Saturday, September 23, 2006

Europe Leads 2006 Ryder Cup as USA Stumbles

Tim Dahlberg, AP Sports Columnist, in his
September 23, 2006 Yahoo! Sports article
Lehman stays pat with his team, but at what price?
hits the nail right on the head in identifying some of the problems that plague the US Ryder Cup team, which trails 10-6 going into the singles matches.

European retention of the Ryder Cup appears imminent.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tiger Woods is Getting Better

Mike Vitti, PGATOUR.com ShotLink Analyst, has compared Tiger Woods' current win streak of five tournaments with his win streak of six tournaments in 1999-2000 and the results are not encouraging to his professional competitors.

The comparison of the two win streaks shows clearly that Woods has improved in nearly every category of comparison except for driving accuracy and greens in regulation.

The reduced driving accuracy of about 9% (i.e. about one drive in 10) has to be counterbalanced against the increased average distance of Woods' drives of 25 yards - an amazing number for someone who always was a big hitter to begin with.

The statistics for greens in regulation can be misleading since pin placements are often near the edge of greens, so that if you are going for the flag, you are more likely to also leave balls on the fringe - but closer to the hole - than if you merely play for the middle of the green, where you may hit the green in regulation, but where birdies may be less likely due to the long putts that have to be made from positions more easily reachable by approach shots.

The truly impressive figures are the percentages for par breakers and for bogeys or worse. Woods has increased his par breakers to 30% (5.4 every 18 holes) and has reduced his bogey or worse percentage to a mere 7.5% (1.35 bogeys or worse per round). Obviously, Woods is getting better at playing more error-free golf while at the same time increasing his under par percentage.

It looks like the competition will have to get to work to try to keep up with Tiger. The face of golf has changed and it is demanding more perfection and accuracy than ever before. Professional golf has become a sport for craftsmen.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The 2006 PGA Championship - Leaderboard

Here in Germany we are following the
2006 PGA Championship leaderboard online today and listening to their streaming broadcast "Pipeline" (as powered by CNN) which is following Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter around the Medinah golf course on their final round. Great stuff and a sign of things to come in entertainment presentation.

Personal and Group Golf Statistics

Leaderboard.com by StatMasters is known for providing personal and group golf statistics. The website also answers all manner of questions about golf and has features such as a swingweight calculator.

Various articles explain important and often lesser-known aspects of the game to players, e.g. a superb and understandable explanation of course slopes and course ratings.

Other articles are found e.g. on topics such as:

The Origins Of Golf
Traditional Club Names
Club Lofts & Distances
Using Handicaps In Competition

and more.

These are definitely useful pages for any golfer.
The website also offers golf handicap services.

Professional Clubmakers and Clubmaking Design

Tom Wishon Golf Technology is a leader in clubmaking design for individuals and professionals and also has a clickable map of the USA for locating professional clubmakers by US region as well as links to professional clubmakers worldwide.

Professional clubmakers can also be located through the Professional Clubmakers' Society.

Custom Clubs from GigaGolf

We have had good success with orders of custom clubs made by GigaGolf.com, a Florida company which offers excellent quality custom-made clubs at rock bottom prices. Select almost all important parameters online to order the set of clubs suited to you, e.g. type and brand of grip, size of grip, type, length and brand of shaft (very important - the shaft is the heart of the club), stiffness of shaft, and type of clubhead - it is also possible to compare clubheads to known golf brand name clubs. There are more parameters that can be set - take a look.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Phil Mickelson's Golf Secret is Fitness

Via PGATour.com we were alerted to what might be the decisive reason for Phil Mickelson's recent winning of the Masters and his rise to top of the money-winning list. It could very well be the BioForceGolf.com special golf fitness program by Sean Cochran which Mickelson has benn using. Golf Digest Magazine quotes Mickelson as saying that "I've worked extremely hard with my personal trainer, Sean Cochran, to strengthen the stabilizer muscles in my hips and legs, as well as improve my core body strength. We've used the medicine ball, martial-arts routines and elastic bands to accomplish this. The work has improved my stamina as well, but the biggest effect has been onmy full swing."

In other words, winning is not coincidence, but the product of hard work and training.

We have no doubt that the golfers of tomorrow will follow suit to improve their game.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What is Ben Crenshaw's Secret in the 2006 Masters golf tournament?

Whatever Ben Crenshaw's secret is for the first two rounds of this 2006 Masters golf tournament, we certainly wouldn't mind having a little for our own golf game.

Look at Crenshaw's tournament log starting here in 1995 when Crenshaw WON the masters
http://sports.yahoo.com/golf/pga/players/Ben+Crenshaw/24/log?season=1995
and you will see that in the course of the next 10 years he dropped completely out of sight.

His current appearance at this years Masters, tied for 10th with rounds of 71 and 72 for a 143 total and only 5 strokes away from the leader Chad Campbell is this year's Master's best story by a "long shot", to pun it, thus far.

