Tag Archives: Graeme McDowell

What’s Your Favorite Golf Drill Of The Year?

During today’s PGA Championship telecast, I was watching Tiger on the putting green pre-round and was loving his use of Butch Harmon’s Two Tee Drill.  Butch's two tee drillWhile watching that pure stroke bang putts into the hole with perfect form, I immediately grabbed a couple balls out of my bag and set up shop on the carpet.  Using a golf ball in lieu of a tee on each end, I quickly found out how perfect you had to be to slide that putter head through the gate.  Though not nearly as proficient as Tiger, I still can’t wait to take this out to the course tomorrow and give it another try.

The effort got me thinking about all the excellent and not so excellent golf tips I have received this year and I was trying to pick the best.  Do you have one or more to share?  Here are my top three:

1st place:

“Push out your pecs!”  I received this from a friend while warming up in Myrtle Beach before a round.  After a particularly bad ball striking day the day before, I was still all over the place in my warm up and just didn’t feel right at address.  My friend told me to push out my pecs and all of a sudden, I felt like I was in a good strong athletic position and started hitting it pure.

2nd place:

“Keep your left upper arm tight to your chest on the back swing and down swing.”  Got this one from Graeme McDowell in one of the spring Golf Digest magazines.G-MAC  This worked great for about two or three rounds till a hook worked it’s way into my swing.  Maybe that’s why G-Mac fights a hook.

Honorable mention:

“Hinge and hold.”  Resurrected this one from the archives of my own practice notes.  Back in the spring I was fighting some very loose and embarrassing green-side pitch shots with my new 58 degree wedge.  Skinny and lateral were in the lexicon and it turned out that I was trying to release the club on these short shots.  Found the tip and started holding my finish with the club face pointed at the sky and down my target line and all of a sudden, I was cured.  More importantly, I remain cured.

If you’ve come across a great tip or two, please share.  I’d love to put some good ones into play.  Thanks!

2013 US Open Picks

MerionMy 2013 US Open picks are not going to look like the conventional odds board selections popping up in Las Vegas or the offshore betting houses.   This year is a unique opportunity for non-favorites because there are no “horses for courses”running in this tournament, as Merion has not hosted a major championship since 1981.

Let’s cull the herd by looking at last week’s big name debacles at Memorial and start with Phil Mickelson.  What bugs me is that he didn’t play for the second straight year (dropped out in 2012) and hasn’t played since The Players Championship where he missed the cut.  Memorial is a great tune up because it’s hard and the best players in the world compete.  Phil is playing this week at FedEx St. Jude because he always plays the week before a major, but TPC Southwind is a horrible tune-up venue.  Phil is inconsistent from week to week and he’s very difficult to predict.  What’s clear is that he doesn’t play enough and now he’s rusty.  Sorry not happening this year, Lefty.

Tiger Woods‘ 3rd round 79 was mystifying but these things happen for a reason and I believe his hot streak with the putter is over.  The flat stick is clearly his Achilles heel when he’s off and his superb ball striking and four wins in 2013 have the odds makers falling all over him at 4/1.  Call Steve Stricker for another putting lesson because it’s not happening this year.

Rory McIlroy‘s first round 78 was no surprise.  Rory is plagued by inconsistency and is still distracted to a point where he’s too focused on firing agents and lining up endorsements to play consistently well.  No focus – not happening in 2013, Mr. McIlroy.

The smart money is on two main contenders and two dark horses.  Merion will require excellent accuracy off the tee and superb wedge/iron play from 125-150 yards.  The course is set up at only 6,996 yards and drivers will remain in the bag.  The exceptions are the three monstrous par-3s at #3 (256 yards), #9 (236 yards), and #17 (246 yards).

SnedekerContender #1 is Brandt Snedeker.  Okay, I’ll throw out his second round 80 at Memorial 🙂 but I love that he’s third on tour in GIR from 125-150 yards and putts lights out.  He’s hungry, has contended in the last two majors, and is ready.  He gets a little quick with his putting stroke under pressure and will have to settle that down.

Contender #2 is Graeme McDowell.  I love the win at RBC Heritage because the Harbour Town Golf Links is short and tight requiring a similar mindset to the pending US Open setup.  Also, look who he defeated at RBC; Webb Simpson – defending U.S. Open champ.  These guys love the short tracks.  I like G-Mac’s ability to putt under pressure, as well as his ranking in driving accuracy (1st) and scrambling (1st).Gmac

Your 2013 US Open Picks:

Champion:  Graeme McDowell.  Finished 2nd last year, has the game, the guts, and the stats to make it happen.

Runner Up:  Brandt Snedeker.  Gets closer than ever but loses Monday in an 18-hole playoff.

Third:  Jim Furyk.  Cagey veteran knows how to play the Open and doesn’t get flustered.  Very patient player.

Dark Horse #1:  Kevin Chappel.  2nd at Memorial and T-10 in last year’s US Open.  Up and coming.  Love his odds at 200/1.

Dark Horse #2:  Michael Thompson at 150/1 looks like a real value play.  Finished 2nd in the Open last year, finished 8th at Memorial this year, and looks like he focuses well this time of year.

Enjoy the spectacle and happy Father’s Day!

2012 British Open Wrap-Up

Outstanding finish to The Open Championship, complete with the the resurrection of Ernie Els after the Big Easy came so close earlier in the year at Transitions and the Zurich Classic, and dealt with his own crushing disappointment along with a missed opportunity to play in The Masters.  As sweet as this was for Els, you’ve got to feel for Adam Scott and the way he went down.  Major golf is such a mental grind and it definitely benefits those who try and fail and fail and fail, as the battle hardening and lessons learned can be used to toughen the resolve of the defeated.  Scott was tested and failed.  Hopefully he can bank the experience and benefit from it.  Oddly enough, Els wasn’t subject to the pressure of defending the lead, played solid and let the championship fall into his lap.  He seemed almost as surprised to win as Scott was shocked to lose.

I had Tiger Woods winning this event and Ernie finishing third so their top performances were expected but I totally missed on Lee Westwood (my runner up pick).  On Woods, I was surprised he tried that play in the bunker on #6 (the first one) because his approach had been totally mastery-based to that point, and suddenly turned ego-based as the challenge of showing off his skills to pull off the shot became irresistible.  I much preferred Graeme McDowell’s approach of spending a shot on a sensible play in the bunker and giving himself a better look on an easier out.  The triple bogey effectively ended Tiger’s chances.  No idea what happened to Westwood other than he probably tried too hard to win one ala Colin Montgomery.

The Open is a very cool event to watch because the uniqueness of links golf brings the players who embrace the style to the forefront every year.  Often it’s age defying and was again at Lytham & St. Annes as seniors Tom Watson and Mark Calcavecchia both made the cut.  Greg Norman seriously contended at 53 years old in 2008, and the way the round bellies continually show up for this event is amazing.  It’s simply not possible in the three other majors (or is highly improbable), and is a pleasure to watch.

So congratulations to Ernie Els, and we’ll see you at Augusta in April!