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February 21, 2003
Volume II, Issue 4
 
Fringe Clippings
 
Go Steve Racer, Go Steve Racer...GO!
 
Steve Williams is looking for a little more these days. For those of you wondering where the Valvoline logo came from on Tiger's caddy's sleeve, here is the answer. Valvoline is Steve Williams' main sponsor for the racing circuit in which he participates in his home country of New Zealand. Nike and Tiger Woods both signed off on the deal for Williams, and the best caddy in golf will also continue to wear a Nike hat when he is on the bag for the world's number one.
 
This year's anomaly
 
Thirteen-year-old Michelle Wie is far from a "wee" contender on the LPGA Tour this year. The eighth-grader from Honolulu is scheduled to play in the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic this August, the Safeway Classic in September and the Sports Today CJ Nine Bridges Classic in October. This will make six tournaments this season, the maximum allowed for a non-member of the LPGA. She will not be able to join the tour full time until her eighteenth birthday.
 
She's Canadian, it's winter, she's in Florida. Duh...
 
Deserved — Dawn Coe-Jones is being inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. Coe-Jones' professional resume includes 18 years and three wins on the LPGA Tour and over $2.8 million in career earnings. Jones is still very active in Canadian Golf but now resides in Florida and plays a very limited LPGA schedule.
 
Heeees baaaaack...
 
Actions, not words — The public continues to speak with their remote controls. The final round of the Buick Classic drew an overnight 6.9 rating. That is nearly double the previous best this year for final round coverage. The Tiger vs. Phil match up did not pan out, but it certainly was sexy enough to catch most of our eyes.
 
 
Paralysis by Analysis
 
Balancing the footwork
 

Ask any pro these days what is the weakest part of an amateur's game and I guarantee that at least one out of 100 will say it is footwork! (Probably more than that, but I have to leave some room for CYA, ya know.) The footwork involved in the golf swing is critical to ensure proper balance, weight shifting and release.

Because each person's golf swing is different it would be foolish for me to give a strict edict on what your feet should be doing. But I can offer some helpful nuggets of wisdom that should begin to make you the Ali of the fairway.
  1. Stretch for ten minutes before each round. Your legs — which are held up by your feet — must be limber enough to support the strain you are about to place on them. By stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles before each round you are effectively lengthening the amount of extension you will get from each muscle.

  2. Fan your feet. Instead of squaring up your feet to your shoulders, try fanning your feet out 5 to 10 degrees (opposite of pigeon toe). This will give you greater extension in your back swing and also help to get the club face back to square at impact. This is done by the left hip being given permission from the feet to clear before impact is made.

  3. Do not slide or tiptoe. The slide or dreaded tiptoe usually occurs during the back swing. It is generally a result of physical restriction in the hip area from older golfers looking for more distance - or from lazy editors who simply don't follow their own advice. They attempt to get too far in their back swing and inadvertently begin to slide or tiptoe their left (right handed golfers) side. If this is happening to you, don't panic. Just reference the first tip and accept that it might be time to move up one set of tee boxes.

  4. When in doubt, always play the ball toward the back of your stance. Doing this promotes a subconscious message to shorten the back swing and hit down on the ball. Much less emphasis is put on the lower body from this position, and footwork becomes much less complicated.

Footwork may not be the glamor topic of a golf lesson, but well... uh... it sure is important! So change your spikes regularly and don't wear too much Tiger Balm (it's not Tiger's secret stuff anyway). Good luck this week on the fairways across our great globe and remember, if none of this works it's because you didn't do it right!
 
 
Reading the Line
 
Even Tonya knew you had to attack the knees
 
Does anyone really dare to say that Tiger is losing his dominance? If perhaps you feel so inclined to speak so flippantly about Mr. Woods, Off the Fringe will be happy to supply you with as many tack hammers as is necessary to beat sense back into your keppie.
 
Keep an eye on the LLLLs
 
... not to be doubted, however, is Ernie's performance over the past two months. His golf has been ridiculously zoned in. The only problem he will have is to stay in the zone for the two years it would take to make a dent in Tiger's rankings lead.
 
Intimidation? Ha!
 
Back to the world's number one player. Annika Sorenstam is not intimidated at the notion of playing with the boys in May. In fact she is not ruling out future event participation. She does, however, need to make the cut first.
 
Collarless, was it not?
 
While we're on cuts, since Tiger has positioned himself as a lover of the traditional values of the game, was anyone else curious about his Sunday red? And which Nike designer is cutting the collars off golf shirts? Please don't get me wrong, though. I have a great deal of respect for last Sunday's champ. Particularly for his classy approach in not even commenting on the worldwide hunt for Mickelson's common sense. He could easily have taken great privilege in stomping the hope out of Lefty, but he is obviously an M. Scott Peck fan.
 
No way to treat a "Champion"
 
Let's talk Champions Tour for a moment. Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem may be a closet masochist. After all, he oversees the Champions (Senior) Tour and is fully responsible for the disqualification of Fuzzy Zoeller from the Royal Caribbean Classic just two weeks ago. As most of you may know, after the tournament day ended on Friday, Fuzzy had agreed to give a local television reporter a golf lesson. The range was full, so he got permission from tournament media officials to use the sixth tee of the course as the training venue. (He purposely hit balls into the lake.) Tour officials confronted him during the taping of the lesson and disqualified him from the tournament. (Rule violation 7-1b)

Honest mistake? No doubt. Rules are rules, bad communications, no doubt, all of the above. Apologies have been pouring out from all orifices at the tour headquarters. Too little too late? Methinks so. The apathy surrounding the tour is epidemic. Perhaps it's time to get back to more exhibition golf. I realize this would alienate all those guys who have made a nice career after turning 50, but unless some truly compelling golf — and more importantly sellable product — comes out of this tour soon, this clairvoyant writer sees a dim future for the senior circuit. Let me know your thoughts about the Champions Tour in the Fringe Forum.
 
 
 

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