Note Sergio's putting-grip progression, from conventional to left-hand low to the claw. (Photos by Getty Images)
Sergio's comeback seems to have started with a tip he got from putting guru Dave Stockton, who recounted the story while visiting with a group of Golf Digest editors in our Wilton, Conn., office on Friday. Here's a short report from Assistant Managing Editor Jeff Patterson:
Stockton said that when he's asked to take a look at someone's putting stroke, he also likes to see their chipping motion. Naturally, Sergio Garcia was brought up. Senior Instruction Editor Peter Morrice asked Stockton why Sergio seems to have so much creativity around the greens, but little success on them. After saying Sergio looked all right in his 11-shot victory the weekend before at the Castello Masters, Stockton related an interesting anecdote:
Stockton was on the putting green at Firestone Country Club during a practice round for the 2010 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. While Dave worked with one of his tour pros, Sergio was within earshot. The message Stockton was trying to
Grace Na, Pepperdine
The sophomore tied the NCAA 18-hole scoring record (in relation to par) with a opening-round nine-under 63 at Boulder Creek GC in Boudler City, Nev., en route to claiming medalist honors at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown. Na finished the tournament with a seven-under 209 total, a career best for the Alameda, Calif., native.
"Coach told us last night to focus on the process," Na said after her 63. "That's what my focus was on. At the end, I didn't realize that I was that many under par until I counted. It was an easy day because I was focused in the right spot. The whole day, I was very consistent with my ball-striking. I hit every fairway, hit every green, and hit 12 of 18 within 15 feet.
Fanny Cnops, UNC Greensboro
The freshman became the first Spartan golfer to win an individual title in eight years when she posted a seven-under 209 to beat East Tennesse State's Gabriella Wahl by four strokes and the rest of the field by at least eight at the Palmetto Intercollegiate, played at Kiawah Island's Oak Point GC. She also broke the school's 54-hole scoring record and her final-round 67 tied the school's 18-hole mark.
Paula Reto, Purdue
The junior's two-over 218 performance at CC of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C., gave her her first college victory and also propelled the Boilermakers to a surprise team victory.
Marissa Steen, Memphis
Her two-over 215 at Ridgeway CC in Germantown, Tenn., was eight strokes clear of runner-up Kristin Tan of Xavier as she claimed medalist honors at the Memphis Invitational.
Jordan Spieth, Texas
An eight-stroke victory at the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational washed away much of the disappointment the freshman from Dallas was feeling after holding the 36-hole lead at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational last month, only to finish T-2 after a final-round 72.
Spieth made sure nobody was going to catch him at Isleworth CC outside of Orlando, opening with 65-73 to carry a one-shot lead into the final 18. A closing 67 gave the two-time U.S. Junior champion an 11-under 205 (24 stroke lower than the after 54-hole score shot in the event.
The individual victory also help the Longhorns cruise to the team title for the third straight year.
Dominic Bozzelli, Auburn
A final-round 70 gave the junior from Pittsford, N.Y., a six-under 210 total and a share of the title at the U.S. Collegiate, his first college victory.
T.J. Mitchell, Georgia
The junior carded his first career individual victory at the ODU/Outerbacks Collegiate Invitational with a 15-under 201, helping the Bulldogs claim the team title by three strokes over Liberty.
Hunter Sparks, Wichita State
A career-best 14-under 199, capped by a final-round 66, gave the junior the title at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate.
Johannes Veerman, Texas A&M
Earned a share of the U.S. Collegiate title with Bozzelli, although he didn't know he had until landing back in College Station, Texas. The Aggies left GC of Georgia before the conclusion of play in order to make their flight back home. "He asked me [during the flight] 'So you think I won?' " noted Texas A&M coach J.T. Higgins. "We were just happy there was no playoff." Veerman, a sophomore transfer from Tulsa, was the only player in the event under par for all three rounds.
After a three-year run on the Ralston Creek course at the Daniel Island Club outside Charleston, SC, the event will move to avoid next year's PGA Championship to be played on the other side of the city of Charleston at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course. Though no agreement has been reached, both Daniel Island and the PGA Tour are interested in resuming the relationship in 2013.
