Extras  Members  Newsletter 
 
May 01, 2007
Volume VI, Issue 7
 
Fringe Clippings
 
Personally, I like the Australian “Vision 18” theory in which…
 
Annika Sorenstam might have difficulty hitting a shot these days after the recent news that she has a ruptured disc in her back. But she nonetheless went ahead with plans to open her own golf academy at the Reunion Resort near Orlando, Fla. Calling it a “dream come true,’’ Sorenstam is employing her longtime swing coach, Henry Reis, and fitness instructor, Kai Fusser. There is a 5,400-square foot facility and the academy will offer multiple packages for golf instruction. Sorenstam subscribes to the Swedish “Vision 54’’ theory in which players are taught to think about making a birdie on every hole, hence a score of 54.
 
There’s no talking Smack to Tiger…
 
Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz had some fun after hearing trash talk from frequent golf companion Tiger Woods, who had referred to Smoltz as an ATM machine because Woods apparently wins all the wagers when the two tee it up (wow, what a surprise). “The man is the No. 1 player in the world,’’ Smoltz told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I don’t want to come out talking publicly about my thrashing of him in Ping Pong. I don’t want to do that. That wouldn’t be good gamesmanship, nor the basketball shooting and all that. It’s a compliment, actually, knowing that he’s gotten lucky a few times.’’ What’s not quite understood is why Smoltz, no matter how good of a golfer he may be, puts any money up when taking on Woods.
 
How 'bout a cleavage cooler for Mother’s Day …
 
It’s amazing what is invented for golfers. Recently I was on www.LuckyPar.com, an on-line golf shop for women. The splash page proclaimed their number one seller is -- drum roll please -- you guessed it, the cleavage cooler! Think of a tie-like object that holds ice inside for cooling. Hey you can’t argue with success. At first I thought it was a joke, but heck, just last week I applied for a patent on a very cool jock strap. Look for it coming soon to a golf store near you. So you can keep your ... Oh heck, I’m not even going to go there.
 
The gangsta's choice...
 
We could not help but chuckle at the glee of Tony Soprano, the title character on the HBO series “The Sopranos,’’ who upon receiving a new set of golf clubs from his wife in the season-opening episode, gasped, “TaylorMades? Wow!’’
 
Of course women are permitted on our web site. Why do you ask?
 
Masters officials announced they had more than 4-million video streams of golf action from this year’s tournament through its Live at Amen Corner feature and Masters Extra – which was an hour of coverage at www.masters.org before the network broadcast each day. The average time spent on the two sites was three hours. Masters chairman Billy Payne said that “these were initial steps and we look to provide more extensive and dynamic applications in the future.’’ The site had more than 4.7-million unique users during Masters week.
 
Callaway sells more hybrids than Toyota, yet Toyota claims to be #1 world wide. Is there no truth in advertising?
 
Golf equipment has changed enormously in the last five years, including the size of driver heads and the fact that there are virtually no wound golf balls anymore. But where you really see the difference today is in hybrid clubs. According to Golf World, just seven players used a hybrid club at the 2002 Masters. This year, there were 76 hybrids in players’ bags, including 64 that had the look of a fairway wood.
 
Brouhaha brewing…
 
Mickelson controversy is upon us. Phil missed the Wednesday pro-am event at the Byron Nelson. Missing the pro-am is grounds for disqualification for playing in the event. Just ask Shaun Micheel, the 2003 PGA Championship winner who was disqualified from the 2004 Bay Hill Invitational for missing the Pro-Am. Or ask Retief Goosen, who was disqualified from the 2005 Nissan Open after missing his pro-am tee time. The players aren’t upset with likable Phil; they are upset with the Tour and what they see as inconsistent discretionary rulings. In this case the Tour took care to make sure their marquee player was playing in the Byron Nelson. Great for the fans, but it sure smacks of favoritism and sets a bad precedent.
 
 
Paralysis by Analysis
 
Chipping
 
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!

Quick tips:
  • Swing with shoulders
  • Use putting stroke
  • Be creative when chipping
 
 
Reading the Line
 
Do you believe in magic …
 
Scott Verplank was a protégé of Bryon Nelson, who befriended and mentored the then-teen-age Dallas golfer. Verplank went from teen protégé to Tour player. He always wanted to win the Byron Nelson Championship, in part to honor his long time friend. He had fared well a number of times, but no win. In fact, Verplank has been winless since his 2001 victory at the Canadian Open. In recent weeks he has had trouble breaking 70 with any consistency, and prior to last week's EDS Byron Nelson Championship he had not broken 70 in his previous 11 rounds. But last week he was back again at the Byron Nelson Championship. This would be the first time he would be playing the tournament named in honor of his boyhood friend and mentor, without Mr. Nelson present in body.

