April 13, 2006
Volume V, Issue 8
Cut the grass too?
In an effort to build a state-of-the-art practice facility and provide more parking for spectators, Augusta National has been buying up land around the home of the Masters for some time. Golf World magazine reported that the club has purchased 53 lots for more than $22-million since 1999 and said the new range could open by 2011. The current driving range is just 250 yards long. The magazine reported that a separate company was formed to make land purchases and that the sellers were offered the opportunity to stay in the home for two years rent free and would get two lifetime tickets to the Masters. Now the offer is for one year of free rent and two lifetime tickets. I wonder if Martha got in on this deal.
Now he would keep the hair
It wasn't the ending Ben Crenshaw would have wanted, but it was still a nice week for the two-time Masters champion who made his first cut in nine years but shot 78-79 on the weekend. Crenshaw told the story of his first visit to the Masters as an amateur in 1972. At the time, Crenshaw had long, thick hair and he remembers being welcomed by club chairman Clifford Roberts. "Mr. Roberts started off by telling me how happy he was to have me in the Masters," Crenshaw said. "Then he started telling me how many great golfers they had in the Masters from Texas and how well they had done in the tournament. Then he said, 'By the way, did you know we have a barber shop right here in the clubhouse?'" Crenshaw took the hint.
Goals and dreams keep you vibrant. Go Gary!
Gary Player, 70, said he was grinding on his par putt at the 18th hole during the first round of the Masters "like I was leading the tournament." Instead, the putt for the three-time Masters winner was for 79. Player went on to miss the cut and has not made it at the Masters since 1999 but said he wants to play in two more, which would give him 51 for his career. "I want to play one more than Arnie," he said of Arnold Palmer, who played in his 50th and final Masters in 2004. "I want to get to 51." Jack Nicklaus ended his Masters run last year with 45.
Perhaps, Paralysis by Analysis
Charles Howell is an Augusta, Ga., native and he takes advantage of the perk afforded those who qualify for the Masters. Once a player knows he is in the upcoming tournament, he can play as many practice rounds as he wants at the club. "I played four times over Thanksgiving. Over Christmas, I played seven or eight more,'' Howell said. "I may be the reason that rule gets revoked for everybody.'' Howell made a point to play with the local caddies to learn as much as possible about the course, but it didn't do him much good this year as he shot rounds of 80 and 84 to finish dead last.
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Rules and more rules
Since this edition of Off the Fringe has been primarily focused on the Masters, it is only fitting that our rules section take an example straight out of a Masters event, the 2003 Masters to be exact. Jeff Maggert teed off with a Sunday lead. On hole number 3, he found himself in a bunker. Hitting out of the bunker his ball careened of the lip of the bunker and thumped him on the chest.
OK, so let’s take a look at what just happened. His ball was in flight and struck him. What follows next?
- The ball is replayed from its original position, no penalty.
- The ball is replayed from its original position, one stroke penalty.
- The ball is replayed from its original position, two stroke penalty.
- The ball is replayed from its new position, no penalty.
- The ball is replayed from its new position, one stroke penalty.
- The ball is replayed from its new position, two stroke penalty.
Wow, decisions, decisions. What was the call, what is the answer?The answer is F.
Not only did Jeff take a thumping on his chest, he also took a thumping on his score card. Under USGA Rule 19-2, if a golfer's ball is deflected or stopped by him, the golfer incurs a two stoke penalty and must play the ball from where it comes to rest. Jeff went on to score a triple bogey 7 on the hole that no doubt rattled him somewhat. His final round score of 75 left him with a four-round total of 286 (-2). He finished in 5th place, 5 back of Mike Weir.
Could there finally be a rival for Tiger?
Ever since Tiger Woods emerged as the game's best player, we've been looking for his rival. Manufactured rivalries have been proclaimed, but this one might be legitimate. Phil Mickelson, who won his second Masters, might be it. He moved to No. 2 in the world rankings behind Woods and now has three majors to Woods' 10. More importantly, he has won three of the last nine. During that same period, Woods has won two. Moreover, Mickelson has won a major in each of the past three years. Since Woods turned pro in 1996, only one other player has been able to win as many as the three majors Mickelson now has, Vijay Singh. Ernie Els has three, but one of them was captured in 1994 before Woods turned pro. Els and Retief Goosen have long appeared to be the best bets to challenge Woods -- and they still may -- but Mickelson's Masters triumph brings him to the front.
