Barney chose the bench to bounce the ball off of, and we made the guys sit on the far side of the round table, about nine feet from the bench. The stymie rule was in effect, as always, and we decided that any ball would count, even if it was off the green. We were worried at first that no one would be able to hit the bench, but that turned out not to be an issue, because Stan was the only one who missed it.
By John Strege
Stories of interest you might have missed
“[Jason] Day said before every tournament, [caddie and coach Col] Swatton hands him a piece of paper that tells him what he has to do to win the event. It summarizes what the winner has done over the years — how many eagles, birdies, bogeys and double bogeys he had, along with averages on the par-3s, par-4s and par-5s,” writes Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal in this column on how golfers increasingly are using a “Moneyball” approach to improve.
Caddie and coach Col Swatton and Jason Day (Getty Images photo)
Bernhard Langer, 57 next month, no longer plays PGA Tour events save for the Masters, yet Tom Watson, Colin Montgomerie and Tony Jacklin all have said he warrants consideration for a place on the European Ryder Cup team, based on his extraordinary play on the Champions Tour of late. Tom Hayward of Reuters has the story.
“Nobody had ever said that word [choke] before,” NBC’s Johnny Miller said in this Q and A with Bud Shaw of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I’ve always felt how players handle the pressure was the most interesting part of golf The way Tiger would perform under pressure and how other guys would let tournaments go.”
“It is not unusual to see a photograph of a professional golfer hitting balls on the range in front of a group of interested spectators. But it is unusual when the golfer is a pudgy man in his mid-sixties, and the onlookers include Fred Couples, Ben Crenshaw, Nick Price, and Nick Faldo.” This is the lead to Jeff Neuman’s Wall Street Journal story on the legendary Canadian Moe Norman.
Two weeks before he tees it up in the PGA Championship, club pro Johan Kok played his first round of golf in a week. So it generally goes for club pros, even those good enough to play in a major championship. Columnist Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal looks at the PGA Championship from the perspective of the 20 club pros who qualified.
Callaway isn't saying much about the Big Bertha V Series club that showed up on last week's USGA list of conforming drivers. But given the timing and some of the clues on the clubhead itself, you can make a good guess as to what this driver is all about.
Making the rounds on tour this week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (Thomas Bjorn is said to be one interested candidate), the club definitely emphasizes less weight. You can see slight indentations in the sole that are reminiscent of the old Big Bertha Warbird sole.
Most telling, however, are the words and formulas emblazoned on the clubhead. Included is the phrase Speed Optimized Technology and the formula for kinetic energy. The latter is a clear reference to the importance of increasing velocity (swing speed) to generate more energy at impact.
The adjustable driver is available in three lofts, according to its listing on the USGA website (9.5, 10.5 and 13.5HT). The company plans to introduce the driver formally next week.
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Related: Leave the cart in the barn
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.
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(Photo by Getty Images)
Contrary to popular belief, there are positive stories in equipment sales, rounds played, and even employment opportunities. The professional game might be on better financial footing than any other individual sport, and maybe most important, the game’s leaders have embraced the idea of growing the game in its most important way: young people. The story of golf in July 2014 certainly is not candy canes and rainbows, but those clouds might not be as dark as others have been so quick to point out.
The No. 125 ranked player in the FedEx Cup points standing right now is Charlie Beljan. That's worth noting because somewhere in the secret PGA Tour commissioner's handbook there is probably a clause that says you're not allowed to outwardly root for Tiger Woods more than you would for Charlie Beljan.
Or something like that. The point is that as the FedEx Cup Playoffs draw nearer, Tim Finchem faces the very real prospect of the tour's prized playoff series being contested without the tour's most marketable player. Currently 215th in the FedEx Cup standings with just 45 points, Woods likely needs a win either this week at Firestone or next week in the PGA Championship to qualify for the Barclays, the first leg of the playoffs, in three weeks at Ridgewood Country Club.
Barring a dramatic Woods resurgence, it would be the third time in the eight-year history of the FedEx Cup that the 14-time major champion would be absent from the entirety of the playoffs. In one of those years, 2008, Woods was unable to play after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery. But in 2011 and again this year, he returned to competition in mid-summer after missing an extended period due to injury, and thus had a limited window to earn points.
Would the tour ever consider a medical exemption into the playoffs for elite players like Woods?
Finchem mulled that question over for only a brief moment on Tuesday.
"Ah, no," Finchem said at a press conference to promote the Barclays. "And the reason I say that is the competition is set up, it's not just a playoff event. It's a yearlong competition. Then you would say, I would have to start fiddling with field sizes. So it kind of muddies up the comparative nature of the competition."
