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October 08, 2004
Volume III, Issue 14
 
Fringe Clippings
 
Money can't buy you love, no no no...
 
In his past six tournaments on the PGA Tour, Vijay Singh has won five, including three in a row. During that six event span, he has earned $4,452,000. If he had played only these six tournaments and performed at his current level, Singh would be fourth on this year's PGA Tour money list. With more than $9.4-million in earnings this year, Singh has already set the single-season money record, which somewhere must make Jack Nicklaus shake his head. The Golden Bear, who won 18 majors and 70 tournaments, made it just past $5-million in his entire career earnings, not highest year! Now if Singh could use some of that cash to acquire some of Nicklaus personality...
 
Believe in the magic that can set you free...
 
Anna Acker-Macosko is a veteran of the LPGA Tour. She is struggling to retain her playing card for 2005. She recently captured the magic moment that we all covet, the time when it feels like you can do nothing wrong on a golf course. Acker-Macosko had two cracks at matching the LPGA Tour scoring record, missing birdie putts at the 17th and 18th holes at the Longs Drugs Challenge. Had either putt dropped, Acker-Macosko would have matched Annika Sorenstam's record score of 59. "I said to myself, "Just enjoy it; this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.' I was thinking about 59. That kept me on track. That's the closest I'll come to tying one of Annika's records.'' Acker-Macosko, must finish among the top 90 money winners in order to be exempt next year. Her scores of 69,70,72,60 earned her a 5th place tie at the Longs Drug Challenge and $37,500 bumping her 2004 total earnings to $81,009.00 placing her 94th on the 2004 LPGA money list.
 
Please pass the Grey Poupon...
 
Players in the 84 Lumber Classic who were also eligible for the American Express Championship in Ireland got to take advantage of an offer that was eye-opening even to multimillionaire golfers. The 84 Lumber, played at a tough time of year in a remote part of Pennsylvania, added a bonus for showing up for their affair. The bonus, chartered specially-configured planes with first-class seating and full catering for the roundtrip to Ireland. Players could bring their spouse, caddie and children, or could invite three guests. The value was estimated at $40,000 per player. The enticement helped explain how a tournament that had just one of the top 21 money winners in 2003 attracted 19 of the top 30 this year.
 
A Caddy for every caddie...
 
Hal Sutton might have disappointed as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but the caddies who worked the event will forever be grateful to him. Caddies typically do not have the welcome mat rolled out for them at tournaments. Over the years, they have had to fight for parking, among other things. But at the Ryder Cup, Sutton made sure they were taken care of. Not only were they allowed into the American team room — a first — they were given Cadillacs to drive for the week. They also got first-class airfare to Detroit. And, unlike the golfers, they got paid for their time.
 
 
Paralysis by Analysis
 
The power struggle
 
The mantra of most instructors these days is "Swing easy and keep it in the fairway." When's the last time you heard someone say "I'm not going left of trees, I'm not going right of the trees, I'm going over the trees with a little draw." (Roy McAvoy, Tin Cup)

Have you ever seen Tiger swing his driver easy? Me neither.

So this week let's discuss how to hit the ball far and not leave anything in the bag.

For starters, forget the notion of hitting 325-yard drives. "Not gonna happen." While we're throwing that out the window, let's also toss out the idea of out-driving your fellow golfing companions. These two thoughts alone are directly related to your inability to hit the long ball. The key word here is tension.

"What? I thought we were discussing how to hit it far?" We are. In case you haven't learned yet, golf is game of opposites. You swing left, the ball goes right. You swing down, the ball goes up. Does it not fit into this game of opposites that not trying to hit the ball far is how you do it? Follow along; I am about to share some insider tips that would make Martha Stewart perk up.

Follow these instructions carefully and unlock the beast within!
  1. Loosen your grip. This will allow you the pliability your hands need to properly un-cock themselves at impact. Watch Sergio Garcia, he is a little guy who generates tremendous power with his hands. All you white-knucklers out there, ease up will ya!

  2. Take a three-quarters swing. Most amateurs over-swing. Attempting to load too much power in the back swing does this. By consciously limiting your swing length, you will be enhancing the compact nature of your swing and creating a square club face at impact. Why does Tiger's ball go far? Because his club face is square!

  3. Let the Ball get in the way. The golf swing is all about the club. Not the ball. Do not try to hit the ball hard. Do not even try to hit the ball. Let the ball get in the way of a perfect set-up and swing and it will go far! Think about that perfect practice swing you take. You just know if you could put that swing on the ball — Look out! Well then, just step up and pretend the ball is not even there. A fluid motion like that will allow you to swing through the ball, not at it.
With these tiny nuggets of knowledge you may not be able to carry that last bunker at your home course from the tips, but you might just find yourself setting up to hit an 8 iron from the fairway and not a four iron from behind a tree.
 
 
Reading the Line
 
Good golly Miss Molly, look who's No. 3...
 
For much of the year, the focus was on the No. 1 ranking and who should hold it. Tiger Woods wasn't doing much to deserve it, but kept hanging on, finally getting passed by Vijay Singh at the Deutsche Bank Championship in August when he edged Woods in the tournament. Singh has gone on to win twice more to solidify his place on top. But earlier this year, Ernie Els had numerous chances to ascend to No. 1. Had he won the U.S. Open, where he trailed by just two strokes entering the final round, or the British Open, where he lost in a playoff, he'd be the king of golf. Instead he suffered frustrating defeats and actually fell behind both Singh and Woods.

Well that changed when Els won the American Express Championship in Ireland. The victory in the World Golf Championship event gave Els his third PGA Tour title of the year and propelled him to second in the rankings. Both players are competing in European Tour events together, then the final two PGA Tour events of the season, which could produce a nice showdown for No. 1.

"I've been chasing Tiger for the last five, six years,'' Els said. "And now it seems like I have to chase Vijay. It's fine. I just feel like I'm really in a much better frame of mind right now.''
 
A caged Tiger can still be dangerous...
 
If the rumors are accurate, by the time you read this, Tiger Woods will already be married. Engaged for nearly a year to Swedish nanny Elin Nordegren, Woods, 28, and Nordegren, 24, were said to be getting married at a Barbados resort. The wedding was rumored to cost Tiger in excess of $1.5 million of his reported $300 million net worth. Woods reportedly rented all 100 plus rooms at the resort. Whenever it happens, here's hoping that the marriage is not blamed for any lull in Woods' game. The great Jack Nicklaus, who has five children, the first of whom was born before he won his first major championship, said having a family gave him another purpose, something else to play for. While Woods sole energy will no longer be on golf, that could be a good thing. Who could be expected to chase greatness with so much fervor. A wife and family might keep him away from the golf course more, but don't bet that it dulls his desire. By the way, best wishes to a beautiful couple.
 
Here's one Vietnam vet we can all agree on...
 
His overall record is 9-3-1 and he is the only player to ever go 5-0 at the Ryder Cup. Throw in three major championships, including two PGAs, and it is difficult to imagine how Larry Nelson was never named a U.S. Ryder Cup team captain. he snub still stings, but Nelson has put it behind him. The winner of 10 PGA Tour titles and another 18 on the Champions Tour who didn't take up golf until age 21 after returning from Vietnam is far too classy to complain. But now Nelson's name is in the mix again. After the drubbing the Americans took at Oakland Hills, there is a movement among past captains to get Nelson, 57, appointed to the position he should have gotten years ago. Picking captains who are like football coaches hasn't worked. Why not give it to Nelson, an easy-going-guy with a great record, and see what happens?
 
 
 

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