Unless you're teeing it up in Phoenix, where it was more than 100 degrees this past week, chances are you're about to play some cold-weather golf. The forecast in Connecticut, where I'll be playing, is for 48 degrees on Saturday and 53 on Sunday. It's still nice enough to play and have a good time, but you better prepare yourself. Here are some tips I've gleaned from the pages of Golf Digest and other sources. I hope they help you play to your potential and enjoy your game this weekend.
--Invest in a pair of thermal underwear--tops and bottoms. A great brand I've discovered recently is Under Armour. They fit skin tight and allow you to dress in layers over them. They will keep you toasty in quite cold conditions.
--Keep your feet warm as well by wearing an extra pair of socks--thin ones so your shoes don't feel too bulky.
--Buy some of those dry-chemical hand warmers you see in the ski shops (Dick's sporting goods carries them; so do camping stores), and put them in your golf bag. About 20 minutes before your round, open and shake them, then put one in each pocket. When you play, make sure you keep your hands in your pockets between shots. Open a new pair somewhere on the back nine so they don't get cold on the last couple of holes. Nothing ruins a good day of golf faster than not being able to feel the club in your hands.
--Before you leave the house, heat up some herbal tea and put it in a small thermos. Take small sips throughout the round to keep you warm. Unless you're addicted to caffeine, stay away from real tea or coffee. It will only make you jittery on the greens.
--Do your stretching while you're still at home. Ride an exercise bike for 10 minutes or take a hot shower first to get warm and limber. Stretching on a cold practice range or the first tee just won't cut it when it's 50 degrees.
--Wear a ski cap, even if you don't like the look. You lose most of your body heat through your head. Keeping your head warm will help you stay warm.
--Invest in a pair of cart gloves. I like cart gloves, rather than winter golf gloves, because you can continue to wear your conventional glove and just take them off to hit your shots. You'll also have better feel on the greens if you're wearing a normal glove.
--Try to insist on walking instead of riding. This will help get the blood flowing so you stay warm. If you have to ride, consider bringing an extra coat--even an overcoat--and put it over you when you're in the cart.
--Alternate golf balls on each hole. Keep the ball you're not playing in your pocket against your hand warmer so it stays warm. John Calabria, whom I caddied for in a varsity golf match at Florida State University many years ago, showed me this trick. It was about 40 degrees that January day in Tallahassee, and John shot even par. In fact, he told me to keep the balls you are going to play with inside the house overnight so they don't get cold sitting in your car or garage.
--Remember to take more club. The colder air temperatures will reduce the length of your shots by at least 10 percent. It's better to be a little long than a little short on most approaches.
--Finally, save the alcohol until after your round. Drinking a shot or two of whisky might make you feel warmer, but that's only an illusion. It might cause you to think you're playing better, too. Come to think of it, that might not be all bad!
Read more advice on playing golf in cold weather >
She grew up playing every team sport imaginable: basketball, volleyball, soccer, track—even baseball with the boys.
So when asked about leading Vanderbilt women's golf team with the best scoring average this fall (70.8)—bettering her average from the 2010-11 season by a full 4.3 strokes—all that Stratton can focus on is increasing her chances of her ultimate desired outcome: helping the team.
"There's nothing like being on a team. Growing up, that's what it's about," the 21-year-old junior said. "A victory's so much sweeter when you can share it with someone. And for golf, college is the only place you can do it."
Are you a fan of Golf World's weekly magazine feature, "Front 9"? If so, you have a chance to help write it.
Inspired by The New Yorker's cartoon-caption writing contest, Golf World is now featuring the "Front 9 Punchline Contest" every week. Here's how it works. Every Sunday afternoon, Golf World's editors will post a Front 9 setup line to our magazine's Facebook page. Readers will have approximately 24 hours to enter their best punchlines to that set up.