Golf fans deserve better
The Masters has traveled a long way when it comes to television coverage, but it still has a long way to go. We're not talking about the quality, but the quantity. USA Network, which handles the first two rounds, did not come on the air until 4 p.m. EDT on Friday. By then, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson had completed their rounds, as had leader Chad Campbell. Tiger Woods barely got nine holes on television after having none live the day prior. The Masters has always followed the mandate that less is more, but it seems strange in this day of wall-to-wall television coverage. The other three major championships have at least six hours of coverage daily, and the British Open is on all day in Britain. But the Masters insists on just three hours for the first two rounds -- it did add a Webcast of Amen Corner -- with just eight hours total on the weekend. It did add cable coverage on Sunday morning when the conclusion of the third round was played. Now it needs to take the step and add some time to the first two rounds. Do Augusta officials really believe it will dilute the product? They've got the best product going and should only showcase it more.
Mulligan on a tee shot would be called hitting 3 on the PGA Tour?
In the Baseball World Series it is the first team to win 4 out of a possible 7 games that is declared the winner. You don’t count the overall runs and compare who got the most runs. You look at who won the most games. Volleyball is similar; the first team to win 3 matches is declared the winner. With this in mind, what if a golf tournament looked at the best 3 out of 4 rounds for each player, allowing everyone to toss out their worst round (call it a mulligan round)? In this case the Master’s winner would have would have been Olazabal. Knock out his first round 76 and his 71, 71, 66 would have been the 3-round low with a 208, 1 less than Mickelson’s best 3-round total of 209. On the other hand, there are sports such as pole vaulting and high jumping that allow you several attempts but only count your best performance versus the best performances of all competitors. Applying this logic to golf would allow you to toss out your highest 3 rounds (three mulligan rounds) and only count your low round. If this applied at the Masters, the winner would be the player with the lowest round. Wow, guess who shot the lowest. Yep, it was Olazabal with a final round 66. Had lowest round determined the winner, Olazabal would be wearing a green jacket. But golf is golf, and the 4-round totals determine the winner. Besides, ain’t no Mulligans on the PGA Tour.
Core flexibility training improves golf swing power and with it, distance
Core flexibility training is critical if you want to improve your golf swing power and driving distance. Your core is the engine to your swing. If your core is inflexible you will not be able to make a full backswing and follow-through.
Picture your core being the middle of your body. That’s as simple as you can get it. It is mainly your abdominals, but can also include your glutes and lower back. This area of your body is the most susceptible to injury. The majority of amateur golfers have never focused on core flexibility and strength training, which can both protect them from injury and give them more power. That is why many weekend golfers have a low back injury at some point in their pursuit of a great golf game.
To produce more power and distance in your swing does not mean swinging harder with your arms. Haven’t you tried that before? If so, did you hit it farther? I’ll bet not. Just like hitting a baseball, tennis ball and even throwing the discus in track and field, you use your core for most of your power. You rotate with your core to create torque, and then you unleash that stored up energy into the hit, whether it is a baseball, tennis ball or golf ball. The more efficient you become with using your core, arms, shoulders and hands in a sequenced motion, the added distance will come quite easy. You’ll be shocked at how quickly your driving distance can improve. Core flexibility training incorporates “rotation”. Golf stretching along with strength training warrants the best results in the shortest amount of time! Every core flexibility stretch you do should involve some form of rotating. This is very important since the golf swing is a rotate (turn) back and a rotate (turn) forward. The more range of motion you can achieve in your core area the more power you will produce.
Here’s a little test you can do while your sitting there reading this article! Put your arms across your chest and keep your eyes focused straight ahead. Now rotate as far as you can to the right and make a note of how far it is. Did you get to a 90 degree shoulder turn (that’s where you need to be). Then rotate as far as you can to the left. How far did you get. This will be a “wake-up” call for many of you. If you find you can’t rotate at least 70 degrees of center, you’ll have no chance at maximizing your power and driving distance. We do this simple core flexibility test seated to remove cheating of the lower body. If you were standing, it would be very easy to rotate your hips and get a bigger shoulder rotation. Being seated removes this compensation! A seated rotation is “true” core flexibility and range of motion.
I hope you now better understand the importance of core flexibility training and its direct impact on your capability to improve your golf swing power and distance.About The Author: Mike Pedersen is a recognized golf fitness expert and author. He is Golf Magazine's golf performance expert. For information on his Golf Fitness System, visit www.performbettergolf.com.
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R. Langlois of Lodi, CA, and N. Littledale of Elgin, IL, won a Stat Tracker II. Prizes must be claimed within ten days from the date of this newsletter. To claim your prize, please send an e-mail notification to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than April 22, 2006.