, he too went bogey free. Gainey only had 25 putts in the round. It has been a while since he has played great and if he continues this consistent play, he still has a chance to win. Gainey had a very positive attitude in his post round interview and I look forward to watching him in the weekend.

In 2nd place is Zach Johnson. He went 3 under for the round which included an eagle on the 1st hole. Zach looked very good off the tee today accuracy wise and distance wise. In round 2, Johnson averaged 305.5 yards with his driver which is much more than his season average (over 30 yards more).

The Main Contenders in the Weekend:
Jason Dufner.......-11
Zach Johnson......-9
Bo Van Pelt........ -7 (Great round out of no where, 6 under)
Tommy Gainey....-7
Tom Gillis............-6
Rickie Fowler.......-4
Louis Oosthuizen..-2
Jim Furyk..............-2
Vijay Singh...........-1
John Daly..............-1 (Been a while for him)
Sergio Garcia........-1
Hunter Mahan.......E
Geoff Ogilvy.........E
Matt Kuchar..........+1
Missed Cut:
Davis Love III
Johnson Wagner

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Round 1 Comes to a Close

As I just sat down to write this, I saw Oosthuizen's eagle on the 18th hole which brought him to 1 over par. It reminded me of his double eagle during The Masters.

On a more relatable note, Zach Johnson ended up in the lead with a -6. I didn't get to watch him play at all today, but in his post round interview he sounded very confident. The one person who surprised me was Sergio Garcia. I didn't expect him to play so well today beause he hasn't done great all year. Garcia had a great eagle putt during the round, but it was shortly followed by a bogey. I was also surprised at Hunter Mahan and I expected him to play much better than he did. He had a solid round, but he didn't really seem like he had it all together.

The group of Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Jason Dufner didn't really have the greatest rounds (with the exception of Dufner). Kuchar made me nervous every time he was on the green and didn't make nearly as many GIR's and greens hit as he usually did. Rowler didn't do much better at his putting either, though I love his calm "get back on the horse" mentality. Fowler always seems to keep his cool no matter what his mistake is and that is what I think has led to his success. Dufner, who finished round 1 in a tie for 2nd place with -5 had a pretty good round. He did a much better job putting even though he never seems to be impressed with it. One thing that Kuchar, Fowler, and Dufner all had in common was that they all hit into a LOT of bunkers. The difference was that Kuchar and Fowler had a sand save percentage of 100%

On the 12th hole, Kyle Riefers hit the longest drive of the day on the 12th which went 315 yards. On that drive, he also lost his driver head which landed in the fairway about 50 yards or so from the tee box. The link for the video is right here:

One thing to keep in mind about the current leaders is that you can't count on them to play the same throughout the tournament. Just remember 2 weeks ago with Ian Poulter (my personal favorite) in The Players. He led with -7 in the first round and then had 2 double bogeys in the 2nd round and 1 more later in the tournament which he ended tied for 25th.

Zach Johnson probably has the best chance at winning right now because of his win at the CPI 2 years ago along with his earlier success. As I said, his confidence showed in his post round interview which is a great sign. Then again, you can't count out Jason Dufner who is hungry for his 3rd win.

Tee Times for Crowne Plaza Invitational

A link for the official tee times for the CPI is right here Find your favorite player and make your picks! My favorites in this round from starting earliest to latest are: Ken Duke, Jim Furyk, Geoff Ogilvy, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler, and Jonas Blixt. Jonas Blixt is now probably the hottest rookie at the moment with his 3rd place finish at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, and I expect him to do well considering for the past couple events he has been hovering around 10th place. Another rookie Ken Duke has been consistent as well. Jim Furyk hasn't been in his groove lately and his last great performance came early this year. Fowler and Kuchar are both playing excellent. Kuchar has been Mr. Consistent this year and has played great. Fowler has also been playing well coming off of his first win a few weeks ago. If he continues his superb play, this could easily be his year. Ogilvy is another story. It has been a while for him, and he seems to be declining out of his prime. At this point, he may not be enjoying the game as much as he used to, but Ogilvy is still one of my favorites and I will continue to root him on...his time will come at least once more. Remember to check back in here once round 1 is over for recap, stats and videos!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

ProtoSports Phone Holster for Swing Analysis

I read a post on about a new product by ProtoSports that will allow you to connect an iPhone to an alignment rod which will make it easy for you to take swing videos. I think this is a great product and will make some good money. ProtoSports should also make holsters compatible with other smartphones and tablets as well to increase options. I personally would consider purchasing this. Here is the link for the full article/post. Take a is pretty neat.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jason Dufner

Jason Dufner recently became the only other person to have 2 wins this year with his recent win at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. The first person who achieved this was Hunter Mahan. Earlier on in the year, Dufner had trouble finishing tournaments and only playing well during the first 2 or so rounds. Lately Dufner has been HOT with his 2 wins coming within 2 weeks. Those are Dufner's only wins on the PGA Tour in his career. Now, everyone is expecting great things from the emotionless golfer and the talk is whether or not he will end up winning a major. Dufner is now at #14 of the World Golf Ranking and is in 1st place in the FedEx Cup rankings. Will Dufner win any majors this year, and how many more in the future?

Crown Plaza Invitational: May 24-27

The next tournament for the PGA Tour is the Crown Plaza Invitational from this thursday-sunday at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. It sure seems like there are plenty of events that take place in Texas. The defending champion from last year is David Toms. The players who have committed this year can be found at this link: Make your picks!

Golfer Shoots a 55 for 18 Holes (-16)

Rhien Gibson, an Australian shot a 55 at River Oaks Golf Club in Oklahoma (par 71)...for 18 holes. That is amazing. He was playing a casual round with his friends and ended up scoring 12 birdies and 2 eagles in the round. This is a record. According to Yahoo! Sports, Gibson also was using a new driver for the first time...a Cleveland Classic 290. Gibson is also currently playing on Golfweek's National Pro Tour, a mini tour, and is working his way up to the PGA Tour. Let's see if we see his name anywhere in the near future.