May 24, 2004
Volume III, Issue 5
But Mom, it's a really big deal too...
Lorena Ochoa became the first player from Mexico to win on the LPGA Tour, winning the Franklin Championship. It was a huge moment for Ochoa, 22, a star-in-the-making who was the 2003 LPGA rookie of the year. But don't be surprised if her accomplishment was met with a yawn when she called home. Just hours before she teed off on May 16, Ochoa learned that her brother, Alejandro, 27, had successfully climbed to the peak of Mount Everest. Wow, what a family!
This story was TaylorMade...
TaylorMade recently unveiled its new R7 Quad driver, which has a suggested retail price of $600. For those who want a version of what the pros will get to play, the TP model of the R7 will retail for $1,000. Yikes. Glad we're trying to keep the game affordable for all the masses of people out there the golf industry says are not playing golf.
Ooogaly, very ooogaly...
When Robert Damron missed his short par putt in a playoff at the Byron Nelson Championship, all but handing the tournament to Sergio Garcia, he appeared to rush. Damron barely looked at the line, stroked it and missed. "There was no point in reading it. I knew what it was doing. I just butchered it.'' He said it, but we agree: it was ugly.
I can't get her out of my mind...
Colin Montgomerie had one of his worst performances as a pro at the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open in Germany, shooting 75-78 to miss the cut. The performance left him out of the top 50 in the world and means he will have to qualify for the British Open. Making matters worse is the tournament will be played at his home course, Royal Troon, near Glasgow, Scotland. Montgomerie's father was once the secretary of the club. Monty, who is in the process of getting divorced from his wife, Eimear, has struggled mightily while dealing with the fallout.
Gaining skill in chipping is perhaps one of golf's most important components to improve scoring for the amateur.
Why you ask?
Simple. The average amateur is not particularly adept at hitting greens in regulation and in order to make that all elusive par, the golfer must be able to chip the ball close. First we must define the term chipping. (Note this is a loose definition and may not hold up in any court!)
Chipping: A shot in golf from no more than twenty yards off the putting green requiring touch and creativity in order to make the ball stop as close to the hole as possible.
So if you can make the ball stop close to the hole your chances of one-putting the green are increased. This is good!
The chipping stroke should, in most cases, emulate a good putting stroke: mostly shoulders and very little wrist action. This motion can be seen best when watching pros like Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia play a fairway wood from off the green.
Speaking of the fairway wood off the green, this is a very creative shot not intended for the faint of heart. Most amateurs would do well to select a seven iron or eight iron when they can bump and run the ball to the hole and a pitching wedge or sand wedge when a soft landing is required.
Be sure to pick out a target landing area and have a read on which way the ball will break once it starts to roll.
Chipping well can easily reduce your strokes per round by three to five. Practice this shot for at least fifteen minutes of your practice time per hour. It will help you to understand breaks in the green and speed control involved in getting the ball close!
- Swing with shoulders
- Use putting stroke
- Be creative when chipping
Shark, bit again...
If the best players in the world can't keep the rules straight, how are we mortals supposed to cope? That was made apparent again recently when Greg Norman was disqualified from the BMW Asian Open in China for taking an illegal drop after hitting into a water hazard. Now, to be fair, Norman knew the rule. He was simply unaware that the drop he took was wrong. Norman assumed the hazard at the par-3 17th hole was lateral. It was not. Only red-staked hazards are lateral. Yellow-staked or yellow-lined hazards require a player, typically, to play from a drop area or from the tee. (Think of the 17th hole at the TPC Sawgrass). Norman played it lateral, meaning next to the hazard. That's a two-stroke penalty, but the rule requires he rectify his mistake by playing again from the proper spot before teeing off on the next hole. Norman never did because he didn't know.
It was the second time this year such an incident occurred to Norman. He was also disqualified at the Honda Classic in March. "I quite honestly did not notice it was a yellow line and treated it as red (a lateral water hazard),'' Norman said. "When it happened at Honda nobody notified me and again here, nobody notified me. No one in the gallery, no marshals notified me that it was wrong. When I hit off the next tee, that was it — I had to be disqualified.''
Speed it up boys, or let the girls play through...
The LPGA Tour is serious about the problem of slow play, as evidenced by a new policy that hits players with a two-stroke penalty if they don't hit shots in an average of 30 seconds. Two strokes is a huge penalty and far more harmful than a simple fine. No doubt it got the attention of three players who got nailed Sunday, including Amy Hung, who earned her first paycheck as an LPGA player but lost out on an additional $8,000 because of the penalty. That $8,000 could hurt later in the year when exemptions are on the line. And no doubt, Hung will make sure she keeps moving in the future. Now, if only the PGA Tour would institute a similar plan. It takes several fines before a PGA Tour player will be assessed a two-stroke penalty, which in essence means the men get away with being slow for a long time. Why is this important to the masses? Because they get their cues from the pros. Slow play is a chronic problem at golf courses across the country, and a big reason the industry is suffering. Time is often cited as a reason why people don't play. So, good for the LPGA. Maybe others will step it up. By others I of course mean the PGA. Then again, maybe they won't step up.
Duh, forget to read the orientation manual?
Usually it's the kids being scolded for such misdeeds, but in this case, it's the kids pointing the finger. Five members of the college golf team recently accused their coach, Wayne Fisher, of driving the team van while intoxicated. The incident occurred at the Mountain West Conference Championship in Oregon after the team arrived via plane. "I knew that he shouldn't be driving,'' senior Luke Swilor told the local paper. "We sat on the edge of our seats for four hours.'' The players approached Fisher the next day, and were stunned when he tried to pass off the incident saying he had consumed only two drinks on the plane. That prompted the team to write a letter to the athletic department. No word on whether a designated driver will accompany the team on their next road trip. But Fisher won't. He resigned. Oh, did we mention the college? Utah State, as in how do you spell Mormon! Coach must have fallen asleep during orientation.