And now the story gets good.

Verplank, who has documented shoulder problems, says that on Thursday morning, “it (the pain) just went away. The man who had not broken 70 in 11 previous rounds went 67, 68, 66, 66 for the tournament. The man who had not won since 2001, was victorious.

Do you believe in fate? "I guess I do," Verplank said. How can you not? "Byron had a hand in this," he added. "I felt like I was living a dream."
 
And now the work begins anew…
 
The rumors are apparently true. Phil Mickelson is employing the help of noted swing instructor Butch Harmon. The same Butch Harmon who helped both Greg Norman and Tiger Woods to the No. 1 ranking in the world. Mickelson, who has employed Rick Smith for much of his career, has been toying with the idea for some time, although it is awkward because of his long-time relationship with Smith. Most experts, however, believe it is a good move in that Mickelson simply has had trouble harnessing his great skills because he has a swing that is too long and inconsistent. (See: U.S. Open at Winged Foot, final hole.) Still, making changes, even for a pro, can take time. Woods struggled for the better part of a year while trying to adapt to Hank Haney’s methods. Mickelson might need some time, too.
 
Hail to the new Queens…
 
It took a week with no tournament for Annika Sorenstam to be supplanted as the No. 1 player in women’s golf. That oddity only confirmed what many already knew, that Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa is the best player in the game at the moment. She could have taken the No. 1 spot from Sorenstam with a victory at either the Kraft Nabisco or the Ginn Open, where she finished second. So it seemed a bit odd that her ascension to the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings occurred when the LPGA didn’t have a tournament. Call it the vagaries of the ranking system, but Ochoa, who has 10 victories, was headed there at some point, especially given the injury to Sorenstam, who could be out for some time. Sorenstam has disc problems in her neck and back that apparently won’t require surgery but could keep her from playing for more than a month. That means Ochoa has a chance to pad her lead. And that’s fine. It gives us the chance to celebrate Sorenstam’s greatness again, something often taken for granted. She has 69 LPGA Tour titles and 10 major championships. She is only 36, so there is plenty of time to pad the resume. But if she elects to never play again – which is highly doubtful – it already is one remarkable career.
 
 
2007 PGA Tour Schedule   Winner
Mercedes Benz Championship Jan 4-7 Vijay Singh
Sony Open in Hawaii Jan 11-14 Paul Goydos
Bob Hope Classic Jan 18-21 Charley Hoffman
Buick Invitational Jan 25-28 Tiger Woods
FBR Open Feb 1-4 Aaron Braddeley
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro AM Feb 8-11 Phil Mickelson
Nissan Open Feb 15-18 Charles Howell III
WGC-Accenture Match Play Feb 21-25 Henrik Stenson
The Honda Classic Mar 1-4 Mark Wilson
Tampa Bay Championship Mar 8-11 Mark Calcavecchia
Arnold Palmer Invitational Mar 15-18 Vijay Singh
WGC-CA Championship Mar 22-25 Tiger Woods
Shell Houston Open Mar 29-1 Adam Scott
The Masters Apr 5-8 Zach Johnson
Verizon Heritage Apr 12-15 Boo Weekly
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Apr 19-22 Nick Watney
EDS Byron Nelson Championship Apr 26-29 Scott Verplank
Wachovia Championship May 3-6
The Players Championship May 10-13
AT&T Classic May 17-20
Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial May 24-26
The Memorial Tournament May 31-3
Stanford St.Jude Championship Jun 7-10
U.S. Open Championship Jun 14-17
Travelers Championship Jun 21-24
Buick Open Jun 28-1
The International July 5-8
John Deere Classic July 12-15
U.S. Bank Championship July 19-22
British Open July 19-22
Canadian Open July 26-29
Reno-Tahoe Open Aug 2-5
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Aug 2-5
PGA Championship Aug 9-12
Wyndham Championship Aug 16-19
The Barclays Aug 23-26
Deutsche Bank Championship Aug 31-3
BMW Championship Sep 6-9
The Tour Championship Sep 13-16
Turning Stone Resort Championship Sep 20-23
Viking Classic Sep 27-30
The Presidents Cup Sep 27-30
Valero Texas Open Oct 4-7
Frys.com Open in Las Vegas Oct 11-14
Fry.s Electronics Open Oct 18-21
Running Horse Golf Championship Oct 25-28
Walt Disney World Resort Classic Nov 1-4
 
 
 

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