(An example from a recent Front 9: Rory McIlroy finishes T-3 in Switzerland and pronounces injured right wrist fully healed. He took all the precautions. For instance, he used only his left hand when applauding for Caroline Wozniacki.)
Golf World editors will then select the winning entry, which will appear (along with the writer's name and hometown) in that week's issue of Golf World. In addition to having their entry published in the magazine, winners will receive an official Golf World logo hat.
Our last winner was Brian DiMaio of Jacksonville, Fla., whose winning entry appeared in the Oct. 24 issue of the magazine:
Set-up line: Deranged fan charges green at Frys.com Open, throws hot dog at Tiger Woods.
Winning punchline: "Yet another reason Woods doesn't "relish" interacting with fans."
-- Geoff Russell, Golf World Editor-In-Chief
Here's Ron: In an informal poll of several sports-medicine, pain-management and orthopedic doctors about cortisone, the consensus is it's one of their most effective tools for combating joint pain and inflammation.
That statement is absolutely true. But I wonder if it's also a little careless.
Many doctors believe cortisone should be, at best, a last resort in the treatment of arthritis, tendonitis, joint inflammations, etc. Dr. Paul Sethi of Greenwich, Conn., for example, usually tries to talk patients out of these injections. The problem is cortisone, if used frequently, can cause tissue damage. There's also the concern that because it masks pain, a person can do further damage to an injured area as a result of a false sense of good health. Pain is the
Have you ever bemoaned the fact that when you wanted the beverage cart it was nowhere to be found? Stan Van Meter has, and he elected to do something about it.
"About three years ago, I was out with some of my customers playing in a scramble," Van Meter said. "We were just out there to have fun and tip a few back with old friends and customers. They got frustrated."
This was the genesis of Scan4Beer, a novel way to send a food or drink order to and summon the beverage cart using only your smart phone. It is accomplished with a bar code attached to the golf cart and an smart phone app that permits you to scan the bar code. A menu pops up on your smart phone and you place the order. Among the information the beverage cart attendant receives is your cart number, location on the course, and the most efficient route to get there.
"It's a win win for everybody," Van Meter, the CEO of Scan4Beer, said. "Better food and beverage sales for golf courses, less frustration for golfers, and better tips for the cart girls."
The app is free. Meanwhile, Scan4Beer will license its product to individual courses or groups of courses. It recently began a soft launch of the product, testing it on six courses, while expecting a full launch in February. Reaction suggests the company is onto something, Van Meter said.
Below is an animated video showing how it works.
-- John Strege
My look at the top five teams in the country right now
1. Texas (Last week: 2)
Like two tennis players facing off, the Longhorns took serve this week in their long distance mano-an-mano with Oregon for the top spot in the Fab Five ... and quickly held it. Not to go all hyperbole on anyone, but the 26-stroke victory at Isleworth (Texas third straight at the event) might have been the most impressive performance in a stroke-play event in some time. As if Jordan Spieth winning the individual title by eight strokes for his first college title wasn't enough, Dylan Fritelli was the runner-up and Julio Vegas was T-6.
Next event: Fall season over
This week we hear from Douglas D'Avignon, who writes to us from Vermont. Here's how he fixed his slice:
As someone who speaks from experience, it is very difficult to rid yourself of a slice. I suffered from the slice for several years before I decided to do something about it. If your slice is caused mainly by an out-to-in swing path, this tip is for you. One thing I did was turn my rear foot out so it was perpendicular to my front foot. This will cause your swing path to become more in-to-out, far more desirable. If you use this tip for, say, two to four weeks on any shot that you usually slice, when you go back to your normal foot placement, your swing will have adjusted so you'll now have a well-shaped path. The movement will have had time to become muscle memory and will be like second nature to you.
(Related: Above, Matt Killen demonstrated a similar tip in the September, 2010 issue of Golf Digest)
Editor's note: This is a neat tip, and one that I had not heard before--turning your back foot so radically out that it is perpendicular to your front foot. That really will encourage a fuller hip turn so your arms and club will swing more around your body. From there you can deliver the club on an inside path to the ball.