So those are the breaks for Woods. Or maybe not. There is, after all, the chance that he earns his way into the field playing two golf courses where he's won before (eight times at Firestone, once, in the 2000 PGA Championship, at Valhalla). Maybe the commissioner won't be outwardly rooting, but you can bet he'll be watching closely.
"He's got a couple tournaments coming up where he's won on both golf courses and one on which he's won a lot of times (eight)," Finchem said. "So I'm not one of those who are pessimistic about his immediate or long term future in the sport."
AKRON, Ohio -- With a third major title secured and the chance to return to No. 1 looming this week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Rory McIlroy said he hasn't dwelled much on his British Open victory two weeks ago at Royal Liverpool, even if it was the most coveted major for the young man from Northern Ireland.
"I've obviously had a bit of time to reflect after the Open and everything, but just decided I wanted to move on and move forward," McIlroy said Tuesday at Firestone C.C.
Well, yes, he's moving forward -- after quaffing a few beverages from the claret jug, taking it out on the town in Belfast with his friends and capturing pictures of it in various locations, including, for some reason, atop the toilet.
Yeah, he's had his fun. But now McIlroy gets back to business, hoping to ride his newfound momentum to further conquests starting at this limited-field World Golf Championship. The following week is the year's final major, the PGA Championship at Valhalla GC, where he'll surely be the prohibitive favorite. And the FedEx Cup Playoffs and Race to Dubai remain in the not too distant future, with the Ryder Cup sandwiched between them.
"There's a lot of big tournaments left this year, a lot of golf left to play, and a lot of things I still want to achieve," said McIlroy, 25, who has risen to No. 2 in the world behind Adam Scott. "World No. 1 is a big goal of mine. I've never won a World Golf Championship. That's another thing. I've got three majors but never won one of these. That's another thing I'd like to knock off the list. So there's a lot of stuff still to play for."
Not that there hasn't been stuff to play for in the past, but McIlroy hasn't always played to his potential. Accompanying his occasional hot streaks, like his burst in the FedEx Cup playoffs in 2012 following his record eight-stroke PGA victory at Kiawah Island, have been notable periods of indifference.
At Hoylake, Tiger Woods noted, bluntly, that his fellow Nike teammate has lacked consistency, a hallmark of Woods' career. "When he gets it going, he gets it going. When it gets going bad, it gets going real bad," Woods said. "If you look at his results, he's kind of that way. Very similar to what Phil [Mickelson] does. He has his hot weeks and he has his weeks where he's off. It's no right way or wrong way. But it's just the nature of how he plays."
McIlroy doesn't disagree. "I think for me it's all a mental thing," he said. "If I can get myself in the right frame of mind week in, week out, and give myself some little mental triggers throughout the week, like I did at the Open Championship, then, hopefully, I'll have a lot more of those 'on' weeks. . . . But definitely, if you said there's one thing I'd like to get better at, it would just be a little bit more consistency in there. Hopefully, I'm on the right path to try and do that."
He already is, frankly, having not finished outside the top 25 in 10 PGA Tour starts this year while adding a victory at the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship in May following his celebrated breakup with his fiance, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
With three legs of the career Grand Slam in his possession, McIlroy can set his sights higher, although that is nothing new. He has talked in the past about going to bed thinking of golf and waking up thinking of the game. It's a mentality he'll continue to embrace in the hopes of embellishing his record.
"It's what I've always done. It's what I've always known. That's been my life since I was sort of 10 years old was golf," he said. "I think it's just waking up every morning with that drive to want to get better and to want to be the best. I talked about going to bed thinking about it as well, it's more about reflecting on what you've done that day. 'Have you become a better golfer than you were when you woke up that morning, or have you maybe not gotten better but made a step in the right direction to become a better player?' Yeah, that's the place that I'm in right now, and that's my main objective and my main focus. I feel like I'm playing well. I just want to continue to keep doing that."
A year ago when the PGA of America offered fans the opportunity to choose the hole location at Oak Hill's 15th green for the final round of the PGA Championship, it ushered in a new era of fan interaction in tournament golf. It also gave a chance for the public to confound the best golfers in the world.
The PGA of America is doing it again this year at Valhalla, offering fans four choices on the brutish par-4 16th (above).
Voting runs through Aug. 9 at picktheholechallenge.pga.com. And if the early trend holds, fans seem to want to test the best under pressure. The current top choice is the diabolical back-left location.
Here's a PGA of America video highlighting the four choices, with commentary from Jack Nicklaus, who designed Valhalla, and Kerry Haigh, the PGA of America's course set-up guru.
Photo: Gary Kellner/The PGA of America via Getty Images
You may remember last August, as part of a different marketing campaign for Bose, Rory gave a quick tour of his house and talked about why he likes living there.