It is a near miracle and gives guys like me hope that I will shoot a 65 somewhere in tournament play this year, which is my goal. Let's see how close I get. If Crenshaw can do it, so can we all. I'm only 6 six or so years older. No big difference. Age is an illusion - sometimes.

Update: And here is the answer. We all need a mentor, and in Crenshaw's case, it is his old caddie, Carl Jackson (as an alter ego for Harvey Penick - and for some reason I think of Jimmy Stewart here...) Read the story here. That is the difference between 70 and 80 - someone who knows your swing and tells you where you are making errors. I'm thinking that this is Nick Faldo's problem.... and maybe that of many other pro golfers too, who have lost their touch, perhaps because they got big heads and thought they no longer needed someone who could mentor them to be champions.

Basically, this is one of the most important lessons of life, not just in golf. We all need mentors. Always. That is the key to success. We can't see ourselves, but other people can.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Golf Course at Stanford

Leigh Jones of the National Law Journal at Law.com in an April 3, 2006 article titled "Harvard Law Takes a Hit in 'U.S. News' Rankings" reports that Stanford Law School has passed Harvard Law School in the new law school rankings by the U.S. News & World Report. Well, that overtaking actually happened already a long time ago, in our opinion. Moreover, we really do not understand how Yale Law School can be ranked above our alma mater, Stanford, but I guess that is what makes horse races. Have the people from U.S. News ever been out to Palo Alto and looked at the Stanford Golf course where Tiger Woods used to play? New Haven over California? We don't believe it.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Seven Under Par Each Round - Now That's a Goal

We are getting ready for the 2006 Golf Season in Germany which gets under way next weekend. One is green with envy to see that golf elsewhere in the world is already well under way.

Was Phil Mickelson on his game or what? 28 under par in the Bell South Classic to tie the PGA Tour record of 260 as a winning score (for par 72 courses). That's an average of 7 under par each round. Something to emulate in one's own golf career. I am shooting for a 65 this year - just for ONE round - let's see if I make it.

We ran across some sites on golf we like: The Golf Expert.

And how about The Golf Digest. Superb.

We follow the tour on PGA Tour - they have the best statistics and live scoring.

Update: As a footnote to this record we should add that the absolute lowest PGA total for 72 holes is held by Ernie Els at 31 under in the 2003 Mercedes Championship which was held on a par-73 course. Els needed 261 shots for four rounds (64-65-65-67). Joe Durant and Tim Herron both were 29 under par after four rounds in 2001 and 2003 at the Bobe hope Chrysler Classic, but that tournament goes 90 holes. The lowest 72-hole PGA Tour score is 254 by Tommy Armour III in the 2003 Valero Texas Open, but this was only 26 under par on a par 70 course (Armour shot 64-62-63-65).

The single round PGA Tour record of 59 strokes is held by three players:

Al Geiberger (29-30) in the 1977 Memphis Open.
Chip Beck (30-29) in the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational
David Duval (31-28) in the 1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic

59's outside the PGA Tour have also recently been carded by:
Olin Brown in the 2005 U.S. Open qualifying tournament,
by Jason Gore in the 2005 Nationwide Tour's Cox Classic
and by Phil Mickelson at the 2004 PGA Grand Slam.

The lowest nine-hole PGA Tour record is held by Billy Mayfair at Warwick Hills in the 2001 Buick Open where he shot a 27 on the back nine (9 under par). In 1955 Mike Souchak also had a 27 in the Texas Open but that was 8 under par and Andy North had a 27 in the B.C. Open in 1975 for 7 under par.

The lowest score on a normal 18-hole course appears to be a 58 by Harry Weetman on the Croham Hurst Course (6170 yards) in Croydon, Surrey, UK, January 30, 1956. The British Weetman was well known and played on the Ryder Cup.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Stephen Ames - Man with a Mission

The convincing win by Stephen Ames in the Tournament Players Championship (TPC) at Sawgrass shows what can be achieved by a man with a mission, a man needing to resubstantiate his manhoood on the golf course. Ames, who played the last eight holes in five under par to win by six a tournament in which many of tour's top players were shooting in the 80's, was not just playing to win, he was playing to vanquish.

Ames, humiliated 9 up with 8 holes to play by Tiger Woods in the World Match-Play Championships (Woods won each of the first nine holes), had been nicknamed "9&8" on the tour by his fellow players not only because Woods had pummeled him unforgiveably, but also because this occurred after Tiger had read that Ames had been quoted as saying that he thought he had a good chance to beat Woods because of the inept way Tiger was currently hitting the ball. Ames made a mistake by not keeping his mouth shut and he is sure not to make it again. It just goes to show the interesting variables that enter into the golf equation.

Obviously, having a monicker like "9&8" hung on a player on the pro tour was about as demeaning a status as one could imagine and it is clear that Ames was out to rectify that situation - there is no other explanation for this sudden demonstration of fabulous golf against a world-class field. The man had a mission, and he succeeded. He may never lose the "nickname", but in the future, it will be tinged with respect. Congratulations.
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